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John Tinmouth

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A Brief History Of Modern Palestine
« on: November 24, 2014, 05:45:47 PM »
    SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION



    A BRIEF HISTORY OF MODERN PALESTINE:
    A HISTORY OF ISRAEL AND THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

    Set out in the following pages is a brief history of modern Palestine, that is, a history of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following sources were principally used to provide that history: Ilan Pappe’s A History Of Modern Palestine (second edition); John Quigley’s The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective; Michael Neumann’s The Case Against Israel; Khaled Hroub’s Hamas; A Beginner’s Guide.

    The history is described in three sections:      
    The Zionist Project – Beginnings To The Creation Of The Israeli State
    From Israel’s Creation To Israel’s Expansion - 1948 War To 1967 War
    From 1967 War Of Expansion To The Present

    And there are two post-scripts:      
    Zionism
    A Summary Of The History




    THE ZIONIST PROJECT – BEGINNINGS TO THE CREATION OF THE ISRAELI STATE

    The Zionist Movement
    The Zionist movement arose in Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century as a Jewish political response to persecution of Jews in Europe, especially eastern Europe. It's purpose was to secure a land for the Jewish people, and, at it's 1897 conference, it settled on Palestine (the Holy Land) as the desired land, because of it's historic and religious significance. (The original Jews of Palestine had been dispersed after their failed revolt against the Roman empire in the second century AD.)  In the late nineteenth century, the earliest Zionist immigrants set up agricultural settlements on purchased land.

    From the beginning, the acquisition of land by the Jewish National Fund, under a system where it could never be sold back, was regarded by Zionists as vital to their goal of a Jewish state. An element of the Zionist concept of land redemption was that the land should be worked by Jews – Arabs should not be hired as labourers – land purchase, and the expulsion of Arabs, went hand in hand. See the appendix.

    In 1917, towards the end of the first world war, the British Government, in response to Zionist lobbying, issued the now infamous Balfour Declaration in support of the Zionist project - to view “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The letter was actually drafted, at British foreign secretary Balfour’s request, by Zionist leader Chaim Weizman and Lord Rothschild, head of the Zionist Federation in Britain. A sympathetic Cabinet included two Jewish members and others sympathetic to the Zionist cause because they thought (having been encouraged by the Zionists to do so) that it would help British interests in the Middle East. For purely tactical reasons (because Jews were a small minority in Palestine), the Zionists employed the ambivalence of the term “National Home”. However, it is today not seriously disputed that, from the outset, the Zionist mainstream worked towards a Jewish state – it was never their intention, as Neumann puts it, for “a scattering of Jewish homes and farms” - rather “a Jewish country with its own army, police and government”. See the appendix. The Declaration was also vague as to the territory to which it applied, suggesting that it might perhaps encompass less than the entire territory of Palestine. In fact, the World Zionist Organisation delegation at the post-world-war peace conference at Versailles said that they wanted  a state in all of Palestine plus a strip of southern Lebanon and a strip east of the Jordan river.


    Mandate Palestine
    In 1918, the Ottoman empire, which included Palestine, was on the losing side in the world war, and disintegrated. A British census in that year gave an estimate of the Palestinian population as 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews. Thus, the population was more than 90% Arab, and they had lived there for more than 1,000 years, more or less harmoniously with the small Jewish element. Given this population split, if Palestine had then been made an independent state, there would have been no question of it's overwhelmingly Arab nature, and Israel would never have existed. Instead (such is the nature of imperialism), the lands formerly subject to the Turks were dismembered and shared out by two of the war victors, the colonial empires of Britain and France. Britain was given a mandate from the League of Nations to administer Palestine, and then governed it more or less as another colony, until 1948.

    Although Britain was required under the terms of the mandate to administer Palestine for the benefit of the population as a whole, the mandate also required it to execute the provisos of the Balfour Declaration - an impossible task given the near-absolute incompatibility of the two sets of requirements. In the period between the first and second world wars, Britain allowed, under the auspices of the Jewish Agency set up to liaise with the British administration on all matters relating to the ‘national home’, substantial Jewish immigration under the Zionist project to occur, and further substantial land purchases. This Jewish inflow and land purchase was exacerbated in the later years by the looming Nazi horror in Europe. Tracts of land were acquired by the Jewish National Fund in close proximity to each other, to create the geographic nucleus for a state. They became fortified enclaves. Jewish labour policy remained unchanged, requiring that only Jewish labour worked Fund land, leading to a large and growing class of landless, dispossessed Palestinian Arabs. All of this led to sporadic and increasing resistance and then open rebellion (in 1936) from the Palestinian Arabs, who rightly feared the ultimate goal of the Zionists as Jewish dispossession of their land, and Jewish domination. The Zionists built up the Haganah, their secret army (secret in the sense that, though known to the British, it's existence was tolerated but officially unacknowledged.)  British colonial motives were complex, and vacillated at times on such things as Jewish immigration, the creation of Jewish enclaves, Jewish land purchases with Zionist funds, and so on, but undoubtedly there were pro-Zionist factions in both the Westminster parliament and the local administration in Palestine. What is certain is that the outcome was objectively pro-Zionist, since by 1948, when Britain departed, the Jews had risen to around one-third of the population (and thus now constituted a serious, perhaps mortal, threat to the Arab Palestinians), though they owned only 6% of the land. The Jewish Agency, which began to look to the US as the new major power to back it, became a state within a state. Crucially, the armed Haganah forces were then estimated at around 60,000 – prior to the Arab revolt, they had been supplemented by arms imported clandestinely, and their own arms manufacturing facilities – after the revolt, the British allowed them to arm themselves legally. The Arabs, on the other hand, were disarmed by the British after the 1936 revolt (although Arab groups did stockpile weapons).


    The End Of The Mandate, And The Political Creation Of The Israeli State
    In 1947, Britain reviewed it's situation in Palestine. It was massively financially weakened through it's great effort in the second world war which had ended in 1945, financially dependent on an America which took a hard line towards it's wartime debts incurred to the US, and under insistent US pressure to allow large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine. It also faced terrorist atrocities in a campaign to drive it out of Palestine, waged by extreme Zionist groups such as Irgun and the Stern gang, though this was not a factor in it's decision to hand over the problem to the UN, the new international policeman dominated by the two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union. This it did in February 1947.

    The UN set up the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). It's officials had no experience of the Middle East or the Palestine situation. They were undoubtedly influenced by the recent Holocaust in Europe, to the detriment of the Palestinian's cause, even though the Palestinians were, of course, entirely innocent and uninvolved. UNSCOP was assiduously courted by the Zionist leadership, and given a ready-made partition plan by the well-prepared Zionist representatives. In contrast, the Palestinian and Arab side, rejecting partition of what had, overwhelmingly, been their land, boycotted the Committee, and thus lost the opportunity to present any alternative. Nevertheless, Palestinian objections prevented a unanimous decision. In September 1947, UNSCOP presented its recommendations to the UN General Assembly. UNSCOP acknowledged that the self-determination rights of the Palestinian Arabs had been violated by the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the Mandate for Palestine, and further stated that the internationally recognized principle of self-determination was not applied to Palestine. Nevertheless, the majority report advocated partition into two states. “There was neither merit nor justice”, noted historian Arnold Toynbee, in “compensating victims at the expense of innocent third parties” … “An innocent, non-Western people’s territory could, it was held, legitimately be given away to the Jews by the victorious Western powers.”

    After receiving the Special Committee’s report, the UN General Assembly constituted an Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question to frame the Palestinian issue for plenary debate. On 25th November 1947, the Ad Hoc Committee voted to recommend partition to the General Assembly, but only after an Arab proposal to question the International Court Of Justice on the competence of the General Assembly to partition a country against the wishes of the majority of it's inhabitants (around 70% Arabs and 30% Jews) was narrowly defeated. The Ad Hoc Committee’s vote was 25 to 13, with 17 abstentions – sufficient to carry the partition plan in the committee, but short of the two-thirds majority that would be required for passage in the General Assembly.

    A two-thirds majority was required in the General Assembly. By this time, the United States, pressured by American Jewish and Zionist lobbying, had emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partition – most European countries, including the Soviet union, supported it – most Third World countries viewed it as an infringement of Arab rights. The United States got the General Assembly to delay a vote “to gain time to bring certain Latin American republics into line with its own views.” US officials, “by direct order of the White House”, used “every form of pressure, direct and indirect”, to “make sure that the necessary majority” would be gained, according to former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. Members of the US Congress threatened curtailment of economic aid to several Third World countries. On November 29th 1947, the General Assembly proceeded to a vote on the partition plan as Resolution 181. The resolution narrowly gained the required majority of two-thirds – 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions. Included in the countries that switched their votes between November 25th and November 29th to provide the two-thirds majority, were Liberia, the Philippines, and Haiti. All heavily dependent on the United States financially, they had been lobbied to change their votes. Some delegates charged US officials with “diplomatic intimidation.”

    Zionists welcomed partition because of it's recognition of a Jewish state covering 55% of a country where Jews were only around 30% of the population (and that only recently – 25 years beforehand they had been less than 10% of the population), and where Zionist landholdings still amounted to less than 8% of the land. In the envisaged  Jewish state, Jews and Arabs would be roughly equal in numbers – about half a million of each. In the proposed Arab state, there would have been less than ten thousand Jews. The plan thus gave much Arab-populated territory to the Jewish state, but little Jewish-populated territory to the Arab state. Ernest Bevin, Britain’s foreign secretary, noted the difficulty of drawing boundaries because of the sparseness of Jewish population: “It is impossible to find in all of Palestine, apart from Tel Aviv and its environs … any sizable area with a Jewish majority.” The Arabs were bitterly opposed and especially outraged because the proposed Jewish state would include almost as many Arabs as Jews. “The Arabs”, declared an Arab jurist, of Resolution 181, “have had to pay for and expiate the outrage committed against mankind at Treblinka, Auschwitz and elsewhere.” A Yugoslav jurist objected that Resolution 181 reflected the view that “so-called ‘civilised’ peoples were still entitled to determine the fate of the ‘uncivilised’, and that the territories of dependent nations were objects to be manipulated.” We might add that this is not likely to be the view of the working classes of the so-called ‘civilised’ people, but rather that part of the ruling elite which was imperialistic.


    The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - The UNSCOP Days
    Meanwhile, as this politicking at the UN went its course, events were happening on the ground. In the period between February 1947, when Britain announced its decision to hand over to the UN, and August 1947, when UNSCOP presented its report to the UN General Assembly, the Palestinian refusal to accept a UN solution caused the Zionist political elite to plan for a systematic expulsion of the Arab populations within the areas allocated for a Jewish state. The Zionists compiled detailed intelligence on Palestinian villages (these details were later given to the commanders of units attacking these villages, both in the civil war before the end of the Mandate, and the war after the Arab armies intervened.) The Zionists also centralised the military command. In contrast, Arab preparations were much less comprehensive.

    The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - Civil War And The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine
    The period between September 1947, when the British announced their intention to give up the Palestine Mandate on 15th April 1948, and the date on which the last British forces actually left – 14th May 1948 - marked a descent into a civil war which had the character of ethnic cleansing.

    Until March 1948, clashes between the Jewish and Arab communities were scattered, random, and not planned to the extent they were later:
    • There was communal fighting. The day after the UN General Assembly’s partition recommendation (resolution 181) was adopted, the Zionists mobilized. The Jewish Agency began purchasing arms in the United States. Local Arab irregulars loyal to the Arab Higher Committee (created in 1936 to voice Palestinian Arab interests) staged armed attacks on  transport convoys that carried supplies to Jewish settlements and towns. In December 1947, the expulsion of Palestinians began. The Haganah, the Irgun, and the Stern gang coordinated strategy. The Palmach (the shock force of the Haganah), the Irgun and the Stern gang carried out terrorist attacks. The Jewish Agency and the Haganah formally announced a policy of reprisals against Arab civilians. The Jews suffered mainly through sniping at their road convoys, and attacks on supply trains. The Arabs lost many lives through Jewish assaults on their villages. The Irgun began to direct its attacks at major Arab population centres. The first Palestinian village was wiped out by Jewish retaliation to a Palestinian attack on convoys and Jewish settlements. Arabs were beginning to flee from some rural areas and urban districts. The Haganah rocketed  Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, causing many Arab residents to flee.
    • Many members of the local Palestinian elites left, hoping to return to a calmer Palestine – 70,000 left between September 1947 and March 1948. This exodus produced a collective sense of insecurity and fear among sections of the Palestinian urban population.

    These events caused second thoughts in the UN and Washington about the desirability, indeed the feasibility of the partition plan. But it was too late already for many Palestinians, evicted from their homes after early battles with the Jewish forces. Faced with this disaster, the US retreated and declared its opposition to forcible partition. In March 1948, the American delegation to the UN offered an alternative solution: an international trusteeship over Palestine for five years, followed by a review aimed at a permanent settlement. Strong lobbying by the Jewish community in the United States averted this change of policy, but it indicated the feebleness of the UN’s commitment to a Jewish state in Palestine. The Zionists, anxious about the American shift in policy, redoubled their efforts to establish their state..

    Fearing a change in the American mood, the Jewish leadership put Plan Dalet into full operation in April and May 1948. Plan Dalet was a military blueprint prepared by the Haganah in anticipation of combating the Arab forces in Palestine and any facing Arab armies. The plan was for the seizure of most of Palestine. In these operations, the Haganah now had the assistance of the extreme terrorist Irgun and the Stern gang, which were now collaborating with it. The nature of the conflict was transformed into an ethnic cleansing operation which resulted in the loss to Palestine of much of its indigenous Palestinian Arab population:

    • The first objective was to take swiftly and systematically any installation, military or civilian, evacuated by the British. The success of this goal depended on the sympathies of the British officers or officials in charge. Those with pro-Zionist affinities provided the necessary prior information to enable the Haganah to occupy headquarters of essential services and key military bases. The pro-Palestinian Britons, on the other hand, could not always locate those they wished to help.
    • The second, and far more important, objective of the plan was to cleanse the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible. The main military force was the Haganah, which had several brigades. Each brigade received a list of villages it was to occupy. Most of the villages were destined to be destroyed, and only in very exceptional cases were the soldiers ordered to leave them intact.
    • In addition, some of the brigades were to engage in the take-over of the mixed Arab-Jewish towns and their environs. This meant occupation and the expulsion of the Palestinian population. This was the fate of Jaffa, Haifa, Safad, and Tiberias.
    • In some historiographies, Haifa is singled out as a place where there was a genuine attempt by the Jewish leadership to persuade the local population to stay. The campaign for Haifa began on 20th April 1948. A few days earlier, the Jewish forces had committed the Deir Yassin massacre, a well-publicised bloodbath. The local people were terrorized and further intimidated by explosions set off by Jewish forces in Arab neighbourhoods and harassed by sniper fire all round. Very few Palestinians stayed in the city, and their leaders considered the Jewish offer to stay deceitful and hypocritical. Their fear for their lives was accentuated by massacres committed in Balad al-Shaykh, where in January 1948 scores of Palestinians were slaughtered in retaliation for a terrorist attack on Jewish workers in the nearby refinery.
    • Several massacres were committed near the mixed towns, sometimes in retaliation for Palestinian attacks on Jewish convoys, but quite often they were unmitigated acts of brutality. They may have been meant to, as they eventually did, force Palestinians living in areas falling into Jewish hands to flee under the threat of death or eviction. These atrocities were not randomly committed; they were part of a master plan to rid the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible.
    • Like many master plans, Plan Dalet was general, and in parts vague. No less important than the plan was the atmosphere created, which paved the way for ethnic cleansing operations in Palestine. Thus, while the actions of the Haganah were part of a master plan, it had no clear and specific local objectives. The plan was executed because the soldiers in the battlefield were oriented by a general attitude from above and motivated by remarks made by the their leaders to ‘clean’ the country. These remarks were translated into acts of depopulation by enthusiastic commanders on the ground who knew that their actions would be justified in retrospect by the political leadership.
    • When the British left in the middle of May, one-third of the Palestinian population had already been evicted - some 300,000-400,000 refugees fled in terror towards the neighbouring Arab countries.
    • The end of the Mandate signalled the end of the first phase of the 1948 war, which was akin to a civil war transformed into an ethnic cleansing operation.

    The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - The Palestine War
    On 14th May 1948, the day the British mandate ended and the last British troops had left with the high commissioner, the Jewish Agency proclaimed the state of Israel, and within hours they had received the de facto recognition of the US. The Arab League decided to intervene and on the following day units of the regular armies of Syria, Transjordan (now Jordan), Iraq and Egypt crossed the frontiers of Palestine in support of the Palestinian Arabs. The second phase of the 1948 war had begun:
    • The overwhelming Arab superiority in population was not reflected on the battle field – a total of some 25,000 Arab troops compared with Jewish troops estimated at between 40,000 and 60,000.
    • Among the Jewish troops was a large number of fresh immigrants with no war experience, but the core of the army  was better prepared and more experienced.
    • The Jewish troops obtained important fresh arms supplies from the Eastern Bloc during the course of the fighting, while Britain, obeying a UN decree, imposed an embargo on three Arab armies that used only British-made ammunition: Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan.
    • The Arab forces scored initial successes, and the Egyptians linked up with the Arab League near Bethlehem. The Arab Legion had little problem taking what would later be called the West Bank.
    • However, the Jewish side, furnished with new weapons, and apprehensive lest the international community impose an unfavourable solution on them, made an effort to complete a takeover of most of Palestine. This they did.
    • In spite of the efforts of the UN, which had appointed a mediator with the task of recommending an alternative solution to partition (he was murdered by Jewish extremists), and which had arranged two truces during the fighting, the conflict did not stop until January 1949.
    • The conclusion of armistice agreements between Israel on the one hand, and Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, and Lebanon on the other, was not completed until July
    • Israel now comprised 79% of the area of the Palestine Mandate. Of the 21% of Palestine which remained in Arab hands, the semi-desert Gaza Strip was placed under Egyptian administration, and the substantial enclave on the West Bank of the Jordan, which included the old city of Jerusalem, was annexed by Transjordan in 1950, against strong opposition from the other Arab States.

    The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - Further Ethnic Cleansing During The Palestine War
    The Palestine war raged in several parts of Palestine – this conventional war occurred on the edges of what was to be the Jewish state and within areas the Jews coveted in the proposed Palestinian state. Within the proposed Jewish state, ethnic cleansing went on involving around 400 Palestinian villages.
    • In his book, A History Of Modern Palestine, Ilan Pappe focuses on the chronicles of 64 out of the 370 or so villages wiped out by Israel, in order to highlight a situation within the heart of rural Palestine that led to its almost complete disappearance.
      • These villages lay in the area between the coastal towns of Tel-Aviv and Haifa.
      • One of the Haganah’s brigades, the Alexandroni, was entrusted with the mission of Judaizing this part of Palestine.
      • From the end of April until the end of July 1948, a grim scene was repeated in almost every village. Armed Israeli soldiers surrounded each village on three sides, and put the inhabitants to flight through the fourth side. In many cases, if the people refused to leave, they were forced onto lorries and driven away to the West Bank. In some villages, there were Arab volunteers who resisted by force, and when the villages were conquered they were immediately blown up and destroyed.
      • By 14th May, the day the Jewish state was declared, 58 villages had already been wiped out. Six remained. Three would be obliterated in July. two are still there today – these two provided cheap labour to two nearby veteran Jewish settlements, and so were spared.
      • Tantura, the largest of the six remaining villages was caught in the middle of Jewish territory like ‘a bone in the throat’ according to the Alexandroni official history of the war. Its day came. Tantura was an old Palestinian village, large by the standards of that period, with around 1,500 inhabitants. Surrender terms were offered to the village notables – they rejected them, suspecting quite rightly that surrender would lead to expulsion. At first, the Jewish commander contemplated sending a van with a loudspeaker calling on people to surrender, but this did not happen. On the night of  22nd May, the village was attacked from four sides. This was uncommon, as we have seen. Lack of coordination led to a complete encirclement of the village, leaving a large number of villagers in the hands of the occupying forces. The captives were moved to the beach, and the men were separated from the women and children, who were expelled to nearby Fureidis. Two hundred men between the ages of thirteen and thirty were massacred. Both revenge and a calculated wish to kill men of fighting age motivated the bloodshed. There were similar incidents in many other locations; the details of which await the research of future scholars.
    • In Galilee and the Negev, as on the coastal plain, other Israeli brigades used similar strategies for Judaizing the new state. The Israeli operations in Galilee were based on a systematic plan of expulsion, of first terrorizing the population, executing a few to induce the others to leave, and then inviting an official committee to assess the value of land and property in the deserted village or neighbourhood.
    • By the winter of 1948, the second phase of the war had ended, the guns were silent, and with it, the second, but not the last, stage of ethnic cleansing was over. The third phase was to extend beyond the war, until 1954, and is covered below

    Thus:
    • Out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained on or nearby their land and homes. Those who remained became the Palestinian minority in Israel. The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in the massacres.
    • The rural heart of Palestine, with its picturesque villages, was ruined. Half of the villages had been destroyed, flattened by Israeli bulldozers, at work since the government had decided either to turn them into cultivated land, or build new Jewish settlements on their remains.
    • Urban Palestine was similarly crushed. The Palestinian neighbourhoods in mixed towns were destroyed, apart from a few quarters that were left empty, to be populated later by Jewish immigrants from Arab countries. The non-mixed towns suffered two very different fates. The people of Lydda, Ramleh, and Majdal were evicted by force, suffering massacres and humiliation in the process. Shafamru and Nazareth, on the other hand, remained intact, but were hopelessly overpopulated by streams of refugees fleeing from nearby villages.
    • Three-quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees – almost 90% of those living in what was designated as the Jewish state.:
      • Those living in the Gaza strip were under Egyptian military rule, in a packed area that included the largest segment of the refugee community
      • Those in the West Bank who were still in their own homes carved out a new political and economic future for themselves. Those who found themselves as refugees there were crammed into tented camps, living off charity and solidarity.
    • The Jewish-cum-Israeli community of 660,000 suffered only 6,000 deaths, of which 2,000 were civilians: in all, 1% of the population.

    The catastrophe that befell the Palestinians would be remembered in the collective national memory as the Nakbah, the catastrophe, kindling the fire that would unite the Palestinians in a national movement.






    FROM ISRAEL’S CREATION TO ISRAEL’S EXPANSION - 1948 WAR TO 1967 WAR

    The Refugees
    About 2.5 million people now lived within the borders of what had been Mandate Palestine. In the newly created state of Israel, these included newcomers, the majority of them Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Arab countries, but also the 160,000 Palestinians who had not fled or been expelled. Nearly one million of Palestine’s indigenous population had been made refugees; many of these had been expelled to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, others to nearby Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

    The refugees came from all walks of life, but whether camp dwellers or not, rich or poor, their sense of identity centred on their lost homeland. Now, in 1948, expelled by force from that homeland, they were for the most part beggars who depended on United Nations hand-outs, living in the hope of soon returning to their homes. The main victims were the refugees in the camps. Their quality of life was determined by the regimes under which they were now living – it was the host countries’ official policies and economic resources that determined camp conditions, and what basic infrastructure there would be. No less important in the life of the refugees was the UN, which had established a single body to deal with the Palestinian refugee problem, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

    UNRWA proved unable to change the refugees’ status or well-being significantly. It had vowed to protect their rights under international law, but failed to do so, because of Israeli intransigence. Its main achievement consisted of moving them from tents into mud huts built within low-walled camps, with a few narrow lanes running through these shanty towns of the Middle East, with their lack of basic infrastructure – water, sewage, housing electricity, roads – a constant reminder to the world of the bitter harvest of the 1948 war. Although UN resolution 194 required the repatriation of the refugees, it never happened. For those who expected the liberation of Palestine by the guerrilla organisations vowing to defeat Zionism and Israel, or by international action, it never happened. The other two parts of the international agenda, the internationalisation of Jerusalem, and the partitioning of Mandate Palestine according to the distribution of the two populations, Arab and Jew, also never happened in the face of Israel’s inflexible position and wholly inadequate international action.

    Refugees in Jordan had occupational freedom, and could leave the camps, provided they showed loyalty to the regime – only those Palestinians who settled in the East Bank were able to normalise their existence over time. The Lebanese government employed an uncompromising policy of oppression and exclusion – they were treated as foreigners in terms of housing and employment – many occupations were closed to them – they were confined to miserable camps. The Syrian government was more relaxed, allowing small businesses, but it was as harsh as the Lebanese about unskilled work. The most favourable conditions awaited refugees in the Persian Gulf states, which became a coveted, if rarely reached, destination. For most, deprivation and a struggle for economic survival were their lot. In the camps, UNRWA became the principal employer– teachers, doctors, and social workers, working in impossible conditions, were all on the payroll.

    The Israelis were constantly on the alert lest the international community insist on implementing the commitment made in Resolution 194. To avert this, the Israeli government began, in August 1948, to execute an anti-repatriation policy, which resulted in the total destruction or full Jewish confiscation of every deserted Palestinian house and dwelling, in both rural village and urban neighbourhood. Legislation was passed in 1950 that allowed the government to go on confiscating Palestinian property and use it for public purposes. In 1953, the army too was authorised to make use of Palestinian villages and fields for ‘security’ purposes. These laws provided the constitutional basis for the continued depopulation of Palestinian villages in the name of ‘security’. In those early years after the 1948 war, the army occupied dozens of Arab villages in the north and coastal plain, and expelled their populations. In the south, the Bedouins were settled by force in a process of dispossession that robbed them of the vast tracts of land they had owned in the late Ottoman period, and of their nomadic culture.
    The continued depopulation was closely connected to Israel’s absorption and settlement policy. The government wished to settle Jewish immigrants on deserted Palestinian land and property as quickly as possible, and as close as possible to the disputed borders.

    Many of the Jewish immigrants sent by the Israeli central government in the 1950’s to new settlements on the border came from Arab countries. Locating them on the border, often on the ruins of deserted Palestinian villages, provided an easy solution for problems of accommodation and land – it also extended Judaization into geographical areas it had been unable to reach during the Mandate.

    The Israeli Foreign Ministry argued that this policy provided ‘natural justice’ – the Jewish immigrants had been expelled by the Arab world, and could now be given homes vacated by Palestinians. By explaining settlement policy this way, Israel sought to persuade the world that a kind of ‘population ‘transfer’ had taken place, so there was no need to search any longer for a solution to the refugee problem. This argument is refuted by the fact that Israeli expulsions of Palestinians, in the 1948 war and thereafter, came first, and that problems arose for Jewish communities in some Arab countries directly as a reaction to the 1948 war and would not have occurred but for that war (see below).

    This campaign of land and village confiscation continued from 1949 to 1954. Between 1949 and 1952, 40 Palestinian villages were depopulated, their inhabitants either moved en bloc to other villages, driven across the border, or dispersed within the country – ethnic cleansing. Those who lost their homes but remained within Israel joined the large community of internal refugees today numbering some 200,000 (2006).

    In addition to the above, there were the 370 Palestinian villages destroyed in the 1948 war – new Jewish settlements were hastily erected on top of their remains. There was also the land of those evicted after the war – for significant evictions took place after the war, Palestinians were being driven to the border and expelled, in the same way as had happened during the war - more ethnic cleansing.


    Palestinians Within The Jewish State
    Israeli leaders were unprepared, after the 1948 war, for a bi-national situation; they had counted on a purely Jewish state. The 160,000 Palestinians living within the Jewish state created by that war were put under military rule in 1948 – this was to last 18 years until 1966 and the memory of those dark times has played a formative role in the construction of Palestinian identity in Israel today, and strained to breaking point the relationship between Palestinian minority and Jewish majority – deep residues of bitterness and mistrust.

    The legal status of military rule was grounded in British emergency regulations which were ‘carried over’ by the new Israeli state and maintained in force – they gave military governors extended authority over the people under their rule. They became a pernicious tool in the hands of callous and sometimes sadistic military governors. Their cruel behaviour consisted mainly of harassing the population with a range of abuses not unlike those to which new army recruits were subjected. Political activists were expelled or imprisoned. There was particularly harsh military rule in those Palestinian areas close to borders.

    There was growing economic hardship – the Palestinian minority had the highest level of unemployment and underemployment. Peasants in unskilled and poorly-paid jobs had to return home daily as they were not allowed to stay overnight in Jewish areas. In the security-minded state, significant sections of industry were closed to Palestinians because of the ‘security’ problem

    The security-minded political and military elite who ran the new Israeli state maintained a harsh policy of expelling as many Palestinians as possible, and confining the rest in well-guarded enclaves. Land confiscation policy (see below) was able to continue in the name of security and ‘public interest’.

    The Palestinian minority were also discriminated against in the area of welfare benefits. Only people who have served in the Israeli army are eligible for important welfare benefits such as loans, mortgages, subsidised rents, child support payments, and reduced university fees – and the Jewish army is not filled with Palestinians. One wonders why eligibility for these benefits should depend on army service – unless the motive were discrimination by the back door.

    Basic laws passed in the 1950’s served to reinforce a discriminatory system against non-Jews that persists today.  Three laws in particular affected, and continue to affect, the Palestinian citizens of Israel:

    • The 1950 Law of Return gave “every Jew” a “right to come to this country” (whether they wanted to or not). This unrestricted right of immigration for Jews is deemed a basic aspect of the concept of a Jewish state. Palestine Arabs displaced in 1948 have no right under Israeli law to return.
    • The 1952 Nationality Law conferred Israeli citizenship automatically on every Jew who settles in Israel and does not reject it. As regards Palestinians, the Nationality Law grants citizenship to a person who maintained continuous residence in Israel from May 18th 1948 to July 14th 1952. or returned during that period and registered as an inhabitant. It was directed at Palestine Arabs who departed in the 1948 war, and therefore gave them no right to citizenship unless they returned by the specified date in 1952. The government, however, permitted only a few to legally return - the vast majority could not, and their land, as ‘absentee’ property, was controlled by the custodian of absentee property, who rented it to Jews – the rent money going to the government.
    • the law of the Jewish National Fund created an apartheid-style system of land transactions, used to legalise retrospectively the expropriation of land (see above), the prohibition of selling state land (still most of the land available in Israel) to Palestinians, or even absentee land. Most importantly, the laws defined most of the land for sale in Israel as the exclusive and perpetual property of the Jewish people. The result was that almost all of Palestinian-owned land was taken by the government and turned into state land to be sold or leased only to Jews. By the end of the confiscation policy and the formulation of the policy legalizing it, 92% of the country’s land had fallen into Jewish hands. Palestinian land, which on the eve of war amounted to about 4.6 million dunams within the territory that became Israel, was reduced by 1950 to half a million dunams. By 2000, even though the Palestinian population had grown tenfold, the amount of land available to them remained almost unchanged.

    Political activists among the Palestinians within the Jewish state who were even vaguely suspected of identifying with Palestinian nationalism, were expelled or imprisoned.

    Palestinian Resistance And The Israeli Response
    By the late 1950’s, the violence and despair produced by conditions in the refugee camps was channelled into guerrilla activity. This process was part of the re-emergence of the Palestinian national movement. The refugee community soon became politicised – political activity took time to crystallise, and was at first leaderless and individualistic, centring on the mythical figure of the Palestinian fighter, willing to sacrifice his life for the cause of Palestine.

    The area of operations of the Palestinian fighters was the guarded border between Israel and the rest of Palestine, and consisted of armed raids on isolated Jewish settlements close to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Later, there were raids against Israeli installations with the aim of sabotage. The Israelis reacted harshly from the beginning, attacking and killing civilians in reprisals, using special elite commando units of the Israeli army. Their shoot-to-kill policy resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians.

    Before long, political activism thrived not only in the camps, but also in the urban centres on the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Amman and Damascus. At the end of the 1950’s, two clear Palestinian political goals had emerged – the creation of a Palestinian state, and the return of the Palestinian refugees. As the state they envisioned was to replace Israel, the second goal would have been achieved by the success of the first. The core of activists perceived the need for an armed struggle to recapture Palestine,

    Fatah, a national group for the liberation of Palestine, sprang from the cadre of the Palestinian fighters. Fatah declared a no-ideology affiliation and a secular outlook. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was established as a national umbrella front for the Palestinian struggle, comprising Fatah and other, smaller leftist factions. Its aim was the liberation of Palestine - that is, the land that had been occupied in the war of 1948, and which had become known as Israel


    The Mizrachi Jews
    Jewish leaders saw the demographic potential of the million or so Jews living in the Arab world for consolidating the Jewish state. Significantly, this demographic consideration had played no role in Zionist thought before the Holocaust, when the Jewish state had been depicted as a European entity. After the loss of six million Jews, the Zionist project needed numbers to survive, even if they came from ‘underdeveloped and primitive’ areas of the world. A campaign was begun to convince Jews to come to Israel.

    Two processes, converging in 1948, generated the mass Jewish immigration from the Arab world. One was the growing identification in the minds of Arab governments of Jewish life with Zionism and the Palestine conflict. The other was the Zionist drive to import the Arab Jews to Israel. In other words, after the 1948 war, both Israel and the Arab regimes identified the Arab Jews as potential Zionists.

    The effects differed according to the particular Arab regime. In Iraq, Iraqi attitudes and legislation hardened against the Jewish community, until, in 1951, it ordered the expulsion of Jews who refused to sign a statement of anti-Zionism - almost all of the Iraqi Jews were forced to leave without their property. The Jewish Agency, before the expulsion, actually sought ways to contribute to the instability of that community, to the extent of sending agents who planted bombs near synagogues in Baghdad, in order to create additional terror and insecurity. This did much to bring this ancient community back to Zion. In Egypt, the government demanded pledged of anti-Zionism of Jews in the community – though the treatment did not amount to expulsion, life was transformed, and eventually most of Egypt’s Jews would leave the country, either for Israel or other destinations. The Moroccan Jewish community was the largest group of Arab Jewish immigrants. They lived in Morocco in poorer conditions than any of the other communities in the Arab world, but had their own economic and social elite. The struggle for liberation from France motivated the elite among them to move to Europe and Canada. The community had been protected by Morocco’s king when endangered by the Nazi invasion of North Africa, and he had also protected them from the Vichy government. Jewish agents had therefore to work hard to persuade Moroccan Jews to leave such a safe haven for the insecurity of the new Jewish state. Those less well-to-do sections of the community were more easily tempted to leave now independent Morocco for a new future in Israel.

    When Mizrachi (Arab Jewish) immigrants arrived in Israel, they were greeted in a manner devised to show them that they had left a primitive traditional existence for a modern one, and ought to be grateful. In fact, they were needed for their (cheap) labour. They lacked financial means, which made them hostages to the power of the Israeli state absorption apparatus, which was run by East European Jews harbouring racist and condescending views about Arabs in general, and Arab Jews in particular.

    North African Jews were mainly unskilled workers who were pushed into the development towns the government had erected on the borders. The intention was to expand the Jewish community, which tended to prefer the urban centres on the coast, into those areas. Some were asked to repopulate the deserted and abandoned Arab neighbourhoods in what had been the mixed towns of Palestine - the choicest part of refugee spoils having already been taken by public bodies and then the Kibbutz movement – what was left was turned into crowded slums for North African Jews. But they did not just suffer from poor-quality housing, of which they were the main recipients. Mizrachi Jews did not receive the same services and benefits as other unemployed (the Histradut union was not immune from Ashkenazi racist attitudes), nor did they enjoy the union’s help in their demand for equal pay for equal work The speaking of Arabic was forbidden, as were their customs and costumes. Immigrants were offered a second-rate education, full of Zionist indoctrination, but inadequate in preparing them for social mobility and progress. The Mizrachi Jews were also needed in order to expand agricultural production. They were not invited to join the Ashkenazi kibbutzim, except for young children, who were admitted without their parents (these children, unlike their parents, gained the privilege of an exceptional mobility and integration). In general, Mizrachi Jews were thrust into collective cultivation of the land in areas not desired by the kibbutz movement. The economic advantage from the low wages paid to Mizrachi Jews was an incentive to ignore the situation.

    Even after many years, the Mizrachi Jews have not escaped the lower social stratum their new state assigned to them. In contrast to the prosperity of the Ashkenazim, they remain stuck in the same unskilled, underpaid and low-status rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
     
     
    War - The Suez Campaign
    Israeli society was becoming increasingly militarised – the hawkish and uncompromising Ben-Gurion, and others like him, pushed aside more moderate, dovish statesmen. They dreamed of a Greater Israel expanding to the north, east, and south. Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and their ilk believed in an aggressive policy, Many among the Jewish population agreed, and were equally far removed from reconciliation or peace. There was fierce rhetoric on the Arab side about revenge for the 1948 defeat, which contributed to an ‘eve of war’ atmosphere, and aggressive actions on the part of the Egyptians, but they in fact merely provided the Israelis with a welcome pretext. Ben-Gurion was looking for war. (In 1954, according to former Prime minister Moshe Sharett, the Israeli army sought a way to initiate a war with Egypt in order to take the Gaza Strip. In 1955, Ben-Gurion asked the cabinet to approve an invasion of the Gaza Strip [they rejected the proposal, concerned over US reaction]). He found one by aligning Israel to the Anglo-French plot to overthrow Nasser. The ex-colonial powers had their own colonialist agenda, which involved bringing down Nasser in Egypt. Israel’s military victory, in conjunction with the British and French, was swift – the Israelis penetrated into the Gaza Strip, and most of the Sinai Peninsula. But the political consequences were less impressive – Israel withdrew from both the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula after a concentrated effort by both the USA and the USSR (in those days, the Israel lobby was not the factor in American politics which it became later). (The British and French, too, were forced to withdraw.) The UN put an emergency force (UNEF) on the Egyptian side of the 1949 armistice line to assure there were no further hostilities.

    For Ilan Pappe, in his book A History of Modern Palestine, the lasting effect was that “it deepened the involvement of the army in Israeli life to unprecedented levels. As I see it, the militarization of Israeli society that had begun with the victory of 1948 was completed by the 1956 Sinai victory.”


    The 6-Day War In 1967
    After the Israelis, in April/May 1967, had threatened the Syrians over border incidents, Syria sought help from Egypt, with which it had a mutual defence agreement, in a period of increasing tension between Arab forces and the Israelis. Egypt’s President Nasser became convinced that an Israeli attack on Syria was imminent. On May 18th, Egypt asked the UN to totally withdraw UNEF forces (which were on the Egyptian side of the 1949 armistice line between Egypt and Israel) – according to the UN commander, Egypt gave as its reason that it contemplated “action against Israel, the moment it might carry out any aggressive action against any Arab country.” UN Secretary-General U Thant proposed the UN arrange a settlement. Egypt accepted the idea, but Israel rejected it. Thant then asked Israel to accept UNEF on its side of the 1949 armistice line. Israel declined – the probable inference is that Israel was not concerned about an Egyptian attack, and that UNEF withdrawal did not constitute a serious threat to Israel’s security.

    Israel mobilised, Egypt announced it would close the Straits of Tiran to any vessels carrying strategic goods to Israel, and moved troops toward the Israel-Egypt armistice line, it’s aim, it declared, being to deter Israel from attacking Syria. Israel’s General Rabin reported to Israel’s cabinet that the Egyptian forces were in a defensive posture, that they were not being deployed for an attack. The Israeli army concluded that Nasser meant to intervene in case of an Israeli attack on Syria. US intelligence likewise did not expect Egypt to attack in the absence of an Israeli invasion of Syria, and, on May 26th, communicated that assessment to Israel. On June 3rd, Egypt withdrew some troops from the Israel-Egypt armistice line.

    On June 4th, the Israeli cabinet authorised an invasion of Egypt. On the morning of 5th June, Israel’s air force destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground at their bases, and at the same time sent ground troops through the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s attack, which took Egypt by surprise, followed a long and well-rehearsed plan. “Sixteen years planning had gone into these initial 80 minutes”, said Brigadier Mordechai Hod, commander of Israel’s air force. “We lived with the plan, we slept on the plan, we ate the plan. Constantly, we perfected it.”

    On June 5th, the United States sent Israel ammunition and jet fighters. Although the US did not acknowledge a direct role in the fighting, it sent reconnaissance aircraft that traced the night-time movement of Egypt’s ground troops to facilitate day-time Israeli air attacks on them. The Egyptian troops were forced to move at night because, with their air force destroyed, they had no protection against air strikes. The air strikes were important to Israel’s rapid victory. Israel’s air force attacked Jordan’s and Syria’s aircraft in the manner it had done to Egypt’s, and by the evening of 5th June it had destroyed the air warfare capacity of all three. By the time a cease-fire was effected on June 8th, Israel had taken the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. (Egypt eventually recovered the Sinai after a bilateral peace with Israel in 1979.) On June 9th, Israel attacked Syria, which had shelled Israeli targets from June 5th to June 8th, but had not otherwise engaged in the war. After occupying Syria’s Golan Heights, Israel stopped its attack on June 10th, under pressure from the United States.
     
    In the Security Council on June 5th, Egypt and the USSR charged Israel with aggression. Israel claimed that Egypt had struck first. In fact, Egypt had not attacked by land or air and none of its aircraft had approached Israel. The United States, according to President Lyndon Johnson, was aware that Israel had initiated the hostilities, but it supported Israel’s claim that Egypt had attacked it. On July 7th, Eshkol acknowledged that Israel had struck first, abandoning Israel’s initial position that Egypt had initiated the hostilities. Eshkol now said that Israel’s attack had been a “legitimate defence”, in anticipation of an Egyptian attack on Israel. However, various Israeli officials said later that Israel had not in fact anticipated an imminent attack by Egypt when it struck on 5th June:

    • General Rabin, consistent with his cabinet reports, said, “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14th would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” Rabin said Nasser massed troops to deter an attack by Israel on Syria to appear as “the saviour of Syria and thus win great sympathy in the Arab world.” Rabin said the forces Nasser sent into Sinai on May 20th-22nd were not planning an offensive against Israel.
    • General Matitiahu Peled, a member of Israel’s general staff during the 1967 war, said that “the thesis according to which the danger of genocide weighed on us in June 1967, and that Israel struggled for its physical existence is only a bluff born and developed after the war.” Peled confirmed that Rabin had told the cabinet Egypt had not planned to attack. “Our General Staff”, he said, “never told the government that the Egyptian military threat represented any danger to Israel.”
    • Ezer Weizman, chief of the general staff branch, said that had Egypt attacked, Israel would have defeated it – “maybe thirteen hours would have been needed instead of only three – that Jordan had offered little opposition, and that Syria posed no “real threat”, which is why Israel waited “three days before attacking it.” Weizman said that “a country does not go to war only when the immediate threat of destruction is hovering.” Explaining Israel’s decision to strike, he said, “We entered the Six-Day War in order to secure a situation in which we can manage our lives as we see fit without external pressures.” He called the 1967 war  “a direct continuation” of the 1948 war.
    • Menachem Begin, when prime minister, said that “the Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” Begin gave an analysis similar to Weizman’s of Israeli motive. He said Israel’s aim was to “take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation.”
    Thus, at the end of the 1967 war, Israel existed on 79% of what had been Palestine. It now occupied the remaining 21%, consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which came to be referred to as the Occupied Territories.






    FROM 1967 WAR OF EXPANSION TO THE PRESENT

    The Occupation
    For years, Israeli rulers tended to talk about ‘an enlightened occupation’ when assessing the first decade of Israeli rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. From its beginning, however, when 590,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and 380,000 in the Gaza Strip fell under Israeli hegemony in 1967, there was little that could be described as ‘enlightened’ about the harsh and brutal occupation. The inhabitants of the Occupied Territories were, and still are today, under the sovereignty of a Jewish state, with power of life and death over them. They don't even have the second-rate rights that Israel granted, on sufferance, to the Arabs within Israel, whose rights have already been described, see above.

    The pragmatic leadership of the Jewish state, although exhilarated by its sudden acquisition of the whole of ex-Mandate Palestine, was nonetheless nervous about absorbing such a large number of Palestinians. Expulsion was neither an alien concept nor an unfamiliar practice to the Zionist movement. Mass expulsions began immediately after the 1967 war (the first began among Palestinians living within the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem), and took place at intervals, so that the threat of expulsion and relocation was one of the many burdens imposed by the occupation on the Palestinians. Israeli settlements (see below) always involved the expulsion of the Palestinians.


    The Settlements
    The building of Israeli settlements within the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip represented a decisive rejection of peace, because it signalled to the Palestinians that there was a threat even to the remaining (occupied) territories from which they might some day achieve an independent state – settlement represented a Judaization of the area settled, and continuing settlement represented an increasing Judaization of more and more of the Occupied Territories. Very quickly after the 1967 war, the settlement movement and settlement policy began to take shape. Neumann quotes Chomsky: “settlements in the Occupied Territories began immediately after the war, sometimes without government authorisation, though this regularly came later … by December 1969, the Meir government had established as one of it's ‘essential goals’ the ‘acceleration of the installation of military settlements and permanent and agricultural and urban settlements in the territory of the homeland’ (the official wording).”

    The development of the settler movement and the policies that sheltered it did not even leave the Palestinians with anything remotely resembling a secure and tolerable existence. By the mid-1970’s, both the settler movement and the settlers themselves had become increasingly terrifying forces. Their messianic notions of racial destiny have been amply documented – see some examples in the appendix. For those interested in greater detail, refer to Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion. Neumann states that “what matters is that settler ideology, as described, is well known, widespread, and rightly perceived to have real influence on Israeli politics. It would be irrational for any Palestinian not to perceive this as a menace and to react accordingly.

    Jerusalem was the first ‘pilot project’ of Jewish settlement on occupied territory. In early 1968, the Israeli authorities appropriated vast areas of East Jerusalem, a third of which were private property, and re-zoned them as Jewish neighbourhoods. Settlement has continued apace for the last 40 years, and there are now more than 230 settlements in the West Bank, housing over 500,000 settlers.

    The settlement enterprise was accompanied by a mass confiscation of land. This was begun by the army, seeking land for its camps and installations, but afterwards most of the coveted land was allocated to the settlers. The judicial authority in Israel enabled the confiscation of Palestinian land and registration of the new settlements as state land. This, too, has already been described above. In one rare decision, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against this procedure in the case of the 1975 settlement Elon Moreh, near Nablus – both the government and the settlers ignored the ruling.

    Settlements were not, and were not perceived to be, a security requirement. The settlers, and the ideologues behind them testified, in the clearest possible fashion, to an intention to displace the occupied population, in an incremental and slowly intensifying pattern of encroachment, leading to an inexorable degradation of Palestinian living conditions and opportunities. This was the result not only of actions by the settlers themselves, but of their support, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes grudging, by the Israeli state. Settlements are built on previously confiscated land (for a fuller description of the process, see Neumann, page 115). Once there is a new settlement, this is just the beginning. It needs room to grow, reserves of land, an abundance of cheap water, which the Israeli state will provide, often by using resources denied to the Palestinians nearby. A settlement needs access, a road to connect it with other settlements - roads are another reason for confiscating Palestinian property - roads are long and wide and their route can be shifted to achieve maximum impact in terms of houses demolished, orchards uprooted, and so on. Every road that connects two Jewish settlements is also a road which separates two Palestinian towns – Palestinians cannot use “Jewish” roads. There are also the consequences of industrial pollution and settler sewage.

    It is beyond the scope of a short history to describe in full detail how the daily lives of Palestinians are affected by the settlement process. Neumann, in his book, gives one short description, and refers the reader to the work of Israeli journalist Amira Hass, Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege.

    Settlers have little fear of government intervention, and can take matters into their own hands. This normally consists of harassment at a fairly low level, physical attacks, destruction of trees, and so on, though occasionally there are more serious attacks. Israeli army forces are primarily in the area to protect Israelis from attacks by Palestinians (that is, they will not normally feel the need to protect Palestinians). In addition, every settlement has its own heavily-armed native militia, often imbued with the settler attitude of mind referred to above, though settler violence does not normally compare with Israeli military incursions.

    All in all, the continually-increasing settlements constitute a mortal threat to the Palestinians. They caused and justified an increasingly bitter resistance, with increasingly vicious attempts to repress it, resulting in more and more damage to Palestinian lands, cities, and livelihoods. Border closures stifled employment opportunities in Israel, tanks broke up roads and sewer lines beneath them. Curfews and, above all, checkpoints made anything resembling normal economic life impossible – thus, unemployment remains a major problem, and there are high levels of poverty, especially in the Gaza Strip. To the direct harm of the settlements must be added the indirect harm resulting from the violence they spawned. For the Palestinians, it all represented dispossession, humiliation, lack of opportunity. Their lives, and the lives of their families, are constantly in real danger, and it is entirely reasonable to respond with violence. (Israelis responded to Palestinian violence with considerable savagery and questionable methods, including collective punishment).

    Finally, the occupation itself, coupled with the ‘creeping annexation’ of Palestinian land through the building of more and more Israeli settlements, and the relentless processes of deprivation described above, have had socio-economic implications that, taken together, amount to a kind of neo-colonialist relationship of Palestinian dependence:

    • Continuing settlement, each new settlement being linked by ‘Jewish-only’ roads led the effective break-up of the Occupied territories into a series of  ‘Bantustans’
    • the absorption of a good part of the Palestinian workforce into the Israeli economy, as cheap labour
    • the integration of the Palestinian economy into the Israeli economy
    • a fall in savings and investment in the Palestinian economy
    • the dumping of Israeli products on the Territories, undercutting local producers

    Refugees
    When it was over, the June 1967 Six Day War found the Palestinians, like most of the Arab world, in shock, and almost completely paralysed. Although the dichotomy between refugees and non-refugees remained intact, communities in the West Bank, Gaza strip, and Israel were united by the sheer fact of being under the control of Israel.

    The camps and other Palestinian refugee communities were swollen by a new wave of displaced people, fleeing or expelled by force from the territories newly occupied by Israel. Around 400,000 of the population of the Occupied Territories became refugees, almost half of them for a second time. This was a smaller demographic shift than in 1948 but nonetheless added to the burden of an already oppressed community. In 1972, 1.5 million refugees were registered, of whom 650,000 lived in thirteen large camps in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The number of refugees would increase to about 2 million by 1982.

    There was little that UNWRA could do, once it had almost completely given up its original commitments (repatriation and resettlement) laid down in UN resolutions. After the UN and the United States stopped insisting that Israel agree to repatriation, UNWRA might have had the chance to promote assimilation had its resettlement schemes been connected to long-term development projects in areas inhabited by refugees. However, the UN lost interest in such projects and became content to be simply a relief agency. In any case resettlement was an unsatisfactory solution for the refugee problem, as most refugees clung to the hope of being unconditionally repatriated, as the UN had promised them in Resolution 194.

    After the 1967 war, UNWRA’s policy changed little, as did the attitudes of the host countries. The dismal economic and social conditions did not improve – refugees were still living in dwellings unfit for human habitation: cellars, crumbling tenements, others in overcrowded barracks and shacks. Nearly all the camps were overcrowded with five or more people living in one room. They lack adequate roads and pathways and many camps are deep in mud in winter and dust in summer. UNWRA’s spending per head was so small that it meant life without meat, fruit, or vegetables, with totally inadequate spending on health and education. Life was difficult due to economic deprivation, but it was also marred by hostility from the local host societies. The refugees became the landless proletariat of Palestinian society. Life was governed by finding work, perhaps in the fields of a local landlord during harvest, or in the workshops and offices of relief organisations in the camps. Some worked as street vendors. Survival depended on the economies of the host countries or on temporary labour, with earnings usually insufficient to keep an average family.

    Unofficial Israeli policy was not to allow refugees to return to the Occupied Territories. After 1977, when Likud came to power, this policy became official. The Likud government adhered to a Greater Israel ideology: any decrease in the number of Palestinians, or increase in the number of Jewish settlers, in the Occupied Territories was seen as likely to help make the dream become a reality. (Many in the Labour Party also supported this stance.)


    Palestinians Within The Jewish State
    The Palestinian minority in Israel continued to exist as second-class citizens, as described above. While the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories focused on liberation from Israeli occupation, the Palestinian minority in Israel, while supporting this cause, stressed as their priority the struggle for equality within the Jewish state.

    There was further Judaization involving land expropriation in Galilee. “Judaizing the Galilee” was a clandestine programme until 1976, when it became an open slogan of the Housing Ministry. Jews were asked to settle in Galilee in every possible way: new towns, new kibbutzim, new community centres. The emergency regulations from the British mandate were used again to expropriate land without compensation or the right of protest. The land was used for new Jewish towns (no new Arab town has ever been built in Israel) and community centres to attract upwardly mobile people from Tel-Aviv. Land was also expropriated for the Israeli army, which seemed to be in constant need of more training grounds. Thousands of Galilean Arabs had their land and houses taken from them by force. Six Israeli Arabs lost their lives in a protest, in clashes with trigger-happy Israeli police.

    The Palestinians in Israel supported the 1987 intifada (see below), organising strikes and demonstrations – it was the first time political action was coordinated between Palestinians on both sides of the green line.


    Palestinian Political And Armed Resistance, And The Israeli Response - 1967 To 1987
    In 1968, Fatah, took over the leadership of the PLO, installed Yasser Arafat as its head, and restructured it so that power emanated from above – the executive committee selected the central committee, which then supervised the PNC (Palestine National Council), the parliament. There was a political department, an army (the PLA, originally founded by the Arab League), a welfare service (Samed), and its own Red Crescent society. Samed dealt with welfare and unemployment, weakening UNRWA’s role as principal employer in the refugee camps, and its welfare work did much to help the PLO enhance its standing among the refugees. The PLO regarded the refugees in the camps as potential recruits for its liberation struggle.

    The Palestinian fighters continued with their guerrilla warfare against Israel. Jordan became a base for guerrilla attacks. In 1967, there were about 100 attacks on military installations and bases, and this had risen to more than 2,000 by 1970. Fatah led the way. Israeli retaliation was prompt.

    Though Fatah remained the most significant, fighter organisations other than Fatah existed, such as the PFLP and the PDFLP – it was they who began a terrorist campaign outside Israel (followed a few years later by Fatah) – the PFLP was the first to hijack aeroplanes as a means of attracting international attention to the Palestinian’s plight, and there were several such hijackings.

    In 1970, the PLO suffered a major setback when Jordan’s king Hussein, fearful of Palestinian power in the country, attempted to disarm it; this ended in a bloodbath and the evacuation of the PLO to Lebanon. The move from Jordan and the consequent shift in guerrilla activity to Lebanon and Israel’s northern border weakened the ties of the PLO with the Palestinian community in the Occupied Territories – without the PLO, the different Palestinian groups in the Occupied Territories failed to find common ground, and this situation lasted until the outbreak of the first intifada in the late 1980’s.

    The PLO established itself in Lebanon, both in Beirut and in southern Lebanon, from where it conducted military operations against Israel. There were bombings and attacks on military installations as before, but some attacks were carried out by missiles on Israeli settlements, others through the taking of hostages. South Lebanon became a battlefield. Israel launched large-scale retaliations.

    In 1972, the Fatah group Black September killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich, in another bid to obtain international attention. Most of Black September’s members were later assassinated by the Israeli Mossad, in revenge.

    In 1974, the PLO changed its policy, stating that the liberation of the Occupied Territories had priority over the dream of redeeming Palestine as a whole, and led to gradual abandonment of the armed struggle in favour of diplomacy.

    In 1982, in the first Lebanon war (see below), the PLO was forced out of Beirut. Arafat and PLO headquarters was moved to Tunisia – the Palestinian hub was now even further away from Palestine itself - in Tunis, the PLO was more restricted in its ability to formulate a consensual policy, and spent more time healing internal rifts.

    PLO/Fatah, in the 1980’s, reduced its objective from the liberation of the whole of Palestine to the liberation of the Occupied Territories and a recognition of Israel’s right to exist. This, together with its gradual switch from armed conflict to diplomacy, its failure to achieve anything concrete, and the increasing perception of it as corrupt by many Palestinians, led to considerable fall in it’s popularity and prestige. This, in turn, led to the creation, and the rise, of Hamas (see below).


    Other Palestinian Resistance, And The Israeli Response – 1967 to 1987
    The Israeli government declared from the very onset of its occupation that these areas were ‘territories under custody’ in which military rule would apply. This meant that, in practice, the people living in the Occupied Territories were deprived of all basic human and civic rights. At the same time, the government did all it could to avoid being limited by international law guidelines on the administration of occupied areas – guidelines that were systematically violated by the Israelis.

    From the beginning of the occupation, international jurists commented on the illegitimacy of the Israeli resolution to maintain the territories as an occupied area without adhering to the requirements sanctioned by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of such areas. Israel violated almost every clause of that convention by settling Jews there, expelling Palestinians, and imposing collective punishment.

    The legal basis for the occupation regime was the notorious mandatory regulations of 1945, which have already been mentioned. The Israelis now added a new regulation allowing the army to expel from anywhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories anyone suspected of being a security risk. It was used extensively against Palestinian activists, both within the Israeli state, as well as in the Occupied Territories.

    ‘Resistance’ was, in the eyes of the Israelis, very liberally defined. Any show of opposition to the occupation, such as a rally, a strike, distribution of petitions or the waving of the Palestinian flag, was met with severe brutality.

    In July 1967, the Israeli defence minister was told of armed resistance in the west Bank town of Qalqilya, and immediately ordered the destruction of the town. Half of Qalqilya’s houses were demolished in this operation. This was the first act of collective punishment in a long series of such acts in the first decade after the 1967 war, for any gesture that was regarded as subversive or resistant to occupation. Destruction of houses, expulsion, and arrest without trial were the most common uses of the regulations.

    Time after time, the Palestinian youth, and some middle-aged men and women, took up arms, and used stones, Molotov cocktails, and whatever they could find, in a show of resistance to the occupation. They were quashed under the firepower of tanks and heavy guns employed indiscriminately against the local civilian population. It was not until the 1987 intifada, and then the second intifada in the autumn of 2000, that the Israeli army resorted again to such destructive retaliation against a popular uprising.

    There was restriction of movement. Movement between any destinations in the occupied territories has remained the exclusive right of Jewish settlers. The Palestinians require special permission to do so. The restrictions on freedom of movement were, and still are, harsher on those wishing to leave the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.. This hardship was particularly acute in the case of Palestinian workers who were invited to join, as unskilled cheap labour, the Israeli economy. The workers were allowed to enter Israel at dawn, but had to leave at dusk. The daily routine of these workers was humiliating – daily commuting – Israeli checkpoints where they were quite often subjected to maltreatment and harassment. By the beginning of the 1980’s, about 150,000 Palestinians were living this way.


    Palestinian Resistance And Israeli Response During The First Intifada
    The first intifada (‘shaking off’) erupted in December 1987 in Gaza’s refugee camps because Palestinians in the Occupied territories gave up hope that any external forces could, in the face of Israeli inflexibility and intransigence, extricate them from their harsh situation:
    • At Arab summits, the Palestinian issue was last on the list of priorities – even when these leaders considered the Palestinians, they had little to offer in the way of solutions
    • The PLO produced no solutions – it appeared resigned to the loss of its homeland and to the Palestinians failure to achieve self-determination
    • As for the rest of the world, the developing world was sympathetic but powerless, and the developed world, perhaps sympathetic, in the main did not wish to antagonise America, which was manifestly pro-Israeli
    The intifada was fomented by these factors, and by the realisation that Israeli settlement was a ‘creeping annexation’ – the intifada was a universal outburst of suppressed dismay, frustration and anger at Jewish settlements and land expropriation, economic exploitation, daily harassment and the sense of no escape from a long-endured, harsh occupation. Hard living conditions for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which had been created by the Israeli occupation, reached an unprecedented state. The refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank at the beginning of the intifada held about 1,500,000 people. A third of this population were children under fifteen. Those men who could not find work made a living as hired labourers, mainly in Israel. On the eve of the intifada, 35% were unemployed. They were the most politicised sector of Palestinian society, and had borne the brunt of Israel’s collective punishment policy in the two years preceding the uprising. Poverty combined with feelings of oppression and humiliation charged the Palestinian atmosphere; conditions were ripe for a revolt against the occupation.

    At the outbreak of the intifada, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood established Hamas as an adjunct organisation, with a mission to confront the Israeli occupation. Although the Palestinian Muslin Brotherhood had been set up in Jerusalem in 1946, until 1987 it had concentrated on attempting to Islamise the Palestinians, arguing that only a devoted and religiously committed force could successfully confront Israel. The Brotherhood consistently used this ideology to justify their non-confrontation policy against the Israeli occupation throughout the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and until 1987, against mounting accusations by other Palestinian nationalist and leftist organisations of cowardice or even of being indirectly in the service of the Israeli occupation. After the 1967 war, the Brotherhood amassed strength and established footholds in all major Palestinian cities. Leftist and nationalist ideology had been outpacing and outpowering the Muslim Brotherhood up to the 1980’s. In particular, the Fatah movement and the PLO dominated Palestinian politics over those decades. The 1980’s witnessed the rapid growth in the power of the Brotherhood against the decline of Fatah. It represented the turning away from a secular leftist/Marxist ideology as a means of supporting the Palestinians in their conflict, and a return to the ancient Islamic fold for their inspiration.

    The decision by the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leadership to establish the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was taken on the day following the start of the intifada. Hamas was formed following an internal debate within the Brotherhood concerning its formerly passive approach to the Israeli occupation. A faction pushed for a change in policy towards confrontation with the occupation, thus bypassing the old and traditional ways whose focus was on the Islamisation of society first. When the intifada erupted, the exponents of the confrontational policy gained the upper hand, arguing that Islamists would suffer a great loss if they decided not to take part in the intifada with all the other participating Palestinian factions. It was the opportunity for the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, through Hamas, to heed (and to be seen to lead) the uprising.

    The first intifada was mostly a weaponless confrontation – Palestinian stone-throwers against the Israeli army. The Israelis responded with various measures:

    • the sealing off of houses, and house demolitions
    • the use of collaborators
    • mass arrests without trial
    • torture during interrogation
    • assembling all the men in reoccupied villages and in some instances subjecting them to merciless beatings
    • cordoning off villages as ‘secure military areas’, preventing entry and exit for days on end – to keep out the international media
    • Towards the end of the intifada, the Israeli army resorted to an economic clampdown as a last resort, cutting off electricity and water, and preventing olive-picking during the height of the season
    The intifada started in the West Bank, and spread to the Gaza Strip. In the first year of the intifada, 400 Palestinians were killed in clashes with the Israeli army – thousands were wounded. Most of the wounded were women and children. The wounded were not only victims of live ammunition or rubber bullets, but also of systematic beatings by Israeli soldiers and border police.

    While the refugees started the uprising, the burden of keeping it alive rested on the rural population: the farmers were the most significant factor, demonstrating, directing the riots, stoning the occupiers. Half of the intifada’s deaths came from the villages – most of the houses demolished were located in the rural areas – the worst acts of retaliation were committed in the villages.

    The Israelis did not resort to mass expulsions during the intifada – they would do so in 1993

    Although Hamas was created in 1987, its trademark suicide attacks did not begin until 1994 in response to an Israeli atrocity in Hebron. Hamas has been careful to link any suicide bombings of civilians to specific Israeli killings of Palestinian civilians. Over the years, Hamas has geared up its use of suicide operations, because of the aura of strength and popularity accorded to it by the desperate Palestinian population, despite the adverse effect on international opinion.

    Erratically waxing and waning, the intifada lasted until roughly 1993, when the Oslo accords (see below) were signed between Israel and the PLO, resulting for the first time in a Palestinian form of authority (the Palestinian Authority) in the Occupied Territories.

    In the mid-1990’s, the Israelis built a huge wall in the Gaza Strip, with electric fences, and guard towers, which turned the Strip into a kind of huge prison camp.


    Palestinian Resistance And Israeli Response During The Second Intifada
    The second intifada broke out in October 2000, as a result of the failure, after several years of negotiations, of the Oslo peace process - the Palestinian public rightly (see below) lost confidence in the process, and became frustrated. The immediate cause was the extremely provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, which infuriated Muslims. (Against much advice, the war criminal Sharon decided to make a political point in Israeli politics by demonstrating that even the holiest of Muslim places in Jerusalem were under full Israeli control and jurisdiction.)

    All the frustrations that were there at the start of the first intifada were exacerbated because settlements continued to be built. Contrary to all hopes aroused by the peace process, the Israeli occupation was actually tightening its grip on the ground. The size and population of Israeli settlements almost doubled during the years following the Oslo agreement, and by the year 2000 there were about 350,000 Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories. By the eve of the second intifada, the peace process brought about by the Oslo Accords was witnessing the first signs of its own demise.

    Although it started as a popular uprising with no use of weapons, the second intifada quickly turned into an armed confrontation. Palestinians across the political spectrum supported the intifada: the ruling PA organisations, such as Fatah and other PLO factions, stood side by side with Hamas and other opposition factions. Suicide bombings were among the measures of resistance that the Palestinians used.

    The Israelis responded by a harsh re-occupation of all of the West Bank cities and villages, resisted by force, most courageously in the refugee camp at Jenin (in April 2002) – the Palestinians claimed that a massacre took place there. In Ramallah, Arafat’s compound was demolished, and he was put under siege. (After being under siege for two years, Arafat died in November 2004 [some suspected poisoned by the Israelis], after being taken to a hospital in France.)

    After the horrific events in Jenin became public knowledge, the Bush administration resumed peace efforts, not having previously been interested. In the winter of 2002, these culminated in a plan called the ‘Road Map’. In May 2003, the ‘road map’ was endorsed by the ‘quartet’ of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN. They have since gone nowhere. American and Israeli attempt to impose a new leader, Mahmoud Abbas, totally failed. After a few weeks as the first ever Prime Minister of Palestine, he resigned, admitting he could not control the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation.

    Israel started, in June 2002, construction of a wall to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory, with large inroads to ensure that some of the major Jewish settlements would be on the Israeli side of the divide. Construction continued despite international condemnation and the denunciation of the wall as illegal by the International Court of Justice. It directly affects the lives of 200,000 nearby Palestinians who were moved from their houses or barred from reaching their fields, and affects many more because of its barrier. Every now and then, Israeli politicians and generals hinted that its prime objective was really to annex more territory.


    Israel’s Other Wars
    The 1973 War

    The 1973 joint Syrian-Egyptian attack caught Israeli intelligence unprepared, and the near-defeat on the battlefield sent shock waves through the Israeli political system as a whole.

    This round of fighting was not focused on the Palestinian question – it is one of the more curious twists in this narrative of conflict that the bloodiest of all Arab-Israeli confrontations was fought over issues not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It shattered the illusion of unity of purpose within Israeli society – the myth of Israeli invincibility was shattered. It was of no importance to those living in the Occupied territories or in the refugee camps.

    The 1973 war might have ended with an even more devastating Israeli defeat had it not been for an intensive American support operation which tipped the military balance after the early days of the war. Egypt and Syria had wanted a limited war, and achieved their major objective: the resumption of the peace process. (This led in 1979 to a bilateral peace agreement with the Egyptians, and their recovery of the Sinai Peninsula, lost in the 1967 war. The Syrians have still not recovered the Golan Heights to this day.)


    The First Lebanon War In 1982, And Its Aftermath
    The increase in Palestinian resistance operations from Southern Lebanon (see above), led the Israelis to invade Lebanon in 1982. Defence Minister Sharon misled his prime minister into believing that the operation would be limited to the occupation of Southern Lebanon, although from the start he intended to occupy Beirut, install a Maronite pro-Christian government in Lebanon, and destroy the PLO.

    Lebanon was scarred, the PLO evacuated to Tunis (other PLO groups moved to Damascus), the Syrians achieved greater control over the country, and Hezbollah, a radical political Islamist movement, appeared on Lebanon’s political scene. The low point for Israel was reached with the massacre, by Christian Phalangists, of hundreds of the inhabitants of two refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla, encouraged and incited by Israeli military officers of the highest rank. Hezbollah began a campaign of guerrilla resistance in Southern Lebanon, causing hundreds of Israeli casualties in bold suicide attacks, ambushes and direct confrontation with the occupying Israeli army. The war, and combat with the subsequent resistance led by Hezbollah, became a running sore in Israel’s side, with mounting Israeli casualties. The Israelis ultimately withdrew unconditionally from south Lebanon in 2000, after almost 20 years, because they were not achieving their objectives (to crush Hezbollah and stop rocket and other attacks into Israel), and because of mounting pressure at home due to the mounting losses of Israeli soldiers 


    The Second Lebanon War In 2006
    Subsequent to 2000, Hezbollah acquired stockpiles of weapons and rockets from Syria and Iran with which to attack Israel. The Israelis planned a major attack on Lebanon  months before it began, briefed the Bush administration of their plan, and were given a tacit green light by Washington. Israel’s war aim was to send a message to the Lebanese government of the dire consequences of their not suppressing Hezbollah, and to crush Hezbollah itself.

    In the summer of 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with Lebanon In July, Hezbollah had captured several Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. Though incidents such as this went on all the time, Israel used it as a pretext for starting the war. The Israeli air force launched a major air campaign designed to punish the Lebanese by laying waste to Lebanon’s infrastructure. More than 1,100 Lebanese were killed, mostly civilians, and roughly one-third of whom were children. The Israeli army invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush Hezbollah and eliminate its stockpiles of rockets.

    Israel’s excessive response was widely condemned around the globe – virtually alone in the world, the US failed to criticise Israel. (The only, shameful, exception, was the UK, due solely to British prime minister Tony Blair’s grovelling attitude to the US.) The US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that criticised Israel and worked hard for about a month to prevent the UN from imposing a ceasefire, so that Israel could try to finish the job with Hezbollah. Only when it was apparent that the Israelis had failed, did the US allow a ceasefire to be imposed. During the conflict, the US supplied Israel with precision-guided bombs when Israel’s stocks started running low, and also supplied military intelligence.

    Despite strong support from the US, Israel failed to achieve its military or political objectives, and Hezbollah emerged from the war with its popularity and prestige significantly enhanced. The war intensified anti-American attitudes throughout the world.


    The Oslo Peace Process
    The PLO in 1993 reached an initial agreement with Israel, the Oslo Agreement, after months of secret talks in Norway. Endorsed in Washington by the Clinton administration, the agreement was in theory divided into two phases:
    • A five-year interim phase (essentially meant to explore and test the competence of the Palestinians to peacefully rule themselves and control ‘illegal’ armed resistance factions) starting in 1994
    • Which, if it proved successful, would be followed by a second phase of negotiations on a ‘final settlement’
    Those Palestinians who supported it argued that it was the best they could hope to achieve given the unfavourable conditions they faced and the tilted balance of power due to America’s blatant and one-sided support for Israel.

    Those who opposed it argued that it simply constituted surrender to Israel by officially recognising the Israeli state and officially dropping the armed struggle without any concrete gains. In the five-year interim period, there was to be no addressing any of the major Palestinian issues such as the right of refugees to return, the status of Jerusalem, the control over Palestinian borders, and the dismantling of the Israeli settlements built intensively in the Occupied Territories. According to the Agreement, these issues were all to be relegated to the final talks, which, as it turned out, would never take place anyway, since the peace process failed.

    Michael Neumann cuts through the detailed arguments as to who was to blame for the failure of the talks by asking if the Palestinians were offered sovereignty – if they were not, he correctly concludes, they were offered nothing. Neumann quotes Professor Menachem Klein, Senior Scholar at the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies, Professor at Bar Ilan University, who served as advisor to the Israeli delegation to the Camp David Summit in July 2000. Professor Klein, as Neumann notes, is “not much given to jargon or circumlocution: he dismisses the pro-Israeli claims of generous offers and Palestinian intransigence as 'nonsense', and is very clear on one crucial point: “Israel presented a map to Yasir Abd Rabbo and then presented this orally in Stockholm and at Camp David. It was leaked to [the Israeli newspaper] Yediot Aharanot. It shows Israel controlling a Greater Jerusalem that goes to the Dead Sea and connects with the Jordan Valley where Israel would have sovereignty over a strip of land west of the River, and thereby keep control over the external borders  of the Palestinian state.” As Neumann says, what happened at the borders of the Palestinian “state”, in other words, would be entirely at the discretion of the Israelis. He notes other state-destroying defects – a territory riddled with settlements and Israeli-controlled access roads, with supervised ports, immigration, and airspace. But, as he says, “the border restrictions alone represent the starkest, clearest denial of Palestinian sovereignty.” You do not have sovereignty, a state, unless you control it's territory, and you do not control it's territory if you do not control it's external borders. It doesn't matter, therefore, whether what you are being offered represents 80 or 90 or 95 or 98 per cent of the Occupied Territories – to be offered territory you do not control is to be offered nothing.


    The Current Situation
    In the Occupied Territories, in the summer of 2005, the Israelis pulled out of Gaza, plus four isolated settlements in the north of the West Bank. The pull-out, despite settler histrionics, was accomplished without difficulty. The cycle of violence in the West Bank continued. The occupying forces, encouraged by fanatical settlers, expelled the native Palestinian population from Hebron, and demolished it. There have been constant clashes with security forces, and the firing, by Hamas, of primitive missiles from the Gaza Strip. Israeli retaliation has been brutal, and has included the political assassination of many of the Hamas leaders, Islamic Jihad, and the military wing of Fatah. Over the last seven years, over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed – during the same period, around 1,000 Israelis have been killed. Israel continues to imprison more than 10,000 Palestinians, including Palestinian parliamentarians, abducted and in prison without charge. The response was more suicide bombings in revenge. Conditions in Gaza and the West Bank continued to deteriorate – there are now more than 600 roadblocks, which, with ‘settler-only’ roads, are converting the West Bank into a series of Bantustans. In recent weeks, there has been the murderous Israeli assault on Gaza.

    The Israelis, after the 1948 war, had already taken 79% of Palestine. After the 1967 war, they occupied the rest. Of that 21% remaining, due to continuing Israeli illegal settlement, and the ongoing construction of the Wall, much of that is presently lost - about 60% of the West Bank has now been confiscated or annexed – there are now more than 230 settlements there, housing over 500,000 settlers. This despite UN resolution 242, which called long ago for Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories.

    Today, the Palestinian refugees, together with their dependents, now number more than 7 million people – they make up the majority of the total Palestinian population – 70% of the Palestinians are refugees. They comprise the largest single group of refugees in the world. Approximately 4.5 million are refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants who are registered with the UN. An estimated another 1.5 million are not registered. Palestinian refugees from the 1967 war, and their descendants, number around another 1 million. Then there are around one-third of a million internally displaced Palestinians and their descendants living in Israel, with citizenship but unable to return to their original homes and villages. Finally, there are around 150,000 internally displaced people from the 1967 war, and their descendants, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    The Palestinian minority in Israel, and Israel’s Mizrachi Jews, continue to be discriminated against in Israel, where they remain as second-class citizens.

    Israel is a small country, yet it continues to be a menace, not only to the Palestinians, but to stability in the whole of the Middle East. It has been an irritant to world peace for the whole of the 60 years since its creation.

    In January 2006, Hamas surprised the world (at least the West) by unexpectedly winning the elections for the Palestine Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority - the Authority, although a quasi-parliament with limited sovereign powers, represents the embodiment of Palestinian political legitimacy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The election victory was a landslide (Hamas got 60% of the votes, with a turnout of 78% of eligible voters) in an election that was widely, indeed universally, accepted as fair. Hamas’s victory in those elections against their main rival, Fatah, was in fact almost unavoidable, due principally (but among other things) to the cumulative failure of Fatah to end a continuing brutal Israeli occupation. Hamas duly formed a government and became the leading force in the Palestinian struggle for the first time since it was founded in 1987.

    The democracy which the US had advocated for Palestine had brought Hamas to power. However, when it came down to it, the US, under the notoriously pro-Israeli Bush regime, rejected the outcome of Palestinian democracy and mobilised an international political and financial embargo against the newly-formed government. It succeeded in persuading the EU to join forces with it and stopped all financial aid to the Palestinians, bringing a great many Palestinians, already impoverished by Israel's harsh occupation, to the verge of starvation. Bush and his neoconservative cabal then sat back, together with a shamefully supine EU who acquiesced to it, and watched as the Israelis blockaded the Palestinians before making, in the last few weeks, their latest murderous assault on Gaza.

    After the US (and a supine EU) rejected Hamas, they supported Mahmoud Abbas (the elected President of the Palestinians), despite the fact that his party, Fatah, does not have a mandate – it was roundly beaten by Hamas in the elections, and regardless of the fact that Fatah had attempted (with help from the Bush administration) to bring down the Hamas government. Notwithstanding all this, Abbas has been nevertheless willing to continue negotiations as a ‘representative’ of the Palestinian people. Many Palestinians suspect that he may be willing to accept a Palestinian state that would only be a dependency of Israel, without any sovereignty, economic infrastructure, or a capital.






    ZIONISM

    In Israel in the 1990’s, there was a willingness among some Jews to reassess the hegemonic role of Zionism in the Jewish state. It began in academia with attempts to rewrite Israeli history. Zionism was depicted by these ‘new historians’ as a victimising movement, and they set out the actual, aggressive, brutal and morally objectionable reality of Zionist conduct and policy, past and present, towards the Palestinians and the Arab world. This represented a direct attack on the cosy lies of Israel’s foundational myths. They:
    • Looked on Zionism as a colonialist movement whose past victims were the indigenous Palestinians in Palestine, and whose current victims are the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, and Palestinian refugees everywhere
    • Rejected the government’s explanations that it was only for considerations of national security and defence that:
      • Mizrachi Jews (mainly from North Africa) were discriminated against
      • An Apartheid regime was imposed on the Palestinians living in Israel
    • Exposed the government’s policies as racist and nationalist
    • Viewed Israel as a militaristic society, whose intransigence caused in the past, and is still causing today, conflict and instability in the Middle East, and massive suffering, particularly (but not exclusively) to the Palestinians
    • Looked at the cynical manipulation of the Holocaust, especially when compared with the actual behaviour of Zionist leaders before, during, and after, the Holocaust.
    The 1976 UN International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid defines apartheid as ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over another racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’. According to Article 2 of the Convention, these ‘inhuman acts’ include:
    • Denial of the right to life and liberty
    • Imposition of living conditions calculated to cause physical destruction in whole or in part
    • Creation of conditions preventing full development, in particular by denying basic human rights and freedoms, including:
      • The right to work
      • The right to education
      • The right to leave and return to their country
      • The right to a nationality
      • The right to freedom of movement and residence
    • Any measures designed to divide the population along racial lines by:
      • The creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups
      • The prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups
      • The expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or to members thereof

    A perusal of the short history set out above shows that the Israeli government has been guilty of all these ‘inhuman acts’ in relation to the Palestinian people. Israel is therefore an apartheid state.

    Archbishop Tutu, in 2001 gave a compelling address, entitled “Apartheid in the Holy Land”, describing Israel as an apartheid state. The South African Defence Minister did the same in 1994. Nelson Mandela, on a visit to Gaza in 1999, said, addressing a special session of the Palestinian assembly: “the histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots.” The Israeli academic Uri Davis has argued for the comparison at length in his book Israel; An Apartheid State. The former American president, Jimmy Carter, titled his recent book on the conflict Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

    Israeli government policies, as described above, are discriminatory on racial lines in regard to its Mizrachi Jews, and to both the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel, and the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Israel is therefore a racist state.







    A SUMMARY OF THE HISTORY

    In summary, then, the old imperial power Britain, with the influence of Zionists, created, in the years between the two world wars, the conditions (in Jewish numbers and arms) without which a Jewish state would not be possible. At the end of the second world war, and following the terrible events of the Holocaust, America, the new superpower and aspirant imperial power, also influenced in it's turn by Zionists, completed the job by forcing the de facto state created by the Zionists through blood and violence, into international existence. America has subsequently staunchly defended Israel in both peace and war, more or less continuously, with massive financial, military and (crucially) diplomatic support, to this day. Today, when Israel could have peace for the taking, it conducts another round of dispossession, slowly, deliberately making Palestine unliveable for Palestinians, and liveable for Jews. Its purpose is not defence or public order but the extinction of a people. True, Israel has enough PR savvy to eliminate them with an American rather than a Hitlerian level of violence.

    Thus, once upon a time, the bully on the block helped the thief to steal someone else's house, expelling him with bloody force. The victim was forced to live in a small area at the bottom of the garden. Not content with the situation, the thief (who wanted it all), continually supported and armed by the bully, subsequently encroached on the (small) area remaining to the victim, bullying and harassing him, and taking more and more land, and so the vicious saga continues to this day. Prosperous  citizens looked on with callous indifference, or perhaps because it was not a wise policy to annoy the bully. The poorer citizens, appalled at what was being done, were sympathetic to the victim, but had no power to change things.

    Now substitute America (the world's bully) for the bully on the block, the Zionist Israeli state for the thief, and the Palestinians for the victim. The prosperous citizens represent the West (aside from America), which has for far too long looked on and done nothing. The poorer citizens are the third World, overwhelmingly in support of the Palestinian cause, but able to do nothing. This, in a nutshell, is the history of the state of Israel and it's suppression of the Palestinians, from it's violent birth to the present day.

    Alternatively, to summarise in dramatic form:
       
    The UK Commie Bastards     ".....end of WWII, the freedom-loving American government, horrified as the full details of the Nazi regime's atrocities towards the Jews emerged, then, in a great burst of sympathy and generosity, gave"...

    R2D2                                 (Breaking in excitedly, to finish the sentence) "gave them a huge lump of America - California perhaps? - Texas?"

    The Texan                          (Breaking in, outraged at the thought) "Hell, no, son, give away a square yard of the sacred Land Of The Free! Jesus, boy, we couldn't do that, no, no, we gave them someone else's land..."
       
    R2D2                                  (breaking in, puzzled) "But....."


    John Tinmouth
    South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition





    APPENDIX – ZIONIST STATEMENTS OVER THE YEARS


    The references below are as follows:
    TCFP: John Quigley, The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective
    TCAI: Michael Neumann, The Case Against Israel
    HMP : Ilan Pappe, A History of Modern Palestine, Second Edition

    The Idea which I have developed in this pamphlet is a very old one: it is the restoration of the Jewish State. ... Let the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the rightful requirements of a nation, the rest we shall manage for ourselves. Theodore Herzl, founder of Zionism, in an essay in 1896, “Der Judenstaat”.     (Ref TCAI, p25)

    I did my best to persuade the claimants of the Jewish state in Palestine that we might find a circumlocution that would say all we meant, but would say it in a way that would avoid provoking the Turkish rulers of the coveted land. I suggested “Heimstatte” as a synonym for state... It was equivocal but we all understood what it meant... to us it signified Judenstaat and it signifies the same now. Max Nordau, Herzl's vice-president at early Zionist congresses, writing in 1920.   (Ref TCAI, p25)

    I trust to God that a Jewish state will come about; but it will come about not through political declarations but by the sweat and blood of the Jewish people. Zionist leader Chaim Weizman, in 1919 to a London audience.   (Ref TCAI, p26

    Yet it should be understood that we fought these problems out internally on the floor of the Zionist Congresses. For we always recognised that the Congress had come to stay; we, not less than Herzl, regarded it as the Jewish State in the making, and whatever our differences with the “head of the State”, we were forever strengthening the “State” itself, that is, the Zionist Organisation and its parliament. Chaim Weizman, looking back in 1949 on the controversies that ruffled early Zionist meetings.   (Ref TCAI, p26)   

    Weizman's vision was linked wholly with Israel and there was about it a realism and more than one level. It was basically realistic because it saw that the ancient homeland of the Jews was the only land in which Jewish sovereignty could and must be revived, and that it was the only land for which the Jews would make the required effort. Ben Gurion, referring to the supposedly hesitant and moderate Weizman   (Ref TCAI, p27

    The key term, “national home”, was clearly a euphemism for “commonwealth” or “state”.   The historian Benny Morris   (Ref TCAI, p27)   

    Weizman replied that for the moment an autonomous Jewish government was not wanted, but that he expected that seventy to eighty thousand Jews would emigrate to Palestine annually. Gradually a nation would emerge which would be as Jewish as the French nation was French and the British nation British. Later, when the Jews formed the large majority, they would establish such a government as would answer to the state of the development of the country and to their ideals. Chaim Weizman, in 1919, before the Supreme Allied Council, when asked by Lansing, the American secretary of state, what exactly was meant by the phrase “a Jewish national home”.   (Ref TCAI, p29)

    “From the very beginning … it was clear to the leaders of the Zionist movement that the acquisition of land was a sine qua non towards the realization of their dream.” Ariel Hecht, an Israeli analyst of land tenure in Palestine.   (Ref TCFP, p4)

    The effort “was to establish a chain of villages on one contiguous area of Jewish land.” General Yigal Allon, noting that land was not acquired in random fashion.   (Ref TCFP, p4)

    The Arabs “understand very well what we are doing and what we are aiming at.”   Zionist leader Ahad Ha’am.   (Ref TCFP, p4)

    “ … to redeem the land of Palestine as the inalienable possession of the Jewish people.” The aim of the Jewish National Fund.   (Ref TCFP, p4)

    Called “land redemption” the “most vital operation in establishing Jewish Palestine.” Abraham Granovsky, Jewish National Fund director.   (Ref TCFP, p4

    “Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us … selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, on land acquisition under a system that keeps it in Jewish hands.   (Ref TCFP, p4)

    “We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country …Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Theodor Herzl, on the taking of land, and expulsion of Arabs, as complementary aspects of Zionism.   (Ref TCFP, p5)

    “Should Palestine fall in the British sphere of influence … and should Britain encourage a Jewish settlement there, as a British dependency, we could have in twenty to thirty years a million Jews out there, perhaps more; they would develop the country, bring back civilization to it and form a very effective guard for the Suez canal.”    Zionist leader Chaim Weizman, writing to the Manchester Guardian in 1914, on how the Zionist project could help Britain.   (Ref TCFP, p8)

    “ … when the Jews formed the large majority, they would be ripe to establish such a government as would answer to the state of the development of the country and to their ideals.” Chaim Weizman, representing the World Zionist Organization at the Versailles peace conference in 1919   (Ref TCFP, p10)

    “On every site where we purchase land and where we settle people the present cultivators will inevitably be dispossessed.” There is “no alternative, but that lives should be lost. It is our destiny to be in a state of continual warfare with the Arabs.” Arthur Ruppin, who headed land purchasing for the Jewish National Fund in 1936.   (Ref TCFP, p20)

    “ … the Agency shall promote agricultural colonization based on Jewish labor, and in all works and undertakings carried out or furthered by the Agency, it shall be a matter of principle that Jewish labour shall be employed.” The Fund drafted a model lease that stipulated: “The lessee undertakes to execute all works connected with the cultivation of the holding only with Jewish labour … Where the lessee has contravened the provisions of this Article three times the Fund may apply the right of restitution of the holding, without paying any compensation whatever.” Jewish Agency Constitution of 1929, requiring that only Jews be hired on Jewish National Fund Land.   (Ref TCFP, p21)

    “ … a powerful instrument for the total fulfillment of Zionism, an instrument for the redemption of all the land of Israel.” ........ “after the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.” Ben-Gurion viewed a Jewish state in part of Palestine (as envisaged by the Peel Commission, which first brought up the idea of partition, and whose proposals were ultimately rejected) as a stepping stone..   (Ref TCFP, p24)

    I am an enthusiastic advocate of the Jewish State, even if it involves partitioning Palestine now, because I work on the assumption that a partial Jewish State will not be the end, but the beginning. When we acquire 1,000 or 10,000 dunams of land, we are happy. Because this acquisition of land is important not only for it's own sake, but because through it we are increasing our strength, and every increase in our strength helps us to acquire the whole country. The formation of a State, even if it is only a partial State, will be the greatest increase of strength we could have today, and it will constitute a powerful lever in our historic effort to redeem the country in its entirety.... We will be able to penetrate deeper into the country if we have a State. Ben Gurion, in a 1937 letter to his son, on the Peel Commission partition proposal (which was ultimately rejected).   (Ref TCAI, p59)

    He told the World Zionist Congress in Zurich in July 1937: “The Mandate in the motherland does not cover the totality of Greater Israel. Have we therefore renounced the right to settle the part of the land of Israel situated outside the zone of the mandate?”    Ben-Gurion meant, by the Land of Israel, Mandate Palestine plus Transjordan and parts of Syria and Lebanon.   (Ref TCFP, p25)

    .... after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine. Ben Gurion, in 1938, apprising the Jewish Agency Executive on the Peel Commission partition proposal (which was ultimately rejected).   (Ref TCAI, p59)

    ....anticipated that the Jewish State “would have an outstanding army .... and so I am certain that we won't be constrained from settling in the rest of the country, whether out of accord and mutual understanding with Arab neighbours or otherwise.” Ben Gurion, in his private correspondence.   (Ref TCAI, p59)

    “Has it ever been known that a people would willingly give up its soil? No more would the Palestine Arabs yield their sovereignty without force.” Irgun leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, advocating military means to statehood.   (Ref TCFP, p25)

    Said that only through war could Zionism establish a state in Palestine.    Golda Meir, advocating military means to statehood, in 1937.   (Ref TCFP, p25)   

    He proposed “transferring the Arab populations with their consent or without, and then to enlarge Jewish colonization.” ........ “We must expel Arabs and take their places.” Ben-Gurion (in the context of the Peel Commission, which first brought up the idea of partition, and whose proposals were ultimately rejected), the Commission having envisaged Jewish and Arab population transfers by mutual agreement.   (Ref TCFP, p25)

    “Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no place in the country for both peoples together … With the Arabs we shall not achieve our aim of being an independent people in this little country.” Joseph Weitz, a Jewish National Fund official who directed Zionist settlement, writing in 1940.   (Ref TCFP, p25)   

    “We are the aggressors, and they defend themselves.” ........ He acknowledged that for the Arabs Palestine “is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to take away from them their country.”   Ben-Gurion, in a 1938 speech to the Workers Party of Eretz Israel (Mapai).   (Ref TCFP, p25)

    “The dimensions of the refugee problem demands an immediate, territorial solution; if Palestine will not absorb them, another territory will. Zionism is endangered.” Ben-Gurion, on the danger to Zionism if the problem of the refugees fleeing Nazism was not linked to the Palestine problem.   (Ref TCFP, p26)   

    The Committee declared that its aim was “that Palestine be established as a Jewish commonwealth.” The American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs, meeting in New York in 1942, made the first open declaration of an aim to establish a state and to do so in all of Palestine.   (Ref TCFP, p28)

    They called for a “free and democratic Jewish commonwealth” in “the whole of Palestine, undivided, and undiminished.” The American Zionists, at their Atlantic City convention in 1944, called for the same, and this formulation was adopted in 1945 by the World Zionist conference, the policy-making body of Zionism.   (Ref TCFP, p28)

    That the Jewish Agency wanted “a Jewish state embracing the whole of western Palestine”, meaning the area west of the Jordan river. Ben-Gurion told Britain’s foreign minister, Ernest Bevin, in 1947.   (Ref TCFP, p31)

    If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs.... There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only know but one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why would they accept that? Ben-Gurion   (Ref TCAI, p152)

    “A major offensive against the Arabs” would “greatly reduce the percentage of Arabs in the population of the new state.” His biographer commented that “this might be called racialism”, but that “the whole Zionist movement actually was based on the principle of a purely Jewish community in Palestine.” He quoted Ben-Gurion as saying the fewer Arabs in the new Jewish state, “the better he would like it.” Ben-Gurion, at a December 26th meeting of Haganah leaders on December 26th 1947.   (Ref TCFP, p42)

    “Since Jerusalem’s destruction in the days of the Romans”, he said, “it hasn’t been so Jewish as it is now.” In “many Arab districts” in the western part of Jerusalem “one sees not one Arab. I do not assume that this will change.” And “What has happened to Jerusalem”, he continued, “could well happen in great parts of the country … Certainly there will be great changes in the composition of the population in the country.” “For the Arabs of the Land of Israel”, according to Ben-Gurion, “there remains only one function: to flee.”   Ben-Gurion, speaking to the Mapai party’s central committee on February 7th, 1948, expressing satisfaction at the exodus of Arabs.   (Ref TCFP,p 42)

    We are doomed to live in a constant state of war with the Arabs and there is no escape from sacrifice and bloodshed....If we are to proceed with our work against the wishes of the Arabs we shall have to expect such sacrifices ........ this is what used to be called “Jew after Jew”....It meant expansion, more Jews, more villages, more settlements. Twenty years ago we were 600,000; today we are near three million. There should be no Jew who says “that's enough”, no one who says “we are nearing the end of the road.”....it is the same with the land....there will be complaints against you if you come and say “up to here.” Your duty is not to stop; it is to keep your sword unsheathed, to have faith, to keep the flag flying. You must not call a halt – heaven forbid – and say “that's all; up to there, up to Degania, to Musfalllasim, to Nahal Oz!”. For that is not all. Moshe Dayan, defence minister and war hero, in 1968 (around the time the first settlements started), address- ing the Kibbutz Youth Federation on the Golan Heights.   (Ref TCAI, p105)

    ....”from the point of view of the security of the State, the establishment of the settlements has no great importance.”   Moshe Dayan (see Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle, page 105)   (Ref TCAI, p107)

    “the settlements established in the territories are there forever, and the future frontiers will include these settlements as part of Israel.” Moshe Dayan   (Ref TCAI, p107)

    “...there is no solution...and you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever prefers – shall leave....”   Moshe Dayan, in 1967, making clear to the Palestinians that they were not to have a secure and tolerable existence.   (Ref TCAI, p107)

    I tell you explicitly that the Torah forbids us to surrender even one inch of our liberated land. There are no conquests here and we are not occupying foreign lands; we are returning to our home, to the inheritance of our ancestors. There is no Arab land here, only the inheritance of our God – and the more the world gets used to this thought the better it will be for them and for all of us. Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook, considered by, among others, Yehoshafat Harkabi (former Major General and intelligence chief in the Israeli Defence Forces) to be the mentor of the Gush Emunim settler movement, at a public meeting.   (Ref TCAI, p108)

    Let me draw you an analogy. It's as if a man goes into his neighbour's house without permission and stays there for many years. When the original owner returns, the invader claims: “It's my house, I've been living here for years! All of these years he's been nothing but a thief! Now he should make himself scarce and pay rent on top of it. Some people might say there's a difference between living in a place for thirty years and living in a place for 2,000 years. Let us ask them. Is there a statute of limitations that gives a thief the right to his plunder?....Everyone who settles here knew very well that he was living in a land that belongs to the people of Israel, so the ethnic group that settled in this place has no title to the land. Perhaps an Arab who was born here doesn't know this, but nevertheless the fact that a man settles on land does not make it his. Under the law, possession serves only as proof of a claim of ownership; it does not create ownership. The Arabs' possession of the land is therefore a possession that asserts no rights. It is the possession of territory when it is absolutely clear that they are not its legal owners, and this possession has no juridical or moral validity.” Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the former rabbi of Bet El (the Jewish settlement established in Samaria on a site of religious significance), asserting the (absurd) Jewish biblical/historical claim, quoted by Yehoshafat Harkabi.   (Ref TCAI, p108)

    “We find ourselves here by virtue of the legacy of our ancestors, the basis of the Bible and history, and no one can change this fact. What does it resemble? A man left his house and others came and invaded it. This is exactly what happened to us. Some argue that there are Arab lands here. It is all a lie and a Fraud! There are absolutely no Arab lands here. Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook, similarly asserting the biblical-historical claim.   (Ref TCAI, p109)

    ...there is a commandment to settle Eretz Yisrael, defined by our sages also as the commandment of “inheritance and residence” - a commandment mentioned many times in the Torah. Even the new student understands that “inheritance and residence” means conquering and settling the land. The Torah repeats the commandment - “You shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land” - many times, and Rashi explains that this means to expel them.    The well-known Israeli rabbi and former paratrooper Yisrael Ariel, implying expulsion of the Palestinians, quoted by Yehoshafat Harkabi.   (Ref TCAI, p110)

    The day will yet come when we will all be called to fulfill the commandment of the divinely ordained war to destroy Amalek. Rabbi Yisrael Hess, formerly the campus rabbi of Bar-Ilan University, in an article published in the student newspaper Bat Koll (February 26, 1988), entitled “The Commandment of Genocide in the Torah”, stating that expulsion is not enough. Quoted by Yehoshafat Harkabi, who notes that some nationalistic religious extremists frequently identify the Arabs with Amalek.  Harkabi comments that Knesset member Ammon Rubinstein, citing this article, adds: “Rabbi Hess explains the commandment to blot out the memory of Amalek and says that there is no mercy in this commandment: the commandment is to kill and destroy even children and infants. Amalek is whoever declares war on the people of God.”   (Ref TCAI, p110)

    While it is true that the Jews are a particular people, they nonetheless are designated as a “light unto the nations.” This function is imposed on the Jews who strive to be a living aristocracy among the nations, a nation that has deeper historical roots, greater spiritual obligations, higher moral standards, and more powerful intellectual capacities than others. This vision, which diverges from the widely accepted egalitarian approach, is not at all based on an arbitrary hostility towards non-Jews, but rather on a fundamental existential understanding of the quality of Jewish peoplehood. Mordecai Nisan, a lecturer on the Middle East at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in an article entitled “A New Approach to Israeli-Arab Peace” published in Kivvunim (August 1984), an official publication of the World Zionist Organisation. Quoted by Yehoshafat Harkabi, who comments that the concept of the “Chosen People” as an aristocracy provides sanction for the unequal and discriminatory treatment of non-Jews, who are inferior. Harkabi denies that these are a few wild men: “....the nationalistic religious extremists are by no means a lunatic fringe; many are respected men whose words are widely heeded. Michael Neumann, the author of the book from which these quotes are taken, comments “Their demand that halahka direct policy is shared with different emphases by many religious circles.” He notes that “Israel's voting system gives extremist parties substantial influence, especially since minority government in Israel is the norm rather than the exception. Moreover, extremists have had an important presence with the large Likud party. Just as there is no doubt that extremists do not represent the majority of Israelis, there is no doubt that they do much, directly and indirectly, to shape Israeli policy.”   (Ref TCAI, p111)

    Through the 1980's, the Arabs picked up the signals that Israel ultimately intended to evict them – not merely from extremists such as the Moedet Party Rehav'am Ze'evi, the former IDF general who preached voluntary transfer “in air-conditioned buses”, but from mainstream politicians as well. In July 1987, Deputy Defence Minister Michael Dekel, who was close to Prime Minister Shamir, publicly called for the transfer of Palestinians to Jordan. Cabinet minister Mordechai Zippori, not at all a hard-liner, in 1982 told Jewish settlers near Nablus: “Don't worry about the demographic density of the Arabs. I was born in Petach Tikva, We were entirely surrounded by Arab villages. They have all since disappeared. The historian Benny Morris, on the effect of the settler movement on the public face of Israel.   (TCAI, p113)

    He defined the Arabs of Israel as “a cancer in the Jewish body that had to be curbed and contained” by increasing the number of Jews in Galilee. Israel Koning, the head of the interior ministry’s Galilee division, in a (leaked) report, in the context of the Judaization of Galilee, referring to the Arabs of Israel.   (Ref HMP, p225)




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