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18th July 2013
At this time the European Union is getting ready to pass official guidelines for member states to follow, that are intended to significantly restrict Israeli institutions from taking part in various EU programs and being eligible for EU grants, prizes and financial instruments if they have interests and activities beyond the Green Line. This move indicates that for the EU the territorial dispute between Israel and the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza has been conclusively judged in favor of Israel’s adversaries. Arabs from the region and the rest of the Arab world, have largely refused to accept Israel’s sovereignty anywhere in the region. Neither has there been a cessation in their efforts to weaken, truncate and eventually terminate the Jewish state’s existence – to paraphrase many Arab leaders up to the present day.
We present here a review based on an article by Boaz Bismuth, who is a regular columnist and desk editor at the Israeli daily “Israel Hayom” which is the country’s most widely read newspaper in Hebrew. From 2004 to 2008, Mr Bismuth served as Israel’s ambassador to Mauritania. He is also a regular contributor to radio and television programs, and a senior fellow at the Bar Ilan Center for International Communications. In this modified article, we present some of the questions that relate to European scruples in connection with Israel.
Europe wants new Berlin Wallin the middle of Jerusalem
Syria is disintegrating, Egypt is collapsing, Iran is on on the brink of becoming a nuclear power, but it seems that Israeli settlements are preventing Europeans from sleeping well at night.
It is somewhat perplexing to see former great empires conspiring together today like some beacon of morality. When they have no ability to influence, they choose the second option, which is to get in the way. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative was joined this week by Europe’s obstructive initiative.
The Europeans’ inferiority complex is what caused a small group of clerks in Brussels to formulate a complex legal document, which determines that future agreements with Israel will not apply beyond the 1967 lines.
The report was compiled in the European Commission’s Middle East department headed by Christian Berger, an Austrian diplomat who for the past few years was the EU envoy in the Palestinian territories. That is also, presumably, where he learned to be objective!
The report goes much farther than the 2012 declaration by EU foreign ministers upon which it is based. The EU ministers at the time took a very abstract position, which Berger is translating into practical, operative, and legal terms. It is no surprise that several European capitals yesterday could not understand what all the fuss in Jerusalem was about.
On Monday, the EU’s foreign ministers are expected to meet again. The Czech Republic, Holland, Germany, Bulgaria and Romania are likely to question whether this was a smart move considering US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s current push in the region. In contrast, countries like Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Austria and Spain are expected to welcome the policy.
Christian Berger decided to solve “the occupation problem.” We can suggest to him that on Monday he also take a swing at solving Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus; Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara; the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan that is occupied by Armenia; Russia, which is occupying South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia; the Kurile Islands off Japan; as well as all of what was once East Prussia.
We also have not forgotten Russia’s military occupation in portions of the Finnish Karelia province. And China occupies Tibet while Indonesia occupies West Papua, and Pakistan and India are locked in an bitter clash over Kashmir.
And there are other interesting territorial disputes such as: the Falkland Islands, held by Britain and disputed by Argentina; British control of Gibraltar, which the Spanish regard as theirs; and also Morocco’s frustration at Spain, which controls two cities on Moroccan soil, Ceuta and Melia, as if Morocco was still part of Spain. And hasn’t the time come for the international community to relate seriously to the plight of the Kurdish people – over 30 million spread over adjacent territories in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, often treated with great brutality by their occupiers who refuse to countenance the idea of independence for this large nation.
Meanwhile, in a world teeming with rogues (witness the unbridled mayhem and butchery taking place throughout the much of the Arab and Muslim countries) it is Israel alone that repeatedly faces sanctions and worse. The EU’s intentions at the moment represent a new low in obtuseness, cynicism and hypocrisy.
Flaunting sexual tendencies
is an affront
By RALPH DOBRIN
Why do they call homosexuality “gay?” By doing so, yet another wonderful word in the English language has been mangled. Homosexuality is anything but gay or a source of pride. While the attitude (including in the less repressive countries) towards homosexuality used to be very unfair and cruel, it is a positive development that homosexuals are no longer hounded. But, now the pendulum has swung the other way and normative society is being assailed by garish parades in our cities, all-to-frequent homosexual situations in our movies and literature, influencing our young people to experiment with their sexuality that can lead them away from traditional coupling and marriage, and thus weakening the chances for a wholesome future for society in general.
Also, if people of the same gender want to live together in emotional and physical intimacy – that should be their concern alone. But don’t call it marriage!!! Marriage is too serious a concept, encompassing a huge number of cherished values. For many people marriage is regarded as one of the most hallowed things in life. People who want to cohabit, whether heterosexually or homo-sexually, can still retain rights, justifiably accruing from separation after a long-lasting, shared relationship, or death, simply by making up a legal document to that effect.
But officially-sanctioned same sex marriage should be opposed as vigorously as possible by all decent-minded people everywhere. And politicians appearing at events organized to promote homosexual rights, or promoting same-gender marriage, should be told that their cynical support of homosexuality will not bring them any political dividends, but only the support of homosexuals. One can only hope that they are not becoming the majority.
Senior staff members who
slander their country
Recently, the Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) sent the following letter to the governors of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This followed a similar letter to the governors of Tel Aviv University. See: https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/some-interesting-tel-aviv-university-faculty-members/
The IAM, founded by Dana Barnett, follows the activities of Israeli academics who publically defame their country within Israel and abroad, and/or teach their students ideas that can be labeled as seditious. We present here IAM’s latest letter.
To the Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
As you know, academics have taken a lead in a campaign to delegitimize Israel; some of them are employed by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Under the guise of academic freedoms, they have utilized the legitimacy and the good name of the university to launch relentless attacks on Israel.
Dr. Nurit Peled Elhanan teaches education, she is one of the most virulent critics of Israel, calling it a racist, apartheid state, while urging civil disobedience against the fascist-style government. She testified before the Russell Tribunal, a self-appointed radical leftist group, that Israel is an apartheid state deserving to be boycotted. In her latest book, she “found” that Israeli textbook teach children hatred and xenophobia that turn them into killers of Palestinians.
Professor Hannan Hever, Department of Literature, is a veteran political activist who collaborates with Zochrot, a group dedicated to raising awareness of Nakba as an equivalent of the Jewish Holocaust. Hever has used research in literature to imply a connection between the two.
Professor Moshe Zimmermann who teaches German History, has compared young settlers to Hitler Youth and claimed that “Jewish Nazis” exist. Zimmermann’s efforts to prove that Israeli behavior is comparable to that of Nazi Germany is a ploy to establish that Palestinians were innocent victims of Israeli aggression and should be granted the right to return.
Dr. Louise Bethlehem, senior lecture of English and Culture Studies, has used literature to show the similarities between Israel and the apartheid regime of South Africa.
Dr. Merav Amir of the Lafer Center is the co-founder of Who Profits from Occupation? which supports BDS. Amir’s research promotes the view that Israel is a colonial, apartheid state; she views the separation fence as a symbol of “racialization” of Israel.
Those who claim that these and other utterances are protected by academic freedom of research and expression should consult the European Union initiative to fight anti-Semitism. In 2005 the European Union Monitoring Center published guidelines stating that certain anti-Zionist expressions such as equating Israel to Nazi Germany or an apartheid state should be considered a form of “new anti-Semitism.” The EU guidelines have been used by law enforcement agencies and influenced legislation such as the British Equality Act of 2010. It is ironic that Israeli scholars are free to contribute to new anti-Semitism, something that their peers in Europe would find hard to do without violating the law. We would urge you to act to remedy this situation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Israel Academia Monitor – board and staff
Tel: 054-4283749, www.israel-academia-monitor.com
Blogger’s note: I doubt whether any of this information is news to the people who run the Hebrew University. Of course they tout freedom of speech as the Holy Grail. But surely this freedom carries obligations – especially in the case of people who teach. Freedom of speech should be accompanied by the intellectual responsibility to follow all the principles of truthfulness, as well as concern that their actions do no damage to their country. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Hebrew University is not alone in its dubious academic permissiveness. Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Haifa Universities readily come to mind. Is intellectual integrity no longer a cherished value in academia?
Signed: Ralph (Rafi) Dobrin
Strange loyalty to land
Recently, the Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) sent the following letter to the governors of Tel Aviv University. The IAM, founded by Dana Barnett, follows the activities of Israeli academics who publically defame their country within Israel and abroad, and/or teach their students ideas that can be labeled as seditious.
To the Governors of Tel Aviv University,
As you well know, Israel has been the subject to a delegimization campaign led by academics, some employed by Tel Aviv University. Under the guise of academic freedom they turned their positions into a platform for relentless attacks on Israel.
Professor Daniel Bar-Tal is Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at School of Education. After obtaining tenure, Bar Tal, a high profile peace activist and past co-editor of the radical Journal of Palestine-Israel Studies, switched to the researching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is the architect the theory that Israelis are too traumatized by the Holocaust or/and Masada to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Conveniently, this “it is all in their head” theory absolves Bar Tal from considering some real threats to Israel’s security and made him the darling of pro-Palestinian activists.
Professor Yehouda Shenhav was hired by the Department of Sociology to teach and research on sociology of organizations. Upon receiving tenure, Shenhav changed his research focus to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which, as he had acknowledged, fits his political agenda. Shenhav is best known for his book on Arab Jews (his name for Mizrahim) whom he describes, along with the Palestinians, as victims of the “Zionist enterprise.” More recently, he published a book on right to return of the Palestinians to their pre-1948 places.
Professor Adi Ophir was hired to teach philosophy at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas. Ophir, one of the most virulent critic of Israel, produce an endless stream of writings designed to prove that Nazi evil is on the same ontological plane as Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Ophir hired his life partner Ariella Azoulay to serve as a “lexo-photographer“ at the Minerva Center of Humanities that he directs. Azoulay is best known for mounting exhibitions in the West aiming to create a visual link between the Nakba and the Holocaust. She also wrote in support of Anat Kam, the soldier who is serving time for stealing and leaking top secret IDF documents. Azoulay calls the IDF documents “public archives” and describes Kam as an “archivist” wrongly imprisoned.
Professor Shlomo Sand was hired as an expert in French culture by the Department of History. After years of very modest academic existence, Sand became an international super-star with the publication of The Invention of the Jewish People. The book was roundly condemned by historians and geneticists who found a common biological base for Jews, but was welcomed by enemies of Israel and anti-Semitic websites.
Dr. Anat Matar teaches in the Department of Philosophy, but published virtually nothing in her field. Matar spends most of her time writing about the alleged mistreatment of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists whom she calls political prisoners, as her new co-edited book claims. Matar is one of the pioneers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and supported the British efforts to boycott the Israeli academy.
Professor Yoav Peled, a member of the Communist Party, teaches in the Department of Political Science. Peled is one of the pioneers of the theory that Zionism was a colonial movement which, helped by Western colonial powers, disposed the indigenous Palestinians. Peled has made a career promoting the view that Israel is a colonial state where the capitalist classes prey upon the vulnerable lower classes composed of Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the Mizrahiml. Peled makes no effort in his courses to offer a balanced view that falls short of the mandate of the Council on Higher Education to turn liberal arts classes into a “marketplace of ideas.”
While academic staff in a western society enjoys freedom of expression, this freedom is not intended for propagation of political agenda on either the right or left. We urge the Board to ensure that activist faculty should not engage in such egregious violations of these basic freedoms.
Best wishes for a successful conference,
Israel Academia Monitor, board and staff
Blogger’s note: I doubt whether any of this information is news to the people who run Tel Aviv University. Freedom of speech carries obligations – especially in the case of people who teach. Freedom of speech should be accompanied by the intellectual responsibility to follow all the principles of truthfulness, as well as concern that their actions do no damage to their country. Furthermore, it should be noted that Tel Aviv University is not alone in its dubious academic permissiveness. Beersheba and Haifa Universities readily come to mind. Is intellectual integrity no longer a cherished value in academia?
Signed: Ralph (Rafi) Dobrin
It should be noted that Tel Aviv University is not alone
Former slave sets the record
These are the words of SIMON DENG, a former Sudanese slave, in his address at the Durban Conference in New York.
I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers.
I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban conference, which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who themselves are guilty of the worst kind of oppression.
It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82% of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state – Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been delighted!
The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that. But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those peoples. By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for
it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.
For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan – Christians and Muslims alike – have been the victims of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum. In South Sudan , my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered between 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.
The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them, and they are treated with special privileges. Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved,
are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan ’s conflicts. Who knows what is really happening in Darfur? It is not a “tribal conflict.” It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded northern Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam.
But in the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.
In the Nuba Mountains , another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans – Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains. Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?
But what you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering. My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering. What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.
Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 1990s. Khartoum declared jihad against my people and thus legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves. We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery.
I am a living proof of this crime against humanity! I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it
because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today. I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliation; working around the clock; sleeping on
the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no.” All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”
The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it.
It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish-led American Anti-Slavery Group – sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.
But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, which backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions.
Today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent
about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.
As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.
I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees [seeking refuge] there. Let me tell you how they ended up there. They had fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. How wrong they were! When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo. They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel ’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.
Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means [in terms of differences in culture, religion and language]? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!
In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is “heaven.”
So, is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know the meaning of racism – the answer is absolutely not. Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.
So, yes … I come here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people whom the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the main victims of UN Israel hatred.
Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, Nigeria and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression, and the Sikhs. We – a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis – all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.
In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan . I met a twelve year old girl who told me about her dream. She wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then she wanted to visit Israel. I was amazed. How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel ? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: “This is our people.” I was never able to find an answer to my question.
On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement. In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel ’s legitimacy.
As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, publicly stated that the South Sudan Embassy in Israel will be built – not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply continuing to tell the truth! Our truth!
HOW IT STARTED
By RALPH DOBRIN
Excerpt from his book “How to Avoid Armageddon“
Available through Amazon
Click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid armageddon
“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”
– U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson 1918
In every conflict the opposing sides invariably have very different perceptions regarding its background and the actual events. What was the cause of the conflict? What were the actions taken by each side? How did the conflict end? Who was to blame for the outbreak of the conflict in the first place? While authoritarian, non-democratic, tyrannical regimes are more likely to use blatant falsehood than genuine democracies, nevertheless, even the most enlightened democracies seldom if ever present the history of any single event or development in a manner that is fully credible. That’s because even serious historians find it hard to be fully objective – especially when they deal with events that happened within their own lifetimes in their own countries. Furthermore, much of the material they use is from old newspaper reports, hearsay, or released government documents that are often impossible to verify for accuracy. The best that can be expected is an approximate account of past events. Also, there are historians and commentators, who become so imbued with even-handedness that their entire approach becomes slanted in favor of their countries’ adversaries, and are thus as unreliable as the jingoists.
One thing that can be said to be true regarding the Israel-Arab conflict, is that every aspect of this generations’ long clash is fraught with volumes of misinformation and selective omission by both sides as well as by outside commentators and researchers. The Arab refugee problem singularly reflects this.
In order to get a close rendering of the events and circumstances as they really were, one needs to double and triple check all the relevant data and consult sources of both sides as well as other reputable non-involved parties.
As a Jew and a loyal Israeli, I would reckon that even with the best of intentions, I cannot be fully objective about the ongoing conflict between my country and the Arab and Muslim world. Even though I was brought up to regard honesty and respect for others as important values, I admit to being unable to completely shake off all my prejudices, and also to indulge in wishful thinking from time to time. After all, these are natural tendencies. But they are contrary to the main premises suggested in this book, therefore I am resolved to try as far as possible to disconnect from my personal experiences, emotions and affiliations, although I doubt whether I will succeed completely. So I invite the reader to maintain a critical approach to my words, while relating to them with an open mind.
This preamble to the subject of the Arab Refugee Problem is essential because of the centrality of the issue to the whole conflict and the strong emotions it generates. However, in accordance with my earlier words I have tried to double check almost every statistic and assertion from different sources. While I cannot state categorically that everything here is absolutely accurate, I feel that it presents a pretty trustworthy rendition of the overall situation. Nevertheless I anticipate that many people – Arabs, Muslims, Jews and Israelis, as well as others, will find much here with which they cannot agree. My response to them is that I have found over and over again that notions I had once thought absolutely correct, turned out to be wrong; that I need to question the validity of my notions from time to time. This is an approach I would recommend to everyone.
* * *
To understand what the Arab refugee problem is all about, it is essential to be acquainted with the background. A census of Palestine, conducted in 1922 by Britain, the ruling Mandatory power at that time, showed a population of 757,182 people (78% Muslim, 11% Jewish and 11% Christians and other faiths. Most of the Christians were Arabs). Clearly the Arabs vastly outnumbered the Jews in Palestine and it is understandable that they would have strenuously opposed the decision of the victorious allies of the First World War – Britain, France and the United States – together with the League of Nations, to allocate a large part of the country as the national homeland for the Jewish people.
It should be remembered, however, that national independence had been promised to the Arabs throughout most of the Middle East. As part of this undertaking, Palestine itself was divided in 1923, with 77% of the country lopped off to create a new Arab state, subsequently called the Kingdom of Jordan. Within the next 25 years, there would be many cataclysmic events in the world as well as in the Middle East. Nazism and Fascism swept through Europe and parts of Africa. Communism spread considerably. The Second World War led to numerous border changes in Europe and Asia, with millions of displaced persons. A number of additional Arab countries won their independence.
Meanwhile, the Jewish population in Palestine had grown to constitute almost 40% of the country’s population. On November 29, 1947, prior to the end of the British Mandate, the United Nations Organization voted for a partition of what remained of Palestine after its initial division in 1923. Slightly less than half the land was to become an independent Arab state and the rest an independent Jewish state.
The Arabs, locally and throughout the Arab world, felt utterly betrayed by this decision and embarked on a war that was intended to end forever any Jewish claim or ability to acquire sovereignty in any part of Palestine.
For the Jews it was the most desperate of times, a mere three years after a third of their people had been killed during the Nazi Holocaust in Europe. The Jewish population in Palestine stood at a little over 600,000 souls, outnumbered and initially poorly armed in comparison with the Arabs.
There were two main stages in the war. The first stage began on November 30, 1947, the day after the United Nations voted to partition Palestine. All over the country, Jewish suburbs, villages and farming communities were attacked by local Arab forces, reinforced by thousands of volunteers from outside Palestine as well as, at a later stage, the well-trained Arab Legion of Jordan, which was under the command of British officers. During the first stages of the war, the situation of the Jews in many places was desperate. Cut off from the rest of the country, the Jewish areas of Jerusalem were under siege and the water supply had been cut. In other parts of the country supply lines were often cut and the Jews barely managed to hold their own, but because they were far better organized, they soon improved their overall situation dramatically.
The second main stage of the war began on May 14 when the British Mandate of Palestine expired and most of His Majesty’s armed forces and non-military personnel had left Palestine. At this point, armies from all the surrounding states, reinforced by contingents from more distant Arab countries, launched a simultaneous invasion against the Jews. During this stage there were four cease-fire agreements. The war continued until March 1949.
In a few cases during the war, Jewish positions were overrun by the Arab forces – as was the case in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Etzion bloc and elsewhere. But generally, the Jewish forces managed to stand firm against attacks by the local Arab forces as well as the invasion by the Arab countries, and eventually in spite of many bitterly-fought clashes, they got the upper hand throughout most of the battle zones and repulsed their enemies.
In many towns and villages Arab families fled or were forced out of their homes and lands. Estimates vary from between over 800,000 (Arab sources) to 726,000 (U.N. sources) to over 520,000 (official Israeli sources). In addition to the people displaced by the 1947-49 War, about 300,000 Arabs fled their homes during the 1967 war, and joined this refugee population. Many of these people were already refugees from the earlier war.
These are the bare facts that can be easily checked in any impartial reference book. But what do the parties to the conflict claim? How faithfully do these claims reflect what really happened? And to what extent have fairness and integrity determined the attitude of the international community in relating to what really happened? These are indeed crucial questions for solving the Arab-Israel conflict.
Most Israelis are of the opinion that the Jews were seriously threatened with annihilation. For almost three decades before the war, there had been frequent armed Arab attacks throughout the country, during which hundreds of Jews had been killed. Furthermore in the early months of 1948 there could be no mistaking Arab intentions or their ruthless tendencies in conflict. The Arabs had repeatedly promised that this was to be a war of annihilation of the Jews in Palestine. And the Jews expected – from their bitter experiences during a generation of ethnic struggle – that the Arabs would not show any mercy whatsoever to Jews, whether combatants, civilians, young or old, men, women or children.
Their fears were quickly realized when a number of mass killings of Jewish civilians took place. That these killings were often claimed to be in retaliation for Jewish killings of Arab civilians, did little to allay their fears. 39 Jewish civilian workers were killed by Arab rioters at Haifa’s oil refinery on December 30, 1947. The month of February started with a bombing of The Palestine Post in Jerusalem, killing three people and wounding dozens of others. Three weeks later, just down the street from this bombing, 53 Jews were killed when a bomb exploded in Ben-Yehuda Street. Then on March 11, twelve people were killed when a bomb went off at the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem. The dead had all been non-combatants.
Also, Jewish prisoners of war were apt to be slaughtered, such as the 128 Jewish combatants (including over a dozen women) who were killed at Kfar Etzion on May 15, 1948, after they surrendered.
On the other hand, the Arab version, since the mid-nineteen fifties, that can be gained by reading official and unofficial sources is largely that the local Arabs (always referred to as Palestinians – even though until that time the Jews of the country were also called Palestinians) were suddenly attacked by the Zionists and brutally evicted from their homes and lands, as part of a preconceived plan of ethnic cleansing. There is very scant reference to the intentions of the Arabs of that time to destroy the Jewish entity in the nascent state of Israel. Never is there any mention of mass killings of Jews that had been reported in Jewish and other sources, as well as official British Mandate documents.
Seldom if ever mentioned in current Arab sources, are the violent riots that had been carried out from time to time for almost three decades before the war. In studying dozens of accounts in Arab sources I have never read about the 1929 Hebron massacre of 67 unarmed Jews, and the 66 killed in Safad and other villages during this time. I have seen only one brief reference to the Hadassah medical convoy massacre on April 13, 1948, when 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and other personnel (mostly unarmed) were ambushed, killed and incinerated by Arab fighters while on their way to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus. Reading the Arab version one gets a distinct impression who is the ruthless, evil villain and who is the innocent victim. However, these are all events that were reported in official British documents (accessible through the British Government on-line archives) as well as in the international press of the time.
According to the Arab version, not only was their land stolen from them, not only were they raped, butchered, slaughtered and massacred, they were also banished from their land. However, modify the language and the objective observer can see some truth in these claims. Regarding “rape and being butchered,” some Israeli researchers agree that there were cases of rape throughout the year-and-a-half war. But it must be remembered that in every war there are cases of rape. That includes wars waged by Arabs to the present day. Regarding the words “butchered, slaughtered and massacred,” these are evocative dysphemisms for actions that take place in any war. When attacking someone with the intent to kill, the attacker might conceivably find himself “killed” or “fatally wounded.” That’s a fact of life. That’s what can happen when you launch a war – which is what the Arabs had done. I have made these comments, not as an attempt to exonerate Israel, but to amend the widely-held perspective that Israel’s actions to the present day, have generally been vile and wantonly detestable and exclusive to Israel alone.
Continued at The Arab Refugee Problem – 2
To order the book click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon
See also www.israelandtruth.org