Kattan: Truman administration threatened sanctions against ‘brutal’ Israeli stance on refugees

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 67 Comments

I am reading From Coexistence to Conquest, by Victor Kattan, an English journalist-scholar (or "hackademic," as Ilan Pappe once put it), an amazing work of archival archaeology, uncovering the trail of broken promises that is the history of international law and consensus on the Arab-Israeli conflict from Balfour to the Armistice Agreement of 1949.

One of Kattan’s most riveting chapters is about the return of the Palestinian refugees, which all the world sought in 1948. As the Nakba was commemorated over the weekend, I sought Kattan’s permission to reprint portions of that chapter. They follow my spiel.

Bear in mind a couple of points as you read. Leave aside the issue of the right of return in 2010. The right of return in 1948-9 was not controversial: the world recognized the principle and understood that equitable treatment of refugees, driven out by "terrorism," as the U.S. State Department stated, was essential to peace in the region. Even the United States embraced the principle and some in the administration were willing to undertake sanctions in response to Israeli refusal. But Israel was intransigent and gamed the international bureaucracy. It had gotten its way through the Nakba–a state with a strong Jewish majority–and it now proceeded in a Never-again/no-one-will-tell-us-what-to-do manner. Note Israel’s political confidence in flouting U.S. policy.

In this way the argument absolutely mirrors the fight over the colonization of East Jerusalem. The world is against it, so is the U.S. Israel doesn’t care.

Note that Harry Truman is for the right of return. And note that the strongest moral voice in the discussion, U.N. mediator Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish diplomat who freed thousands from concentration camps during the Holocaust, whose clear statement concludes Kattan’s piece, was murdered by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem in 1948.

Kattan’s scholarship begins with the Lausanne Conference of 1949, which convened to try and get at the very least the 250,000 refugees from the Jewish portion of Partition back to their lands.

The Lausanne Conference officially opened on 27 April 1949. A month prior to this, the Archbishop of York told the House of Commons that: 

"They [the Palestinian Arab refugees] have been driven out of the land they have occupied for nearly a thousand years and are asking when are they going back to their homes. In many cases their homes have been taken over by the State of Israel and given to Jewish immigrants or have been destroyed or looted. It would be breaking every law of justice if the United Nations accepted the position that these people must be permanently expelled from their homes."

But the UN did not accept the position that the Palestinian Arabs should be permanently expelled from their homes and nor for that matter did the US Government. On 13 April, during the negotiations in Lausanne, Mark F. Ethridge, the US delegate on the Palestine Conciliation Commission (PCC) sent a secret memorandum to the US Secretary of State reporting on his talks with Comay, the second man at Israel’s Foreign Office in Sharett’s absence (Moshe Sharett was then the Foreign Minister of Israel). In the memorandum Ethridge pointed out to Comay that ‘since Israel had once accepted [a] state with 400,000 Arabs in it she should be prepared to take back at least 250,000 refugees and compensate others’. At the time, there were 150,000 Arabs remaining in Israel. Ethridge was making the point that if Israel had really been sincere about accepting the 1947 UN Partition Plan with its population of 400,000 Arabs, then it should not have a problem with repatriating at least 250,000 of those Arabs which had been displaced during the war. However, Comay responded by telling Ethridge that his suggestion was ‘completely impossible’. This prompted Ethridge to comment in his memo to US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson: 

"Israel does not intend to take back one refugee more than she is forced to take and she does not intend to compensate any directly if she can avoid it. Ben-Gurion and Comay have both argued that refugees are inevitable result of war and no state in modern history has been expected to repatriate them. Both cite Baltic states and Turkey. They contend also that number greatly exaggerated and they can prove it. Israel refuses to accept any responsibility whatever for creation of refugees. I flatly told Ben-Gurion and Comay that while Commission was not tribunal to judge truth of contentions, I could not for moment accept that statement in face of Jaffa, Deir Yassin, Haifa and all reports that come to us from refugee organizations that new refugees are being created every day by repression and terrorism such as now being reported from Haifa. I have repeatedly pointed out political weakness and brutality of their position on refugees but it has made little impression."

…it is clear from the Israeli archives that their Foreign Ministry was pushing for the Palestinian Arab refugees to be resettled in the Arab states rather than be returned to Israel. In a letter to Mr de Boisanger, the French chairman of the PCC [UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine] Walter Eytan [director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry] wrote:

"There can be no return to the status quo ante, as I have been at pains to demonstrate, since the destruction wrought by war and the changes brought about by immigration have decisively and unalterably transformed the whole aspect of the country. The clock cannot be turned back … If an Arab refugee counts upon living again in the house he abandoned, or plying his trade in the workshop he formerly rented, or tilling the fields in the vicinity of the village he once knew, he is living under an illusion which it seems to me essential to dispel."

On 29 May, Ben-Gurion received a letter from James G. McDonald, the first US Ambassador to Israel, by which the US President informed the Government of Israel that it was "seriously disturbed by the attitude of Israel with respect to a territorial settlement in Palestine and to the question of Palestine refugees". The letter continued:

"As a member of the U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission and as a nation which has consistently striven to give practical effect to the principles of the U.N., the United States Government has recently made a number of representations to the Israeli Government, concerning the repatriation of refugees who fled from conflict in Palestine. These representations were made in conformity with the principles set forth in the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11th, 1948, and urged the acceptance of the principle of substantial repatriation and the immediate beginnings of repatriation on a reasonable scale which would be well within the numbers to be agreed in a final settlement."

The letter reiterated that the Israeli Government "should entertain no doubt whatever" that the US Government expected it "to take responsible and positive action concerning the Palestine Refugees". It then concluded:

"If the Government of Israel continues to reject the basic principles set forth by the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11, 1948 and the friendly advice offered by the United States Government for the sole purpose of facilitating a genuine peace in Palestine, the United States Government will regretfully be forced to the conclusion that a revision of its attitude toward Israel has become unavoidable."

In response to this letter, Foreign Minister Sharett wrote a stern reply, verging on a rebuke, to McDonald, in which Israel disclaimed any responsibility for creating the Palestine refugee problem. He also rejected any idea of territorial compensation for land the Haganah/Israeli Army had acquired beyond the boundaries established by the UN Partition Plan. An elderly Chaim Weizmann, who by 1948 had been elevated to the position of President of Israel, also joined in the fray, writing a personal letter to President Truman in which he claimed that the Palestinian refugees were ‘part of an aggressor group’. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he wrote: "It was not the birth of Israel which created the Arab refugee problem, as our enemies now proclaim, but the Arab attempt to prevent that birth by armed force. These people are not refugees in the sense in which that term has been sanctified by the martyrdom of millions in Europe". The US Government did not, however, accept Israel’s view of its role in the 1948 conflict. Instead it issued Israel the following aide-mémoire:

"The United States Government regards the solution of the refugee problem as a common responsibility of Israel and the Arab States, which neither side should be permitted to shirk. It is for this reason that it has urged Israel to accept the principle of substantial repatriation and to begin immediate repatriation on a reasonable scale, and has urged the Arab States to accept the principle of substantial resettlement of refugees outside Palestine."

The US Government envisaged a solution to the refugee problem, which involved both repatriation and resettlement as provided for in UN General Assembly resolution 194 (III). This show of strength from the US Government induced the Israelis to discuss figures for a potential refugee return between themselves. In July, Sharett sent a telegram to Aubrey Eban, Israel’s UN Ambassador in New York, in which he said that he had been authorised ‘to admit total 100,000 on peace’, which included 25,000 refugees they claimed had already ‘infiltrated’ back into Israel. In other words, they envisaged a net refugee return of 65,000 people. However, Dean Acheson, the US Secretary of State did not think the Israeli offer of 100,000 met the provisions of paragraph 11 of UN General Assembly resolution 194 (III). On 13 August, Truman replied to Weizmann:

"With regard to the general question of the Arab refugees, you may recall that the General assembly resolution of December 11 provided that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return. I am, therefore, glad to be reassured by your letter that Israel is ready to cooperate with the United Nations and the Arab states for a solution of the refugee problem; that Israel pledges itself to guarantee the civil rights of all minorities; that Israel accepts the principles of compensation for land abandoned by Arabs; that Israel declares its readiness to unfreeze Arab accounts under certain conditions; that Israel has set up a custodian of absentee property; and that Israel is ready to readmit members of Arab families."

Truman added that he ‘would be less than frank’ if he did not tell Weizmann that he was ‘disappointed’ when he read the reply of the Israeli Government written by its Foreign Minister Sharett. He wrote that he thought the views of the Israeli Government ‘are in many respects at variance with the General Assembly resolution of December 11’ and failed ‘to take into account the principles regarding territorial compensation advanced by the United States as indicated in our Aide-Mémoire of June 24’.

[Israel continues to be refractory, saying that the refugees must become citizens of the Arab countries.]

On 27 October, Eban, Israel’s UN Ambassador sent a letter to Mr Yalçin, the Turkish member of the UNCCP, in which he wrote:

"The Government of Israel, in the fulfilment of its duty to preserve the security, welfare and, indeed, the very existence of the State, must retain full responsibility for deciding at which point the return of refugees would prejudice the prospect of Arabs and Jews living in peace with each other, and at which point such return would raise insurmountable practical difficulties at any time. It may be added that recent developments in the Middle East have aggravated our fear that any measure of Arab repatriation is liable to prove gravely prejudicial to Israel’s security."

Israel seemed to be relenting on its offer to resettle 100,000 Arabs, which the UNCCP thought was unacceptable in any event, as they wanted Israel to readmit 250,000. On 15 November, in his reply to Eban, Yalçin wrote: 

"… in the light of the statement made in your letter that ‘recent developments in the Middle East have aggravated our fear that any measure of Arab repatriation is liable to prove gravely prejudicial to Israel’s security’ it is not clear that the Government of Israel is still prepared to accept within its borders a total Arab population of 250,000, in accordance with its offer made to the Commission in Lausanne. The Commission assumes that the terms of this offer remain unchanged."

On the general question of the right of refugees to return, the Commission would again point out that the Israeli position does not conform to the terms of paragraph 11 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 which was passed by the General Assembly after listening to the several interested parties.

Talks between the Arab states and Israel broke down as Israel refused to relent from its position of barring a refugee return. As mentioned already, the US State Department threatened Israel with financial sanctions, but they were forced to back down, due to possible opposition from Congress where continued funding for the Economic Survey Mission was being made dependent on the progress of peace talks at Lausanne.[xxxvii] It may, however, be questioned whether Israel’s uncompromising position at the Lausanne talks did itself any good as it could have ended the conflict then and there had it been more willing to compromise. The US delegate at Lausanne was certainly upset:

"If there is to be any assessment of blame for stalemate at Lausanne, Israel must accept primary responsibility … Israel’s refusal to abide by the GA assembly resolution, providing those refugees who desire to return to their homes, etc., has been the primary factor in the stalemate. Israel has failed even to stipulate under what conditions refugees wishing to return might return; she has given no definition of what she regards as peaceful co-existence of Arabs and Jews in Israel and she consistently returns to the idea that her security would be endangered; that she cannot bear the economic burden and that she has no responsibility for refugees because of Arab attacks upon her. I have never accepted the latter viewpoint. Aside from her general responsibility for those who have been driven out by terrorism, repression and forcible rejection."

He continued: 

"Israel was a state created upon an ethical concept and should rest upon an ethical base. Her attitude toward refugees is morally reprehensible and politically short-sighted. She has no security that does not rest in friendliness with her neighbours. She has no security that does not rest upon the basis of peace in the Middle East. Her position as conqueror demanding more does not make for peace. It makes for more trouble."

In his memoirs, the UN Mediator Bernadotte recorded his recollections of a meeting he had in August 1948 with Moshe Sharett (in Hebrew, Shertok), the Provisional Government of Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which he told him that he could not understand why the Zionists were so hostile to the UN and to the Palestinian Arab refugees. His account of the meeting, when he tried to persuade Sharett to ask his government to review its policies, which he dictated to his secretary, Miss Barbro Wessel, and which were published posthumously in Sweden were as follows: 

"In the first place [the Provisional Government of Israel] must surely realize that there could be no longer any doubt as to the continued existence of the Jewish state in Palestine. In the second, it must also recognize that what mattered most for the Jews was to increase their good-will in the world at large, and that they ought to set themselves forthwith to counteract the prevailing hatred between Arabs and Jews – whatever happened, the Jews must always reckon to have Arabs for their neighbours. To take one example: the Israeli Government had had a very great opportunity in connection with the Arab refugee question. It had missed that opportunity. It had shown nothing but hardness and obduracy towards those refugees. If instead of that it had shown a magnanimous spirit, if it had declared that the Jewish people, which itself had suffered so much, understood the feelings of the refugees and did not with to treat them in the same way as it itself had been treated, its prestige in the world at large would have been immeasurably increased."

Alas, Bernadotte’s advice was ignored. The refugees were prevented from returning to their homes and the UN Mediator was assassinated by a Lehi hit squad allegedly dispatched on the orders of Yitzhak Shamir, who was elected Israel’s Prime Minister in 1983. As is clear from the records of the negotiations in Israel’s own archives, some of which have been reproduced in the text above, the Jordanians and the Syrians were prepared to resettle a substantial number of Palestinian refugees in their territories in the interests of peace. However, they also desired a refugee return, especially for those Palestinians who had families remaining in the territories occupied by Israel in 1948.

67 Responses

  1. NorthOfFortyNine
    May 17, 2010, 10:52 am

    Great stuff, Phil. Thanks.

    • zamaaz
      May 18, 2010, 5:13 am

      Basing on this report on The Lausanne Conference, these are the significant points of contention which I found justifiable in the side of Israel:

      1. “Israel does not intend to take back one refugee more than she is forced to take and she does not intend to compensate any directly if she can avoid it. Ben-Gurion and Comay have both argued that refugees are inevitable result of war and no state in modern history has been expected to repatriate them. Both cite Baltic states and Turkey.

      It is not only a fact of war, but the pattern of ethnic antagonism the issue becomes irreversible.

      2. Israel refuses to accept any responsibility whatever for creation of refugees.
      The war at face value, started by rejection of Arabs offered compromises for peace…

      3. The Commission was not tribunal to judge truth of contentions,

      Thus, by simple logic, any resolution of said UN Commission in absence of just consideration passing through a tribunal is irrelevant at the moment;

      4. “I have repeatedly pointed out political weakness and brutality of their position on refugees but it has made little impression”

      One year after a bitter war which no peace agreement signed, and antagonism prevails, no party is ready to accept any impression towards normalcy without sovereign warranty for peace …

      5. Israel’s refusal to abide by the GA assembly resolution, providing those refugees who desire to return to their homes, etc., has been the primary factor in the stalemate. Israel has failed even to stipulate under what conditions refugees wishing to return might return; she has given no definition of what she regards as peaceful co-existence of Arabs and Jews in Israel and she consistently returns to the idea that her security would be endangered; that she cannot bear the economic burden and that she has no responsibility for refugees because of Arab attacks upon her.

      This Jewish refusal could have been solidified by the fact (on face value) of the Arab rejection for peace compromise in 1947 over and above the aggressive stance of Arab leaders. The Jews were simply putting themselves in a stable defensive stance.

      The person who negotiated for the UN have missed many considerations:

      a) In the history of war, since it was ‘introduced’, the victor dictates the situation in the aftermath, not otherwise.

      b) Let us not forget, this war is not an invasion like the European theaters. This conflict (unlike the WW2 where intruding forces US, British, Canadians, etc. withdraw finally) the contention involves the restoration of a previous nation.

      6. ‘The Palestinian refugees were ‘part of an aggressor group’. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he wrote: “It was not the birth of Israel which created the Arab refugee problem, as our enemies now proclaim, but the Arab attempt to prevent that birth by armed force.’

      7. “The United States Government regards the solution of the refugee problem as a common responsibility of Israel and the Arab States, which neither side should be permitted to shirk. It is for this reason that it has urged Israel to accept the principle of substantial repatriation and to begin immediate repatriation on a reasonable scale, and has urged the Arab States to accept the principle of substantial resettlement of refugees outside Palestine.”

      This position of the US government is indeed novel, it also invokes the fact that both parties (not Israel alone) has the responsibility towards settlement of refugees-in and outside Israel. However, the contention implies that the Israelis maintained the position; to establish first the agreement for permanent peace before moving towards political adjustment on refugees.

      8. “With regard to the general question of the Arab refugees, you may recall that the General assembly resolution of December 11 provided that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return. I am, therefore, glad to be reassured by your letter that Israel is ready to cooperate with the United Nations and the Arab states for a solution of the refugee problem; that Israel pledges itself to guarantee the civil rights of all minorities; that Israel accepts the principles of compensation for land abandoned by Arabs; that Israel declares its readiness to unfreeze Arab accounts under certain conditions; that Israel has set up a custodian of absentee property; and that Israel is ready to readmit members of Arab families.”
      9. “If there is to be any assessment of blame for stalemate at Lausanne, Israel must accept primary responsibility … Israel’s refusal to abide by the GA assembly resolution, providing those refugees who desire to return to their homes, etc., has been the primary factor in the stalemate. Israel has failed even to stipulate under what conditions refugees wishing to return might return; she has given no definition of what she regards as peaceful co-existence of Arabs and Jews in Israel and she consistently returns to the idea that her security would be endangered; that she cannot bear the economic burden and that she has no responsibility for refugees because of Arab attacks upon her. I have never accepted the latter viewpoint. Aside from her general responsibility for those who have been driven out by terrorism, repression and forcible rejection.”
      This demand is too late… ‘a water under the bridge’.. after the fact of war. Had there been no war between parties, this refugee problem could have not evolved… had the Arab leaders reacted positively to such proposed ‘win-win’ concessions, at the onset of hostilities things could have been diff Now that Israel gained the upper hand and opted to refuse such demands on internal security and political reason (the same reason invoked by the Arab nations ), the Israelis cannot be pressured to cave-in to any demands that they believed compromising to their strategic position…
      10. To take one example: the Israeli Government had had a very great opportunity in connection with the Arab refugee question. It had missed that opportunity. It had shown nothing but hardness and obduracy towards those refugees. If instead of that it had shown a magnanimous spirit, if it had declared that the Jewish people, which itself had suffered so much, understood the feelings of the refugees and did not with to treat them in the same way as it itself had been treated, its prestige in the world at large would have been immeasurably increased.”
      This is exactly the mindset of rights activists, militants, and progressive groups … Without question, these are valid indeed .. but sadly, ignored the risk, cost, tragedy, and the hardship of war Israel has suffered under a series of the attacks by Arab nations. The moral pursue of rights, mercy, kindness is universal indeed, but before the Altar of Justice, law and justice prevails …

      Furthermore, this presentation showed only the difficulties in the side the Israelis, which was half of the complete picture as historical writings of Nadav Safran and Benny Morris mentioned Arab rejection of the Lausanne Conference proposals.

      As Israel is conservative for its demands for an warranted permanent peace, they cannot accommodate any demands without guarantee for their security and sustainability as a nation. The historical reality which showed the losing offending party cannot dictate the aftermath of a war, this rational distortion suggest the Israelis cannot be totally condemned for pursuing an assured preservation of their nation and their people…

      As hindsight, all the contentions and discussions in the 1949 Lausanne Conference were rendered historically irrelevant by virtue of subsequent Arab offensives in 1967, and 1973… All these reports mere show that this tragedy of Palestinian crisis were consequences of continued rejection of realities of war, and adversed notion of rights, and justice which all these distortions of realities obstruct the path towards peace.

      • Aref
        May 18, 2010, 7:05 am

        It’s simply a fact of war eh? How about I declare war on you, occupy your home and take your property I am sure you will be very content to know that god asked me to do that because he gave me title to your property for me and my family for eternity. I am certain you will unquestioningly accept. Am I wrong Zamaaz?

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 18, 2010, 7:50 am

        Aref
        Are you trying to have a dialogue with zamass? No offense but are you new here?

      • Aref
        May 18, 2010, 8:01 am

        thankgodimatheist, no I am not new here although I don’t post constantly.
        What I am trying to do is maybe make zamaaz think about his argument a bit if that leads to a dialogue that is a good thing. I know (because I read his posts) that a lot of his posts are very confused and rely on regurgitation of propaganda and biblical nonsense however, I am willing to talk to anyone who is willing to listen. If he wants to listen and open his mind and is willing to accept that there maybe a different perspective then I am willing to engage him. If he is not then that’s the end of it.

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 8:09 am

        Aref,

        I admire your open mindedness and generostiy of spirit, but all Zamaaz will do is bog you down in incoherent and garbled logic. No matter how wrong or mistaken you demonstrate his position to be, he will simply make shit up (as though it were fact) and avoid pull out any rationale out of the air to defend Israel.

        It will be a futile excercise, but suit yourself.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 18, 2010, 8:15 am

        Aref
        I understand and commend you for your attempts at engaging the fellow but for most people around here it’s a exercise in futility. . You might as well talk to a dead guinea pig. In any case, nice to meet you.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 18, 2010, 8:20 am

        Shingo said:”It will be a futile excercise”

        I said: “it’s an exercise in futility.”

        Talk about a coincidence!

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2010, 12:53 pm

        Yes, yes, all that about zamaaz, and it’s all true, but what about his affect, his style? It’s really something, that mixture.

        If a writer was asked to create a character like zamaaz, would he have any trouble? Or is zamaaz, and his way of expressing himself, of a type with which I’m just not to familiar?
        You guys who have been there, do you know? Ever seen anything like it? Is he what the missionaries leave behind in their wake in the ME?

  2. Siegfried al-Haq
    May 17, 2010, 10:54 am

    Thanks for featuring Kattan’s important book… he’s done important archival work which illuminates a very different geopolitical disposition towards Israel in its early days than that which is often represented today, both by Zionists and their critics. Also the book is very persuasive in arguing that Israel’s narrative between 48 and 67 should be seen as one of “original sin” (nakba) rather than “fall from grace” (occupation).

    Btw, I would disagree w/ terming Kattan a “hackademic” — he’s finishing a PhD and has worked as a researcher and law advocate in the UK, not as a journalist — his work is as well-researched as that of any academic of which I’m aware. But his talent seems to lie in writing clearly (and speaking lucidly) on these issues, which does distinguish him from the greater part of the “academic” rabble.

  3. potsherd
    May 17, 2010, 11:05 am

    This history needs to be brought into the open to expose Israeli lies. I see that they were already blaming the Arabs for the refugee problem.

    One of the greatest errors in modern history was the UN recognition of Israel without a solution to the refugee problem.

  4. pabelmont
    May 17, 2010, 11:11 am

    In the trail of tears which is the failure (by various parties) to act meritoriously when they had the chance, the failure of the US to act to require Israel to accept the refugees of 1947-49 is the greatest. There was “Jewish money” in the US electoral scheme then, of course, but sadly, it was no-where what it was to become.

    We said the right words but refused to take the right actions. Israel understood what its leaders have understood from the beginning (and which some of them have also said out loud) that “it does not matter what the Goyim say. It matters what the Jews do”. Well, it also matters what the “Goyim do”, but sad to say, it still doesn’t matter what they say. And they still don’t do a darn thing.

  5. MuslimCommenter
    May 17, 2010, 11:40 am

    I never knew that this was an issue within the U.S. government so early on.

    How could they get away with it? How could this new state dictate what would happen?

    • Colin Murray
      May 17, 2010, 12:53 pm

      The nascent Israel Lobby and campaign contributions, latent racism against Arabs, war exhaustion coupled with the looming titanic struggle against the Soviet Union (which was later dubbed ‘the Cold war’), and pity for Jewish Holocaust survivors all contributed to US government unwillingness to take a firm stance against early Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and colonization of their land.

      What was the US going to do about it? Send in the Marines? Palestine was British turf in the same way that Lebanon and Syria were French. Recall that 1948 was still in the age of European Empire. The British had just withdrawn their troops, and I suspect that we viewed it as their role to take the lead if any serious reaction were to be made.

      Zionists have always liked to downplay the efficacy of the Lobby, and were almost completely successful IMO before Mearsheimer and Walt. A Zionist ‘fallback’ talking point upon being faced with the reality of admission of the existence of the Lobby is to say that it had negligible influence before 1973, their ‘evidence’ being the lack of active US support, i.e. cash handouts and free military hardware.

      This is at best another error on their part, if not an outright lie from the more perceptive. The Israel Lobby was extremely successful at keeping the US government ‘off Israel’s back’ so to speak, preventing our interference in favor of our interests. The money rolling in after 1973 merely represented an escalation to active support.

      • annie
        May 17, 2010, 4:52 pm

        i wonder what this means?

        the US State Department threatened Israel with financial sanctions, but they were forced to back down, due to possible opposition from Congress where continued funding for the Economic Survey Mission was being made dependent on the progress of peace talks at Lausanne.[xxxvii]

        does anybody know what the Economic Survey Mission was?

      • annie
        May 17, 2010, 4:56 pm

        sorry, i should have googled before asking. i’m still curious about the bolded section in the blockquote.

      • radii
        May 17, 2010, 7:53 pm

        and let’s not forget Truman crossed out “Jewish” on the recognition paper … here is a link to the document

    • Walid
      May 17, 2010, 1:32 pm

      Here’s my rough translation of part of a Feb 18, 2008 article on the 1948 history of Palestine using maps by Dominique Vidal in Le Monde Diplomatique:

      Contrary to Israel’s stated desire to make peace with its neighbours after the war, Israel’s New Historians described how it accepted the UN protocol on the partition and the refugees’ right of return so that it would be accepted as a member of the UN. But right after it was admitted, its leaders set about to systematically sabotage the Lausanne Conference as confirmed by Walter Eytan, the co-GM of the Israeli Foreign Ministry: “My prime objective was to begin sabotaging the May 12 Protocol that we were forced into signing in our struggle to be admitted into the UN.”

      (Ilan Pappé, The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951, I. B. Tauris, New York, 1992, p. 212.)

      link to blog.mondediplo.net

      • lareineblanche
        May 17, 2010, 1:45 pm

        Nice translation, thanks. I’ll have to check out that blog.

  6. Leper Colonialist
    May 17, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Excellent work, as usual, but I must part company with your last sentence :
    ” The world is against it, so is the U.S. Israel doesn’t care. ”

    Israel does indeed care, so therefore we can soon expect the U.S. to be on the side of Israel, and against the majority the world’s governments. It’s simply a matter of time and Hasbara.

    • Citizen
      May 17, 2010, 1:14 pm

      The little ship Rachel Corrie has set sail for Gaza. Has anybody here heard about it on the news? I have not.

      Here a pic of the lonely little ship:
      link to mycatbirdseat.com

      • Miriam
        May 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

        Ahoy Citizen!…yes…I just received an email from MV Rachel Corrie that they are at high sea on their way and due to meet up with the other ships soon. There is a stirring, moving youtube that Greta sent along with the message I received only minutes ago –here’s the youtube…in Ireland…

  7. Walid
    May 17, 2010, 4:53 pm

    The basis of all discussions on the Palestinians’ right of return is found in the May 12, 1949 very short 2-paragraph protocol signed by Israel and the Arabs. It was later admitted by Israel that it had signed under pressure from the US and to convince the UN membership of Israel’s goodwill in having recognized the partition plan and the return of the refugees and it therefore accepted Israel’s membership in the UN. 6 weeks later, Israel reneged on the protocol. Israel’s signing of the protocol had been a gimmick.

    This sheds light on another Zionist myth about the Arabs never having accepted the UN partition plan. By having signed the protocol on May 12, 1949, the Arabs (after the armistice) effectively recognized the UN partition plan. The following version and commentary was taken from a MFA site:

    The Protocol of Lausanne, 12 May 1949.

    Below is the text of the Protocol signed by the Conciliation Commission and the Chairman of the Israeli delegation; an identical Protocol was signed on the same day by the Arab delegation. The “working document” referred to was the Partition map annexed to General Assembly Resolution 181(II) of 29 November 1947. The Arabs claimed that, by signing the Protocol, Israel in a manner recognised the 1947 Partition Plan. Israel held that the map was to be taken, as the text of the Protocol stated, as a, and not as the, basis for negotiations.

    The text of the protocol:

    The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, anxious to achieve as quickly as possible the objectives of the General Assembly’s Resolution of December 11, 1948, regarding refugees, the respect for their rights and the preservation of their property, as well as territorial and other questions, has proposed to the Delegation of Israel and to the Delegations of the Arab States that the “Working Documents” attached hereto, be taken as basis for discussion with the Commission.

    The interested Delegations have accepted this proposal with the understanding that the exchange of views which will be carried on by the Commission with the two parties will bear upon the territorial adjustments necessary to the above indicated objectives.

    Lausanne, May 12, 1949.

    (Signed) CLAUDE DE BOISANGER, Chairman (France)

    (Signed) CAHID YALGIN (Turkey)

    (Signed) MARK ETYRIDGE (U.S.A.)

    (Signed) WALTER EYTAN (Israel)

    • Walid
      May 17, 2010, 5:01 pm

      And the Arab comments to Israel’s compliance and non-compliance to the protocol it had signed:

      The Lausanne Protocol Regarding Refugees, May 12, 1949.

      Meanwhile, again regarding Israel’s admission into the UN, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine, trying to carry out UNGA Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948, regarding refugees, wrote the Lausanne Protocol. It was based on the partition plan of Resolution 181. Israel and the Arab states signed the protocol on May 12, 1949, a few hours after Israel had been voted into the UN? By signing, Israel left the impression:

      (a) that it was willing to give up the areas, including Jerusalem, which it had seized militarily but which were outside the area allotted to it by the partition plan, and

      (b) that it would allow the return of the refugees. As noted above, believing that Israel would soon agree to these two protocol points, several nations that had not approved Israel’s membership now voted for it.

      They were soon disappointed. Israel later obliquely admitted that it had cooperated during the talks leading up to the protocol signing because it wanted to be accepted. Israel’s own Government Yearbook 1950 stated:

      Some members of the United Nations wished at this oppor-tunity to test Israel’s intentions with regard to the refugee, boundaries and Jerusalem issues, before approving its appli-cation for admission. In a way, Israel’s attitude at the Lausanne talks aided its Delegation at Lake Success in its endeavour to obtain the majority required for admission.(Israel, Governement Yearbook 1950, p.143).

      However, within six weeks of signing the Lausanne Protocol regarding refugees and being admitted into the UN, Israel’s delegation to the Conciliation Commission for Palestine indicated to it that the delegation “could not accept a certain proportionate distribution of territory agreed upon in 1947 as a criterion for a territorial settlement in present circumstances (UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Third Progress Report, for 9 April through 8 June, 1949, 6.21.1949 (A/927), p.3).

      Thus Israel repudiated the allocation provision of the partition plan of Resolution 181. This was the very plan that Israel, in arguing against the Bernadotte plan some seven months previously, had insisted “is a valid instrument of international law.”(Khouri, The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, p.85) Israel again used a UN resolution that it had agreed to, as long as it worked to Israel’s advantage, but discarded part of it when it became disadvantageous.

      On an article on Jerusalem Post, March 5th 2000, By Janine Zacharia “Refugee issue threatens Israel’s UN standing”, Zacharia, quoting Francis Boyle, legal adviser to the Palestinians during past Middle East negotiations, says: “If Prime Minister Barak is going to deny the right of the Palestinianrefugees to return to their home, he will abrogate and violate one of the most important conditions for Israel’s admission to the United Nations”. “Boyle said that as a condition for admission into the UN in 1949, Israel agreed to accept UN Resolution 194 that says Palestinians should be allowedto return to their homes if they wish or receive adequate financial compensation if they choose to remain elsewhere…”.

      To read the full article, please visit: link to jpost.com,

  8. Charles Turpin
    May 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

    You may find this article by Kermit Roosevelt interensting:
    Partition of Palestine A lesson in Pressure Politics

    It orginally appeared in the Middle East Journal, January, 1948 issue.

  9. Miriam
    May 17, 2010, 5:03 pm

    Thanks Phil for posting Kattan’s excerpt a timely review of the forgotten, lost, denied, rejected details. thanks also for adding yet another valued title on the period–what would I do without my daily essential dose of Mondo? cheers!

    • Walid
      May 17, 2010, 5:37 pm

      Another long, very interesting and detailed recounting of the 49 Truman-Israel saga along the lines established here by Victor Kattan in which it tells of Truman’s offer of $400 million to Syria to resettle 500,000 Palestinian refugees and of the very first threat made against Israel by the State Dept to take back the refugees or the US would withold $49 millions in import-export loans. You can guess what happened to that threat.

      From an Alternative Insight 2008 article, “The 1948 Recognition of Israel; The impact, legacy and relevance of an earlier history”

      Truman could claim that his support for partition won him the election and prevented Governor Dewey, who also supported partition, gain the White House. Nevertheless, the post-election provided him with an opportunity to show he was not captive to the Zionist enterprise. What did he do? He only half-heartedly pressured Israel in 1949 to resettle displaced Palestinians. This token maneuver is verified by George McGhee, the U.S. coordinator on Palestine Refugee Matters in an article published in: The Palestinian Refugees: Old Problems – New Solutions, University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, OK, 2001, pp. 77-87, states:

      …McGee threatened the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. that if Israel did not accept 200,000 refugees, the US would withhold $49 million worth of Export-Import Bank loans to Israel. The Israeli Ambassador was unimpressed with McGhee’s threat and responded that McGhee “wouldn’t get by with this move.” The Israeli Ambassador boasted that “he would stop it….”

      True to his word, the Ambassador was able to nip McGhee’s threat in the bud. That same afternoon, the White house phoned McGhee to say that the President would have nothing to do with withholding loans to Israel. Never again would a State Department official under President Truman attempt to intimidate Israel on the issue of refugees.

      link to alternativeinsight.com

  10. Julian
    May 17, 2010, 5:54 pm

    “The claim of premeditated dispossession is itself not only baseless, but the inverse of the truth. Far from being the hapless victims of a predatory Zionist assault, the Palestinians were themselves the aggressors in the 1948-49 war, and it was they who attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to “cleanse” a neighbouring ethnic community. Had the Palestinians and the Arab world accepted the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, and not sought to subvert it by force of arms, there would have been no refugee problem in the first place.”

    “Indeed, if one were to insist on the applicability of international law, here is one instance where it speaks unequivocally. In 1948-49, the Palestinians and Arab states launched a war of aggression against the Jewish community and the newly-proclaimed state of Israel, in the process driving out from their territories hundreds of thousands of innocent Jews and seizing their worldly goods. Ever since, these same aggressors have been suing to be made whole for the consequences of their own failed aggression. Both legally and morally, the idea is grotesque.”
    link to aijac.org.au

    • Shingo
      May 17, 2010, 8:38 pm

      You need new material Julian,

      “http://www.aijac.org.au/review/2001/266/essay266.html”

      The article is pure BS from stat to finish, but what would one expect from Australia’s equivalent to AIPAC?

      For example, it recycles this lie:

      “During a span of six months, from the Camp David summit of July 2000 to the Taba talks a few days before his crushing electoral defeat in February 2001, Barak’s government offered to cede virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip to the nascent Palestinian state, and made breathtaking concessions over Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. But to its amazement, rather than reciprocating this sweepingly comprehensive offer of land with a similarly generous offer of peace, the Palestinians responded with wholesale violence. ”

      This  is of course false.  Barak called off the talks at Taba early to focus on the Impending Israeli elections. at Taba, both sides declared they were on the verge of a settlement.

      Sharon won the election, and declared  that he would suspecd the peace process in formaldehyde.

  11. lobewyper
    May 17, 2010, 6:46 pm

    Phil–Wonderful post! Mondoweiss rocks!

    I have always believed the essence of the quote below from Bernadotte’s memoir:

    “To take one example: the Israeli Government had had a very great opportunity in connection with the Arab refugee question. It had missed that opportunity. It had shown nothing but hardness and obduracy towards those refugees. If instead of that it had shown a magnanimous spirit, if it had declared that the Jewish people, which itself had suffered so much, understood the feelings of the refugees and did not with to treat them in the same way as it itself had been treated, its prestige in the world at large would have been immeasurably increased.”

    Is it too late to turn the Israeli government’s ship around? Show a little “magnanimous spirit,” and see what develops.

  12. lobewyper
    May 17, 2010, 7:10 pm

    The excerpt below suggests that the U.S. government at least in the distant past took seriously human rights and social justice. Would that I will live to see that day again!

    On 29 May, Ben-Gurion received a letter from James G. McDonald, the first US Ambassador to Israel, by which the US President informed the Government of Israel that it was “seriously disturbed by the attitude of Israel with respect to a territorial settlement in Palestine and to the question of Palestine refugees”. The letter continued:

    “As a member of the U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission and as a nation which has consistently striven to give practical effect to the principles of the U.N., the United States Government has recently made a number of representations to the Israeli Government, concerning the repatriation of refugees who fled from conflict in Palestine. These representations were made in conformity with the principles set forth in the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11th, 1948, and urged the acceptance of the principle of substantial repatriation and the immediate beginnings of repatriation on a reasonable scale which would be well within the numbers to be agreed in a final settlement.”

    The letter reiterated that the Israeli Government “should entertain no doubt whatever” that the US Government expected it “to take responsible and positive action concerning the Palestine Refugees”. It then concluded:

    “If the Government of Israel continues to reject the basic principles set forth by the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11, 1948 and the friendly advice offered by the United States Government for the sole purpose of facilitating a genuine peace in Palestine, the United States Government will regretfully be forced to the conclusion that a revision of its attitude toward Israel has become unavoidable.”

  13. Richard Parker
    May 18, 2010, 1:55 am

    I didn’t know much about the machinations that followed the Israeli Independence declaration, and I’m thankful to understand, from Phil and other commentators, exactly what devious bastards the Israelis were at that time.

    Note – Every one of them was an Ashkenazi (European colonist), but most changed their names to Hebrew (Sharett/Shertok, Green/Ben Gurion). Even Netanyahu’s dad changed his name from Nathan Mileikowsky to Benzion Netanyahu. ‘Son of Zion’ sounds so much better, don’t you think?

    Perhaps I’ll change my clock-in name to something Martian, like eee, shamir, julian, or davidsiden; or perhaps even yonirax (although if I gave the translation from Armenian of that name, I’m sure he/she would be shocked).

  14. Richard Parker
    May 18, 2010, 2:00 am

    And there, I’ve done it again; taken a reasonably sensible thread here, and tried to demean it until it becomes an ad hominem shitfight.

    • Chaos4700
      May 18, 2010, 2:28 am

      Well at least you feel remorseful about it. That’s more than can be said for the persons you referenced.

  15. RoHa
    May 18, 2010, 2:28 am

    ” If an Arab refugee counts upon living again in the house he abandoned, or plying his trade in the workshop he formerly rented, or tilling the fields in the vicinity of the village he once knew, he is living under an illusion which it seems to me essential to dispel.”

    But Arabs hate Israel just from blind anti-Semitism.

    • Chaos4700
      May 18, 2010, 2:33 am

      If an Arab refugee counts upon living again in the house he abandoned, or plying his trade in the workshop he formerly rented, or tilling the fields in the vicinity of the village he once knew, he is living under an illusion which it seems to me essential to dispel.

      TOTALLY unlike the Zionist belief that Jews are “returning home.” Of course.

      I don’t get it. Are Zionists really, truly that intrinsically, thoroughly hypocritical? I still don’t fathom that most Americans aren’t smart enough to see through this idiocy.

      • Walid
        May 18, 2010, 3:53 am

        There are none so blind as those who will not see. Americans are smart enough but they are still on the guilt trip from the holocaust and from having turned their backs on the Jews in their hour of need. Add to this American self-interest in having a reliable bouncer in the area and lots of brainwashing on how the Israelis and Americans share the same “western values” and you’d see how Israel gets away with theft and murder. Then there’s the money.

      • Walid
        May 18, 2010, 4:56 am

        Back on Feb, 18th, there was a discussion here on Eisenhower’s threat of sanctions to get Israel out of the Sinai in 56 but not discussed was that this had been Eisenhower’s second threat to Israel, the first having occurred a few years before when Israel was just starting out on its long career of stealing water and Eisenhower had put his foot on Israel’s neck because of it:

        Accordingly, in 1951, contrary to the armistice agreements and over the protests of U.S. and U.N. officials, the Israelis began moving military units and bulldozers into the demilitarized zone on the Syrian border. Spurred by hostilities in the area over water, in 1953, the Eisenhower Administration prepared a unified plan for the use of the Jordan River. In September 1953, Israel, in an apparent attempt to preempt the American plan, secretly began a crash program to construct a nine-mile long pipeline in the demilitarized zone to divert Jordan River waters.

        When the Americans learned of Israel’s activities which included around the clock work crews, they protested and President Eisenhower went so far as to suspend vital economic aid to Israel. No announcement about the aid suspension was made at the time, perhaps to keep from drawing the ire of the Zionist lobby at home.

        However, soon afterward, the Israelis launched an unrelated attack on a West Bank Jordanian village, killing 53 people which came to be known as the Kibya massacre. As a result of the ensuing furor, on October 18, 1953, the Eisenhower administration made public its cutoff of aid to Israel. Eleven days later, under the pressure from the U.S. Zionist lobby and a pledge by Israel to suspend work on the diversion project, U.S. aid was resumed. (Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, by Stephen Green, William Morrow and Co., N.Y. 1984. “The 1953 Aid Cutoff: A Parable for Our Times,” pp. 76- 93.)

        Israeli work on diverting the water of the Jordan River was only temporarily suspended — perhaps for as long as two years. By 1960, however, the diversion project — which came to be known as the National Water Carrier — was complete and in fact was the target of the PLO’s first (and unsuccessful) attack in 1964.

        Jordan and Syria strongly protested Israel’s unilateral appropriation of their water because Israel’s diversion made local agricultural activity impossible.

        Full article on the history of Israeli water theft in the WB, Gaza and especially Lebanon:

        link to desip.igc.org

        Israel has a history of going back on its agreements. First with the Lausanne Protocol and with this National Water Carrier project to steal Jordan River water 2 years after it had agreed with Eisenho0wer that it wouldn’t do it. In later years, Bush Sr had threatened to block American guarantees for Israel’s $10 billion loan renewals if Israel wouldn’t stop settlements expansion but after it promised to stop and the US guaranteed Israel’s loans, it went back on its word and continued its expansion.

  16. Richard Witty
    May 18, 2010, 6:00 am

    “”In the first place [the Provisional Government of Israel] must surely realize that there could be no longer any doubt as to the continued existence of the Jewish state in Palestine. In the second, it must also recognize that what mattered most for the Jews was to increase their good-will in the world at large, and that they ought to set themselves forthwith to counteract the prevailing hatred between Arabs and Jews – whatever happened, the Jews must always reckon to have Arabs for their neighbours. To take one example: the Israeli Government had had a very great opportunity in connection with the Arab refugee question. It had missed that opportunity. It had shown nothing but hardness and obduracy towards those refugees. If instead of that it had shown a magnanimous spirit, if it had declared that the Jewish people, which itself had suffered so much, understood the feelings of the refugees and did not with to treat them in the same way as it itself had been treated, its prestige in the world at large would have been immeasurably increased.””

    The question was whether return of the refugees would allow the state to continue, or would destroy the state.

    The discussion of fairness doesn’t answer that question at all.

    There is a boundary between policy intending to do what’s fair but can’t in the circumstances, and cynical raitonalization for an intended unfair policy.

    It is impossible to say about a polity, that it “intended”. It is always a political discussion, ruled by majority. As such, the hearts and minds of the majority is what needs to be affected, to realize good.

    In the current Israeli polity, the ideology of Jabotinsky (humane and inhumane) is what controls. That is only the prevailing will of the majority where the drivers of that ideology control.

    They are two:
    1. Expansion to a confidently defensible boundary (rational)
    2. Expansion to an archaically historically claimed boundary (fanatic)

    They are bifurcated drives, that make any Arab response a confusing one.

    • Shingo
      May 18, 2010, 6:47 am

      All things come to an end. The Zionist state will come to and end too, and that will likely be soon. That doesn’t involve destruction.

      “There is a boundary between policy intending to do what’s fair but can’t in the circumstances, and cynical raitonalization for an intended unfair policy.”

      Israel has not, nor has ever been willing to do what is fair or necessary anyway, so this is a moot point.

      “It is always a political discussion, ruled by majority.”

      That’s called propaganda and marketing Witty. Reality is always there for those who seek it.

      ‘They are bifurcated drives, that make any Arab response a confusing one”

      It’s not confusing Witty, it’s simply that you’re not prepared to aknwledge it. For example, you continue to insisty that the Arab states are hostile to Israel, even thoug it has been pointed out to you countless times, that the Arab states have made a peace offer.

      It’s just so much more convenient for you to go on pretendign it doesn’t exist.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2010, 7:14 am

        If you think politics is only propaganda and marketing, then you have a very cynical view of the people and of politics.

        Shingo,
        It very much irritates me how you either intentionally misrepresent my views or don’t bother to note them.

        I stated MANY times that I felt that the presence of the Arab League offer was a qualitative change in the reality of the world. (I think you actually lie in implying that the Arab world is not hostile towards Israel, and worse in describing Hamas, Hezbollah’s, Iran’s views as less than slowly but actively assaultive).

        Your statements are odd. You can’t hold anything other than black or white in your mind?

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 7:31 am

        Lies and propaganda do tend to make one cynical Witty.

        So I irriate you do I? Well, that’s conforting to know. You’ve been the source of endless irritation to me and everyone else on this forum.

        Hamas, Hebollah and Iran have all said they would either back the Arab Peace initiative or accept it. This is a peace offer that promises everything that Israel has demanded, and yet Israel has rejected it. Yet, in your blinkered and catatonic reality, only the Arabs are ever guilty of hostility.

        I suspect that deep down you consider the peace initiative to be some insidious form of assymetric warfare.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2010, 7:37 am

        You irritate me by your misrepresentation of my views (which then lends your responses to me to be weak intellectually, but maybe fun rhetorically).

        My comments should be irritating to you. I object to your imposition of politically “correct” revisionism.

        I hold Arabs as much more complex than your characterization of my views. I’ve known a few well, well enough to know them beyond skin color or ethnicity, human beings.

        Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have each officially stated recently that they would NEVER recognize Israel.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2010, 7:38 am

        Its hard to know what they mean. Aren’t you as an intellectual, skeptical?

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 7:54 am

        Your comments are irritating becasue they are based on insufferable ignorace and colored by your iderological blindness. There’s nothing intellectual about your incoherent diatribes. That Evangelical moron Zamaaz sounds like a carbpon copy of you, becasue like you, he makes up his own facts and invents his own interpetrations of events, laws and reality.

        You don’t object to revisionism, potically correct or otherwise. You simply object to criticism of Israel and any suggestion of justice or accountability.

        “I hold Arabs as much more complex than your characterization of my views.”‘

        No you don’t. You regard them as a lesser species who are less deserving that Israeli Jews. After all, you have stated clearly that while you insist that Palestinians should tolerate the collective punishment inflicted on them by Israel, any such measures agaisnt Israel should be met with violence.

        One rule for Arabs (the sub species) and another for the Jews (the superior species). Like I always said, you’re simply a Zionist extremist with a soft tone of voice and witout the honesty.

        “‘Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have each officially stated recently that they would NEVER recognize Israel. “‘

        You’ve made that argument repeatedly and failed to provide any evidence. In fact, when you do provide links, they usually end up underminnig your argument.

        Being a pathological liar does not make you an intellectual.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 18, 2010, 8:07 am

        “Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have each officially stated recently that they would NEVER recognize Israel.”

        Israel’s current ruling party doesn’t recognise the right of the Palestinians to a state. It has been made very clear by Netanyahu and his party. It’s a tenet of their platform/charter. Another point, Iran stated many times that whatever solution is acceptable to the Palestinians is acceptable to them.
        Stop peddling lies Witty. It’s irritating.

      • Sumud
        May 18, 2010, 8:22 am

        “Being a pathological liar does not make you an intellectual.”

        It will get you tenure at Harvard though Shingo.

      • Walid
        May 18, 2010, 8:23 am

        >>Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have each officially stated recently that they would NEVER recognize Israel. (Richard W.)

        You make it sound as if it’s a cardinal sin not to; they don’t have to. The 10-year hudna proposed by Hamas wasn’t very far from an actual acceptance of Israel as having offered it was a recognition of sorts but this wasn’t good for Israel because it wants to keep the hostilities goig with the Palestinians to continue stealing more land. As to Hizbullah it has already said that it had no intention of entering Palestine to fight the Palestinians’ battles for them and it’s willing to live with whatever the Palestinian people decide they want to agree with Israel. Iran is giving support to the Palestinian people without necessarily fighting their battles for them. This recognition business that Israelis keep harping about is to feed their paranoia.

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 8:24 am

        It’s also worth pointing out that it is the obligation fo every state to abide by international law.

        There is no article of international law that requires any state to recgonize any other.

        There are articles of international law that require Israel to end it’s occuation, cease ethnic cleansing, cease home demolitions, return to the 1967 borders, stop atatcking it’s neighbors, prosecute those guilty of war crimes, release prisoners not charged with any crime, cease extra judicial killings, cease it’s illegal bockade of Gaza and permit te refugees to return to their homes.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2010, 8:26 am

        “you regard them as a lesser species”.

        You know nothing about my attitudes in fact.

        I’ve posted numerous references to statements by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as they’ve occurred, over years.

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 8:32 am

        “This recognition business that Israelis keep harping about is to feed their paranoia. ”

        Actually, it’s to stonewall and prolong the process. As Meeshal said, Arafat recognized Israel and what did it get him, other than killed?

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 8:33 am

        “You know nothing about my attitudes in fact.”

        We know all about your attitudes Witty. You simply don’t realze how much of your attitudes you expose through your convoluted and incoherent diatribes.

        “I’ve posted numerous references to statements by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as they’ve occurred, over year”

        No you haven’t.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2010, 8:35 am

        You ignore them when they are posted, Shingo.

        I’m not going back. I’ll continue to post what I note from my summary reading of American and other press.

        You don’t know squat about my attitudes, actions, thinking, in fact. You imagine, and misrepresent.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2010, 8:37 am

        Again,
        I think it is as likely that you are a plant here, as a sincere advocate for Palestinian well-being, with the extent that you alienate well-meaning prospective dissent.

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 8:53 am

        I never ignore your links when they are posted Witty.

        It’s a very rare occasion that you produce a link,so when you do, I remember it well and scruitinize it. It’s how I’ve come to recognize that your links usually contain noen fo the claims you are making at the time.

        It must be because you;re such a lazy reader and only skim the headlines.

        “I’m not going back. ”

        I wouldn’t either. You’ll just further humiliate yourself.

        “I’ll continue to post what I note from my summary reading of American and other press.”

        Yo mean, what you find useful, while ignoring the incovenient bits.

        “You don’t know squat about my attitudes, actions, thinking, in fact. You imagine, and misrepresent.

        I know all about you Witty. You’re an open book. You’re predictable, repetitive, and while grossly dishonest, you reveal yourself much more often than you care to admit.

        “I think it is as likely that you are a plant here, as a sincere advocate for Palestinian well-being, with the extent that you alienate well-meaning prospective dissent. ”

        How woudl you know Witty? You’re hardly well meaning and you’re never going to take part in dissent of your “beautiful jewel”.

        If anyone’s a plant here, it’s you.

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2010, 1:10 pm

        “I hold Arabs as much more complex than your characterization of my views.”‘

        See, Witty gives the “Arabs” much more credit for a capacity for humiliation and oppression than you do, you racist! How do you know that “Arabs” don’t enjoy being murdered and driven away from their homes? Do you think that Arabs only have unsophisticated tastes, and can’t enjoy the refined and ironic pleasures engendered by being a victim of genocide?
        I bet you think that Arabs are just like other people, wanting to live. Shows what you know, you ideological maximalist!

        One piece of work, that Witty, he is.

  17. Richard Witty
    May 18, 2010, 8:33 am

    “You make it sound as if it’s a cardinal sin not to; they don’t have to. ”

    Of course they don’t have to. They can keep the middle east in a state of war indefinitely. A ten-year hudna (that had the PRIMARY effect of giving them authority as an official party, rather than joining the PA) is nowhere near the status of recognition.

    You say that Hezbollah will not fight the Palestinians’ battles for them, but the abduction in 2006 was just that, a third “front” in solidarity with Palestinians. Israel held three Hezbollah prisoners at the time. Hezbollah demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinians.

    Get your facts straight.

    You can argue “successfully” among those that already believe as you do, and urge each other to get louder and louder. But, the ones that you need to successfully convince are the moderates, the compassionate, NOT the ideological.

    This is NOT Vietnam for American youth. And, it is not the vision of an alternative social future (counter-culture). The population of those willing to pursue ideologically assertive political stands are very few, and they don’t conform to the “vanguard” logic of “with a thousand fearless, we can…..”, as a thousand fearless will be a thousand in prison for life if they undertake revolutionary approaches.

    • Sumud
      May 18, 2010, 8:39 am

      “Israel held three Hezbollah prisoners at the time. Hezbollah demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinians.”

      You do understand some Hezbollah members are Palestinian refugees right?

    • Shingo
      May 18, 2010, 8:42 am

      “They can keep the middle east in a state of war indefinitely.”

      Refusing to recognize Israel does not mean that war is innevitable unless Israel chose to make it an excuse for war.

      “A ten-year hudna (that had the PRIMARY effect of giving them authority as an official party, rather than joining the PA) is nowhere near the status of recognition.”

      But it is a platform for security and peace. Israel doesn’t want peace.

      “You say that Hezbollah will not fight the Palestinians’ battles for them, but the abduction in 2006 was just that, a third “front” in solidarity with Palestinians. ”

      No, it was a cross border skirmish,h, like the dozens of other similar incidents that took place bewteen 200 and 2006. Israel routinely carry out such atatcks and those have never led to war.

      “Hezbollah demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinians.”

      False. They demanded the release of hundreds of Lebanese prisoners held without charge or reason.

      Get your facts straight.

      “But, the ones that you need to successfully convince are the moderates, the compassionate, NOT the ideological.”

      How would you now Witty? You are neither a moderate nor compassionate, but indeed ideological.

      “This is NOT Vietnam for American youth. And, it is not the vision of an alternative social future (counter-culture).”

      Waht you mean to say is, you don’t want it to be, but this is what you fear the most.

    • thankgodimatheist
      May 18, 2010, 8:48 am

      “You say that Hezbollah will not fight the Palestinians’ battles for them, but the abduction in 2006 was just that, a third “front” in solidarity with Palestinians. ”

      You got it awfully wrong! Lebanese prisoners, civilians and combattants, were rotting in Israeli jails for decades. The attempt at kidnapping Israeli soldiers was for exchange purposes and nothing to do with the Palestinians. Get your facts right, please.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 18, 2010, 8:52 am

        Witty is horribly misinformed. Horribly!

      • Shingo
        May 18, 2010, 8:58 am

        No Witty isn’t misinformed, he’s been well ifonrmed by the other participants on this forum. Witty is not interested in information or being informed. He’s simply here to propagandize, and has decided that he might get more mileage by pretending to be empathetic to the plight of the Palestinians.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 18, 2010, 9:03 am

        I was making an understatement Shingo…It happens to me sometimes. I can’t tell publicly what I think of this fellow.

  18. Sumud
    May 18, 2010, 8:34 am

    Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have each officially stated recently that they would NEVER recognize Israel.”

    Never recognise Israel ..or not agree to the silly “right to exist” formulation? No nation on earth (other than Israel) demands the “right to exist”, because it’s absurd: existence is a fact not a moral right. The right to exist argument is just another Israeli stalling tactic. It’s not required for Israel to live peacefully with her neighbours, or the Palestinians.

    • Shingo
      May 18, 2010, 8:36 am

      “It’s not required for Israel to live peacefully with her neighbours, or the Palestinians. ”

      Indeed, it’s not as thoguh Israel needs an excuse to start wars, but excuses come in handy for people like Witty so that he can blame the victims.

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