Nakba denial: ‘NYT’ removes the word ‘expulsion’ from article describing Palestinian refugees

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 65 Comments
nakba3
Palestinian refugees, 1948, from Occupied Palestine
 
NYT screenshot
(Photo: NYT screenshot 12/1/11)

On November 29, the New York Times ran an article by the Learning Network on the anniversary of the  1947 U.N. Partition Plan of Palestine. The article gave a brief description of the effects and background of U.N. resolution 181, including a short description of the Palestinian Nakba

But after publication, the Times edited out the word “expulsion” from the article.

The text originally read:

“May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders in the region formed the state of Israel. British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled and Arab armies soon invaded Israel.”

The NYT explains the editing of the text in the corrections section at the bottom of the webpage, citing “reader comments” as motivating the choice. The correction in full:

“We have changed a sentence in this entry in response to reader comments. The original sentence read “British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled and Arab armies soon invaded Israel.” We have removed “were expelled” and “soon.”

And ah, while we’re on Corrrections: The article incorrectly identifies the Palestinian Authority as the formal leadership of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is the official representation of the Palestinian people to the U.N. The Palestinian Authority is an interim civil administration with jurisdiction in the occupied Palestinian Territories.

The article was published by the NYT educational blog, the Learning Network, “Teaching and Learning with the New York Times.” The network posts regular columns titled “Word of the Day” and “Math”. Yesterday’s post investigated the question:  “Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?”

65 Responses

  1. Scott
    December 2, 2011, 10:19 am

    Great catch, Allison.

  2. Cliff
    December 2, 2011, 10:45 am

    There is only ONE comment thus far complaining and it is a typical Zionist commentator.

    After I get back from class, I’ll post there as well. We should post over there instead since the author of that ridiculous piece of historical revisionism is listening.

    Or maybe he/she is just listening to the ONE Zionist whiner.

    • Chaos4700
      December 2, 2011, 11:26 am

      I think “reader comment” is euphemism. I think this proves just how thoroughly the people who run the NYT are willing to go to shill for Lobby influence.

  3. tod
    December 2, 2011, 10:58 am

    For Bobs sake!!! There are 7 comments! Seven!
    Someone wrote an article on the “learning” section and then changed it after one comment complained?

    What does this say:
    1) The subject is so holly that any pro-Israel comment must be accommodated.
    OR
    2) The articles are written by drunken monkeys that didn’t take the minimum precautions before posting them, hence the “learning” part is actually sarcasm.

  4. split
    December 2, 2011, 11:15 am

    ‘”We have changed a sentence in this entry in response to reader comments’ – Read
    got flooded by angry phone calls from hasbara demolition squads ,…

  5. Woody Tanaka
    December 2, 2011, 11:16 am

    Is anyone really surprised? This is the NY Times. Can’t challenge the delicate sensitivities of its Zionist audience, can it. After all, Abe Foxman is just a cab ride away.

  6. David Samel
    December 2, 2011, 11:30 am

    Thank you Allison for bringing yet another example of insane bias to our attention. In fact, there were some other whoppers in the Times article that apparently did not require correction.

    For example:

    “Since 1917, Palestine had been under the control of Britain, which supported the creation of a Jewish state in the holy land.” Not exactly. The Balfour Declaration called for the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. In 1939, the British issued a White Paper, which explicitly stated that the creation of a Jewish State was not what Balfour had in mind, and that the Jewish National Home had been achieved.

    Of course, all of this history comes under the questionable Zionist claim that “the Brits told us we could have your land.” It is reasonable to infer that the article’s sentence about British control and support for a Jewish State was intended to convey that Britain was a reasonable, impartial arbiter of the rights of people all over the globe; that it controlled Palestine, by virtue of its inherent virtue; and that Britain, in its eminent fairness and unchallenged authority, favored the reasonable solution of the creation of a Jewish State. Of course, the British never showed much interest in the desires and aspirations of the unfortunate people who inconveniently resided on the land Britain purported to control, but even so, it did not favor the creation of a Jewish State. Still, this indisputable error was overlooked by the fact-checkers at the Times.

    Another example: “thousands of Palestinian Arabs fled.” Thousands? I suppose that’s technically correct, just as “thousands” of Jews perished in the Holocaust. It is generally agreed that 7 to 8 hundred thousands of Palestinians fled, just as nearly six thousand thousands (six million) Jews were killed. The use of the word “thousands’ to minimize the event is really inexcusable.

    Moreover, by the time the “Arab armies invaded Israel” in May, 1948, many Palestinians already had fled, inspired to do so by a series of massacres of civilians, the most famous of which was Deir Yassin on April 9.

    Which brings us to the next claim about Arab armies invading Israel. Is the article referring to the “Israel” as drawn by the Partition Plan borders? If so, there was very little “invasion,” only some by the Egyptian Army, as the Israeli forces managed to keep almost all of the fighting in the territory allotted for the Palestinian State. Wasn’t that an “invasion”? That is why when the dust cleared, and the cease fire lines were drawn, Israel controlled not just 55% of the area as envisioned in the Partition Plan, but 78% of the land.

    Amidst all of these errors, the Times sees fit to remove the word “expelled.” Why? It’s true that “fled” is an apt description, since the Palestinians did flee, as all war refugees flee, in fear for their lives. But actual forcible expulsion at gunpoint also took place. In at least one example, Yitzhak Rabin admitted that he supervised such a gunpoint expulsion that emptied the cities of Lydda and Ramle of about 50,000 inhabitants. Moreover, even if the remainder of the Palestinians’ flight was “voluntary,” a ludicrous description for those panicked by the prospect of being butchered by a foreign army, once they were denied return to their land and homes by Israel, an undeniable fact, even the silly concept of “voluntary flight” became outright expulsion.

    There’s simply no end to the bias at the Times posing as the impartial “newspaper of record.”

    • Robert Werdine
      December 2, 2011, 6:34 pm

      “Is the article referring to the “Israel” as drawn by the Partition Plan borders? If so, there was very little “invasion,” only some by the Egyptian Army, as the Israeli forces managed to keep almost all of the fighting in the territory allotted for the Palestinian State. Wasn’t that an “invasion”? That is why when the dust cleared, and the cease fire lines were drawn, Israel controlled not just 55% of the area as envisioned in the Partition Plan, but 78% of the land.”

      David, if you want to complain about misrepresentations of history, you might start with your own contribution to the genre quoted above. Your trivialization of the extent and reach of the Pan-Arab invasion of the newly-declared state of Israel is a case in point.

      By the time of the Pan-Arab invasion of May 15, 1948, the Yishuv were actually holding very little territory outside the Jewish apportioned areas. In Galilee the Arabs held parts of the northeast Jewish section west of Safed, while the Yishuv held the Arab section north of Acre, and the Arabs held the 10-15 mile stretch of the coastal plain south of Haifa apportioned to the Jews. What is today the West Bank was almost completely in Arab hands with the exception of a narrow corridor east of Isdod and south of Latrun running east to Jerusalem. The Negev wasn’t even completely occupied by the Yishuv at this time. The main population centers of Nazareth, Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus, Ramallah, Lydda, Latrun, Beersheba, Hebron, Gaza, and Isdod were all in Arab hands. On May 15, the Yishuv were holding barely any Arab apportioned territory, and were not even occupying all of the Jewish apportioned territory.

      (For a map of Jewish and Arab held areas on May 15 1948 and the Arab invasion routes see Benny Morris “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War,” 2008, p.p.64, 184, and Chaim Herzog “The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East,” p.p. 20, 50)

      In any case, the Arab and Palestinian militias had been attacking the UN apportioned areas of the Jewish state’s borders ever since December 1947. With the exception of Stern and Irgun terror attacks and a few isolated acts by the Haganah, the Yishuv was, in the main, on the defensive until early April 1948.

      See the UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION’s “First Special Report to the Security Council: The Problem of Security in Palestine,” February 16, 1948.

      link to unispal.un.org

      The Arab Liberation Army attacked Jewish held Malikya from Lebanon, the Syrians attacked Jewish held Mishmar Hayarden north of the Sea of Galilee, and Jewish-held Samakh to the south of the sea. An Iraqi force from the East Bank 20 miles south of Tirat- Svi shot northwest across the Jordan to Nablus and further north to Jenin, wheeling round Ulm al-Fahm south to attack Jewish held Geulim.

      The Jordanians launched both northern and southern attacks. The north Jordanian force shot north to Nablus, where it divided, one pivoting north to Tulkharm, then wheeling south through Taybe and Qalqilya to Ras al-‘Ein, and the other shooting south from Nablus to Ramallah, where it linked with the southern force, which had shot across the Jordan and through Jericho. At Ramallah the Jordanians split their forces, one south to Jerusalem, one southwest to Latrun, and one east by northwest, wheeling round Ben Shemen to Lydda to Ramla.

      The 6000 man Egyptian force pivoted at Rafah into a parallel two-pronged advance to the north, the eastern thrust slicing through Jewish–held areas of the Negev just north of Nirim, Gvulot, Tse’elim, Alumim, northward through Beersheba and Hebron to Jerusalem. The western thrust cut through Gaza to Isdud with Tel-Aviv as the objective, with a detachment peeling off eastward from Maidal to al-Faluja to Beit Jibrin in an attempt to link up with the eastward thrust and surround the Jewish encampments in the Negev.

      This then was the attack that was put into action. Its aim was to abort the nascent Jewish state and establish a “unitary Palestinian state” that the Arabs would then slice up between themselves. It is certainly true that ‘Abdullah of Jordan had decided at the last moment to confine his objectives to seizing as much of the West Bank as possible but that doesn’t negate the fact that Syrian, Iraqi, and Egyptian attacks both into and toward Jewish held areas were occurring all around the crescent shaped perimeter that the Yishuv were presently holding: Malikya, Mishmar Hayarden, Samakh in Galilee, Geulim near the coastal plain, and the areas of the Negev just north of Nirim, Gvulot, Tse’elim, Alumim.

      In the post-May 15 stage of the conflict the Yishuv certainly had a modest superiority in numbers, and they increased those numbers as the conflict progressed, but this ignores the fact that a) Arab numbers also increased, and b) those numbers of the Yishuv could never be concentrated at a single decisive point. The Yishuv were now fighting three distinct, interconnected entities on a vulnerable multi-front crescent perimeter that was extremely awkward to defend: the Palestinians, a pan-Arab volunteer force, and the regular armed forces of six Arab states—Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and a Saudi contingent. The ability of the Arabs to field their forces on a wide front., and concentrate their individual armies at decisive points of the front created a fundamental asymmetry between them and the Yishuv.

      The Yishuv had prepared for war, and they were certainly not going to remain within the vulnerable lines of the partition if the surrounding Arab states attacked. The defense of those lines would be any staff officer’s nightmare. In the event of hostilities they were simply not defensible. In September Moshe Sharett told an interlocutor that if the Arabs initiate war, “we will get hold of as much of Palestine as we can hold.” The war and the pan-Arab invasion were thus the game-changers, and rendered the partition lines functionally irrelevant. The collapse of the Palestinian war effort in late April and early May necessitated a response from the Arabs if they were going to claim any of the Palestine that they coveted, and they gave it when the British Mandate expired. The effort to abort the nascent Jewish state that had begun in December 1947 merely entered a new, escalated stage after May 15.

      David, you can look at it upside down and sideways and it all comes down to this: there would have been no refugee crisis if there had been no war, and there would have been no war if the surrounding Arab states had not rejected the partition. From the moment it passed the GA the Arab states have literally organized their whole polity toward denying any Jewish sovereign state whatever its size, and to delegitimizing and destroying it when it was established. I have always believed that the Palestinian people, if given a choice, would have voted to accept the partition and live in peace beside the Jewish state, though I have no evidence to support it. But they really had no say in the matter; the surrounding Arab states decided for them.

      Just imagine what the lives of the Palestinians and the other Arabs would be like today if they had decided to live in peace and accept the partition instead of devoting lives, resources and prodigies of energy down the sinkhole of this destructive obsession.

      • ddi
        December 3, 2011, 5:08 am

        Palestinian refugees now number almost 5 million and without the horrid conditions of refugee camps their numbers would have been much larger, the Zionists would not have allowed their Jewish majority threatened, they “had” to ethnically cleanese them.

      • eGuard
        December 3, 2011, 6:43 am

        Robert Werdine,
        You just comfirmed (not refuted) what David Samel wrote: Arabs did not invade Partition Plan Jewish area that much, let alone then Jewish occupied territory within that Plan. And, importantly, back on topic: you describe the circumstances when Palestinians were expelled from areas occupied/controlled/attacked by Jewish army or terrorist gangs. Before and after May 15, 1948. Expelled is the word.

        Introducing arguments like “[Partition Plan lines are] simply not defensible” — so we had to take more (why not less, as a military option?, especially since the Partition Plan was not that, eh, balanced), is straight hasbara. It is still being used today.

        Some maps: 1947-1949, Razed villages.

        Adding “had the Palestinians and other Arabs decided to live in peace” – is hasbare nonsense. History has proven different, they were not allowed to choose (and how would the Jewish terrorists/future Israel leaders obtain the not-yet Jewish occupied areas in the PP? By doing peace proposals?). After 1948, Israel started wars of choice in 1956, 1967 (continuing today through the occupation), 1982, 2006, 2008.

      • David Samel
        December 3, 2011, 10:50 am

        Robert, thanks for keeping your response to merely lengthy. Once again, you point the finger of blame at the Arab side for refusing to accept “Jewish sovereignty” where quite a number of non-Jewish people happened to be living. I simply do not understand how the partition resolution could have been acceptable to any people. The Zionists were not asking for the right to emigrate and live among the Palestinians as equals, but were demanding the right to implement some sort of Jewish rule over the indigenous population. btw, when Mexicans seek to emigrate to the US, not even to live as equal citizens but to simply engage in difficult manual labor to send some money back home, what is the general reaction here? And you ask us to imagine how much better off the Palestinians would have been had they accepted Jewish sovereignty and lived in “peace”? Why don’t you suggest that the Palestinians could have avoided a great deal of death and destruction had they simply volunteered to engage in their own ethnic cleansing from their land and the land of their ancestors? Even the borders proposed by the UN depicted a Jewish State with only a small unsustainable majority of Jewish people. The creation of a Jewish State necessarily required ethnic cleansing of most inhabitants and subjugation as second-class “citizens” for those who were able to remain. You are not the first to pretend to be mystified at the rejection of this “reasonable compromise.”

        You even concede that there were “Stern and Irgun terror attacks and a few isolated acts by the Haganah,” but consider such incidents to be exceptions. Your effort to mostly, though not completely, absolve the Haganah from responsibility is unpersuasive, but most importantly, these terror attacks were necessary for Israel to be created. There had to be widespread flight of Palestinians, and they were not going to leave their homes unless they were afraid for their lives. To suggest that these necessary attacks – massacres of civilians – were incidental rather than deliberately planned is pure sophistry.

        Finally, Robert, the Jewish side generally (though not unanimously) accepted the notion of partition, but it clearly rejected the boundaries imposed by the plan, murdered the UN mediator Bernadotte (a genuine Holocaust hero, no less), and rejected the UNGA refugee return resolution 194 that was at least as authoritative as the partition resolution of a year earlier. In fact, Israel has almost entirely rejected any UN authority to resolve the dispute in the 63 years since. Yet you can only blame the Palestinians for rejecting, quite reasonably in my opinion, a plan to dispossess and subjugate them to foreign rule. Have the Palestinians ever engaged in inappropriate and even indefensible violence against ordinary Israeli citizens? Absolutely. But does that change the overall picture of right and wrong? Absolutely not.

      • Robert Werdine
        December 4, 2011, 7:53 pm

        David,

        Said you:

        “Once again, you point the finger of blame at the Arab side for refusing to accept “Jewish sovereignty” where quite a number of non-Jewish people happened to be living. I simply do not understand how the partition resolution could have been acceptable to any people. The Zionists were not asking for the right to emigrate and live among the Palestinians as equals, but were demanding the right to implement some sort of Jewish rule over the indigenous population… Even the borders proposed by the UN depicted a Jewish State with only a small unsustainable majority of Jewish people. The creation of a Jewish State necessarily required ethnic cleansing of most inhabitants and subjugation as second-class “citizens” for those who were able to remain.”

        David, there were some 650,000 Jews and more than twice the number of Arabs living in Palestine in 1947. What was to be done? Both the Peel and UN commissions concluded that peaceful co-existence in a binational state was a non-starter, and recommended partition. You call the portion of Palestine apportioned to the Jews for a state as the Yishuv “demanding the right to implement some sort of Jewish rule over the indigenous population” and thus judge it to be unreasonable; I view the matter rather differently. They were demanding the right to state of their own, consented to include a sizable Arab minority within that state, and to respect their rights as equal citizens.

        The notion that “The creation of a Jewish State necessarily required ethnic cleansing of most inhabitants and subjugation as second-class “citizens” for those who were able to remain” is nonsense.

        In the first place, the partition envisaged no expulsion or transfer of any Palestinian Arabs.

        Secondly, it would at least have given the Palestinians a state of their own and those living in the Jewish state would have been living in a democracy, whatever its flaws and imperfections; absent the partition, Arabs and Jews alike would have been subject to Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian rule, or, rather, misrule, as all the surrounding states had no intention of allowing an independent state to be formed.

        The fortunes of those Arabs who remained in Israel after the war, compared to those who were now living in the WB and Gaza, including those 400-500,000 who were not refugees and were already living there, only underscores this reality. To describe those oppressed and left rotting in refugee camps for decades as being as being merely “subjugated” and treated as “second-class citizens” would be an understatement. Dhimmi status subjugation, expulsion, or worse awaited any Jews left living in Palestine at that time, and the Mufti had more than made clear how he would treat the Jews in his midst if he were their master.

        Third, the partition was far from perfect, but what arguments against it ignore is that while some 550,000 Jews and some 397,000 Arabs would be living in the proposed 55% allotted to the Jewish state, and some 800,000 or more Palestinian Arabs would be living in the 41% of the Arab Palestinian state, 62% of the Jewish state envisioned by the partition would have consisted of desert, while the Palestinians were offered the most fertile land. (Some 100,000 Jews and an equal number of Arabs would inhabit the 4% international protectorate of Jerusalem).

        “You even concede that there were “Stern and Irgun terror attacks and a few isolated acts by the Haganah,” but consider such incidents to be exceptions. Your effort to mostly, though not completely, absolve the Haganah from responsibility is unpersuasive, but most importantly, these terror attacks were necessary for Israel to be created. There had to be widespread flight of Palestinians, and they were not going to leave their homes unless they were afraid for their lives. To suggest that these necessary attacks – massacres of civilians – were incidental rather than deliberately planned is pure sophistry.”

        What I said was this: “The Arab and Palestinian militias had been attacking the UN apportioned areas of the Jewish state’s borders ever since December 1947. With the exception of Stern and Irgun terror attacks and a few isolated acts by the Haganah, the Yishuv was, in the main, on the defensive until early April 1948.”

        And this is true. I was discussing the so-called “Civil War period” of the 1948 War, which was fought inside Palestine between the Yishuv and Arab and Palestinian militias between December 1947 until the Pan-Arab invasion on May 15, 1948. This period of the war developed in two stages: The first was between early December 1947 to April 6, 1948, when, following the rejection of the partition, numerous small unit military attacks were launched by Arab and Palestinian militias on Jewish settlements and roadways, and with the Yishuv, with the exception of Stern and Irgun terror attacks and a few isolated acts by the Haganah, were on the defensive. Some 75-100,000 refugees fled during this period, and they were not expelled. As Benny Morris has said,

        “During this period, Jewish troops expelled the inhabitants of only one village—Qisariya, in the Coastal Plain, in mid-February (for reasons connected to Jewish illegal immigration rather than the ongoing civil war)—though other villages were harassed and a few specifically intimidated by the IZL, LHI, and Haganah actions (much as during this period Jewish settlements were being harassed and intimidated by Arab irregulars).” (“1948: The First Arab-Israeli War,” pp.94-95).

        In the period between the passing of the partition Nov.29, 1947 and April 6, 1948, I am certainly aware of retaliatory attacks (actually, revenge killings) by the Haganah on Khisas in Galilee on December 19, Balad ash Sheik and Hawasa on Dec.31-Jan.1, and the Semiramis Hotel in west Jerusalem on January 5-6 (in which some 26 civilians died). There were also certainly a series of small counter-assaults on other small targets in this period, but the Haganah was, by and large, on the defensive in this period. But other than these mentioned, and, of course, terrorist attacks by the Stern and Irgun, I am not aware of any large scale Haganah attacks in this period, least of all any that could have expelled any Palestinians en masse.

        The second stage of this period of the war occurred from April 6 to May 15, when the Haganah, seeing Jewish Jerusalem surrounded and besieged, the roadways between the settlements being sabotaged and strangled, and after suffering some four months of unrelenting attacks, took to the counter-offensive with Operation Nachshon, and drove back and defeated the Arab militias. This period saw the collapse of the Palestinian war effort, and the flight of some 3-400,000 refugees.

        David, one of the points I have repeatedly tried to emphasize here is that the first Arab-Israeli War was indeed a war, and not just an assault by one side against a helpless victim. This ignores entirely the military dimension of the conflict, and the role that the fighting played, among other things, in the flight of the refugees. It is not even clear to me that you concede there was even a war at all; just one long, extended, well planned ethnic clearing operation that met negligible or meager resistance.

        But this is untrue. The Arabs launched company sized assaults (i.e., 150 + soldiers) against the Efal neighborhood (December 4), the Hatikva quarter of Tel-Aviv (December 8 &10), the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem (December 10), and a major convoy to Ben-Shemen (December 14).

        On January 10, a battalion sized (900 man) assault was launched on Kfar-Szold (January 10), a 1,000-man assault on Etzion Bloc (January 14), company sized assaults on Yechiam (January 20), Tirat Svi (February 16), Magdiel (March 2), Ramot-Naftali (March 4), a successful ambush on three major Jewish convoys (March 27, 28, & 31), and an attack on Mishmar-Haemak (April 4).

        Again, the period was certainly punctuated with terrorist attacks by the Stern and Irgun from December 12 and onward, and a few limited retaliatory attacks by the Haganah in the first two weeks of February, but nothing any where near the scale of the Arab attacks. Despite their weaknesses and disorganization, the Palestinian militias and the Arab Liberation Army had found the Yishuv’s weak spot: the crucial roadways between the scattered settlements, and they hammered home their operational and geographical advantages with a tenacity and a skill that stretched the Yishuv almost to their breaking point. Before early April, the Haganah was, by and large, on the defensive, and fighting for its existence.

        The Arabs were concerned about the collapse of the Arab war effort following the Yishuv counter-offensive in early April, and the mass exodus from the towns and villages that accompanied it. But that was not all. They did not, as I pointed out earlier, attack only the Arab-held and apportioned areas, but mostly Jewish held areas, and the Yishuv were not only occupying but a sliver of Arab apportioned territory, they weren’t even occupying some of the Jewish apportioned areas on May 15. The Arabs, on May 15, tried to finish what they started in December 1947: to abort the nascent Jewish state and establish an Arab ruled entity that they would then divide between themselves. They failed. That’s how it goes.

        “Finally, Robert, the Jewish side generally (though not unanimously) accepted the notion of partition, but it clearly rejected the boundaries imposed by the plan, murdered the UN mediator Bernadotte (a genuine Holocaust hero, no less), and rejected the UNGA refugee return resolution 194 that was at least as authoritative as the partition resolution of a year earlier.”

        If you are suggesting that the Yishuv rejected the boundaries of the partition plan after it was passed absent the subsequent war to abort the nascent Jewish state by the Arabs, this is false. They accepted the principle of partition and accepted the UN partition plan that passed the UNGA on November 29, 1947. There is no evidence that they had any intent of violating these boundaries or expelling any Arabs in the state at this stage, nor did they do so. The acceptance of the partition was explicitly noted and emphasized in Ben Gurion’s December 3, 1947 speech to Mapai.

        Benny Morris, in a critique of Walt and Mearsheimer’s “The Israel Lobby” has written:

        “The Palestinian Arabs, supported by the surrounding Arab world, rebelled against the U.N. partition resolution and unleashed a bloody civil war, which was followed by a pan-Arab invasion. The war resulted in a large, partial transfer of population. The chaos that all had foreseen if Palestine were partitioned without an orderly population transfer in fact enveloped the country. But this is emphatically not to say, as Mearsheimer and Walt do, that the Zionists’ occasional ruminations about transfer were translated in 1947-1948 into a overall plan and policy–unleashed, as they put it, when the “opportunity came,” as if what occurred in 1948 was a general and premeditated expulsion.

        The Zionist leadership accepted the partition plan, which provided for a Jewish state in 55 percent of Palestine with 550,000 Jews and between 400,000 and 500,000 Arabs. The Jewish Agency called on the Arabs to desist from violence, and promised a life of beneficial co-existence. In private, Zionist officials began planning agricultural and regional development that took into account the large Arab minority and its continued citizenship in the new Jewish state. Indeed, down to the end of March 1948, after four months of the Palestinian Arab assault on the Yishuv, backed by the Arab League, Zionist policy was geared to the establishment of a Jewish state with a large Arab minority. Haganah policy throughout these months was to remain on the defensive, to avoid hitting civilians, and generally to refrain from spreading the conflagration to parts of Palestine still untouched by warfare.

        Indeed, on March 24, 1948, Yisrael Galili, the head of the Haganah National Command, the political leadership of the organization, issued a secret blanket directive to all brigades and units to abide by long-standing official Zionist policy toward the Arab communities in the territory of the emergent Jewish state–to secure “the full rights, needs, and freedom of the Arabs in the Hebrew state without discrimination” and to strive for “co-existence with freedom and respect,” as he put it. And this was not a document devised for Western or U.N. eyes, with a propagandistic purpose; it was a secret, blanket, internal operational directive, in Hebrew. It was only at the start of April, with its back to the wall (much of the Yishuv, in particular Jewish Jerusalem, was being strangled by Arab ambushes along the roads) and facing the prospect of pan-Arab invasion six weeks hence, that the Haganah changed its strategy and went over to the offensive..”

        There was no rejection of Res. 194 by Israel; the Israelis accepted Resolutions 181 and 194 in being admitted to the UN as a member state. It was the Arab states that rejected it.

        The state of Israel in its post-armistice configuration resulted from the war and the Israelis were not going to negate the results of the war in which they had just sacrificed 1% of their population and return to the vulnerable partition lines of 1947 which a) the Arabs had rejected anyway, and b) while the Arabs continued a state of hostilities and a policy of non-recognition.

        Following the armistice and Israel’s admission to the UN, the Israelis, consistent with their obligations in gaining UN membership and Resolution 194, offered to resettle some 100,000-200,000 refugees in Israel at the Lausanne Conference; the Arabs rejected it without discussion. The Arabs, as with all previous discussions, refused direct dealings with the Israelis, and demanded acceptance of the refugees’ repatriation in full as a precondition to further talks. The Israelis insisted on discussions of the refugee problem in the context of a full regional peace; the Arabs refused, and the discussions broke down.

        The full return of the refugees to Israel in 1949 with the surrounding states still in the midst of a state of hostilities would have put some 750,000 (or more) Palestinians along with some 160,000 remaining Palestinians alongside some 650,000 Jews, thus making the Jews a (41%) minority in their own state. This would seem to have blunted the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, and negated the entire reason for the creation of the Jewish state in the first place.

        Jewish self-determination did not need to come at the price of the Palestinians’ exodus. The Palestinians, who also had a right to self determination that the Jews never denied, certainly would have had it if they and the surrounding Arab states had accepted the partition. Rejecting the partition and opting for war had consequences.

        Their self-determination was not only suppressed by the surrounding Arab states in the 1949-1967 period, but spurned repeatedly by their leadership on multiple occasions afterward.

        Regarding Resolution 194, here is the relevant paragraph:

        “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors 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 and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible”

        The resolution is in the form of a recommendation and is hortatory. It may have slipped your notice that the Arabs rejected the resolution precisely because the GA rejected Bernadotte’s original draft:

        “the right of the Arab refugees to return to their homes in Jewish-controlled territory at the earliest possible date… and their repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation, and payment of adequate compensation for the property of those choosing not to return…”

        The resolution in its final form makes no mention of a “right of return” or of “Arab” refugees. It merely recommends that all refugees “wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”

        The Conciliation Commission for Palestine established by the UN was charged with the task to “take steps to assist the Governments and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them,” meaning resolving the refugee issue (which was but one paragraph in the resolution) within the larger task of the establishing of a full regional peace among the former belligerents. It does not anywhere state that Israel is in any way obligated to allow an unlimited repatriation of Palestinian refugees independently of all the other provisions and recommendations, while the Arabs/Palestinians continue a state of hostilities and defy the provisions calling for them to live “at peace with [their] neighbors” i.e., Israel, and it most certainly never envisaged those refugees not repatriated to remain unsettled and stateless in their host countries. Para graph 4 of UNGA resolution 393, in fact, states clearly and unequivocally that “the reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, is essential in preparation for the time when international assistance is no longer available, and for the realization of conditions of peace and stability in the area.”

        Said you:

        “In fact, Israel has almost entirely rejected any UN authority to resolve the dispute in the 63 years since.”

        Please detail what these UN attempts to resolve the conflict were, what was proposed, what was accepted by the Arabs, and what was rejected by Israel.

      • Hostage
        December 4, 2011, 9:37 pm

        Both the Peel and UN commissions concluded that peaceful co-existence in a binational state was a non-starter, and recommended partition.

        The UNSCOP only reported that the Jews refused to accept a bi-national state, not that it was a non-starter. In fact, the report of the UNSCOP 2nd Committee was devoted to a proposal for a bi-national state.

        The UNSCOP actually predicted that the threat by the Jews to establish and defend a state on their own initiative would lead to a violent struggle with the Arabs (See paragraphs 153-155 of A/364, 3 September 1947). link to unispal.un.org

        The UNSCOP also reported that Palestine could not be used to solve the plight of the displaced Jews of Europe or as an answer to “The Jewish Question”.

        Please note that the recommendations that were unanimously adopted by the UNSCOP did not include the plan of partition, but did include guarantees for such vital matters as the protection of minorities, and the safeguarding of the Holy Places and religious interests until all of the people of Palestine achieved their independence.

        Based upon the principles contained in the UN Charter, the Security Council refused to impose partition on the people of Palestine through the threat or use of force and called the General Assembly back into Special Session to recommend another solution. The General Assembly suspended the work of its Palestine Commission and appointed a UN Mediator to initiate a fresh round of negotiations for a just settlement.

        Here is what the UNSCOP report actually said about the Jewish case against a b-inational state:

        153. It would appear that the dear implication of the Jewish contention that the National Home can be safeguarded from Arab domination only when it can stand by itself is that an independent Jewish State in all or part of Palestine is the only means of securing the promise of the Mandate for a Jewish National Home. Even a binational State, on a parity basis, unless there were extensive international guarantees, would not seem to meet the Jewish contention.

        154. The Jewish assurance that no political injustice would be done to the Arabs by the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine, since the Arabs have never established a government there, gains some support from the fact that not since 63 B.C., when Pompey stormed Jerusalem, has Palestine been an independent State. On the other hand, the fact remains that today in Palestine there are over 1,200,000 Arabs, two-thirds of the population, who oppose a Jewish State and who are intent on establishing an independent Arab State.

        155. Any solution assuring the continued development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine would necessarily involve continued Jewish immigration, the postponement of [Arab] independence, and also administration by a third party, at least until the Jewish people become a majority there. Such absolution would have to be enforced, in view of the opposition of the Arab population. Many Jews contend that, if given the opportunity, the Jews alone could defend a Jewish State. Even this, however, envisages the possibility of a violent struggle with the Arabs.

      • ddi
        December 5, 2011, 2:27 am

        “The full return of the refugees to Israel in 1949 with the surrounding states still in the midst of a state of hostilities would have put some 750,000 (or more) Palestinians along with some 160,000 remaining Palestinians alongside some 650,000 Jews, thus making the Jews a (41%) minority in their own state. This would seem to have blunted the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, and negated the entire reason for the creation of the Jewish state in the first place.

        Jewish self-determination did not need to come at the price of the Palestinians’ exodus.”

        You do realize the blatant contradiction here, right?

      • David Samel
        December 5, 2011, 9:58 am

        Robert, you are so tiresome. Your ability to gullibly and unquestioningly absorb classic hasbara and regurgitate it, apparently in your own words, is beyond dispute, but don’t you see how silly you sound. You claim that “the Zionist leadership accepted the partition plan, which provided for a Jewish state in 55 percent of Palestine with 550,000 Jews and between 400,000 and 500,000 Arabs.” Israelis today “tolerate” a 20% non-Jewish minority in their citizenry, but warn that there is a demographic threat if that number increases too much. Do you really think the Zionist leadership was OK with a 40+ percent minority of Arabs in the Jewish State? Apparently you dismiss the statements made by the Zionist leadership themselves, some of which already were discussed in detail by Hostage. But even if there were no such publicly available statements, do you think they were stupid enough to believe that that proportion was a viable basis for a Jewish State, especially since the Palestinians had a higher birth rate?

        Forcible dispersion of large numbers of Palestinians was an absolutely necessary part of the whole plan. Your fantasy of a Jewish State that does not compromise the rights of the indigenous non-Jewish population is reminiscent of the immaculate conception.

        And the Israelis did not reject UNGA 194? Are you serious? The resolution called for the right of return of all refugees who wished to live in peace. The Israelis offered return to a tiny percentage, and you call that acceptance? Having driven out hundreds of thousands, which was necessary to create and maintain the Jewish State, they were not about to let them return, no matter what the UN said.

        As for Israeli rejection of UN authority since then, you cannot be ignorant of the yearly resolutions on the peaceful settlement of the Palestine question that Israel and the US vote against with a handful of other countries, resulting in a vote of about 160 to 7 ; or the many times the refugee return resolution has been re-passed without compliance by Israel; or the UN resolutions and ICJ opinion on the wall in the West Bank. And what has been Israel’s position on UN membership for Palestine? If Palestine is accepted, will Israel honor that decision?

        You manage to spruce up the usual hasbara with proper grammar and exhaustive details, for which you rarely provide any citations. You have a lot of energy and even more time on your hands. But you’re a very silly man, Robert. You obviously want to be taken seriously, but why you continue to peddle your nonsense here is beyond me.

      • Robert Werdine
        December 5, 2011, 6:31 pm

        Hostage,

        Said you:

        “The UNSCOP only reported that the Jews refused to accept a bi-national state, not that it was a non-starter. In fact, the report of the UNSCOP 2nd Committee was devoted to a proposal for a bi-national state. ”

        This is correct, and I was in error. Thank you for the correction.

      • Robert Werdine
        December 7, 2011, 6:42 pm

        David,

        Said you:

        “Do you really think the Zionist leadership was OK with a 40+ percent minority of Arabs in the Jewish State? Apparently you dismiss the statements made by the Zionist leadership themselves, some of which already were discussed in detail by Hostage. But even if there were no such publicly available statements, do you think they were stupid enough to believe that that proportion was a viable basis for a Jewish State, especially since the Palestinians had a higher birth rate?”

        No. The Zionist leadership had believed from the beginning that their objective for a Jewish majority in Palestine would come about by means of massive Jewish immigration, not expulsion. Plans within the movement at the end of the 1930s envisioned the influx of a million Jews to Palestine within a decade. That number, of course, was aimed at guaranteeing a Jewish majority, which is why the Arabs were so intransigent and hostile to immigration: because they wished to prevent a demographic transformation.

        Ben Gurion emphasized this in his much-misquoted speech to Mapai on December 3, 1947, where there is, by the way, no mention of any rejection of the partition here, or of any transfer or expulsion, but another method to increase the Jewish majority of the state: immigration.

        After “Such a composition does not even give us absolute assurance that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority,” Ben Gurion says:

        “From here stems the first and principal conclusion. The creation of the state is not the formal implementation process discussed by the UN General Assembly. . . . To ensure not only the establishment of the Jewish State but its existence and destiny as well — we must bring a million-and-a-half Jews to the country and root them there. It is only when there will be at least two millions Jews in the country — that the state will be truly established.

        There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60 per cent, and so long as this majority consists of only 600,000 Jews. . . .We have been confronted with a new destiny — we are about to become masters of our own fate. This requires a new approach to all our questions of life. We must reexamine all our habits of mind, all our systems of operation to see to what extent they suit our new future. We must think in terms of a state, in terms of independence, in terms of full responsibility for ourselves — and for others. In our state there will be non-Jews as well — and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is: the state will be their state as well.”

        Ben Gurion continued: “The attitude of the Jewish State to its Arab citizens will be an important factor—though not the only one—in building good neighbourly relations with the Arab States. If the Arab citizen will feel at home in our state, and if his status will not be the least different from that of the Jew, and perhaps better than the status of the Arab in an Arab state, and if the state will help him in a truthful and dedicated way to reach the economic, social, and cultural level of the Jewish community, then Arab distrust will accordingly subside and a bridge to a Semitic, Jewish-Arab alliance, will be built…” (Ben Gurion’s own words in his Ba-Ma’Araha Vol IV, Part 2, pp. 260, 265) cited from “Fabricating Israeli History,” (1997, Efraim Karsh, p.44)

        Of all the national movements in history, Zionism has been one of the most copiously documented and the most openly, transparently discussed within. There are records, not only in the political and diplomatic sphere, but also in all of the social, educational and propagandistic work over many years throughout the movement. Yet, despite all this massive documentation, what do they show? That the “transfer” idea is expressed, at best, in only isolated and fragmentary statements–secret thoughts and wishes, but nothing remotely resembling a program, or plan of action.

        As Benny Morris, who has researched and written more thoroughly and indefatigably than just about anyone on this issue has written,

        “My feeling is that the transfer thinking and near consensus that emerged in the 1930’s and the early 1940’s was not tantamount to pre-planning and did not issue in the production of a policy or master plan of expulsion; the Yishuv and its military forces did not enter the 1948 war, which was initiated by the Arab side, with a master plan for expulsion.” (“The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited,” p.60).

        You earlier said:

        “Your effort to mostly, though not completely, absolve the Haganah from responsibility is unpersuasive, but most importantly, these terror attacks were necessary for Israel to be created. There had to be widespread flight of Palestinians, and they were not going to leave their homes unless they were afraid for their lives. To suggest that these necessary attacks – massacres of civilians – were incidental rather than deliberately planned is pure sophistry.”

        What I am suggesting is that all of these events occurred in a war—a war that was waged on the Yishuv from the moment the partition plan passed the GA. This is a fact.

        Between November 30, and December 4, 1947, most of the Arab violence against Jews was scattershot and the result of intifada-like incited mayhem. It was on December 4, however, that the real Palestinian Arab assault began in earnest, when some 120-150 armed Arabs attacked the Efal kibbutz, the first small unit military attack on a Jewish settlement, and on December 8 Hasan Salame, commander of the Lydda front, launched another large-scale attack on the Hatikva quarter in south Tel-Aviv. Two days later there was another abortive assault on the Hatikva, and an armed assault on the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. All these company-sized attacks were repulsed, but they set the pattern for the conflict, which was evolving from mob rioting and armed clashes to more military/guerilla style small unit operations. It was not until December 9 that the Hagana’s head of operations, Yigael Yadin began responding in kind to consolidate and protect crucial Jewish transportation arteries. The war had begun, and the Arabs were attacking the Yishuv, not the other way around. At the Arab league summit in Cairo, it was decided to send one million Egyptian pounds and 10,000 rifles to the Palestinian war effort.

        Not including the tit for tat terrorist attacks occurring between the Arabs and the Stern and Irgun, between December and April, the Arab and Palestinian militias launched no fewer than 15 full scale company and battalion sized assaults on Jewish settlements. There was not one single attack, or counter-attack by the Yishuv on any Arab position in this period even close to this scale and frequency. Only after seeing Jewish Jerusalem surrounded and besieged, the roadways between the settlements being sabotaged and strangled, and after suffering some four months of unrelenting attacks, took to the counter-offensive with Operation Nachshon on April 6, and drove back and defeated the Arab militias. This period saw the collapse of the Palestinian war effort, and the flight of some 3-400,000 refugees.

        The UN correctly held the Arabs responsible for the outbreak of violence. The UN Palestine Commission was never allowed by the Arabs or British to go to Palestine to implement the resolution. On February 16, 1948, the Commission reported to the Security Council:

        “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.

        The main facts controlling the security situation in Palestine today are the following:

        a. Organized effect by strong Arab elements inside and outside Palestine to prevent the implementation of the Assembly’s plan of partition and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian territory.

        b. Certain elements of the Jewish community in Palestine continue to commit irresponsible acts of violence which worsen the security situation, although that Community is generally in support of the recommendations of the Assembly.”

        link to unispal.un.org

        The report leaves no doubt about the AHC’s utter rejection of the partition and their sworn and bitter determination to resist it’s implementation by force, which is, by the way, what they had been doing since the vote was taken. The report also recounts, in detail, on the activities and attacks of the various Arab militias and the Arab Liberation Army that had been infiltrating from neighboring countries. While the report duly notes the “irresponsible acts of violence” committed by “certain elements of the Jewish community” (i.e., the Stern-Irgun terrorists), the Commission acknowledges the Jews’ acceptance of the partition, and posits blame for the violence almost solely on the Arabs’ rejection of the partition, and their attempts to thwart it by force.
        The Arabs, indeed, made no attempts to deny starting the war. Jamal Husseini told the Security Council on April 16, 1948:

        “The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”

        Indeed they did.

        Yet you take absolutely no notice of this. The war waged by the Arabs on the Yishuv in this period is invisible to you. You are certain that an act of unprovoked and nakedly expansionist ethnic cleansing occurred in this period by the Yishuv against the Palestinians, yet you do not seem acquainted with any of the particulars of what actually occurred on the ground in this period that completely contradict this notion. Nor do you seem interested. You merely show how little you know, and how little you care about how little you know. Facts and circumstances be damned, you just sing the same old song: Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, and Israel is always guilty.

        As far as can be seen from your perspective, there does not seem to have been any need for the Yishuv to have been armed altogether. After all, since the Arabs of Palestine and their brethren in the neighborhood presented no threat to the Zionist endeavor, and, later on, to the UN partition resolution, why should Palestine’s Jews have had to bother with self defense? Sired from the corrupting bad seed of Zionism, it would thus seem that if the Haganah came into being, it was not in response to any danger posed by Arab attacks on Jewish life and property in Palestine, or, later, to defend the nascent state against an all out assault, but rather as a kind of predatory, at-the-ready task force to enforce expulsions of the Arabs when the time was right, and secure the borders of the nascent state that the Arabs would leave for the Yishuv in their wake.

        Thus, every Israeli contingency plan, every hint of a far-fetched idea expressed by David Ben-Gurion and other Israeli planners, finds its way into this narrative as conclusive, damning evidence for the Yishuv’s plans for expansion and ethnic cleansing, to the exclusion of any other consideration or contingency, and painting Ben Gurion himself and the others as a cabal of racist scoundrels and Milosevich-like ethnic cleansers.

        It does not seem to occur to you that it is simply disingenuous to deduce longstanding national trends, ideologies, or policies on the basis of a handful of random statements uttered over decades of extensive political, diplomatic, and military activity.

        “And the Israelis did not reject UNGA 194? Are you serious? The resolution called for the right of return of all refugees who wished to live in peace. The Israelis offered return to a tiny percentage, and you call that acceptance?”

        I do. In the first place, the resolution was passed at a time (November 1948) when hostilities were in effect between the belligerents; the borders of the partition were rendered irrelevant, and borders of both states were going to be dictated by which side was holding what territory when hostilities ceased.

        Secondly, the resolution nowhere calls for an unlimited repatriation of Arab refugees to the Jewish state, the configuration of which was then currently in flux. It posits a vague, non-specific recommendation that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” The GA, indeed, specifically rejected Bernadotte’s draft that stated, “the right of the Arab refugees to return to their homes in Jewish-controlled territory at the earliest possible date.”

        As I have already pointed out, at the Lausanne Conference, the Arabs, as with all previous discussions, refused direct dealings with the Israelis, and demanded acceptance of the refugees’ repatriation in full as a precondition to further talks. The Israelis insisted on discussions of the refugee problem in the context of a full regional peace; the Arabs refused, and the discussions broke down. The Arabs, in effect, were demanding that the Israelis take into their state over three quarter of a million refugees, created by the war of aggression waged by them, which would make the Jews a 41% minority in their own state, and without any assurance that even this would impel the Arab states to make peace with Israel. Really incredible.

        After the Arabs opted for war, the refugee problem caused by the war was probably never realistically going to be settled inside Israel except on a limited basis. The notion that the Israelis would have negated the results of the war of annihilation waged on them and rendered themselves a minority by those who had just attempted their annihilation was always absurd. Most of all, since when do the losers of a war dictate terms to the victors?

        As I have said many times before, the 1948 War was a brutal war, fought in close quarters, sometimes hand to hand where regulars, irregulars, and civilians all confusingly intermingled. It is not surprising that in such circumstances atrocities on both sides did occur, as they do in all wars. The violence was not all one way.

        Certainly the Deir Yassin massacre on April 9 (3 days after the the Haganah took to the offensive), and the hysterical broadcasts exaggerating the scale of it, certainly sowed panic and influenced the flight of the refugees, but the violence of the fighting in the towns and villages, the flight of so many high ranking Arab functionaries, and the near total breakdown in services also played a role in the exodus of the refugees throughout the 1948 War. This is not to deny that there were not some expulsions at Lydda and Ramle; there were, but the numbers of those expelled were rather few. Palestine was a war zone in those days, and, in general, Palestinian Arab society had always been governed by a somewhat fragile polity at that time, and it simply collapsed under the strain of the conflict, as did countless other societies in Europe during World War Two. When war comes to your village, it is only human to want to get out of the way until it is over.

        What the evidence shows is that the Nakba (see the spelling?) was sired from the war, and the war from the Arabs’ rejectionism, lack of realism, and still-persisting allergy to compromise that made it inevitable. The war resulted from the Arabs’ rejection of the partition, and the refugee crisis resulted from the war. Again, the chain of causation here is simply undeniable: there would have been no refugee crisis if there had been no war.

        Having rejected diplomacy and compromise, the Arabs sought the arbitration of force; it was to be a war of annihilation. Ever since the announcement of the partition in November 1947, they sought to destroy the nascent Jewish state, failed, suffered catastrophe and defeat in the process, and, as usual, blamed everyone but themselves, and still do. The Nakba was indeed needlessly self-inflicted by them, and the refugees and their descendants have paid a horrific price for their unpardonable folly and intransigence. They still do.

        “As for Israeli rejection of UN authority since then, you cannot be ignorant of the yearly resolutions on the peaceful settlement of the Palestine question that Israel and the US vote against with a handful of other countries..”

        You have not answered the question. You stated earlier that “Israel has almost entirely rejected any UN authority to resolve the dispute in the 63 years since,” to which I responded, “Please detail what these UN attempts to resolve the conflict were, what was proposed, what was accepted by the Arabs, and what was rejected by Israel.”

        I did not ask you about the myriad of spurious, one-sided resolutions against Israel passed over the years that take no account of Arab/Palestinian rejectionism and intransigence and confuse terrorism with the defense against it. I wanted to know, specifically, “what these UN attempts to resolve the conflict were, what was proposed, what was accepted by the Arabs, and what was rejected by Israel.”

        As for the ICJ ruling, please don’t waste my time with that outrage. The ruling was a travesty, another sordid, shameful victory for the politicization of international law, and a clear demonstration of how the International Court of Justice, like the gruesome, Kafkaesque Human Rights Council, is a mere plaything of the General Assembly in its sinister attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state.

        While all members of the General Assembly have an equal vote, in practice the number of despotic nations outnumber those that are truly democratic and free. Israel has almost nothing but enemies in the former category, and most of the latter are lukewarm at best. There are a number of entities within the General Assembly that are openly hostile to Israel and devote much of their collective efforts toward castigating and deligitimizing her: the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the “Non-Aligned Movement”—an amalgam of over 100 countries, including the Islamic ones, all of whom recognize the occupied territories as a Palestinian state. Further reflecting the reality of this sinister super-majority, in 1968 the General Assembly created a standing entity whose very title makes a mockery of any impartiality toward the Jewish state: “The United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.”

        This vast alliance of hostile entities and states, reflecting the corrupt arithmetic of the General Assembly, has made for a repository of anti-Israel activity, and has facilitated the passing of scores of spurious, one-sided and politically charged resolutions condemning Israel over the years. Like the Goldstone Report sired from the despot-infested UNHRC, the advisory opinion of the ICJ judges merely reflected and underscored this biased state of affairs, and, like the General Assembly, willfully ignored the dire circumstances that necessitated the creation of the security barrier, rubber-stamped the Islamic Bloc’s tendentious characterization of the barrier as a “wall’ instead of a fence that can be moved or dismantled, and treated Israel not as a litigant but as a target. That the court did not exercise its discretion to demur when asked to adjudicate ex parte a highly charged, two sided political conflict, is instructive of its biased disposition as well.

        “You manage to spruce up the usual hasbara with proper grammar and exhaustive details, for which you rarely provide any citations. You have a lot of energy and even more time on your hands. But you’re a very silly man, Robert. You obviously want to be taken seriously, but why you continue to peddle your nonsense here is beyond me.”

        If there are any assertions I have made which you call into question, please be good enough to point out what these are, and I’ll be happy to address them.

        For the rest, please trouble me no more with your adolescent name calling and hysterical accusations. Make an argument based on facts and evidence for a change, instead of sub-contracting out to Hostage or someone else. If you have no argument to make, then have the decency to just pack it in and remain silent.

        This is actually beneath contempt. A sad, sorry, pitiful attempt to deflect from your inability to posit a counter-argument based on facts and evidence, as usual. Failing to defend your arguments, or refute mine, you heckle, name-call, and smear with the usual ad-hominem jibes and table-pounding hysterics. Kind of like a lawyer who knows his client is guilty.

        But look on the bright side. At least you got me on the Nakba misspelling.

      • ddi
        December 8, 2011, 4:59 am

        “No. The Zionist leadership had believed from the beginning that their objective for a Jewish majority in Palestine would come about by means of massive Jewish immigration, not expulsion. Plans within the movement at the end of the 1930s envisioned the influx of a million Jews to Palestine within a decade. That number, of course, was aimed at guaranteeing a Jewish majority, which is why the Arabs were so intransigent and hostile to immigration: because they wished to prevent a demographic transformation. ”

        Immigration wouldn’t have created a Jewish majority, period. Had all 900,000 Palestinians in the territories that became Israel been allowed to remain, today their total numbers would easily have outnumbered those of Jews.

        “The Arabs, in effect, were demanding that the Israelis take into their state over three quarter of a million refugees, created by the war of aggression waged by them, which would make the Jews a 41% minority in their own state, and without any assurance that even this would impel the Arab states to make peace with Israel. Really incredible. ”

        What’s the matter, I thought Jewish immigration would solve everything.

      • Talkback
        December 3, 2011, 10:57 am

        “there would have been no refugee crisis if there had been no war, and there would have been no war if the surrounding Arab states had not rejected the partition.” (Robert Werdine)

        Actually it was the majority of Palestinian citizens who rejected the partition recommendation. And it was the Jewish Seperatists who rejected the will of the majority. The Arab Palestinians also didn’t need a war or to expell Jews to follow their independency ambitions of a united, souvereign Palestine. The Jewish seperatists needed a war and to expell Arab Palestinians to get a state territory and become a majority in it. Otherwise within the borders of 1967 there would have been around 600000 Jews (half of them not even citizens of Palestine, but refugees) and 900000 Arabs.

        According to the Shai report of the Hagana by the midth of June 1948 73% of the Arab refugees were caused by direct “Israeli” actions. The territory the provisional GoI controlled after the first week of the proclamation (which itself was a violation of Security Council Resolution 46) was:

        “… Jaffa; Northwestern Galilee, including Acre, Zib, Base, and the Jewish settlements up to the Lebanese frontier; a strip of territory alongside the road from Hilda to Jerusalem; almost all of new Jerusalem; and of the Jewish quarter within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The above areas, outside the territory of the State of Israel, are under the control of the military authorities of the State of Israel, who are strictly adhering to international regulations in this regard.”
        link to unispal.un.org

        “Its aim was to abort the nascent Jewish state and establish a “unitary Palestinian state” that the Arabs would then slice up between themselves.” (Robert Werdine)

        Palestine had been allready been a unitary state under mandate. And the Arabs tried to preserve and later restore this status against the hostile secession by Jewish seperatists and terrorists.

      • Hostage
        December 3, 2011, 11:42 am

        The Yishuv had prepared for war, and they were certainly not going to remain within the vulnerable lines of the partition if the surrounding Arab states attacked. The defense of those lines would be any staff officer’s nightmare.

        Ben Gurion told a JNF official in February of 1948 that the Jews didn’t need to buy land anymore, but to conqueror it. He also instructed that ethnically cleansed Arab villages be settled by Jews even before the end of hostilities had occurred. See page 45 of Shlomo Ben-Ami, Scars of war, wounds of peace, Oxford University Press, 2006.

        On 18 February 1948, Moshe Sharett wrote “We will have only enough troops to defend ourselves, not to take over the country.” Ben Gurion replied:

        If we will receive in time the arms we have already purchased, and maybe even receive some of that promised to us by the UN, we will be able not only to defend, but also to inflict death blows on the Syrians in their own country – and take over Palestine as a whole. I am in no doubt of this. We can face all the Arab forces. This is not a mystical belief but a cold and rational calculation based on practical examination. ” Ben Gurion Archives, Correspondence Section 23.02-1.03.48 Document 59, 26 February 1948. –See page 46 of Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld, reprint 2007

        David, you can look at it upside down and sideways and it all comes down to this: there would have been no refugee crisis if there had been no war, and there would have been no war if the surrounding Arab states had not rejected the partition.

        Werdine, the documentary record shows that the Jews were planning the military conquest of Palestine ever since the mid-1930s, beginning with the Avnir Plan. It also shows that the neighboring Arab states accepted the principle of partition, but not the ethnic cleansing or massacres that occurred after the UN proposed the plan of partition.

        *In “Pan-Arabism Before Nasser” (page 98), Michael Doran reported that Eliyahu Sasson made at least two trips in late 1946 to lobby Egyptian officials regarding the partition of Palestine. Sasson reported that he had been warmly welcomed by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the Secretary General of the Arab League. Doran says that King Faruq and other palace advisers received reports on the partition talks and did nothing to scuttle them.
        *Joseph Heller, “The birth of Israel, 1945-1949: Ben-Gurion and his critics”, University Press of Florida, 2000, says that in the Spring of 1946 Sasson was dispatched to Egypt and that he reported that, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, there was a virtually unanimous consensus on partition among the members of the Arab League.
        *Before the Deir Yassin massacre, the US Minister in Saudi Arabia told Secretary Marshall that the Saudi’s and Abdullah of Transjordan had warned the other members of the Arab League (in March of 1948) that the partition was a civil matter and that the Arab states shouldn’t take any action that the Security Council might interpret as aggression.

        Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami, PhD, is an Oxford University trained historian. He served as Israeli Foreign Minister and Minister of Internal Security and as the head of the School of History at Tel Aviv University. Ben-Ami relates that after the UNSCOP was formed in May of 1947, Ben Gurion explained that his acceptance of the principle of partition was an attempt to gain time until the Jews were strong enough to fight the Arab majority. He pledged to Mapai’s Central Committee that the borders of Jewish independence as defined by the UN Plan were by no means final and Yigal Allon said …”the borders of partition cannot be for us the final borders … the partition plan is a compromise plan that is unjust to the Jews. … We are entitled to decide our borders according to our defence needs.” Ben Ami says “The paradox of the winter of 1947 was that the Jews, who accepted Resolution 181 – the Jewish public acclaimed its endorsement by the UN with genuine outbursts of jubilation – were ready and well deployed to face a war should this [the partition borders] be the outcome, and the Arabs, who rejected the Resolution out of hand and made no secret of their intention to subvert it, were not at all prepared for war. Ben Gurion who upon his appointment as ‘defence minister’ in 1946 made it clear that the time had now arrived for a ‘showdown of force, a Jewish military showdown’, had been meticulously preparing for a war he was convinced, ever since the Arab revolt, was inevitable. See page 34 of Scars of War Wounds of Peace. link to books.google.com

        Shabatai Teveth informs us that Ben-Gurion, inspired by the Peel Report, which he accepted, considered “a Jewish state in part of Palestine as a stage in the longer process towards a Jewish state in all of Palestine.” Lecturing to Mapai activists on 29 October 1937 ten years before the UN vote on partition, Ben-Gurion explained that the realization of the Jewish state would come in two stages: the first, “the period of building and laying foundations,” would last ten to fifteen years and would be but the prelude to the second stage, “the period of expansion.” The objective in both stages was “the ingathering of the exiles in all of Palestine.” It is because of these views, Teveth tells us, that Ben-Gurion made no attempt to contact Palestinian leaders after 1936. The official history of the Haganah states that in the summer of 1937, ten years before the UN partition resolution, Ben-Gurion ordered the Haganah commander of Tel Aviv, Elimelech Slikowitz (“Avnir”), to draw up a plan for the military takeover of the entire country in anticipation of Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine, which was expected in the wake of the Peel Report.

        In 1943 the US Counsul in Egypt informed the Secretary of State that: I have noted in discussions with Zionist spokesmen visiting Cairo recently a marked hardening in their attitude (possibly owing in part to increased confidence resulting from alleged large-scale clandestine arming by Jews in Palestine) which in several cases has taken the form of frankly admitting that it is idle to continue to talk of “negotiations” with Arabs, in balance obvious that any solution satisfactory to Zionists would have to be “imposed” on Arabs by threat or use of force and this latter the only realistic line of action to adopt. — link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        The record speaks for itself, and your rationalizations are pointless.

      • Robert Werdine
        December 6, 2011, 4:11 pm

        Hostage,

        There is a problem, I think, with interpreting all of Ben Gurion’s statements as clues to some massive plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine of Arabs when no such plan ever existed. It is simply impossible to remove Ben Gurion’s statements from the context of the events in which they were occurring: the Arab Revolt, the intransigence of the British on immigration, the persecution of the Jews in Europe, and the coming war. All of this inevitably induced an understandable sense of siege. Surrounded by enemies and restricted and obstructed by the British, the Yishuv, in the decade before the partition, was mostly concerned with the prospect of just surviving and remaining a viable, cohesive entity, not with pipe dreams of expelling all the Arabs. Simply put, they had other things to worry about.

        The Haganah was created to protect the communities of the Yishuv against Arab violence and was a largely defensive force prior to the 1948 war. In lieu of the violence and uncertainty of the Arab revolt and the at best equivocal stance of the British, a whole number of plans and contingency scenarios were drawn up by the Haganah, at Ben Gurion’s behest, in the decade before the UN partition. What community, what fighting force, surrounded by hostile enemies and uncertainty, and unable to rely on anyone else, would do any less? The attempts of left-leaning anti-Zionist historians (Pappe, Khalidi, etc.) to read into these contingency scenarios one long conspiracy to ethnically cleanse Palestine is a narrative for the paranoid. While the situation facing the Yishuv in these years was uncertain and unpredictable, to put it mildly, none of these scenarios were ever acted upon.

        There is no evidence that the Yishuv accepted the partition in 1947 with the intention to violate it, and not much sense to the notion that they did. Why not simply reject the partition in the first place, and make a grab for as much territory as you can get? Also, if it was the plan to accept the partition and then violate it, why wait through nearly five months of bloody and near fatal attacks by the ALA and Palestinian militias before they finally took to the offensive in April?

        The truth is that though the Haganah had been reforming and refitting itself since Ben Gurion took the defense portfolio in 1946, they had not really begun the process of restructuring itself from a defensive militia into a full-fledged military force until the weeks before the partition vote. On November 7, 1947, Ya’akov Dori, Haganah chief of the general staff, issued an order concerning “the order for a national structure”:

        “The danger of an attack on the country by the armies of the neighboring Arab countries…necessitates a different structure and deployment. Opposite regular armies it is imperative to prepare in a military, as opposed to a militia force—trained, armed and structured along military lines.”

        According to Morris:

        “The restructuring took on a life of its own, fueled by the spread of hostilities that began at the end of November, and the prospect of pan-Arab invasion, and by March 1948, nine brigades had begun to form, with expanding brigade and battalion HQ’s, recruitment centers, training camps, logistical services, and armories. It was a race against time, and everything was in flux; in every sphere there were shortages. The organization and equipping of the brigades was hampered by the continuous operational burdens to which each was subjected by the ongoing war against the Palestinian Arab militias…” (Benny Morris, “1948: The First Arab-Israeli War” p.200)

        What was taking place then, in the months between the partition vote and the launching of Operation Nachshon in April 1948 was a hurried, often haphazard process of restructuring, re-equipping, and reorganization, all of which were occurring under the strain of a sustained military assault on the settlements and the roadways between them.

        As for Ben Gurion’s Feb 18 remarks to Sharett, it is more likely that Ben Gurion was whistling in the dark here and putting up a brave front. Looking about himself at the time, he had not much cause for optimism.

        The outbreak of hostilities the day after the partition vote caught the Haganah flat footed. They thought the attacks were just more “disturbances.” Only by January, with increasing numbers of Arab militias and armed groups attacking Jewish communities and roadways, did they realize that the war that they had long feared had in fact begun. On January 10, the ALA attacked Kfar-Szold. On January 14 a Palestinian militia attacked Etzion Bloc, taking heavy casualties, but, in the next two days, wiping out a platoon of 35 Jewish fighters sent in as reinforcements. On January 20, the ALA attacked Yechiam. On February 16, the ALA attacked Tirat-Zvi. These attacks were repulsed, to be sure, but the attacks were not only increasing in frequency and size, but in sophistication as well. The situation in March continued to deteriorate even further, with further attacks on Magdiel and Ramot-Naftali, and the ambush of three Jewish convoys where much equipment was lost and 59 killed. A British report commented at the time:

        “The intensification of Arab attacks on communications and particularly the failure of the Kfar Etzion convoy (March 27-28), probably the Yishuv’s strongest transport unit, to force a return passage has brought home the precarious position of Jewish communities both great and small which depend on supply lines running through Arab controlled country. In particular, it is now realized that the position of Jewish Jerusalem, where a food scarcity already exists, is likely to be desperate after 16 May.”

        It is difficult to know, therefore, what “practical examination” this supposedly “cold and rational calculation” could have been based upon. In any event, Ben Gurion’s statements here were made during a war in which the Arabs/ Palestinians were assaulting the Yishuv and coming along at it rather handsomely. It is not evidence that BG intended to abort the partition, absent a war waged on the Yishuv by the Arabs.

        As Benny Morris has written,

        “My feeling is that the transfer thinking and near consensus that emerged in the 1930’s and the early 1940’s was not tantamount to pre-planning and did not issue in the production of a policy or master plan of expulsion; the Yishuv and its military forces did not enter the 1948 war, which was initiated by the Arab side, with a master plan for expulsion.” (“The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited,” p.60).

        Morris also wrote on Walt and Mearsheimer’s Spurious Opus,

        “Until 1936-1937, certainly, the Zionist mainstream sought to establish a Jewish state over all of Palestine. But something began to change fundamentally during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, which was conducted against the background of resurgent anti-Semitism in Europe and the threat of genocide. In July 1937, the British royal commission headed by Lord Peel recommended the partition of Palestine, with the Jews to establish their own state on some 20 percent of the land and the bulk of the remainder to fall under Arab sovereignty (ultimately to be conjoined to the Emirate of Transjordan, ruled by the Emir Abdullah). The commission also recommended the transfer–by agreement or “voluntarily,” and if necessary by force–of all or most of the Arabs from the area destined for Jewish statehood. The Zionist right, the Revisionist movement, rejected the proposals. But mainstream Zionism, representing 80 to 90 percent of the movement, was thrown into ferocious debate; and, shepherded by David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leadership ended up formally accepting the principle of partition, if not the actual award of 20 percent of the land. The movement resolved that the Peel proposals were a basis for further negotiation.

        It is true that Ben-Gurion harbored a hope, in 1937, that such a partition would be but a “first step,” to be followed by eventual Zionist expansion throughout Palestine. But the years that followed sobered Zionism and changed the movement’s thinking. The movement’s formal acceptance of the principle of partition was gradually digested and incorporated into the mentality of the Zionist mainstream, which understood that the Jewish people needed an immediate safe haven from European savagery, and that the movement would have to take what history was offering and could gain no more. The Jewish nationalist leaders called this “pragmatism.”

        By November 1947, the Zionists’ reconciliation to a partial realization of their dreams was complete (except on the fringes of the movement), and Zionism’s mainstream, led by Ben-Gurion and Weizmann, once and for all internalized the necessity of partition and accepted the U.N. partition resolution. The 1948 war was fought by Israel with a partitionist outlook, and it ended in partition (with the West Bank and East Jerusalem under Jordanian rule and the Gaza Strip controlled by Egypt), despite Israel’s military superiority at its conclusion. During the following two decades, down to June 1967, there was a general acceptance by the Israeli mainstream of the fact, and the permanence, of partition.”

        link to israel-palestina.info

      • Hostage
        December 7, 2011, 12:42 am

        There is no evidence that the Yishuv accepted the partition in 1947 with the intention to violate it, and not much sense to the notion that they did.

        Robert I’ve already provided you with quotes from a host of Israeli historians that say Ben Gurion only pretended to accept the partition as a political or tactical maneuver. On several occasions I’ve noted that the Provisional Government of Israel made demonstrably false public statements about its acceptance of the minority protection plan and the plan for economic union contained in the UN resolution and the constitutional protection of minority rights in its fundamental laws of state. The same thing applies to its statements about acceptance of the plan of partition and the Corpus Separatum. You can even confirm that latter point by the selection of declassified minutes of the Peoples Council and 1st Knesset available in Volumes 1 & 2 of Dore Gold’s JCPA translation of the “Major Knesset Debates”, 1948-1981, Netanel Lorch (ed) link to jcpa.org.

        Jewish military historian David Tal says the strategic planning of the war against the Palestinians was based upon the plan of partition and that the Jews did not accept the internationalization of Jerusalem as it was stipulated by the partition resolution. See David Tal, War in Palestine, 1948: strategy and diplomacy, Routledge, 2004, page 471

        The documentary record proves beyond any doubt that the representatives of the Jewish Agency stated that both the UNSCOP majority and minority reports were unacceptable, but that the Jewish Agency was willing to recommend acceptance, subject to several territorial and constitutional reservations that were never withdrawn. They also demanded immediate control of immigration to the proposed Jewish state, which the Mandatory power refused. Sixty years later Israel is still trying to impose negotiations over those same territorial and constitutional reservations. Yearbook of the United Nations for 1947-48

        Here is an extract of the conditional acceptance:
        The solution proposed by the minority of the Special Committee was unacceptable to the Jewish Agency; . . . The majority proposal was not really satisfactory to the Jewish people, either. . . .

        The representative of the Jewish Agency also criticized the UNSCOP majority proposal concerning Jerusalem, saying that the Jewish section of modern Jerusalem (outside the Walled City) should be included in the Jewish State. He reserved the right to deal at a later stage with other territorial modifications.

        If this heavy sacrifice was the inexorable condition of a final solution, if it would make possible the immediate re-establishment of the Jewish State with sovereign control of its own immigration, then the Jewish Agency was prepared to recommend the acceptance of the partition solution, subject to further discussion of constitutional and territorial provisions. This sacrifice would be the Jewish contribution to the solution of a painful problem and would bear witness to the Jewish people’s international spirit and its desire for peace.

        In spite of the heavy sacrifices which the Jewish State would have to make in this matter also, the Jewish Agency accepted the proposal for an economic union, terming it a promising and statesmanlike conception. The limit to the sacrifices to which the Jewish Agency could consent was clear: a Jewish State must have in its own hands those instruments of financing and economic control necessary to carry out large-scale Jewish immigration and the related economic development, and it must have independent access to those world sources of capital and raw materials indispensable for the accomplishment of these purposes.

        There is a problem, I think, with interpreting all of Ben Gurion’s statements as clues to some massive plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine of Arabs when no such plan ever existed.

        Robert Ben Gurion’s 1919 party platform called for a Jewish Socialist Republic in all of Palestine, and demanded “the transfer of Palestine’s land, water, and natural resources to the people of Israel as their eternal possession.” Shabtai Teveth wrote that economic, social, and geographical partition (i.e. de facto apartheid) were inherent in Ben Gurion’s conception of Zionism. See pages 10-12, 43-44, 99, and 179-184 of Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

        We all know that the Peel Commission contained a proposal for population exchange and that Ben Gurion enthusiastically supported the idea. The Jewish Agency had as many as three hundred people working on their own plans for partition thereafter as part of Ben Gurion’s vision for a phased takeover of the entire country. He and Shertok both testified to the UNSCOP that the Arabs should pursue their national aspirations somewhere else.

      • eGuard
        December 3, 2011, 3:58 pm

        Two days on this post and I have learned more than reading twenty years of NYT.

        Expelled is the word.

      • David Samel
        December 3, 2011, 5:22 pm

        One other thing I forgot to add, Robert. Your pretense of expertise on the events of 1947-1948 is undermined by your previous multiple references to the Palestinian experience as the “Nabka” instead of “Nakba. ” Your carelessness and/or ignorance is matter of record in your comment history.

      • Robert Werdine
        December 3, 2011, 7:11 pm

        Wow! Guess you got me there! I stand exposed and corrected.

      • john h
        December 3, 2011, 7:54 pm

        Just imagine what the lives of the Palestinians and the other Arabs Jews of Israel would be like today if they had decided to live in peace [with the Palestinians] and accept the partition without their own state instead of devoting lives, resources and prodigies of energy down the sinkhole of this destructive obsession.

      • RoHa
        December 4, 2011, 12:33 am

        You hit the nail on the head, there, john h.

    • MHughes976
      December 11, 2011, 4:24 pm

      The word ‘exclusion’ seems undeniably correct, and exclusion implies disfranchisement and deprivation of property – indeed terrible suffering. All this for no misdeed at all. How is fleeing a battlefield a wrong action? And battle or no battle everyone whatever, except for those who are detained after a legal process, has the right to leave home at will and for any reason (anything else would amount to a kind of imprisonment), to enter or seek to enter another territory, and then to return.
      How did the moral nonsense that surrounds the Nakba get accepted almost without question in the western world for decades?

  7. American
    December 2, 2011, 11:31 am

    So the NYT altered the truth and changed the historical facts because of readers comments?
    More likely the Zio Ministry of Propaganda made a phone call.
    There ought to be a law against misleading/lying to the public.

  8. seafoid
    December 2, 2011, 11:40 am

    We have removed “were expelled” and “soon.”
    “Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled ” has been changed to “there never were any Palestinian Arabs”

  9. annie
    December 2, 2011, 12:48 pm

    great catch allison

  10. pabelmont
    December 2, 2011, 12:56 pm

    As I said to NYC comments:

    You write: “Six months later, on May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders in the region formed the state of Israel. British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs fled and Arab armies invaded Israel. In the Arab-Israeli War, Israel defeated its enemies. It was the first of several wars fought between Israel and its neighbors.”

    The facts are rather different from this sketch. The thousands of Palestinians who WERE EXPELLED OR WHO FLED left in large measure before the State of Israel was ever declared to be a state and also before any arab armies invaded Israel (which occurred only after Israel was declared as a state). The fact of EXPULSION is well proved by several Israeli historians including Morris and Pappe.

    The most important fact of all is missing from this short re-telling: Israel refused readmission to ALL the refugees after the war, and many are still stateless refugees today, still desiring to return to their homes in Israel. The same UNGA which proposed dividing Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, also demanded that Israel readmit peaceable refugees, something which Israel refuses to do to this day.

  11. dimadok
    December 2, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I thought that Morris was excommunicated here? And it is forbidden to use him as an adequate historic source, since he was and I quote:
    “Yes, people are hurling accusations at Morris, but his version of events seems, well… Islamophobic.” link to mondoweiss.net

    • annie
      December 2, 2011, 1:58 pm

      no, it is not forbidden to use him as a source. he’s a rabid zionist and context is everything. it would be like using foxman or goldberg as supporting evidence if one found the israeli ‘don’t marry and american jew’ ad campaign offensive. as if to say ‘see, even fanatical israel firsters agree’.

      but then, you know that already. nice diversion tho.

      • dimadok
        December 2, 2011, 2:01 pm

        So basically what you are saying is that it is “OK” to use him as a source when it fits your narrative, and it is not when it shows “rabid Zionism” in it?

      • Donald
        December 2, 2011, 5:23 pm

        It’s okay to cite Morris as a rabid and even racist Zionist when he points out facts. Sometimes he is honest enough to point out facts that make Zionism look bad. What he does then is interesting–for instance, he says that ethnic cleansing is a perfectly acceptable practice when Jews do it to Palestinians or white European settlers did it to Native Americans.

      • Potsherd2
        December 2, 2011, 2:46 pm

        Diversion is all they’ve got.

    • Hostage
      December 2, 2011, 4:56 pm

      I thought that Morris was excommunicated here?

      You don’t need Morris. You can consult the same verbatim minutes of the People’s Council that he and other historians have cited. The Jewish leadership (Va’ad Leumi/Jewish Agency Executive) were already being pressured by their counterparts in America to address the return of the Arab population to their homes before the Declaration of Independence or the first meeting of the Provisional Government of the State of Israel. Ben Gurion either ignored the problem or suggested that the rights of the Arabs to return to their homes was addressed by the Declaration. See the Minutes of the Meeting of the National Administration in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, May 13, 1948:

      M Shertok: It is suggested, in the telegram from America that, before the 15 May assembly, which is the assembly of the declaration, the Executive shall issue a communique saying that on Saturday night (May 15) the first meeting of the Provisional Government shall be convened with the following agenda:
      A) General elections to the Constituent Assembly.
      B) Proclamation for the protection of religious belief, minorities, etc.
      C) Economic union,
      D) The establishment of the militia,
      E) The return of the Arab population of the Jewish State to their homes.

      D. Ben-Gurion: The important points have already been mentioned in the declaration. There is no need for any announcement about the militia.
      The meeting was closed”

      link to books.google.com

      • Brewer
        December 2, 2011, 7:50 pm

        Thank you Hostage – that is a juicy find.

      • Hostage
        December 3, 2011, 12:50 pm

        Thank you Hostage – that is a juicy find.

        Yes on several bases:
        a) The inclusion of religious and minority rights in the Declaration was required by the UN.
        b) The rights are under UN guarantee. The UN has always claimed they include the right of the Arab population of the Jewish state to either return to their homes or opt for compensation.
        c) The Arab refugee issue was already a major source of concern before the declaration of independence or the entry of neighboring forces into Palestine.
        d) Ben Ami says that Ben Gurion had already ordered that ethnically cleansed Arab villages be settled by Jews and had advised the JNF that Jews no longer needed to purchase land, because they could obtain it by conquest.

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2011, 5:33 pm

      “I thought that Morris was excommunicated here?

      You’ll need to talk to “eee”. He’s in charge of that department.

  12. Justice Please
    December 2, 2011, 2:21 pm

    The New York Times denies a holocaust.

    • lysias
      December 2, 2011, 4:49 pm

      Or at least an ethnic cleansing. (Which is what Ilan Pappe calls it in the title of his book, in my opinion with perfect justification.)

      • Sumud
        December 2, 2011, 9:16 pm

        In the refugee camps in Gaza in 1948, 49 and 50 infant mortality was 80%. I wouldn’t call that a holocaust but ethnic cleansing does not adequately capture the horror of the Nakba and what came after.

        It was a genocide. Zionists wanted to erase Palestinians and many still do; to deny their identity and culture, to tell us they never existed, that they only moved to Palestine from other countries in the 20th century, that nobody used the word Palestine before 1967, that real Palestinians are jews etc.

        It’s not a lot different to Australia being declared “terra nullius”. The natives simply don’t exist, so we don’t need to consider them, at all. They have no rights. If they defy our plans we will overpower them and drive them out. Israel is *such* an obvious case of European colonialism. I still can’t believe they get away with branding the Nakba as a War of Independence.

      • john h
        December 3, 2011, 2:14 am

        Just the latest reminder of a few basic facts.

        link to palestinechronicle.com

  13. Patrick
    December 2, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Great catch!.

    Note that the Times doesn’t say that a factual error had been made which had to be corrected. So this is not much a case of Nakba denial as one of Nakba suppression.

    I would say that it’s now definitely incumbent on the Times to clarify its editorial policy. Is it their policy to suppress facts and information when complaints are received? It is policy to omit facts that might make some of their readers uncomfortable?

  14. dumvitaestspesest
    December 2, 2011, 5:14 pm

    maybe they should consider this topic for next post at the NYT’s Learning Network.
    “Does editing the truth out of the articles make you feel bad about the look of your brain??? Does it feel like you are being shamelessly brainwashed??”

  15. Brewer
    December 2, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Posted this on the NYT site:

    “Skew the narrative if you will, the timeline remains.
    Take Jaffa (pop 100,000) and not in the Jewish partition for example:

    4 January 1948, the Irgun bombed Jaffa’s Town Hall, killing 26 and injuring hundreds.

    February 1948: Jaffa’s Mayor sought peace with Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion refused.

    On April 25, 1948, Irgun lobbed twenty tons of high explosive into the town. At the same time, the Haganah had launched Operation Chametz which over-ran the villages East of Jaffa and cut the town off.
    Before the Arab League moved on May 15, all but around 4,000 souls had been expelled.”

    Let’s see if it goes up.

    • Walid
      December 4, 2011, 3:33 am

      “Before the Arab League moved on May 15, all but around 4,000 souls had been expelled.”

      Brewer, this was sad, but what the Zionists made the remaining Palestinian Arabs go through was just as horrible. From the essay “Jaffa: From Eminence to Ethnic Cleansing” by Sami Abu Shehadeh and Fadi Shbaytah on what happened in Jaffa, posted on EI in 2009:

      “… Zionist forces initiated a cruel siege on the city of Jaffa in March 1948. The youth of the city formed popular resistance committees to confront the assault. On 14 May 1948, the Bride of the Sea (Jaffa) fell to the Zionist military forces; that same evening the leaders of the Zionist movement in Palestine declared the establishment of the state of Israel. Approximately 4,000 of the 120,000 Palestinians managed to remain in their city after it was militarily occupied. They were all rounded up and ghettoized in al-Ajami neighborhood which was sealed off from the rest of the city and administered as essentially a military prison for two subsequent years; the military regime under which Israel governed them lasted until 1966. During this period, al-Ajami was completely surrounded by barbed wire fencing that was patrolled by Israeli soldiers and guard dogs. It was not long before the new Jewish residents of Jaffa, and based on their experience under Nazism in Europe, began to refer to the Palestinian neighborhood as the “ghetto.”

      … After expelling most of Jaffa’s residents, militarily occupying the city and ghettoizing the remaining original inhabitants, Israeli authorities passed the Absentee Property Law (1950) through which it seized the property of all Palestinians who were not in possession of their immovable properties after the Nakba. Through the implementation of this unjust law, the state of Israel sent its operatives to all corners of the land, surveying the properties left behind by the expelled refugees, the internally displaced Palestinians banned from returning to their lands, and those relocated to the ghettos of Palestine’s cities. Title to these lands, buildings, homes, factories, farms and religious sites were then transferred to the state’s “Custodian of Absentee Property.” This is how the Palestinians of Jaffa, the refugees and the ghettoized, had their properties “legally” stolen by the State of Israel.

      In the interviews conducted for our research, we heard dozens of stories from Nakba survivors telling us about how their homes, often just meters away from the ghetto, were seized, and how they could do nothing about it. Many told us stories of how their homes were given to, or simply taken by, new Jewish immigrants, and how they would try to convince the new residents of their homes to give them back some of their furniture, or clothes, or documents, or photographs. In some of these cases, the house’s new resident would give back some of the items, in most of the cases the response was to consider the original Palestinian owner an intruder, and to call the police or report him to the military commander. Former residents of the al-Manshiyya neighborhood, one of the city’s wealthier areas before the Nakba, described the sorrow they felt as they walked past their old houses, and the pain of seeing what remained of the neighborhood demolished to be replaced by a public recreation area.

      Some of the most difficult stories are those of the Palestinian farmers and peasants from the villages of the Jaffa district. They describe how they were forced off of their land, how they managed to stay in Palestine, how the Israeli government handed their land over to Jewish settlers, and how these settlers then hired the same Palestinian farmers to work on their own land as day laborers exploited for the personal profit of the Jewish settler off the produce of the land that Palestinians had cultivated for generations. In fact, after their properties and enterprises were seized or shut down, the vast majority of the Jaffa Palestinians who remained became cheap labor for Jewish employers. Their employment was contingent on their “loyalty” to the new state. And so it was that the people who ran the economic hub of Palestine before 1948, became its orphans feigning loyalty to the ones who orphaned them in order to feed their own children.

      … After the creation of the State of Israel on the ruins of Arab-Palestinian society, the fledgling state began absorbing thousands of new Jewish immigrants from around the world, masses of immigrants whom the state was not fully able to absorb. The state resolved this lack of capacity by distributing the homes of refugee and internally displaced Palestinians to the new immigrants. After all the Palestinian homes in Jaffa had been occupied, Israeli housing authorities began dividing the homes in the Ajami ghetto into apartments so as to provide housing for Jewish families. As such, an Arab family in Ajami, who had been displaced from their original home, and whose family and friends had been expelled, and who lived in a house with four rooms, for example, would have their new home divided into four apartments to absorb three Jewish immigrant families, and the four families would share the kitchen and bathroom.

      This process was one of the most difficult for the Palestinian families; they were forced into “co-habitation” with the people who had expelled them and, considering that many of the Jewish families included members who were serving in the army, people who were directly carrying out the ongoing violence suffered by the remaining Palestinian community.

      The horrors of war, the loss of their country, the deep rupture in the social environment, the trauma of oppression, occupation, segregation and discrimination, the demolition or theft of their original homes before their own eyes, being forced to share their homes in the ghetto with the people who expelled them from their original homes, all combined to create an overall feeling of despair and impotence among the remaining community of Palestinians in Jaffa. This collective depression eventually led many of Jaffa’s ghettoized Palestinian residents down the path of dependency on drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping the burden of powerlessness in the face of colonial oppression. It was this form of colonial oppression that transformed the thriving Bride of the Sea to a poverty and crime-ridden neighborhood of Tel Aviv.”

      Full essay with historic photographs:
      link to electronicintifada.net

      • flyod
        December 4, 2011, 9:17 am

        The 1950 Law for the Acquisition of Absentee Property has to be one of the greatest scams in the history of mankind. Exactly the sort of legislation one would expect when the thief is allowed to pen the law. Basically, if a Palestinian left their usual place of residence for any reason, or any time frame….it could have been only one day…between November 29, 1947 and September 1, 1948…the property could be turned over to the Custodian of Absentee Property who would either look after it until the rightful owner returned, or more likely, to hand over to the state to parcel out to a foreigner from over seas. As a retroactive law, that unwitting victim probably didn’t even realize that visiting his cousin two years prior was in fact the reason he lost his entire existence. The ingeniousness of this nefarious bit of legislation is that the new found state’s Custodian of Absentee Property was the sole arbitrator in all disputes resulting from these thefts. His alone was the final say. Still, being human, the custodian would certainly make mistakes, but never mind that, the law of this ‘bastion of democracy’ took care of that also…for the law shall remain in force even if later it is proved that such property was not absentee property at the time. Yes, Israel is indeed a state grounded in the”law”.

      • Walid
        December 4, 2011, 10:48 am

        Floyd, everything about Israel’s creation was a scam. The 1950 Law for the Acquisition of Absentee Property that upset you was but one of about 18 various property laws passed by Israel, mostly at the same time as its declaration of independence or in the following 2 or 3 years, which clearly indicate that the Zionists had been planning for this all along since it takes a long time to study and to prepare to pass such laws. Within 3 short years, Israel formalized its theft of Palestine with the help of these laws and it still continues using them today to keep the Palestinians permanently dispossessed. In subsequent years, it passed more laws long the same lines. such as the law of 1966 by which villages of 200,000 Palestinian-Israelis became illegal and subject to being demolished without any rights of appeal; this law is being currently applied to dispossess 27.000 Bedouins in the Negev.

        From Wiki about what happened in 1948:

        “… As a result, two million dunams were confiscated and given to the custodian, who later transferred the land to the development authority. This law created the novel citizenship category of “present absentees” (nifkadim nohahim), persons present at the time but considered absent for the purpose of the law. These Israeli Arabs enjoyed all civil rights-including the right to vote in the Knesset elections-except one: the right to use and dispose of their property”. About 30,000-35,000 Palestinians became “present absentees”. [21]

        According to Flapan,[22] “a detailed account of exactly how “abandoned” Arab property assisted in the absorption of the new immigrants was prepared by Joseph Schechtman:

        It is difficult to overestimate the tremendous role this lot of abandoned Arab property has played in the settlement of hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants who have reached Israel since the proclamation of the state in May 1948. Forty-seven new rural settlements established on the sites of abandoned Arab villages had by October 1949 already absorbed 25,255 new immigrants. By the spring of 1950 over 1 million dunams had been leased by the custodian to Jewish settlements and individual farmers for the raising of grain crops.

        Large tracts of land belonging to Arab absentees have also been leased to Jewish settlers, old and new, for the raising of vegetables. In the south alone, 15,000 dunams of vineyards and fruit trees have been leased to cooperative settlements; a similar area has been rented by the Yemenites Association, the Farmers Association, and the Soldiers Settlement and Rehabilitation Board. This has saved the Jewish Agency and the government millions of dollars. While the average cost of establishing an immigrant family in a new settlement was from $7,500 to $9,000, the cost in abandoned Arab villages did not exceed $1,500 ($750 for building repairs and $750 for livestock and equipment).

        Abandoned Arab dwellings in towns have also not remained empty. By the end of July 1948, 170,000 people, notably new immigrants and ex-soldiers, in addition to about 40,000 former tenants, both Jewish and Arab, had been housed in premises under the custodian’s control; and 7,000 shops, workshops and stores were sublet to new arrivals. The existence of these Arab houses-vacant and ready for occupation-has, to a large extent, solved the greatest immediate problem which faced the Israeli authorities in the absorption of immigrants. It also considerably relieved the financial burden of absorption.[23]

        How much of Israel’s territory consists of land confiscated with the Absentee Property Law is uncertain and much disputed. Robert Fisk interviewed the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property, who estimates this could amount to up to 70% of the territory of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip:
        The Custodian of Absentee Property does not choose to discuss politics. But when asked how much of the land of the state of Israel might potentially have two claimants – an Arab and a Jew holding respectively a British Mandate and an Israeli deed to the same property – Mr. Manor [the Custodian in 1980] believes that ‘about 70 percent’ might fall into that category (Robert Fisk, ‘The Land of Palestine, Part Eight: The Custodian of Absentee Property’, The Times, December 24, 1980, quoted in his book Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War).”

        For complete listing of the 16 or 18 property laws that Israel passed to complete its theft of Palestine:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

  16. Ellen
    December 2, 2011, 7:37 pm

    So my uncle, who worked for the US State Dept. as a council to the Ottoman territories was executed by the remains of what was known as the Haganah. Will the NY Times ever report on that. No.

    • Mooser
      December 5, 2011, 9:29 pm

      “So my uncle, who worked for the US State Dept. as a council to the Ottoman territories was executed by the remains of what was known as the Haganah. Will the NY Times ever report on that. No.”

      If you wrote it up, I’m sure Mondoweiss readers would like to read it.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 6, 2011, 12:42 am

      i’ll second mooser on that ellen.

  17. Potsherd2
    December 2, 2011, 9:53 pm

    If the Flat Earth society complains about the space program, would the NYT censor its coverage?

  18. Potsherd2
    December 2, 2011, 9:57 pm

    As often happens, the note about the “correction” draws more attention to the fact thatn the original statement.

    Where the article actually needs correction is on the timeline, which states that the refugees fled AFTER the declaration of statehood in 1948, when most of the Palestinian population had already BEEN EXPELLED.

  19. American
    December 3, 2011, 4:54 pm

    I just remember that I saw a moive years ago about a Palestine man that snuck
    into Israel with the papers of ownership for this father’s home. Before he did whatever he was intendeing to do about showing the deed to whoever.,he went to o see his fathers home and while he was there the IDF saw him, he ran and hid in a ditch but they arrested him and took him to jail. A Jewish female lawyer got involved in helping him and then they became involved. I can’t remember the ending but I think he finally had to give and leave. The actors all spoke English with American accents in the movie but I think it was produced in Britian. Anyone know anything about this movie?

    • David Samel
      December 3, 2011, 6:07 pm

      Hanna K. Costa-Gavras directed. Jill Clayburgh, Mohammad Bakri and Gabriel Byrne. I bought a video on ebay for a few bucks. Great movie. Interesting wiki article on the movie.

      • American
        December 3, 2011, 9:55 pm

        Thanks David……I am going to look for one to buy….do you have the name of the movie?

      • American
        December 3, 2011, 9:57 pm

        Never mind dumb me…the title is Hanna K.

      • American
        December 3, 2011, 10:03 pm

        Hanna K.

        “Pro-Israeli groups were extremely concerned about Hanna K. and its potential for depicting the Palestinian issue in a sympathetic light. An internal memorandum was circulated by a B’nai B’rith and advising members that if the film played in their cities there were certain comments that could be made in the local press. Attached to the memorandum were two sets of prepared criticisms, written by Shimon Samuels and Abba Cohen from the French headquarters of the B’nai B’rith, outlining the arguments supporters of Israel should make against the film.[3]

        Hanna K. opened in several American cities and played for a short time to virtually universal negative reviews, (where it was reviewed at all), then was abruptly pulled from circulation by the American distributor of the film. One Chicago distributor commented off-the-record that while it could not be proven that the film was pulled because of political pressure, distributors “understood” that the film was unacceptable to supporters of Israel, who have many friends and are themselves important in the entertainment industry. The director’s wife commented: “in the United States, a Universal tour that was to have encompassed New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco was dropped at the last moment and a two-week run in New York substituted. Costa Gavras gave scores of interviews to journalists and critics and began to notice a common thread. ‘They would come in and say that while they didn’t have political objections, a friend or relative had seen the film and thought it was anti-Israeli. After a while, we took side bets as to whether the writer in. We were about to see would have a cousin, Sr., neighbor etc., who’d spotted an anti-Israeli angle!’” Costa Gavras personally advertised the film in the New York Times at a cost of $50,000 after Universal refused to. Universal even forbade the director the use of advertisements that had been prepared for the film.[4]

      • Philip Weiss
        December 3, 2011, 10:24 pm

        wow. missed that!

      • dumvitaestspesest
        December 3, 2011, 10:35 pm

        Nothing lost.It is on the you tube. Looks good. I’ll try to watch it soon.
        Thank you for recomendation.

        There is another movie, not bad ,about the way Palestinians are treated. It is called “Lemon tree”. Like the opening song a lot.

  20. thetumta
    December 5, 2011, 8:01 pm

    Just in case no one mentioned it and if you did, ignore the following.
    I don’t believe anyone has credibly demonstrated that any military forces of the surrounding states ever set foot in what the UN contemplated recognizing as Jewish territory. At best, a pathetic 3rd world, military attempt to limit the rapid advance of their overwhelmingly superior, Western backed forces. Hardly Paul Newman and Exodus.
    Hej!

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