Kennedy’s insistence on right of return prompted Ben-Gurion to rewrite history: They fled ‘of their own free will’

Israel/Palestine
on 107 Comments

Incredible piece of reporting on the Nakba at ‘Haaretz’ from Shay Hazkani, and meaningful at many levels. It shows what the scholar Victor Kattan has documented, that several US presidents were for the right of return. Kennedy wanted several hundred thousand to be allowed to return, and Israel said 20-30,000. And then US policy on the right changed under Clinton, in 1994, as Rashid Khalidi has stated. Hazkani:

Ben-Gurion appeared to have known the facts well. Even though much material about the Palestinian refugees in Israeli archives is still classified, what has been uncovered provides enough information to establish that in many cases senior commanders of the Israel Defense Forces ordered Palestinians to be expelled and their homes blown up. The Israeli military not only updated Ben-Gurion about these events but also apparently received his prior authorization, in written or oral form, notably in Lod and Ramle, and in several villages in the north. Documents available for perusal on the Israeli side do not provide an unequivocal answer to the question of whether an orderly plan to expel Palestinians existed. In fact, fierce debate on the issue continues to this day. For example, in an interview with Haaretz the historian Benny Morris argued that Ben-Gurion delineated a plan to transfer the Palestinians forcibly out of Israel, though there is no documentation that proves this incontrovertibly.

Even before the war of 1948 ended, Israeli public diplomacy sought to hide the cases in which Palestinians were expelled from their villages. In his study of the early historiography of the 1948 war, “Memory in a Book” (Hebrew), Mordechai Bar-On quotes Aharon Zisling, who would become an MK on behalf of Ahdut Ha’avoda and was the agriculture minister in Ben-Gurion’s provisional government in 1948. At the height of the expulsion of the Arabs from Lod and Ramle, Zisling wrote in the left-wing newspaper Al Hamishmar, “We did not expel Arabs from the Land of Israel … After they remained in our area of control, not one Arab was expelled by us.” In Davar, the newspaper of the ruling Mapai party, the journalist A. Ophir went one step further, explaining, “In vain did we cry out to the Arabs who were streaming across the borders: Stay here with us!”

Contemporaries who had ties to the government or the armed forces obviously knew that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had been expelled and their return was blocked already during the war. They understood that this must be kept a closely guarded secret. In 1961, after John F. Kennedy assumed office as president of the United States, calls for the return of some of the Palestinian refugees increased. Under the guidance of the new president, the U.S. State Department tried to force Israel to allow several hundred thousand refugees to return. In 1949, Israel had agreed to consider allowing about 100,000 refugees to return, in exchange for a comprehensive peace agreement with the Arab states, but by the early 1960s that was no longer on the agenda as far as Israel was concerned. Israel was willing to discuss the return of some 20,000-30,000 refugees at most.

Under increasing pressure from Kennedy and amid preparations at the United Nations General Assembly to address the Palestinian refugee issue, Ben-Gurion convened a special meeting on the subject. Held in his office in the Kirya, the defense establishment compound in Tel Aviv, the meeting was attended by the top ranks of Mapai, including Foreign Minister Golda Meir, Agriculture Minister Moshe Dayan and Jewish Agency Chairman Moshe Sharett. Ben-Gurion was convinced that the refugee problem was primarily one of public image (hasbara). Israel, he believed, would be able to persuade the international community that the refugees had not been expelled, but had fled. “First of all, we need to tell facts, how they escaped,” he said in the meeting. “As far as I know, most of them fled before the state’s establishment, of their own free will, and contrary to what the Haganah [the pre-independence army of Palestine’s Jews] told them when it defeated them, that they could stay. After the state’s establishment [on May 15, 1948], as far as I know, only the Arabs of Ramle and Lod left their places, or were pressured to leave.”

Ben-Gurion thereby set the frame of reference for the discussion, even though some of the participants knew that his presentation was inaccurate, to say the least…

Ben-Gurion went on to explain what Israel must tell the world: “…[T]his was of their own free will, because they were told the country would soon be conquered and you will return to be its lord and masters and not just return to your homes.” In 1961, against the backdrop of what Ben-Gurion described as the need for “a serious operation, both in written form and in oral hasbara,” the Shiloah Institute was asked to collect material for the government about “the flight of the Arabs from the Land of Israel in 1948.”

Thanks to Omar Barghouti and Annie Robbins.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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107 Responses

  1. Les
    May 20, 2013, 11:58 am

    Israel Shahak was so stunned to discover the real Ben-Gurion in the archives, that he was compelled to set aside his research in order to adjust to the reality of the person who was once a hero of Shahak.

  2. Cliff
    May 20, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Ben-Gurion was a pathetic liar.

  3. lysias
    May 20, 2013, 1:02 pm

    The reason Ben-Gurion resigned as prime minister in 1963 was that he knew JFK was sending a letter demanding the right to inspect Dimona, and he didn’t want to be the one who received that letter.

    The 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination draws ever nearer.

  4. pabelmont
    May 20, 2013, 1:21 pm

    There were so many reasons why JFK might have been assassinated. This is another one. With so many enemies and such a bad investigation, we’ll never know. All the JFK enemies were well-placed politically.

    • lysias
      May 20, 2013, 6:53 pm

      Retired Army intelligence Major and history professor John Newman makes a strong circumstantial case in the last chapter of the paperback edition of Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK that the man who orchestrated the JFK assassination was CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton .

      Angleton also occupied the Israel desk of the CIA. He was responsible for liaison between the CIA and Israel. It was Israel which gave Angleton the text of Khrushchev’s party congress speech of 1956 denouncing Stalin. Revealing that speech was a big feather in Angleton’s cap. Angleton, who grew up in Italy, where his father headed a subsidiary of a U.S. corporation, was in the OSS during World War Two, and in the last months of the war was chief of the OSS station in Italy. His close relations with what became Israeli intelligence began during his time in Italy.

      I wouldn’t maintain that Israel was the prime mover in the assassination. That was the CIA, possibly acting with the complicity or worse of higher-ups like Lyndon Johnson. But some in Israel could well have been junior partners in the conspiracy. And, as has been said already in this thread, they certainly had reason to welcome JFK’s death (as did the CIA, Lyndon Johnson, and many others).

      We’ll never know the whole truth about the JFK assassination. But, with time, we’re learning more and more about it. Recent books about it that I would highly recommend are Newman’s book (but make sure you read the paperback edition), James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable, and the five-volume Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK, by Douglas P. Horne, a retired naval officer and the former Chief Analyst for Military Records of the Assassination Records Review Board, an official board established by Congress that had subpoena powers.

    • Obsidian
      May 22, 2013, 7:41 am

      Repeat after me, ‘lone gunman’.

      • Shingo
        May 23, 2013, 1:52 am

        Repeat after me,

        Magic bullets don’t exist.

  5. Hostage
    May 20, 2013, 1:29 pm

    No sane intellect cares if the refugees fled of their own free will or otherwise. It’s not as if there’s some sort of legal requirement for civilians to remain in an area where there’s an on-going armed conflict that places their lives in danger.

    The fact that Haaretz treats this as a relevant factor only proves that it’s editorial staff and target audience in Israel might be “a few bricks short of a full load.”

    Many civilians who tried to remain in the contested areas ended-up as the victims of massacres conducted by the notorious Jewish terror organizations. The Haganah, Irgun and Lehi specialized in terror bombings, drive by shootings, tossing grenades into Arab market places, rolling barrel bombs down hills into Arab villages, and using light or heavy mortars in attacks that destroyed and emptied entire villages of their inhabitants.

    Here is an excerpt from Prof. John Quigley’s “Palestine and Israel: a challenge to justice” (footnote numbers omitted) which describes the situation. It points out that the Zionist newspapers carried contemporary accounts which said the Arabs were given leaflets which warned them to evacuate or else:

    On April 21 the Haganah and Irgun attacked Haifa, the terminus of the Iraqi oil pipeline. According to the Palestine Post, a Zionist daily, the Haganah ” said that the Arabs had been warned by leaflets in Arabic for two days “to evacuate women, children and old men immediately .” The Haganah said that it repeated the warning from loud speaker trucks .’ The messages threatened dire consequences if the warnings were ignored. ‘ The Haganah lobbed mortars into densely populated neighborhoods in Haifa, rolled barrel bombs into alleys, and played horror recordings. The combination of bombings and threats succeeded in setting the population to flight. The “barrages making loud explosive sounds” and the “loudspeakers in Arabic,” according to an assessment by the Haganah intelligence branch, “proved their great efficacy when used properly (as in Haifa particularly).”

    The flight of Arab residents from Haifa reached the level of panic even before the main attack. In “whatever transport they could find, many of them on foot— men , women, and children— moved in a mass exodus toward the port area,” the Palestine Post reported. “Then thousands stormed the gate and streamed to the seaside to be taken to Acre by Army landing crafts.” Some shouted “Deir Yassin ” as they left, reported Menachem Begin, proud at the impact of his Irgun’s mass killing two weeks earlier.

    As families fled, the Haganah directed gun fire at them to keep them moving. British officials reported “indiscriminate and revolting machine gun fire” by the Haganah “on women and children” as they ran for the docks. They said there was “considerable congestion” of “hysterical and terrified Arab womn and children and old people on whom the Jews opened up mercilessly with fire.” Haganah commander Ben Zion Inbar recalled: “we manned the biggest mortar which our forces had at that time — a three-inch mortar — and when all the Arabs gathered in this area we started firing on them . When the shells started falling on them, they rushed down to the boats and set off by sea for Acre.” (Acre is another coastal town, to the north of Haifa.)

    An account was later disseminated that Haifa’s Arabs fled not from fear but because local Arab leaders decided on an evacuation to avoid living under Zionist rule.

    link to books.google.com

    • seafoid
      May 20, 2013, 2:22 pm

      I note that there are 1.2 million syrian refugees in Jordan. they are all expected to go home eventually. It does not matter if they fled or were forced out.
      There is no question of Syria being handed over to the Mormons either.

      • Donald
        May 20, 2013, 4:02 pm

        “No sane intellect cares if the refugees fled of their own free will or otherwise. ”

        That’s true. The official Israeli justification never made any moral sense even on its own terms–that’s why one sometimes sees the addition that the Arabs all fled their homes hoping to return on the heels of the invading Arab armies so they could rape and pillage and plunder their Jewish neighbors. They’re all evil, you know.

        The first time I encountered the hasbara explanation of the Palestinian expulsion I was pro-Israeli. Most people I knew took for granted that they were the good guys, but this story about how the Palestinians voluntarily all left with the Jews begging them to stay and so it was all their fault they lost their homes smacked of BS to me. It was just too over-the-top, even in my Christian Zionist days.

      • Walid
        May 20, 2013, 4:42 pm

        “Most people I knew took for granted that they were the good guys, but this story about how the Palestinians voluntarily all left with the Jews begging them to stay and so it was all their fault they lost their homes smacked of BS to me.”

        No doubt about the above, but it should be added that there are also skeletons in Arabs’ closets. Lots of under-the-table deals had been brewed between the Jordanians, Egyptians, Iraqis, and Saudis with the Zionists to the disadvantage of the Palestinians in the years leading up to the 48 war.

      • seafoid
        May 20, 2013, 5:05 pm

        They all fled and prefer to live like cockroaches obviously so they can’t be allowed back. Anyway if you don’t agree with that there is alternative hasbara which says they never lived there in the first place.
        My favourite is it’s 65 years and too late while any Jew from anywhere can claim residency based on 1900 years old property rights.

        Also how come the Sephardim don’t have the Ashkenazi breast cancer gene? Any ideas?

      • pabelmont
        May 20, 2013, 8:29 pm

        Zionist overhead to say: “Right. We begged them to remain but they insisted on leaving and, so, we had no choice but to bulldoze their villages and refuse to allow them to return. They left us no choice, they forced us to do dirty deeds, the ingrates. And though we loved them so. And after all we did for them, too. So now, of course, after our dirty deeds, which they forced us to do by leaving us though we begged them to stay, they hate us and we could therefore never allow them to come back because they’ve become determined enemies of the State and People of Israel (sorry, I meant enemies of the State of Israel and Jewish People of the Whole Wide World).”

      • AlGhorear
        May 20, 2013, 10:00 pm

        “Also how come the Sephardim don’t have the Ashkenazi breast cancer gene?”

        Or Tay-Sachs disease?

      • Donald
        May 20, 2013, 11:25 pm

        “No doubt about the above, but it should be added that there are also skeletons in Arabs’ closets. Lots of under-the-table deals had been brewed between the Jordanians, Egyptians, Iraqis, and Saudis with the Zionists to the disadvantage of the Palestinians in the years leading up to the 48 war.”

        No argument from me on that. Though I’m no expert–I only know of under-the-table deals between the Zionists and Trans-Jordan and am not familiar (or have forgotten if I ever knew) about the other countries.

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2013, 7:57 am

        and am not familiar (or have forgotten if I ever knew) about the other countries.

        Historian Rafael Medoff, outlines efforts by so-called non-Zionist American Jews working independently and through in the Jewish Agency with various Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Saudi officials to negotiate deals on massive population transfers. The destinations were usually Iraq, Saudi Arabia, or Transjordan.

        See “Baksheesh Diplomacy: Secret Negotiations between American Jewish Leaders and Arab Officials on the Eve of World War II”

        I’ve also cited Joseph Heller, “The birth of Israel, 1945-1949: Ben-Gurion and his critics” and Michael Doran, “Pan-Arabism Before Nasser” which cover the work of Jewish Agency Political Department officials in keeping the Arab governments divided and encouraging behind the scenes support for the partition of Palestine.

    • ToivoS
      May 20, 2013, 3:54 pm

      No sane intellect cares if the refugees fled of their own free will or otherwise.

      I once believed the official Israeli story but considered it irrelevant for the reasons you make. However, this story is highly significant. It shows, yet again, that we were lied to about the events of Israel’s founding. It shows the lengths that the Israelis will go to promote their lies. This is important because it help make the case that Israel and her supporters (either willingly or not) propagate lies and cannot be believed.

      This helps provide the context for evaluating Israel’s latest attempt to lie about the al Dura story and how to accept what Isabel Kirshner and the NYT are telling us.

      • MRW
        May 21, 2013, 1:43 am

        ToivoS, I agree. And that ability did not spring full-blown in 1948.

    • Shingo
      May 20, 2013, 7:19 pm

      No sane intellect cares if the refugees fled of their own free will or otherwise

      Agreed, but the narrative that has since surfaced is that they deserved their fete because they were complicit in the ensuing war. Again, it’s amazing and sad that we get so easily sucked into debating this narrative when we should be using your first sentence to refute the hasbara position.

    • Obsidian
      May 21, 2013, 12:37 am

      I seem to also remember Arab Legion and Iraqi volunteers occupying several Arab neighborhoods and attacking Jewish neighborhoods with their own mortars.

      Amazing how you airbrush Arab fighters from the picture.

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2013, 3:37 am

        I seem to also remember Arab Legion and Iraqi volunteers occupying several Arab neighborhoods and attacking Jewish neighborhoods with their own mortars.

        How do you remember that? Are you in your 70s?

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 21, 2013, 10:20 am

        “I seem to also remember Arab Legion and Iraqi volunteers occupying several Arab neighborhoods and attacking Jewish neighborhoods with their own mortars.”
        Are we supposed to be surprised that the theft of Palestine was met with armed resistance though ineffective as it was? Duh!

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2013, 10:40 am

        I seem to also remember Arab Legion and Iraqi volunteers occupying several Arab neighborhoods and attacking Jewish neighborhoods with their own mortars.

        Amazing how you airbrush Arab fighters from the picture.

        No I’ve taken great pains in the past to explain that Ben Gurion launched the offensive against Jerusalem and ordered the commander of the Haganah to give Irgun and Lehi a free hand to conduct operations there. The Arab Legion was responding to pleas for assistance in relieving the siege against their neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Here is Avi Shlaim’s summary of the historical events:

        In Jerusalem the initiative was seized by the Jewish side. As soon as the British evacuated the city, a vigorous offensive was launched to capture the Arab and mixed quarters of the city and form a solid area going all the way to the Old City walls. Glubb Pasha, the British commander of the Arab Legion, adopted a defensive strategy which was intended to avert a head-on collision with the Jewish forces. According to his account, the Arab Legion crossed the Jordan on 15 May to help the Arabs defend the area of Judea and Samaria allocated to them. They were strictly forbidden to enter Jerusalem or to enter any area allotted to the Jewish state in the partition plan. But on 16 May the Jewish forces tried to break into the Old City, prompting urgent calls for help from the Arab defenders. On 17 May, King ‘Abdullah ordered Glubb Pasha to send a force to defend the Old City. Fierce fighting ensued. The legionnaires inflicted very heavy damage and civilian casualties by shelling the New City, the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem. On 28 May, the Jewish Quarter inside the Old City finally surrendered to the Arab Legion.
        After the Jewish offensive in Jerusalem had been halted, the focal point of the battle moved to Latrun, a hill spur with fortifications, that dominated the main route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Like Gush Etzion, Latrun lay in the area allotted by the UN to the Arab state. But Latrun’s strategic importance was such that Ben-Gurion was determined to capture it. Against the advice of his generals, he ordered three frontal attacks on Latrun, on 25 and 30 May and on 9 June. The Arab Legion beat off all these attacks and inflicted very heavy losses on the hastily improvized and ill-equipped Jewish forces.
        Any lingering hope that Transjordan would act differently to the rest of the Arab countries went up in smoke as a result of the costly clashes in and around Jerusalem. Yigael Yadin, the IDF chief of operations, roundly rejected the claim that there had ever been any collusion between the Jewish Agency and the ruler of Transjordan, let alone collusion during the 1948 War:

        Contrary to the view of many historians, I do not believe that there was an agreement or even an understanding between Ben-Gurion and ‘Abdullah. He may have had wishful thoughts … but until 15 May 1948, he did not build on it and did not assume that an agreement with ‘Abdullah would neutralize the Arab Legion. On the contrary, his estimate was that the clash with the Legion was inevitable. Even if Ben-Gurion had an understanding or hopes, they evaporated the moment ‘Abdullah marched on Jerusalem. First there was the assault on Kfar Etzion then the capture of positions in Latrun in order to dominate the road to Jerusalem, and then there was the entry into Jerusalem. From these moves it was clear that ‘Abdullah intended to capture Jerusalem.

        Yadin’s testimony cannot be dismissed lightly for it reflected the unanimous view of the IDF General Staff that the link with Transjordan had no influence on Israel’s military conduct during the War of Independence.

        link to web.archive.org

        It would also be fair to point out that only an estimated 30,000 Arab fighters ever entered Palestine. That pales in comparison to number of foreign Jewish fighters. Almost a third of the Jews in the country, about a quarter of a million, were not citizens and most had never applied according to the information contained in the Survey of Palestine (1946). The so-called civil war was an international armed conflict from the outset.

        During a debate in the First Knesset, Ben Gurion was excoriating Begin over the damage to Israel’s foreign relations that had resulted from the Irgun’s terror attacks during the Jerusalem uprising. The former Haganah commander Moshe Sneh interrupted Ben Gurion and reminded him that he had cabled him and instructed the Haganah not to interfere with the IZL. MK G. Meyer responded by threatening Sneh (ala Anat Kam/Uri Blau) : “Moshe Sneh, don’t threaten us with publication!” — See the Minutes of the 8th Sitting of the First Knesset, 8 March 1949, in Netanel Lorach, “Major Knesset Debates, 1948-1981″ Volume 2, JCPA/University Press, 1993, page 445.

      • Obsidian
        May 22, 2013, 5:33 am

        @Hostage

        ‘Now that they had been reinforced, the Arabs prepared to take the initiative in Haifa. The number of shooting incidents, bomb explosions and skirmishes with the [Arab] Legion grew.’–Yoav Gelber, Palestine 1948: War, Escape And The Emergence Of The Palestinian Refugee Problem, page 23.

        Gelber was writing about the time period February-March, 1948.

        ‘..prepared to take the initiate in Haifa..’

      • Shingo
        May 22, 2013, 5:53 am

        ‘..prepared to take the initiate in Haifa..’

        That was 3 months after the Hagana were setting off bombs in Jerusalem and 4 months after a terrorist attack killing civilians carried out by the Palmach – December 18, 1947.

        Israeli military historian Uri Milshtein wrote that Moshe Dayan justified the attack on the grounds that it had a “desirable effect” .

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2013, 11:30 am

        ‘Now that they had been reinforced, the Arabs prepared to take the initiative in Haifa. The number of shooting incidents, bomb explosions and skirmishes with the [Arab] Legion grew.’–Yoav Gelber, Palestine 1948: War, Escape And The Emergence Of The Palestinian Refugee Problem, page 23. Gelber was writing about the time period February-March, 1948.

        LOL! The Arab Legion was permanently garrisoned in Palestine and was operating under the auspices of the British High Commissioner in February-March of 1948. It had been a small part of the 100,000-man British force deployed in the country during and after the Arab revolt in an attempt to maintain law and order.

        Gelber may think the Zionists were fighting for a righteous cause, but this is really just a case in which the members or spokesman for an illegal underground are engaging in revisionist history and complaining that everybody, including the regular authorities, were unfairly picking on them.

      • Obsidian
        May 23, 2013, 12:37 am

        @Hostage

        Many Legionnaires, itching for a fight, were going AWOL and joining the ALA and Palestinian gangs to fight the Jews. In addition, Legionnaires would give the gangs weapons and material.

        Yitzhak, Ronen. Transjordan’s attack on the Etzion Bloc during the 1948 war.. Israel Affairs 17,2 (2011) 194-207

        So. Gelber is quite right, and so was Milstein when he said that in the ‘Battle of the Cities’, that the Arabs initiated the hostilities in the urban areas. Milstein, Uri, History of the War of Independence. Vol. 2.

        And, as I’d said earlier, Arab forces had occupied Arab neighborhoods in Haifa and were mortared Jewish neighborhoods.

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2013, 6:29 am

        Many Legionnaires, itching for a fight, were going AWOL and joining the ALA and Palestinian gangs to fight the Jews. In addition, Legionnaires would give the gangs weapons and material. Yitzhak, Ronen. Transjordan’s attack on the Etzion Bloc during the 1948 war.. Israel Affairs 17,2 (2011) 194-207

        How “many” exactly? I’d hazard a guess you can’t cite any reliable estimates or other sources. The Arab Legion was obviously not responsible for anyone who went AWOL. FYI, the Zionists invented the tactic of joining the British police units in order to obtain training, weapons, and intelligence that could be used against their benefactors. The US and the UK spent years repeating that same mistake, while training Iraqi security forces to take their place;-)

        Despite Ronen Yitzhak’s best efforts, the fact remains that the Legionnaire convoy was attacked by the nut cases living in the Etzion Bloc and was not part of any Arab strategy. The Zionists had taken over a Christian Church building for use as a fighting position to attack traffic on the road from Hebron to Jerusalem. The Legionaries were obviously not AWOL in that case. They were withdrawing from Palestine under orders they had received from the High Commissioner. They had trucks full of weapons drawn-down from their warehouses in the Suez Canal zone. The Zionists had decided to either capture or destroy them as part of their “War of the Roads” – which certainly was a part of the grand over-arching Zionist strategy.

      • Shingo
        May 23, 2013, 7:34 am

        How “many” exactly?

        Yes, that’s the question I too would like to know, seeing as the ALA were small in number to begin with.

      • Obsidian
        May 23, 2013, 9:03 am

        @Hostage

        I doubt you know what Ronen Yitzhak’s best efforts were, because you’d have had to have read his article, which you haven’t. I have.

        Following Uri Milstein, the Arabs first launched the ‘Battle of the Cities’, which, of course, made perfect strategic sense.
        Having failed to conquer Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, the Arabs next launched the ‘Battle of the Roads’, in order to sever the Jewish cities from each other, which also made perfect sense.

        Fortunately, the Arabs failed to achieve results, so they lastly and finally launched the ‘Battle of the Kibbutzim’; a series of attacks on the Jewish hinterlands.

      • Shingo
        May 24, 2013, 2:45 am

        I doubt you know what Ronen Yitzhak’s best efforts were, because you’d have had to have read his article, which you haven’t. I have.

        It doesn’t seem to be helping your failed argument. You were asked to provide the number of how many Legionnaires’went AWOL – you refuse to supply that number other than claiming it was “many”.

        Following Uri Milstein, the Arabs first launched the ‘Battle of the Cities’

        Again, this has been debunked. Fighting broke out simultaneously from both sides, though the Zionist militias were far better prepared, and trained. they had after all, been planning this assault for over a decade.

        Having failed to conquer Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, the Arabs next launched the ‘Battle of the Roads’,

        Again that too has been resoundingly debunked. As Chomsky documents in his book, Fateful Triangle ;

        “The fact is from November 1947 to May 1948 the Zionists were already on the offensive and had already attacked Arabs. In the months before Israel was declared, the Zionists had driven 300,000 non-Jews off their land. In the months before Israel was declared, the Zionists had seized land beyond the proposed Jewish State.

        It wasn’t fete that the Arabs failed to achieve results – it was that they were on the defensive from the very beginning. You’re simply cherry picking the events that suit your hasbara and leaving out the events that preceded them.

        Stop trolling and wasting our time. It’s recycled and been trashed repeatedly.

      • Hostage
        May 24, 2013, 7:30 am

        I doubt you know what Ronen Yitzhak’s best efforts were, because you’d have had to have read his article, which you haven’t. I have.

        The author’s principle claims are that:
        *The Legion attacked the Etzion Bloc as part of an overall Arab strategy to prevent the creation of a Jewish state.
        *That in theory, the Etzion Bloc, like other Jewish “neighbourhoods” in the prospective Arab state, should have been able to live and prosper in peace.

        That’s disingenuous hasbara. Benny Morris, “The Road to Jerusalem” (page 137) explains that the Etzion Bloc wasn’t a neighborhood. It was a heavily armed and re-enforced Haganah military outpost with 400-500 militia men (page 137) that was “deliberately planted” along one of the main lines of communications in the 1930s. Although it was located in the territory of the proposed Arab State, the Haganah command and Ben Gurion decided against dismantling these four military bases or evacuating them. The UN resolution provided for “the right of transit, subject to considerations of national security, provided that each State shall control residence within its borders.”. So the Haganah underground had no legitimate way of manning, supplying, and equipping these so-called “neighborhoods” after the termination of the mandate, much less employing them to attack traffic on the road, while the mandate was still in force.

        Morris and others note they had already been employed in illegal attacks on Legion, British, and Arab civilian vehicles on the road from Hebron to Jerusalem on April 6th, the 12th, the 30th, and May 1st and 3rd.

        Morris, Shlaim, Flapan, Glubb and a host of other authors, including Gelber have long since published the details of (now) declassified documents in British, US, and Israeli archives about 1) the conversations between Foreign Minister Biven and the Prime Minister of Transjordan and Brig. Gen. Glubb; and 2) the conversations between Shertok and Epstein of the Jewish Agency and US Secretaries Marshall and Lovett. The British government funded, supplied, and controlled the Arab Legion. Bevin prohibited it from conducting operations in the area of the proposed Jewish state. So the Legion did nothing at all to prevent its establishment. In fact none of the Arab states entered Palestine until that task had already been accomplished and a quarter of a million Palestinians had been driven into exile. There was a modus vivendi in place that allowed the Legion to occupy the area of the proposed Arab State and coordinate with the Haganah to avoid border clashes.

        No amount of spin doctoring from Ronen Yitzhak can transform the Etzion Bloc into mere “neighborhoods” or alter the fact that, from the ouset, Biven and the British Cabinet had prohibited the Arab Legion from interfering in the establishment of the proposed Jewish state.

      • Shingo
        May 24, 2013, 8:00 am

        Bevin prohibited it from conducting operations in the area of the proposed Jewish state. So the Legion did nothing at all to prevent its establishment. In fact none of the Arab states entered Palestine until that task had already been accomplished and a quarter of a million Palestinians had been driven into exile.

        Exactly. Glubb imposed on the Arabs, the partition plan. In a meeting between Ernest Bevine, the Labor Govt’s foreign secretary, and Tafik Abul Huda, the Jordanian PM and Glubb, Bevine asked Abul Huda what he planned to do. Abul Huda stated that the plan was to send the Arab Legion to protect and keep the Arab part of Palestine. Bevin said that seemed the sensible thing to do, but do not invade the Jewish territory.

        On the 2nd of May 1948, they met for the last time to find a solution for Jerusalem. They bough maps to show where the Jordanian army would stop and where they stopped is today, the border of Israel and the West Bank, which is how the West bank was created.

      • Obsidian
        May 24, 2013, 12:18 pm

        @Hostage

        “Morris and others note they had already been employed in illegal attacks on Legion, British, and Arab civilian vehicles on the road from Hebron to Jerusalem on April 6th, the 12th, the 30th, and May 1st and 3rd. ‘

        Uuuuhhhh….talk about disingenuous.
        The ALA, under the leadership of al Husayni, had already attacked Gush Etzion on January 14, 1948. That attack failed.

        Why did the Legion attack Gush Etzion (before Israel’s Declaration of Independence)?
        Gelber, quotes Glubb, as having said that the Legion, fearing an arms embargo, assaulted the Gush Etzion in order to ensure a final supply of British supplies from their depots in Suez.

      • Shingo
        May 25, 2013, 3:52 am

        The ALA, under the leadership of al Husayni, had already attacked Gush Etzion on January 14, 1948. That attack failed.

        Gelber also verified what Hostage said earlier, that Arab forces took the initiative without orders from the commanders.

        FYI. The Haganah blew up Old Ottoman House in Jaffa on Jan 4th. They then blew up the Semiramis Hotel on January 5th, killing 20 Palestinians.

        Why did the Legion attack Gush Etzion (before Israel’s Declaration of Independence)

        The Haganah were already attacking Palestinian villages and had expelled 300,000 of them by the time Israel Declared Independence. Even according to Gelber, the Haganah were already subjugating Arab villages inside the borders of the Jewish state.

      • Obsidian
        May 25, 2013, 8:00 am

        @Shingo

        “Gelber also verified what Hostage said earlier, that Arab forces took the initiative without orders from the commanders.”

        al Husayni lead the January attack on Gush Etzion and the Mufti ordered a end to the attack.

        BTW. Palestine Post bombing, 20 civilians killed; Ben Yehuda Street, 57 killed and the Jewish Agency Headquarters bombing, 12 killed.

        Many civilians died in the Semiramis Hotel bombing. But, was this a terror attack or an attempt to assassinate al-Husayni and destroy a meeting place of the Arab gangs. Dunno.

      • Citizen
        May 21, 2013, 12:32 pm

        If memory serves, nearly all the fighting in the 47-48 war establishing Israel was done on the non-Jewish side of the UN partition line.

      • yonah fredman
        May 24, 2013, 6:58 am

        I’m sure Shingo will correct me if I’m wrong, but here is the information that I have from the (disreputable) wikipedia regarding the battle for Jerusalem:

        “Following the outbreak of disturbances at the end of 1947 the road between Tel Aviv and Jewish Jerusalem became increasingly difficult for Jewish vehicles. Ambushes by Palestinian Arab irregulars became more frequent and more sophisticated. In January 1948 the number of trucks supplying Jewish Jerusalem had fallen to thirty. By March the daily average number of lorries reaching Jerusalem was six. On 1 April The Times estimated that the Jewish population of Jerusalem require a minimum of 50 lorry loads per week. On 3 April the Scotsman newspaper reported that a spokesman at a meeting of Arab military leaders in Damascus had announced that Jerusalem would be “strangled” by a blockade.”

        And yes, Citizen, Jerusalem was not included in the area granted to the Jewish state by the partition. That does not mean that the 100,000 Jews who lived there should have been abandoned to starve. And attacks to free Jerusalem from this stranglehold seem justified.

      • Shingo
        May 24, 2013, 9:03 am

        “Following the outbreak of disturbances at the end of 1947 the road between Tel Aviv and Jewish Jerusalem became increasingly difficult for Jewish vehicles.

        As did he roads between the road between Tel Aviv and Jewish Jerusalem for Arab vehicles. At least the road between Tel Aviv and Jewish Jerusalem was through Arab territory.

        That does not mean that the 100,000 Jews who lived there should have been abandoned to starve.

        They wouldn;t have had to if the Zionist militias were not tring to capure Arab territory and illegalyl basing their forces outside the borders of the Jewish state.

      • Hostage
        May 24, 2013, 10:47 am

        here is the information that I have from the (disreputable) wikipedia regarding the battle for Jerusalem

        LOL! Just for the record, you’re quoting a passage from Dov Joseph’s book “The Faithful City”. The article mentions that he was the head of the Jerusalem Emergency Committee that introduced food rationing. In fact, he was the “Military Governor of Jerusalem” during the 1948 War – when it was still a British Mandate or UN Corpus Seperatum. The Haganah forces that he commanded were just a bunch of outlaws wanted for the recent bombings of the Semiramis Hotel and the local movie houses, + numerous attacks on British and Arab lines of logistical supply.

        Likewise Wikipedia isn’t actually quoting the Times or the Scotsman, just the parts that Dov Joseph found it useful to describe. So yeah, this is Jimbo Wales and Wikipedia at their finest, regurgitating a completely biased source in the so-called “neutral voice” of the article. The whole thing is written from a Zionist Jewish perspective without the inclusion of the published views of a single Palestinian or British Mandatory spokesman. You couldn’t achieve those results by accident, only through a so-called “edit war”.

        “Following the outbreak of disturbances at the end of 1947 the road between Tel Aviv and Jewish Jerusalem became increasingly difficult for Jewish vehicles. Ambushes by Palestinian Arab irregulars became more frequent and more sophisticated. In January 1948 the number of trucks supplying Jewish Jerusalem had fallen to thirty.

        Why does the Wikipedia narrative about the capital of the British Mandate for Palestine only discuss “Jewish trucks” and list nothing but Jewish and Zionist sources? Even the Palestine Post contains reports of Jewish underground attacks on road traffic during this same period. The British High Commissioner wrote his memoirs too you know. I”ve noted elsewhere that he had very unflattering things to say about the conduct of the Jewish forces in reports to the UN and the British Cabinet.

        The reports from the UN Palestine Commission and the High Commissioner to the UN Security Council during January 1948 don’t describe any major disruptions in the supply of the necessities of life to the population of “Jewish Jerusalem”, so they must have managed to get by with the assistance of British, Arab, or other transport after the initial disturbances. If Joseph’s figures are reliable, there were 42 trucks per week during the worst period of rationing when someone at The Times “estimated” that 50 were required.

        On 3 April the Scotsman newspaper reported that a spokesman at a meeting of Arab military leaders in Damascus had announced that Jerusalem would be “strangled” by a blockade.”

        So what? We know it never happened and that Jews were making equally bellicose statements. What would the Scotsman have said if they knew that on 18 February 1948 Ben Gurion, who was in charge of the Jewish Agency Defense Portfolio, advised its Foreign Minister Shertok that:

        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. ” See Ben Gurion Archives, Correspondence Section 23.02-1.03.48 Document 59, 26 February 1948. — cited on page 46 of Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld, reprint 2007

        Do you suppose that the constant flow of weapons and the need to deliver them might have something to do with attacks on Jewish convoys headed for the Military Commander/Emergency Relief Chairman of Jerusalem?

        We know from his memoirs that the Syrian’s contacted King Abdullah of Transjordan on 15 May and told him they weren’t prepared to enter Palestine and wanted the operation called off. When they were finally cajoled into entering Palestine, they took-up positions in the area around Lake Kinneret that they lost as a result of the British-French boundary agreement, and didn’t really contribute much for the remainder of the war.

        There is a tendency to describe attacks on armed Haganah convoys carrying weapons and fighters back and forth to the remote Haganah bases as if they were innocent victims of aggression. That’s true even in cases where the Haganah watchtower and stockade settlements and weapons caches were planted along skirmish or confrontation lines that were located beyond the borders of the proposed Jewish State. Ben Ami and others have written that there was a deliberate plan of settlement developed after 1937 to establish and link-up those remote settlements to major Jewish population centers and determine de facto borders that were much larger than the ones that either the Peel Commission or the UN had proposed – and that’s exactly what was going on in Jerusalem.

    • SQ Debris
      May 21, 2013, 12:12 pm

      The oddest thing about the schizoid hasbara lines is that on the one hand Zionists claim that they didn’t force Palestinians to leave, in fact begged them to stay. On the other hand the official position of the State is that if the refugees are allowed to return it will mean the Destruction of The Jewish State. The implicit question is: how could there have ever been a Jewish State in the first place had the Palestinians had not fled? The positions have no point of intersection.

      • David Samel
        May 21, 2013, 3:05 pm

        SQ, that’s an excellent point that should be made more often.

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2013, 10:11 pm

        n the other hand the official position of the State is that if the refugees are allowed to return it will mean the Destruction of The Jewish State. The implicit question is: how could there have ever been a Jewish State in the first place had the Palestinians had not fled?

        That is indeed a very important point SQ.

        There are so many contradictions in that one argument. On one hand they claim they condemn the Palestiniasn as being rejectionists for not wanting to share the land or accommodate and welcome limitless Jewish immigration, yet on the other hand, they argue that allowing refugees to return threatens the Jewish character and majority in Israel.

        So in other words, the Palestinians were apparently racist and intolerant for wanting to preserve the Palestinian character of Palestine, but it’s perfectly noble and moral to preserve the Jewish character of Israel.

        The other contradiction, as you point out, in the claim that there was no intention of expelling the Palestinians, but the insistence that they had to have a Jewish state with a Jewish majority where no such majority existed.

        And to top it all off, they insist that the outcome (which is exactly what the Zionists wanted) was one freakish and unintended outcome.

      • Citizen
        May 24, 2013, 3:48 am

        @ Shingo, I don’t know who has said the Zionists begged the natives to stay, and on what evidence, but even if this was true, and the natives left their homes anyway (usually in a hurry, with nothing but a few pots and pans, etc), the Zionists have never allowed them to re-enter, to go back to their former homes. The Zionist may say, “Well, now it’s too late.” But it has always been “too late,” so what’s the Zionist’s point? The next point, given that set of circumstances, is offering compensation? That’s never been done either. From ’47 to 2013, nothing done on this.

      • Shingo
        May 24, 2013, 4:16 am

        I don’t know who has said the Zionists begged the natives to stay, and on what evidence, but even if this was true, and the natives left their homes anyway (usually in a hurry, with nothing but a few pots and pans, etc), the Zionists have never allowed them to re-enter, to go back to their former homes.

        It’s clearly false and nothing more than another variation of crying while shooting narrative. it simply makes no sense why it was suddenly too late after the war ended.

        As Miko Peled documented in is book, his own family, and many of the other Zionist elite, were being offered the pick of the abandoned homes while the beds were still warm. They clearly never had any intention of having anyone stay.

      • Hostage
        May 24, 2013, 8:02 am

        As Miko Peled documented in is book, his own family, and many of the other Zionist elite, were being offered the pick of the abandoned homes while the beds were still warm. They clearly never had any intention of having anyone stay.

        It would have been a cruel joke in any event even if they had been invited back. Pappé and others have reported the unit-level orders to implement Plan Dalet called for expulsions, demolition, and the placement of mines or other booby-traps in the rubble and personal belongings left behind in the leveled Arab villages. Not to mention the fact that Arabs “who joined in building the Jewish state” were treated to 20 years of martial law before they were promoted to second-class citizenship and racial discrimination on steroids. See the preface of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

      • Shingo
        May 24, 2013, 9:06 am

        Pappé and others have reported the unit-level orders to implement Plan Dalet called for expulsions, demolition, and the placement of mines or other booby-traps in the rubble and personal belongings left behind in the leveled Arab villages.

        A cruel joke indeed, to return to a booby-trapped home after managing not to get shot trying to get back to your property.

  6. Woody Tanaka
    May 20, 2013, 2:31 pm

    “Ben-Gurion went on to explain what Israel must tell the world: ‘…[T]his was of their own free will, because they were told the country would soon be conquered and you will return to be its lord and masters and not just return to your homes.’”

    This claim — that a people who were fleeing for their lives were, in fact, engaging in an offensive act against those who were actually terrorizing them — is easily among the greatest blood libels and ethnic slanders of all time.

  7. gingershot
    May 20, 2013, 3:18 pm

    This is really one of the best articles I have ever seen on the realities of the entire sack of **** that is the Israeli/Zionist narrative about the birth of Israel

    It reminds me of the speeches Miko Peled (The General’s Son) does – I bet he’s going to have a field day with this trove of documents – it really is a vindication for him.

    Israel is a house of cards, a Ponzi Scheme, the Big Lie – what consumate, fervent con-artists to make shouting everybody down an art form.

    Palestinians should hold them to their right of return PLUS 60 yrs of reparations – and use this material at the ICC or wherever they seek redress

  8. Kathleen
    May 20, 2013, 3:29 pm

    I know there are so many theories about who was behind Kennedy’s assassination but after finding out quite awhile back that Kennedy had demanded that Ben Gurion open up Dimona to international inspections etc. Sure had me wondering just who Lee Harvey Oswald made contact with in Russia and thinking about Jack Ruby ( Jacob Rubenstein) killing Oswald and why. And why the investigation into the who, what, why Kennedy was assassinated was shut down rather quickly according to some experts.

    • Citizen
      May 21, 2013, 12:38 pm

      @ Kathleen
      Yep. Is it just coincidence that JFK was murdered at a time when he was engaged in trying to stop Israel’s acquisition of nuclear bombs, and also, trying to make Israel allow ROR for the Palestinian natives? What the heck did Jack Ruby have to do with anything USSR? Anybody know anything about what, if anything, Ruby said about his murder of Oswald? About his Zionist connections? Bobby K was murdered too, and he was hell bent on making the parent company of AIPAC, a proclaimed Zionist organization, register as the agent of a foreign country, Israel. I bet JFK agreed with Bobby on that–anyone know anything on this subject?

  9. Erasmus
    May 20, 2013, 4:05 pm

    ” ….In 1961, after John F. Kennedy assumed office as president of the United States, calls for the return of some of the Palestinian refugees increased. Under the guidance of the new president, the U.S. State Department tried to force Israel to allow several hundred thousand refugees to return. In 1949, Israel had agreed to consider allowing about 100,000 refugees to return, in exchange for a comprehensive peace agreement with the Arab states, but by the early 1960s [(??? a rather imprecise dating!)] that was no longer on the agenda….”

    How interesting!!!
    President J.F. Kennedy’s assassination has been on 22 November 1963!!!
    Within the above context, the reading of the involved background material about the failed attempts – official and otherwise – to successfully investigate the president’s assassination (see link to en.wikipedia.org) and throw light into the dark – suddenly opens up – not entirely unplausibly – quite a very new direction of thinking………..

    • straightline
      May 20, 2013, 5:17 pm

      I’m sure you’re aware of another way in which Kennedy pressured Israel in 1963:

      link to sscnet.ucla.edu

      • pabelmont
        May 20, 2013, 8:34 pm

        Straightline, that link is:
        link to sscnet.ucla.edu

      • Daniel Rich
        May 21, 2013, 2:06 am

        @ straighline,

        The link you posted is dead. Was ‘JFK’s Letter to Eshkol About Dimona‘ what you were referring to?

        If only we could find out who likes to shoot people in the head…

      • Erasmus
        May 21, 2013, 2:11 am

        this link gives me a 404 Not Found reply.
        Maybe you give your “argument” in a straight mode in your own words?

      • Erasmus
        May 21, 2013, 2:46 am

        Ooops, thank you Pabelmont. This link of yours did work.

        From what i take from this link is, that the Israeli nuclear programme had been no material bone of contention between the Kennedy administration and Israel’s nuclear programme at all; in essence, any “misgivings” between them were substantially “just for show” and window-dressing for the press and media.
        This, however, could hardly be said about any political-economical pressure wrt the issue of Return of Palestinian Refugees to their homes within the boundaries of the State of Israel.

      • straightline
        May 21, 2013, 8:26 am

        Thanks pabelmont – not sure what went wrong with my link.

        Erasmus – read to the end:

        “It was only in mid-1963 that the Kennedy administration decided to apply real pressure. But this had to do with the more general policy the U.S. government was pursuing at the time. It was about to embark on delicate and far-reaching negotiations designed to keep both Germany and China non-nuclear, and the last thing Kennedy wanted was for Israel to do anything that might upset the applecart.”

      • Citizen
        May 21, 2013, 12:45 pm

        @ Erasmus
        Yes, this seems so.

      • lysias
        May 22, 2013, 10:02 am

        Mid-1963 was also when the Kennedy administration was successfully negotiating with the USSR the nuclear test ban treaty, and when JFK delivered his address at American University that basically called for an end to the Cold War.

    • lysias
      May 20, 2013, 7:03 pm

      Speaking of dates, the reactor at Dimona went critical on Dec. 26, 1963. Interesting date.

  10. DavidK
    May 20, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Lest we forget Ben Gurion resigned after Kennedy pressured him to give up Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

    • Erasmus
      May 21, 2013, 2:28 am

      And do you see any power of logic between the timing of BG’s resignation and possible machinations and dynamics of the Mossad??
      After all, preparations for an assassination of an USA president takes a while, long while i assume.

      Obviously, such a hypothezided link with Israel’s nuclear programme has also been made, however, this i do find absolutely unconvincing.
      Moreover, lest we forget that conceived or real obstacles wrt to unhindered settlements had been good enough for Rabin’s assassination!

      I guess the prospects of a possible return of (few) hundred thousand Palestinian Refugees to the Israeli “homeland” could have equally served as good enough “justification” for Zionist terrorists of those days to act and “nib the danger in the bud” …….

      Fact is, so it seems to me, that this thread wrt to such a reasoning for Kennedy’s assassination has not been gone into and further explored. Remember, how many documents and evidence has disappeared miraculuously or clues not having been followed??
      Above all, the Israeli Archives remain very inaccessible for historic research.

      • Citizen
        May 21, 2013, 12:47 pm

        “i… it seems to me, that this thread wrt to such a reasoning for Kennedy’s assassination has not been gone into and further explored. Remember, how many documents and evidence has disappeared miraculuously or clues not having been followed??
        Above all, the Israeli Archives remain very inaccessible for historic research.”

        Yep.

  11. David Samel
    May 20, 2013, 4:32 pm

    I absolutely agree with Hostage that the issue makes little difference. The hasbara line that Palestinians fled voluntarily is not only factually unsupportable – it is entirely irrelevant. Palestinians fled for the same reason that civilian refugees always flee from wars; they are afraid that if they stay they will die. Why should Palestinians lose certain refugee rights because some fled before they were forced at gunpoint to do so? Could they not anticipate the danger of remaining in a war zone, especially one in which other civilians like them had been massacred?

    The speciousness of this hasbara is plainly apparent. What was the supposed motive for “Arab leaders” to tell Palestinians to flee so that they could return triumphant? This wasn’t a phone booth or toilet stall where one had to leave for another to enter. The supposedly invading five, or six, or seven Arab armies did not require the flight of civilians before they could move.

    It was par-for-the-course silly hasbara about an illusory distinction between fleeing “voluntarily” and fleeing at the point of a gun. But like a lot of silly hasbara, it spread like a virus, convincing the predisposed, and repeated a million times over.

    It is interesting to see how and when this hasbara evolved, but I recall seeing an eyewitness account from IF Stone in 1948 stating that the flight of Palestinians was an inexplicable surprise to him. I have no doubt of his sincerity, especially since he later was a pioneer in exposing the vapidity of the whole thing, but his initial account led me to believe that the voluntary flight BS started way back in 1948. There is other evidence of this in the article. “We begged them to stay and join with us in creating a Jewish State, but they foolishly followed the orders of their leaders.” Yeah, right. At any rate, it seems that B-G gave the matter renewed attention in the JFK years.

    • pabelmont
      May 20, 2013, 8:35 pm

      Also, food was growing scarce and supplies were not getting past Israeli forces to Palestinian Arabs.

    • Hostage
      May 20, 2013, 9:38 pm

      It is interesting to see how and when this hasbara evolved, but I recall seeing an eyewitness account from IF Stone in 1948 stating that the flight of Palestinians was an inexplicable surprise to him. I have no doubt of his sincerity, especially since he later was a pioneer in exposing the vapidity of the whole thing, but his initial account led me to believe that the voluntary flight BS started way back in 1948

      Of course they did. The Arab States and Count Bernadotte used the occasion of the the XVIIth ICRC Diplomatic Conference in August and September of 1948 to appeal for emergency international assistance to help feed and shelter the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees that had overwhelmed the Arab relief agencies.

      The Conference was deliberating the draft Geneva Conventions of 1949. Much to the chagrin of the Zionists, the situation helped cement support for the requirement for an occupying power to provide formal protections under the Conventions long after the armed conflicted ended, until the prisoners and refugees were repatriated and resettled.

      The Observer from Israel, Dr. Katznelson, said:

      I wish only to make a few remarks. It is estimated by the United Nations’ experts that some 300,000 Arabs left their places of residence in Palestine but it must be absolutely clear that none of them has been deported or has been requested to leave his place of residence. As a matter of fact, all those who remained, for example, in Nazareth, which I visited before I left and which is now occupied by the forces of my Government, 40,000 Arabs remained in their places of residence and continue to live peacefully and normally. It is a great disaster that many thousands left without any reason and without being in any danger, even before the British left Palestine. (pdf file page 61).

      link to loc.gov

      The Arab ambassadors stressed the fact that the refugees had been displaced by the armed conflict. The Representative of Syria Dr. Kadry replied:

      I feel in duty bound to concur in the resolution which has been formulated, but I should like to point out that the representative of the Jewish Red Cross has taken advantage of the opportunity which has been offered him to bring into the discussion political questions which are outside the province of our Conference. I could reply to everything he said with regard to the refugees. I will not do so, for everyone knows that these refugees were forced to leave their homes and that those who refused to do so were killed. However, I will bow to the request of the Conference and will not prolong the discussion. (pdf file page 62)

      The Representative of Lebanon, Mrs. Kettaneh said:

      In this connection I should like to say a few words about the Lebanese Red Cross. In consequence of the armed conflict which broke out as soon as the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine, the towns, villages and the countryside in our homeland have witnessed the most terrible scenes of misery and distress. In these hundreds of thousands refugees from Palestine have left their homes, fleeing from the ravages of war. Here, at this meeting composed of delegates who are seeking to alleviate human sufferings, I do not think it is necessary to emphasize the distress, the suffering and the pain which we are constantly witnessing. There has been a veritable flood of old people, women and children who have had to leave their country, abandoning their homes, their houses, their businesses, often everything they possessed. The neighboring countries are giving all possible assistance to these refugees; their hospitality is limited only by the extent of their resources. Lebanon is a small country, and yet it has made an immense effort to apply the humanitarian principles which inspire it; it has done everything in its power to alleviate the sufferings of its unhappy guests. (pdf file page 61)

      • Obsidian
        May 21, 2013, 6:53 am

        “The [Syrian] army is hitting Qusair with tanks and artillery from the north and east while Hezbollah is firing mortar rounds and multiple rocket launchers from the south and west,” he said.
        “Most of the dead are civilians killed by the shelling.”

        link to ynetnews.com

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2013, 7:06 am

        “Most of the dead are civilians killed by the shelling.”

        Rubbish. Qusair is a rebel stronghold and the Syrian army is winning. Every time the rebels get their buts kicked, they release BS propaganda about a massacre committed by the Syrian army.

        Your Al Qaeda friends are getting their butts kicked and want help.

      • straightline
        May 21, 2013, 8:29 am

        Yes – if you want to know what’s happening in Syria, forget the MSM. Try

        link to moonofalabama.org

        which has been proved right most of the time – unlike the BBC, the Guardian, and of course any of the US newspapers “of record”.

      • Obsidian
        May 22, 2013, 5:30 am

        Thanks.
        I was trying to be sarcastic and to highlight the hypocrisy of those who focus on Jewish war crimes from the past but who ignore Arab war crimes of the present day.

      • Djinn
        May 22, 2013, 5:45 am

        Presumably you’d argue that any who managed to flee the firing should never be allowed to return.

  12. AlGhorear
    May 20, 2013, 10:42 pm

    As Phil previously wrote about on this site, JFK spent time in Palestine in 1939 when he was just 22 years old and I’m sure it left a huge impression upon him. Who knows whether his views would conveniently change in time as did his son Ted’s, but at least at the time he was willing to push for justice and human rights for the Palestinians.

    There have been very few elected American officials since who have been even remotely supportive of justice for the Palestinians. In fact, there are probably more, but I can only think of three: Dennis Kucinich, Paul Findley and Cynthia McKinney. And we all know what happened to them. The lobby found candidates similar to each of them on every issue but Israel and then pumped money into their campaigns. That’s the way the lobby works. It’s not about the dollars most candidates receive to support their campaigns, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to all the money from other sources. But these same candidates know what happens to politicians who don’t support the AIPAC line. They have very short careers.

  13. mondonut
    May 21, 2013, 12:57 am

    Kennedy’s insistence on right of return prompted Ben-Gurion to rewrite history:

    It shows what the scholar Victor Kattan has documented, that several US presidents were for the right of return.

    Not so.
    Not so.

    The RoR has a very specific meaning and it is certainly not that Israel should be forced to accommodate the return of some refugees. Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a “right” of return.

    • Cliff
      May 21, 2013, 5:28 am

      So what do the documents insist?

      • mondonut
        May 21, 2013, 8:35 am

        Cliff says: So what do the documents insist?
        =======================================
        Not what Philip Weiss claims. Feel free to read them yourself.

      • Cliff
        May 22, 2013, 4:19 am

        Why dont you tell us what the documents said.

    • Shingo
      May 21, 2013, 5:32 am

      Not so.
      Not so.

      Picture MN as he closes eyes, puts hands on ears and runs around in a circle screaming “Not so. Not so. Not so. Not so. Not so. Not so.”

      • Cliff
        May 21, 2013, 5:51 am

        rofl

      • mondonut
        May 21, 2013, 8:36 am

        Shingo says: Picture MN as he closes eyes, puts hands on ears and runs around in a circle screaming “Not so. Not so. Not so. Not so. Not so. Not so.”
        ================================================
        Well done Shingo.
        link to upload.wikimedia.org

      • talknic
        May 22, 2013, 5:33 am

        mondonut “Well done Shingo”

        There was nothing for Shingo to refute. Shingo’s “picture” was apt.

      • mondonut
        May 22, 2013, 7:57 am

        talknic says: There was nothing for Shingo to refute. Shingo’s “picture” was apt.
        ================================
        How about this…

        “Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a “right” of return.”

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2013, 12:51 pm

        “Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a “right” of return.”

        In fact the Kennedy Administration pushed the Johnson plan and acknowledged that it required Israel to accept the principle of the refugees “right” of return. link to 2001-2009.state.gov

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2013, 1:31 pm

        Here is a memorandum from Acting secretary Bowles to President Kennedy, April 28, 1961 regarding An Approach to the Arab Refugee Problem. He said:

        Briefly, it offers each refugee the choice of repatriation as a law-abiding citizen of Israel, resettlement via special works projects in an Arab country, or resettlement via United Nations encouragement in a non-Arab country. The approach assumes, and by careful restriction and phasing assures, that only a fraction of the refugees will in fact return to live permanently in Israel.

        link to history.state.gov

        It resulted in letters being delivered to all of the Arab leaders, like this one from Kennedy to Nasser, which recited the now familiar resolution 194 formula:

        We are willing to help resolve the tragic Palestine refugee problem on the basis of the principle of repatriation or compensation for properties, to assist in finding an equitable answer to the question of Jordan River water resources development and to be helpful in making progress on other aspects of this complex problem.

        link to history.state.gov

        Even when assured that most refugees would opt for compensation and resettlement elsewhere, Israel still refused to accept law abiding Arab citizens or pay its share of the costs for resettlement.

      • mondonut
        May 22, 2013, 11:25 pm

        Hostage says: Here is a memorandum from Acting secretary Bowles to President Kennedy, April 28, 1961 regarding An Approach to the Arab Refugee Problem.
        ===================================================
        This is getting tiresome, so this is my last reply to this repeated nonsense.

        The Claims: 1) Kennedy insisted on the Right of Return. 2) Several US presidents were for the Right of Return.

        Response: No evidence within essay to back this bold claim

        Your Replies: Mountains of quotes by members of various administrations (not Presidents) that are thoroughly off topic. Several direct quotes by Presidents without mention of any “Right” of Return.

        Basically a complete inability of Philip or yourself to provide support to the central theme of the essay. As well as your inability to admit what is blindingly obvious, that the claim is false and unsupportable.

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2013, 6:53 am

        Your Replies: Mountains of quotes by members of various administrations (not Presidents) that are thoroughly off topic.

        You are responding just beneath a comment containing a quote from a letter signed by Kennedy himself in response to the Bowles Approach. It was addressed to Nasser and recited the now familiar resolution 194 formula: “We are willing to help resolve the tragic Palestine refugee problem on the basis of the principle of repatriation or compensation for properties.”

        Using your hasbara technique for a moment, that didn’t say “a principle of repatriation, it said “the principle of repatriation”, i.e. the customary one reflected in the Geneva Conventions.

        Your brain-dead suggestion that administration officials had spent months before that engaging in unauthorized discussions with Israeli and Arab officials about the “right” of return and the Johnson plan without Kennedy’s knowledge is utter nonsense. The FRUS is the official historical documentary record of major US foreign policy decisions. All of these documents were addressed “to” or “cc” the President at the White House.

        This is getting tiresome, so this is my last reply to this repeated nonsense.

        No you are deliberately trolling the thread, as usual, and that has been tiresome for quite some time.

      • Cliff
        May 23, 2013, 7:00 am

        Mondonut,

        why haven’t you told us what the documents say? you haven’t substantiated anything you’ve said to Hostage

        @phil

        this is classic trolling. hostage goes out of his way and cites documents (whether they are right or wrong is besides the point, the point is that he clearly has done some work to make an argument rather than copy-pasting)

        mondonut, your comments are pure conjecture and when asked about specifics you tell us to re-read the documents or something

        why don’t you demonstrate that you read them, and quote a passage and explain why you think hostage is wrong

        not a passage hostage has cited but the original documents pertaining to this blog post

        i think you’re a liar and you just knee-jerkingly responded thinking no one would call you out for it

      • Cliff
        May 23, 2013, 7:03 am

        mondonut said:

        This is getting tiresome, so this is my last reply to this repeated nonsense.”

        who cares if its your last response

        you didnt read any of the documents and you sure as hell didn’t read the documents pertaining to this blog post

        you responded with a shopworn superficial zionist conjecture-laden knee-jerk

        and after repeated attempts to get you to do something so simple (cite a passage from the original documents and not something hostage posted, and thus provide evidence you did some original thinking/research) – you continually refuse

        you enter into discussions/debates/rant/arguments and have nothing to back up the crap you spam

        it’s just semantics you quibble over in hostages comments but you yourself havent actually read anything

        you are a troll!

    • Hostage
      May 21, 2013, 10:02 am

      Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a “right” of return.

      Apparently you are not very well informed on the subject. After World War II the US was adamant that displaced persons and refugees had an inherent entitlement to the exercise of the “right of return” to their country of origin or nationality.

      That idea led to a long-running dispute and mutual trade boycotts between the US and other countries, like Communist China. It’s government interfered with the right of US citizens to be repatriated to the USA. Chinese officials complained that the US was interfering with the right of its citizens to be repatriated, e.g.
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov

      The government of Japan complained that displaced persons of western descent had been allowed to exercise their right of return, while persons of Japanese descent had been refused. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said they merely wanted the right of return to their homes and livelihoods too. The US State Department agreed that it was not an unreasonable demand and that US military occupation officials were exceeding their mandate from the UN regarding the trusteeship and their authority under related US law. link to history.state.gov

      Declassified documents show that German and Austrian officials reserved their positions on the exercise of the right of return in the post-war settlements. The Allied powers refused to agree on the ground that it would expose them to claims for compensation in international courts over properties seized from Nazi collaborators that had not been returned. Under the circumstances, that’s powerful evidence of “mens rea” or a guilty mind, since the international courts would have provided them with all of the usual legal protections recognized by civilized peoples.
      link to history.state.gov
      link to history.state.gov

      The only people who seemed blissfully unaware of the numerous assertions regarding the existence of “the right of return” in the foreign relations practice of the United States were Zionist Jews like Ambassador Goldberg and the Rostow brothers (Walt and Eugene).
      link to history.state.gov

      Nasser took the position that most refugees would opt to receive compensation rather than a return to conditions of second-class citizenship in Israel. When he suggested that they be individually surveyed by the UNRWA concerning their wishes, the US government responded that it wouldn’t be a good idea.
      link to history.state.gov

      • mondonut
        May 21, 2013, 10:50 am

        Hostage says: Apparently you are not very well informed on the subject…
        ===========================================
        Fair enough. Although factually correct I will nonetheless amend my statement in light of your OT reply:

        Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a the “right” of return for Palestinian refugees.

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2013, 6:12 pm

        Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a the “right” of return for Palestinian refugees.

        That’s incorrect. There’s no doubt at all that President Johnson and his administration repeatedly told the Israels that they would have to allow the refugees to exercise their right of return or indemnify those that were resettled elsewhere in line with the UN resolutions on the subject. Try reading the chapters of the FRUS on Postwar Diplomacy, June 11–September 30, 1967; and UN Security Council Resolution 242, October 3–November 22, 1967.
        * link to history.state.gov
        * link to history.state.gov

        That was item number two in his five point plan for ending the conflict in the Middle East, which in-turn became the framework for resolution 242.

        Here is the relevant text of President Johnson’s “five points” speech, delivered during the State Department’s Foreign Policy Conference for Educators, June 19, 1967:

        Second, this last month, I think, shows us another basic requirement for settlement. It is a human requirement: justice for the refugees.

        A new conflict has brought new homelessness. The nations of the Middle East must at last address themselves to the plight of those who have been displaced by wars. In the past, both sides have resisted the best efforts of outside mediators to restore the victims of conflict to their homes, or to find them other proper places to live and work. There will be no peace for any party in the Middle East unless this problem is attacked with new energy by all, and certainly, primarily by those who are immediately concerned.

        link to presidency.ucsb.edu

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2013, 10:04 pm

        Wow Hostage – you are ruthless in dispatching the hasbarats.

        Love it!!

      • mondonut
        May 21, 2013, 11:49 pm

        Hostage says: That’s incorrect.
        ===================================================
        Nowhere in this or the linked documents does it show that Kennedy (or any president) insisted on a the “right” of return for Palestinian refugees.

        Are you deliberately being obtuse? And further, why with the supposed wealth of documents at your disposal do you provide a quote that in no way supports your assertion?

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2013, 8:41 am

        ? And further, why with the supposed wealth of documents at your disposal do you provide a quote that in no way supports your assertion?

        Because ” justice for the refugees” and any reference (at all) to “the plight of those who have been displaced by wars” entails a legally binding obligation to protect those persons under the customary law reflected in the terms of Articles 6 and 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention until they are repatriated or compensated for their harm or loss and resettled elsewhere.

        That’s the basis of “the right of return” in international law. It undoubtedly applies to all of the people who were displaced as a result of the 1967 war. The State Department documents that I provided establish that the right is nothing new or unusual. Forced permanent population transfers have been illegal since the days of the USA’s Lieber code. Here is the applicable text of the 4th Geneva Convention:

        In the case of occupied territory, the application of the present Convention shall cease one year after the general close of military operations; however, the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory, by the provisions of the following Articles of the present Convention: 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53 , 59 , 61 to 77, 143.
        Protected persons whose release, repatriation or re-establishment may take place after such dates shall meanwhile continue to benefit by the present Convention.

        Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 22, 2013, 9:31 am

        “Wow Hostage – you are ruthless in dispatching the hasbarats.

        Love it!!”

        I agree. We should all tip our caps and give thanks to Hostage for his outstanding work in dealing with these issues.

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2013, 9:51 am

        P.S. Here’s a memo from Secretary Rusk to President Kennedy which explains that:
        1) No progress can be made on the Johnson plan until Israel accepted in principle the refugee “right” of return.
        2) That while Israel considered the Johnson plan dead, the US government did not.
        3) The US government was seeking progress within a UN framework which establishes the principle that the true wishes of the individual refugee, when confronted with a real choice without outside pressure, must be ascertained.
        4) The US believed that the majority of refugees would eventually be resettled elsewhere.

        Here is a direct quote which lays the blame at Israel’s doorstep and warns that it will result in isolation within the global community and loss of legitimacy:

        We have been partially successful in getting the Israelis to agree to these propositions. However, we have run again and again into Israeli insistences which would in effect preclude any progress, inter alia, (1) that the Arabs must recognize in advance that no more than one refugee in every ten can return to Israel;/5/ (2) that Israel opposes any operation for free expression of refugee preference; (3) that the Arabs must cease all hostile propaganda; and (4) that in any case our talks bear no relation to the Johnson Plan, which they consider dead. In rejoinder, we have made it clear that we do not regard the Johnson proposals as dead and that we think there is significance and hope in the fact that Israel has been unwilling to translate into public rejection its initial, precipitate private opposition and continued vigorous lobbying against Johnson’s proposals. We have stressed, also, that Johnson is a free agent and were Israel’s attitude to oblige him to report that it had rejected his proposals without even the courtesy of careful scrutiny, while the Arabs have not rejected, Israel would have to bear sole responsibility for its appearance of intransigence and resultant isolation in the eyes of an international community which has overwhelmingly endorsed this endeavor.

        link to 2001-2009.state.gov

        It’s not that there aren’t any Kennedy Administration documents about the right of return, its that you are suffering from willful ignorance.

      • Citizen
        May 22, 2013, 10:08 am

        @ Hostage
        Thanks!

      • mondonut
        May 22, 2013, 10:28 am

        Hostage says: It’s not that there aren’t any Kennedy Administration documents about the right of return, its that you are suffering from willful ignorance.
        =============================================
        Kennedy administration documents was never the question – as well you know. The assertion, which you have abandoned in interest of being argumentative, is that Kennedy himself insisted on a “right” of return. Nothing that you or Phillip Weiss have provided has backed up that bold assertion.

      • Shingo
        May 23, 2013, 2:02 am

        The assertion, which you have abandoned in interest of being argumentative, is that Kennedy himself insisted on a “right” of return.

        You’ve already been caught out repeatedly being wrong MN, and you admitted being ignorant of the facts, so it’s you being argumentative. Kennedy wanted to successively complete the Johnson plan which required Israel to accepted the refugee “right” of return.

        Give up. You’ve lost this round

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2013, 3:48 am

        The assertion, which you have abandoned in interest of being argumentative, is that Kennedy himself insisted on a “right” of return. Nothing that you or Phillip Weiss have provided has backed up that bold assertion.

        Now you’re just kicking and screaming. I did cite Kennedy’s letters to the Arab leaders on the subject. You really can’t argue that Kennedy’s Secretary of State wasn’t getting his marching orders from the President either. I’ve supplied you with memos that prove Kennedy was informed and consulted on his government’s position regarding the principle of the “right” of return at every step along the way.

        The letters in question were personally signed by Kennedy and were delivered to the Arab heads of state after the consultations with Kennedy by his underlings on the Johnson plan and Bowles Approach, which offered each refugee 1) the choice of repatriation as a law-abiding citizen of Israel, 2) resettlement via special works projects in an Arab country, or 3) resettlement via United Nations encouragement in a non-Arab country.
        link to history.state.gov

        Kennedy reaffirmed the formula used in General Assembly resolution 194(III):

        47. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic, Washington, May 11, 1961, 10:06 p.m.

        Deliver following message Nasser from President advising date and time delivery: . . . We are willing to help resolve the tragic Palestine refugee problem on the basis of the principle of repatriation or compensation for properties, . . .

        link to history.state.gov

      • Citizen
        May 23, 2013, 7:28 am

        Yep, Hostage is a BIG PLUS on this blog. He sure knows his way around government archives. And he relentlessly shows how the hasbara bots glibly lie, hoping nobody will take the time to reveal them for what they are–shameless liars in the cause of Zionism.

  14. Citizen
    May 21, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Sometimes the obvious needs to be repeated. What would anyone here do if they were a Palestinian in 1947-’48. Consider, you were a farmer, with no access to weapons except very antique ones, and no military training. And you had a family.

  15. Obsidian
    May 22, 2013, 9:07 am

    Pray for the Arab States and their British backers to intervene?

  16. munro
    May 22, 2013, 11:17 am

    Guatemala, Cuba and the JFK Assassination
    (Oswald worked for United Fruit)
    link to educationforum.ipbhost.com

    link to mondoweiss.net

    Sam Zemurray father of the banana republic
    link to nytimes.com

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