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’48 is beginning to replace ’67 in discourse — even at UVa

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Helena Cobban reports at Just World News:

On Saturday, I was delighted to attend the first two sessions of a half-day conference held at the University of Virginia on the topic ‘1948 in Palestine.’ The main speakers at those sessions were Susan Akram on Boston University Law School and Rochelle Davis of Georgetown University.

…What was equally notable to the high quality of both of these discussions was, for me, simply the fact of the open-ness of this corner of American academe to discussing this whole issue of 1948 in such an open-minded way.

These days, dealing with the still-unresolved issues of 1948 is moving back to being an inescapably central part of the whole quest to find a workable and equality-based formula for the longterm coexistence of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, whether in two states or one. For several years in an earlier era– perhaps up to 1999 or 2000; or possibly, even later than that?– it seemed to many people around the world that dealing only with the issues of 1967 (primarily, ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that Israel initiated in that year) would be sufficient and/or workable, while the issues from 1948 (primarily, the question of that large portion of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from the area-that-became-Israel that year) could somehow be sidestepped, swept under the rug, or finessed in one way or another.

For many Israelis, however, even trying to discuss the question of the Palestinian refugees as being bearers of rights is still seen as anathema, or as an attempt to “delegitimize Israel”, or whatever… and the same is true of the many pro-Israeli watchdogs and discourse-suppression organizations in the U.S. media and the U.S. academy.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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57 Responses

  1. pabelmont on November 7, 2011, 2:09 pm

    “discourse-suppression organizations in the U.S. media and the U.S. academy.” GREAT PHRASE.

    “[T]he question of the Palestinian refugees as being bearers of rights is still seen as anathema” (for many Israelis): YOU CANNOT MAKE ME TALK ABOUT IT! (discourse suppression at the max).

    • seafoid on November 7, 2011, 5:15 pm

      To get a feel for what 1948 was about for the Zionists check out these photos by Robert Capa

      There were only a couple of hundred thousand Jews in Palestine prior to the war. Look at all the tents for the immigrants. They displaced an entire nation. And there are no pictures of the Nakba. This was a carefully managed PR war effort.

      They always pushed :

      their superior technology


      their control over the landscape

      I wonder what happened to this guy.

      • Walid on November 8, 2011, 1:18 am

        As you said, Seafoid, and not a single referrence to the dispossessed Palestinians. It’s telling how in 4 of the Capa pictures, newly arrived people in 1950 were called “Arab Jews” since this is what they were. This was before Ben Gurion and his Israelis decided that “Arab Jews” was a dirty word and began forcefully erasing the Arab culture of these people and substituting it with the cancerous European Zionism. Pictures also omitted showing the Arab Jews sprayed with DDT to de-lice them or Yemeni kids experimently irradiated with X-Rays.

      • seafoid on November 8, 2011, 2:09 am

        I have seen one of the delousing photos, Walid. I will see if I can find it online.

        Original Sin by Beit Hallahmi is a cracker of a read. The difficulties Israel has now all go back to what they did in 1948. There is no way to wash it off.

    • annie on November 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

      “discourse-suppression organizations in the U.S. media and the U.S. academy.” GREAT PHRASE.

      agreed. say it like it is.

  2. BradAllen on November 7, 2011, 2:12 pm

    This is good. I for one have always thought the discussions between the PA and Israel should be along the 1948 lines. After all, Israel as defined by the UN is based on those lines, or am i wrong. Everything after that was taken by force, which ..I know.. stupid me still believe…AGINST INTERNATIONAL LAW!!!!!

    • Mndwss on November 7, 2011, 4:28 pm

      I have never understood why everybody always talks about the 67 borders/lines and not the (unjust) ones from 48. (BPD?)

      If the UN can create a state for a minority on the majority of the land should they not also be able to correct their mistake?

      They have the power to change earlier decisions.

      But maybe that is only if the decision was to call a racist ideology for racism?

      • Walid on November 8, 2011, 2:08 am

        Brad and Mndwss, the 1948 lines are now history since mostly all Palestinian factions have recognized them as such and are now concentrating on claiming their rights to the 1967 lines as well as to the their RoR from the 1948 ones. The 1967 borders were accepted by Arafat and Abbas’ UN application had nothing to do with returning to the 1948 borders. And even at that, the Palestinians have expressed a willingness to swap some of the 1967 areas with areas from Israel. It’s looking like the only Palestine we’ll be ever be seeing is the one in Gaza unless West Bankers rally behind Hamas.

    • proudzionist777 on November 7, 2011, 6:49 pm

      Yes. You are wrong.
      The U.N. recommended partition, was rejected by the Arabs. Some of Israel’s 1948 borders were internationally recognized, some where armistice lines, were the armies sat when they agreed to a ceasefire, and which the parties, Jordan and Israel, agreed were not to be the political borders.
      All the Arabs States involved in the May invasion where in deep collusion with Great Britain to invade and destroy the nascent State of Israel at it inception.
      French intelligence leaked the Arab-British war plans to the Zionists and the rest, I say smugly, is history.

      • annie on November 7, 2011, 7:50 pm

        All the Arabs States involved in the May invasion

        what part of israel did they invade.

      • Am_America on November 7, 2011, 7:56 pm

        of course Annie, it didn’t happen. there was no war, no invasion, it was all Israel’s fault. We get it.

      • annie on November 7, 2011, 8:08 pm

        divert because the answer doesn’t fit your narrative.

      • proudzionist777 on November 7, 2011, 9:10 pm

        Well, borderwise, it’s hard to say, but the Egyptian army did attack Negev kibbutzim in the proposed Jewish State, Jordan attacked and laid siege to Jewish Jerusalem and also destroyed the Gush Etzion bloc, committing a massacre of 120 souls, and Syria invaded Kinneret kibbutzim but were repulsed. A sizeable portion of Jordan’s British officered Arab Legion, deserted to fight in the Arab Liberation Army or turncoated as they saw fit to targeted Jewish civilians and troops.

      • mig on November 8, 2011, 12:32 am

        Lovely, now show these documents from IDF archive.

      • Hostage on November 8, 2011, 1:28 am

        Jordan attacked and laid siege to Jewish Jerusalem and also destroyed the Gush Etzion bloc

        Jordan was one of the two states in the Palestine Mandate. When it tried to join the UN in 1946, its membership was declined. The President of the Security Council complained that the joint mandate had not been legally terminated and that the UN would need to address the Question of Palestine as a whole. Neither “Jewish Jerusalem” nor the “Gush Etzion bloc” were located in Israel under the UN plan.

        Ben Gurion had ordered the commanders of the Haganah not to interfere with the Irgun and Lehi attacks inside the Corpus Separatum after the vote on 29 November 1947. — 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.

        The Haganah carried-out terror attacks there too, against targets like the Semiramis Hotel. Here is how Avi Shlaim describes the situation in Jerusalem:

        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.

        Your friends claim the French warned of a Arab invasion, but it’s a matter of public record that the French Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Parodi, did not consider the entry of Transjordan into Palestine as an act of aggression or an invasion.

        Mr. Parodi, had called a meeting of the British, Belgian, and American, representatives to discuss the situation regarding possible action which the Security Council might be called upon to take following May 15. He said that as of May 15 they would be faced by declarations two states of Palestine coupled with the entrance of Abdullah. Regarding the latter, two ideas were current. The first is that if Abdullah moved beyond his own frontier it might constitute an “act of aggression”. The second idea was that if he entered on invitation of the Arab population of Palestine his act might not constitute aggression. Parodi said he was inclined to the second theory and thought a conclusion to that effect would avoid endless argument. See Foreign relations of the United States, 1948, Volume V, Part 2, page 946.

      • annie on November 8, 2011, 2:01 am

        Neither “Jewish Jerusalem” nor the “Gush Etzion bloc” were located in Israel under the UN plan……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.

        the truth vs the myth.

      • Walid on November 8, 2011, 8:48 am

        “the truth vs the myth.”

        It wasn’t all truth and it wasn’t all myth either, Annie. There was this small thing that nobody likes to talk about involving Golda Meir having negotiated with King Abdullah before the war started how when the war would start, Jordan would put up a token fight on the West Bank and the Jews would let them grab it by putting up a token opposition. What wasn’t in the agreement was Jordan taking over East Jerusalem. That part was improvised by Jordan. Different scenarios were written after the war to explain how Jordan had not participated in that agreement but the results were there.

        From a book review of Shlaim’s “Iron Wall”:

        “… Shlaim’s part in this debate was a thought-provoking book entitled “Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine” (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988). In it he examined the controversy that the early Zionists ‘colluded’ with the Arab Hashemite regime in Amman to divide Palestine. This was done with the knowledge and tacit acceptance of the British. The collusion benefited Israel and King Abdullah of Jordan but divided the Arab front against Israel. Shlaim’s book angered the ‘new old’ historian Karsh sufficiently for him to devote a chapter to criticising Shlaim’s thesis.”

        and from Wiki:

        “In 1946–47, Abdullah said that he had no intention to “resist or impede the partition of Palestine and creation of a Jewish state.”[28] Hostile towards Palestinian nationalism, Abdullah wished to annex as much of Palestine as possible.[29] Ideally, Abdullah would have liked to annex all of Palestine, but he was prepared to compromise.[30][29] He supported the partition, intending that the West Bank area of the British Mandate allocated for Palestine be annexed to Jordan.[31] Abdullah had secret meetings with the Jewish Agency (at which the future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was among the delegates) that reached an agreement of Jewish non-interference with Jordanian annexation of the West Bank ”

      • Robert Werdine on November 8, 2011, 12:42 pm

        Said Annie:

        “What part of Israel did [Arab states] invade.”

        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.

        On May 15 the Arab League sent the UN a cablegram reaffirming to them their rejection of the legitimacy of the partition, the rejection of any Jewish sovereign state, and their intentions to “intervene in Palestine solely in order to help its inhabitants restore peace and security and the rule of justice and law to their country, and in order to prevent bloodshed” and establish a unitary Palestinian state.

        Their intention to disallow any Jewish sovereign presence was, of course, the truth, but the intention to allow an independent Palestine was a lie, as all of the surrounding states in the league had their own designs on the area. According to Morris, by the end of the war, the “Arab war plan…changed into a multinational land grab focusing on the Arab areas of the country. The evolving Arab plans failed to assign any of these whatsoever to the Palestinians or to consider their political aspirations.”

        Said the Egyptians to the UNSC:

        “The Egyptian Government have from the outset declared, that their military operations are not directed against Palestine Jews but against terrorist Zionist bands who are armed with the latest and most destructive weapons and who have built up in the Jewish settlements scattered throughout Palestine, fortifications and strongly fortified pillboxes as springboard to attack neighbouring Arab villages and their peaceful inhabitants.”

        This is really rich considering that the surrounding Arab states had been feeding troops and supplies into attacks on the Yishuv ever since the partition vote in November all the way through April. When the Yishuv, after suffering nearly five months of attacks finally took to the offensive in early April, the whole Arab/Palestinian war effort quickly disintegrated. Then followed the pan-Arab invasion of May 15.

        UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie wrote in his memoirs “The invasion of Palestine by the Arab states was the first armed aggression the world had seen since the end of the [Second World] War. The United Nations could not permit that aggression to succeed and at the same time survive as an influential force for peaceful settlement, collective security and meaningful international law”

        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, 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.

        There was no specific, detailed Arab war plan. In the invasion plan agreed to in April and executed in May, Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi, and Transjordanian armies were to invade the nascent Jewish state in a wide, multi-pronged pincer to conquer the Galilee and the eastern Jezreel valley before reaching Haifa, the main objective. This plan went through several revisions in late April and early May 1948, but this was, in all essentials, the plan of attack that followed.

        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.

        The Pan-Arab plan’s execution thus broke down amidst the disunity and distrust of the various partners toward one another, and their competing, conflicting agendas. As Benny Morris wrote:

        “Thus in the days both before and after 15 May, the war plan had changed in essence from a united effort to conquer large parts of the nascent Jewish state, and perhaps destroy it, into an uncoordinated, multilateral land grab. As a collective, the Arab states still wished and hoped to destroy Israel—and, had their armies encountered no serious resistance, would, without doubt, have proceeded to take all of Palestine, including Tel-Aviv and Haifa.”

        In any event, the notion that the Arabs did not invade Jewish apportioned areas of Palestine both before May 15, 1948 or afterward, is simply false. Both sides, in the post May 15 stage, wanted as much territory as they could conquer and hold, and the Arabs were the aggressors in an attempt to seize as much from both Jews and Palestinians as possible, their noble, flowery rhetoric to the UN notwithstanding.

      • Hostage on November 8, 2011, 10:59 pm

        Walid all of the parties concerned, including Transjordan, held discussions for years regarding their long term and short term desiderata. The UNSCOP and General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee debated proposals to grant the Zionists portions of Transjordan’s territory, so Abdullah was hardly a disinterested third party in November of 1947.

        Those discussions and the mondus vivendi agreement imposed in order to comply with the British conditions on the deployment of the Legion in Arab Palestine have been portrayed as a sinister conspiracy, but the consensus and the official accounts indicate that there was no plan to betray the Palestinians. The Nashashibi family and many members of the Khalidi family eventually made a pragmatic decision to back a union with Abdullah (rather than Ben Gurion). Bernadotte noted that the Mufti had lost all credibility and that the majority of Palestinians favored union with Transjordan and annexation.

        Avi Shlaim has toned down his own account of the negotiations between the Jewish Agency and King Abdullah. Historian Neil Caplan described the preface of Shlaim’s more recent editions:

        The Politics of Partition is a revised paperback version of Avi Shlaim’s ground-breaking and more scholarly hardback Collusion Across the Jordan. It was recently reissued, with a new preface, because both works have been out of print since 1995. In his original 1988 study, Shlaim characterized the contacts between the Zionists and the Jordanian king as going beyond simple co-operation, alliance or strategic accord; these relations were given the sinister qualities of conspiracy, collusion and ‘unholy alliance’. This resulted in some harsh criticism from reviewers and led the author to reconsider the quality of those relations and to dropping the provocative word ‘collusion’ from the title of the subsequent edition because of its pejorative connotations (xiii-xiv, xvii-xviii).

        — See Zionism and the Arabs: Another Look at the ‘New’ Historiography
        Reviewed work(s): Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 by Benny Morris; The Israel/Palestine Question by Ilan Pappe; The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists and Palestine, 1921-1951 by Avi Shlaim, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 345-360.

        In subsequent works edited by Shlaim and Rogan more nuanced interpretations of the respective Israeli and Arab roles are incorporated. For example, an entire Chapter in “The war for Palestine: rewriting the history of 1948” is devoted to a presentation of the official Jordanian explanation of events. Frankly that account is not out of line with the events in the field and the documentary history contained in the FRUS, the UK Cabinet Papers, and Abdullah’s “Al Takmilah”. Abdullah had an engraved invitation to save Palestine from the Haganah, but had didn’t have a large enough force to do much of anything.

        Abdullah and the Jewish Agency discussed plans to execute or assassinate the Mufti, but the victorious wartime allies and the UN organization viewed the Mufti as a wartime enemy too. They had no intention of forgiving or forgetting what he had done or of permitting him or his close associates anywhere near the provisional government of the new Arab state. The British government had given the okay for the Arab Legion to move into the areas adjacent to Transjordan that had been allocated for the establishment of an Arab State, so long as they avoided the territory allocated to the Jewish State. The British government had advised the members of the Security Council and the Jewish Agency accordingly. The small 5,000 man Arab force was barely able to occupy the Central districts of Arab Palestine and a modus vivendi agreement was necessary to avoid unnecessary clashes and the attrition of Arab forces that would have resulted from engagements with the larger 60,000+ member Jewish force if either side were given an excuse.

        Transjordan didn’t have a vote and once the decision to partition had been decided he faced reality and did what he could to stop the attacks and massacres in Central Palestine and the Corpus Separatum.

    • Hostage on November 7, 2011, 8:02 pm

      After all, Israel as defined by the UN is based on those lines, or am i wrong. . . . . Everything after that was taken by force, which ..I know.. stupid me still believe…AGINST INTERNATIONAL LAW!!!!!

      Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban explained that “Israel holds no territory wrongfully, since her occupation of the areas now held has been sanctioned by the armistice agreements, as has the occupation of the territory in Palestine now held by the Arab states.” see “Effect on Armistice Agreements”, FRUS Volume VI 1949, 1149

      The Plan of Partition for the two states was only one of the many chapters in the recommended “Plan for the Future Government Of Palestine”, UN GA resolution 181(II). It was never implemented due to the non-international armed conflict in Palestine. Israel was created by its own act of secession during a civil war, so international law was largely inapplicable. Both Israel and Palestine made subsequent declarations acknowledging their acceptance of the terms of the chapter on minority and religious rights.

      Both the Security Council and the General Assembly suspended the work of the Palestine Commission after the Israeli UDI and made the Office of the UN Mediator the responsible organ for negotiating a settlement of the Question of Palestine, i.e. borders and refugees.

      The Security Council eventually ordered the Mediator to establish “permanent armistice lines of demarcation” as a provisional measure under the auspices of its Chapter VII powers and directed the parties concerned to apply and observe the armistice agreements pending a final negotiated settlement. Those were binding international agreements and internationally recognized lines of demarcation that the UN and all other parties are obliged to respect.

      At the Security Council’s 433rd meeting, the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban, stated that the armistices were “a provisional settlement which can only be replaced by a peace agreement”. That certainly has not happened yet. He continued:

      The armistice lines do not merely separate armed forces. They mark the clearly defined areas of full civil jurisdiction. The Government, the courts, the legislatures, the security authorities of each respective State operate smoothly and unchallenged up to the appropriate armistice line. These lines thus have the normal characteristics of provisional frontiers until such time as a new process of negotiation and agreement determines the final territorial settlement. They are also stabilized by the mutual undertakings of the parties and by the fullest international sanction for as long as the Armistice Agreements are valid.

      The Armistice Agreements are not peace treaties. They do not prejudice the final territorial settlements. On the other hand, the provisional settlement established by the Armistice Agreements is unchallengeable until a new process of negotiation and agreement has been successfully consummated.

      link to

      Israel’s claims to East Jerusalem and the settlement blocks in the OPT that “Israel will retain under any conceivable settlement” are illegal nonsense, but the claims of the parties concerned to the territory occupied in accordance with the armistice agreements are unchallengeable.

  3. Sin Nombre on November 7, 2011, 4:15 pm

    Phil Weiss wrote:

    “’48 is beginning to replace ’67 in discourse…”

    I sure hope that at least the Blog entries of Phil are archived somewhere so that future historians of whatever the hell happens out of all this can have the benefit of same.

    It’s not just that Phil is one of the first in this country out there saying some of this stuff, it’s the *quality* of his observations too that are gonna be valuable, such as the above.

    • Hostage on November 8, 2011, 2:36 am

      “’48 is beginning to replace ’67 in discourse…”

      The Plan for the Future Government of Palestine contained a:
      *Plan for Economic Union and Transit
      *Plan of Partition
      *Minority Protection Plan
      *Plan for a Special Regime for the City of Jerusalem

      The two state solution always was an illusion. Too much of the revenue producing Arab immovable property and farm lands were including in the proposed Jewish State. The Economic Union was required in order to collect assessments from the Jewish State to fund essential public services in the Arab State. So the UN plan called for a bi-national union or confederation even in 1948 – and neither side was granted sovereignty over Jerusalem. It’s utterly perverse that Israel has shifted all of its responsibilities for support of the Palestinians to the neighboring states and the international community, while collecting billions of shekels in revenues that by all rights should go to the Palestinians.

      • LeaNder on November 8, 2011, 8:26 am

        while collecting billions of shekels in revenues that by all rights should go to the Palestinians.

        I watched the news about Israel’s plans to withhold Palestinian taxes on diverse German channels. Not a single viewer without the necessary knowledge would have realized that Israel actually withholds Palestinian taxes, thus their own money. It was always put in a way that it appeared that Israel withholds money it gives to the Palestinians. I am assuming they simply passed the Israeli press release on, without “daring” to make it more transparent for the viewer what exactly is going on.

      • Hostage on November 9, 2011, 12:15 am

        I watched the news about Israel’s plans to withhold Palestinian taxes on diverse German channels.

        I was not referring to Oslo era collections. I meant the revenues from customs and tax collections on Palestinian-owned properties and businesses in the Jewish State that were supposed to be turned-over to the Arab State to fund its essential public services under the UN plan for economic union and transit.

        Here is an extract from the FRUS about that subject:
        *a) Clarification should be sought with regard to the problem of the
        viability of the two states. On page 53 of the UNSCOP report it is
        stated that “the creation of two viable States is considered essential
        to a partition scheme”. Yet on page 48 of the report it is indicated
        that the Arab state will be forced to call for financial assistance “from
        international institutions in the way of loans for expansion of education, public health and other vital social services of a non-self-supporting nature.” Moreover, the technical note on the viability of the proposed states prepared by the Secretariat (pp. 55-56) is not conclusive as regards the viability of the Arab State. In view of the central importance of the question of viability as stressed in the Committee’s report, a special subcommittee of the Ad Hoc Committee should be established to consider this question. –

        You see, when the mandate was terminated, the Palestinians weren’t really granted their independence. They were turned into a virtual dependency of the new Jewish State through the device of an economic union. So all of this talk about creating a viable state based upon 67 or 47 borders sort of misses an essential point. The experts already concluded that it couldn’t be done without significantly lowering the mandate era standard of living.

        The Plan of Partition had cut-off scores of Arab towns and villages from their farmlands and deprived Palestinian export businesses of their ports which were gerrymandered into the proposed Jewish State. So, many of the Arabs could not sustain themselves without the economic union and right of transit. Under the plan their State was deprived of the tax base that would have normally been derived from their agricultural, commercial, and industrial production and customs collections.

        FYI, Transjordan had been created as another (non-viable) dependency to reduce British costs of protecting the oil pipeline and pumping stations between Iraq and the refineries and port at Haifa. Rather than garrison a large British force in the interior, Churchill arranged to have the Hashemites installed in Iraq and Transjordan and to have the Arab Legion organized, trained, and equipped by the UK under the command of British officers. British partition plans had always envisioned the annexation of the Arab portions of Palestine to Transjordan in an attempt to make the latter more economically viable. Zionist representatives (e.g. David Ben Gurion, Nahum Goldmann, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, & etc.) had also suggested annexation of Arab Palestine to Transjordan in order win British support for their own partition schemes and to make Transjordan viable. See for example, Dr Goldmann’s comments in paragraph F. beginning at the bottom of page 680, Foreign relations of the United States, 1946. The Near East and Africa, Volume VII, Page 680-681

        So, it was doubly ironic when Israel eventually refused to implement the plan for revenue sharing and objected to the UN Mediators plan for a union between the two Arab areas of the former mandate. Israel demanded fresh negotiations over the territorial allocations and an even bigger slice of the regional pie.

        The Zionists made most of the Palestinians penniless and stateless refugees dependent on the meager aid they could obtain from the UN or their neighbors and Israel pocketed the revenues and proceeds from the Palestinian properties that had been expropriated and turned over to the JNF or their State Custodian. None of the revenues from those properties or Israel’s customs collections were ever paid to the Arabs of Palestine. But even if the plan for economic union had been implemented, the deck was stacked in favor of the Zionists. Here is how one member of the UN Special Committee On Palestine described it:

        The confederation envisaged by some of the members of the Special Committee is no confederation at all as that term is understood in international law, but a kind of union for economic purposes only. The union proposed has all the disadvantages of a partition, yet has no advantage which a partition could have brought in its wake. It would, for instance, permit all the Jews from the Jewish State to acquire economic rights in the Arab State and thus, in fact, in the whole of Palestine. I cannot see how this union can be imposed by force. If it has to depend for its working on the consent of the two States and of the people residing therein, the only argument advanced against federation disappears. Nor can I see how it is possible to have an Arab State which is at least viable. Fore-seeing this difficulty, it has been proposed by the Committee members who favour economic union that a duty should be imposed on the Jewish State to pay a contribution from the customs earned by it to the Arab State. The payment of the amount, if it is to be in proportion to the realization, will have to depend upon the sweet will of the Jews; and the manipulation of the accounts for the purpose of making these payments is a possibility, if not a probability, which one cannot refuse to consider. Above all, the money earned by the Jews which would have to be contributed to the Arab State would be hardly in consonance with the self-respect of the Arabs. It is well-known that if the Arabs are touchy on any point, they are so on this one point more than any other.

  4. Richard Witty on November 7, 2011, 4:35 pm

    I agree that there are material pending issues from 1948 that must be resolved for their be any coexistence in any form.

    Title issues for individuals and families property, to be reconciled in color-blind court of law.

    Sovereignty issues are a separate question.

    • pabelmont on November 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

      Whose color-blind courts of law? Who are the judges. as I recall some Zionists got hot under the collar when the ICJ rules that the wall was illegal. I thought the ICJ was pretty color-blinc, but then, who am I to think anything?

      • Chaos4700 on November 7, 2011, 7:17 pm

        I’m fine with taking the whoooooole shebang up to the ICJ if Witty is. Let’s do it.

    • Chaos4700 on November 7, 2011, 7:16 pm

      Sovereignty issues are a separate question.

      Even a segregated question, as far as Witty is concerned.

    • Hostage on November 8, 2011, 2:55 am

      Title issues for individuals and families property, to be reconciled in color-blind court of law. . . .Sovereignty issues are a separate question.

      Sovereignty is a synonym for jurisdiction (ratione materiae, ratione personae, ratione temporis). So you have to settle sovereignty issues before you can operate a color-blind court of law, unless the parties accept binding third-party arbitration. That actually is the way that disputes between countries are routinely settled, but Israel has always objected to any kind of imposed settlement.

      • Richard Witty on November 8, 2011, 4:14 am

        Lets do it.

        The characteristics of a viable solution/approach are:

        1. Viability for Palestine and Israel
        2. Security for Israelis and Palestinians
        3. Consented reconciliation of prior wrongs

        And #and# construction. All three, not one without the other.

        The characteristics are what is important, and to a very high standard of compliance.

      • Woody Tanaka on November 8, 2011, 8:51 am

        The problem, though, is getting the Israelis to go along with your proposal. They the second part of 1, the first part of 2 and nothing else, unless the mood strikes them. You can’t even get them to agree to stop their actions which are preventing any of these things. So why are you on this board and not on pro-Israel boards, trying to get the Zionists of the world to change their hard hearts?

      • LeaNder on November 8, 2011, 9:00 am

        Hostage, it feels that he is assuming that most of the territory was state land, and not private property. That’s why he is so generous in this context. It goes both ways and the Israeli courts occasionally helps to push Palestinian families out a second time. How good that Jordan didn’t register property, and property it was meant to be.

        I always wanted to read Avi Shlaim’s study of the Israel – Jordan connection. Too much to read.

  5. Potsherd2 on November 7, 2011, 4:46 pm

    When Zionists talk about Palestinian rights, the word “rights” is invariably in scare quotes or otherwise covered in the spittle of scorn.

    • proudzionist777 on November 7, 2011, 6:55 pm

      Many millions of people in Europe and Asia were uprooted and displaced in the post World War 2 years. Anyone here advocating for their refugee rights?

      Millions of square miles of territory were occupied at the same time by the Soviet Union, Red China, Pakistan, etc.
      Anyone here want to end the occupation of Tibet, the Western provinces, Baluchistan, etc.?

      • Potsherd2 on November 7, 2011, 9:20 pm

        I hereby move that anyone posting a “Tu Quoque” response get a vat of green slime poured over their head.

      • Chaos4700 on November 8, 2011, 12:41 am

        Anyone here advocating for their refugee rights?

        YES. Search my own comments for the keyword “Europe.”

      • straightline on November 8, 2011, 6:30 am

        I cannot help but remind you of this:

        “If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I opt for the second alternative.” (David Ben-Gurion, 1938)

        If the Zionists had not prevented it those displaced Jews would have found homes in the US or in the UK. Of course many did but the Zionists sought to reduce the number.

  6. ToivoS on November 7, 2011, 5:32 pm

    A wee bit OT but this headline and lede in Haaretz announces that the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Comm is allowing US foreign aid to be dispensed to the PA because Israel has given its permission.

    Talk about Israel occupied territory in DC, these guys have stopped even pretending US sovereignty.

    • Charon on November 7, 2011, 6:43 pm

      Between this and the law they want to pass to make it impossible to even hold diplomatic talks with Iran, yeah they aren’t even hiding it. Unfortunately the public is too sedated by debt and reality tv to even notice. Obama already noticed, he hates congress. He’s defied congress. He can’t defy them on this I/P issue though because I’m sure they’ve threatened him. He’s shackled. His window of opportunity has already passed.

      The Soviets won the Cold War. They run our government. They are the neoconservatives. They also dictate Israeli policy. The coalition government is a ‘shackled’ Likud with Yisrael Beiteinu calling the shots. It’s no secret that Yisrael Beiteinu is very much a Soviet-influenced entity (among others in Israel). They’ve infiltrated the revisionist Zionists. This sounds nuts, but it is true. Whether they are Bolsheviks, Leninists, Stalinists, whatever… They now control the fate of the entire world.

  7. ToivoS on November 7, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Last winter with the release of the ‘Palestinian papers’ it was obvious that the PA was making huge concessions to the Israelis. The release of the papers made it impossible for the PA to continue doing so. In fact it changed the entire picture. The PA had made concessions to Olmert in 2007 and Arafat did to Barak in 2000, but the Israelis kept on demanding even more. The dynamic of those “negotiations” is now completely broken. In fact, all of those concessions that the PA had made should be effectively off the table.

    A new dynamic is being born. And Helen’s piece is evidence for this. Discussion has now moved from 1967 to 1948. Right of return is firmly back on the table. The Palestinians have no need to return to negotiations until Israel is willing to put that question back as a priority. That plus every settlement outside of the Green line will be on the table.

    I am almost starting to feel sorry for Israel. Like the character in Leo Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” ; greed for more land is going to lead to its demise.

  8. Whizdom on November 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

    Even as the British were leaving the future Israelis invaded the lands intended for the Arab state and depopulated large areas. The objective was ostensibly to come to the aid of jewish villages that were inside the Arab lands, in order to protect them, but they stayed. Most of the land battles actually took place on territory intended for the Arab state. Same as 1967. And 1973.

    Getting a settlements on the 1967 lines, with mutual recognition and security agreements ala the Arab league plan, is a huge victory in expanding territory from the original 181 territory. Why doesn’t Israel take it?

    • proudzionist777 on November 7, 2011, 7:52 pm

      Again, Britain and the Arab States were in deep collusion to kill the infant Israel in her crib. See above.
      Better yet. Read the series of groundbreaking articles in Haaretz and Jerusalem Post by Professor Meir Zamir.

      • annie on November 7, 2011, 8:09 pm

        kill the infant ….. in her crib

        lol, the innocent little infant israel. there’s just no end to the hasbara here.

      • pjdude on November 8, 2011, 1:43 am

        The British tried to destroy israel so much they ignored their attacks on the British army. Hell the British colluded with the zionists to steal the rights of the Palestinians for the Jews. That is a fact

  9. DaveS on November 7, 2011, 6:30 pm

    I agree with Helena’s observation. For many years, the only acceptable pro-Palestinian position was End the Occupation of 1967, and the rights of 1948 refugees, and the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and whether that was impossible for non-Jews in a Jewish State, were considered concessions that had to be made because to think otherwise would threaten the very existence of Israel. Many people, even good decent people, even brilliant and activist people who have carefully documented the atrocities of the Naqba, still feel the same way. But the pressure to avoid these uncomfortable topics has been lifted. There has been a seismic shift in the debate, and these subjects are no longer taboo.

    • Richard Witty on November 8, 2011, 4:15 am

      Unless the remedy is worse than the original.

      • Chaos4700 on November 9, 2011, 3:22 am

        Like how you insist that life for South African blacks is just as bad now, so why bother doing away with apartheid?

  10. James on November 7, 2011, 7:16 pm

    discourse? what discourse? you mean to say israel is actually involved in a discourse? as we regularly witness with the flotillas, intimidation seems to be all they know…

  11. Vacy on November 7, 2011, 7:20 pm

    Adel Safty’s superb book, Might over Right, expounds clearly the Zionist, British and US machinations that led to the Nakba and beyond.

    • gloriousbach on November 7, 2011, 9:17 pm

      Downloaded it to my Kindle. Can see already how excellent & helpful a presentation of what happened. Appreciate the recommendation.

  12. tommy on November 7, 2011, 9:15 pm

    If Israel’s supporters could remember the joy of 1948, they might try to live within that which was so graciously given by those with nothing to lose. The amnesia of the joy of 1948 should be associated with the justification to use violence to acquire more territory from the people whose land was given as a debt to the European Jews; the farther away the wonderful news recedes in time, the greater the violence against a captive population, somehow chosen to compensate for the horrors of the Holocaust, occurs.

    • Avi_G. on November 8, 2011, 12:50 am

      In early January 1948, Ben-Gurion sat with his top military commanders to assess the situation following the ratification at the UN of the Partition Plan.

      His advisers told him that Palestinian Arabs were signing non-aggression pacts with neighboring Kibutzim and Jewish towns.

      Ben-Gurion expressed dissatisfaction with that. He simply did not like the idea that the Zionist movement and its militias could not use force and violence in dealing with the Palestinians. Non-aggression pacts? That was NOT music to his ears (From Simha Flapan’s The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities).

      Fast forward more than 60 years and you have Israeli officials making it publicly known that Israel does not deal well with Palestinian non-violent protest. Israel wants to deal violently and with brute force with the Palestinians because it simply does NOT want them there. And it does the same with neighboring states because it wants to teach those pesky Ay-rabs who’s boss in the region.

      Again, Israeli commanders and politicians have publicly boasted about that. They just can’t keep their mouths shut.

    • Chaos4700 on November 9, 2011, 3:24 am

      I’m convinced. I guess European colonists do have a right to wage shoah because shoah was waged upon them. I didn’t think that was a core concept of Judaism but, boy, you really set me straight on that one Witty!

  13. manfromatlan on November 8, 2011, 7:33 am

    The Palestinians have it right. Without resolving the issues of 1948, there can be no peace.

  14. Donald on November 9, 2011, 7:34 am

    The article would be more compelling if it weren’t so slanted in favor of Israel. Cohen is well-meaning, more so than you Richard, but he talks about the Holocaust and says nothing in detail about the atrocities that were necessary if Israel was to be a Jewish state. He humanizes the Jews and speaks of Palestinians in the abstract. He makes the ludicrous claim that the founders of Israel never envisioned permanent exile for the Palestinians–the founders of Israel are responsible for that exile. It’s interesting how defenders of Israel often end up implying that some Zionist or other must have had the IQ of an artichoke.

    The highlighted comments are more interesting than the article, which is usually the case with the NYT and its columnists. One pro-Israel commenter objects to the notion that the Holocaust was the main reason for Israel’s existence, saying that the real reason is the Jewish presence for thousands of years, predating the Arabs. How this justifies ethnic cleansing is left unstated, and of course it opens the door for endless stupid discussion of what makes someone a Jew and whose ancestors were living where 2000 years ago. A pro-Palestinian commenter provide a substantive critique of the UN partition plan because it gave more of the land to the smaller number of people. Then a third person comes along and says the fact that people make arguments on both sides (never mind the actual merit of their points) means that Cohen was right.

    It’s all a perfect illustration of why the Palestinians get the shaft. Cohen is well meaning, and I don’t think he’s intentionally dishonest as you tend to be Richard, but his column was slanted against the Palestinians and whatever his intentions, that tilts the balance in favor of the Zionists even if one favors an imperfect two state solution.

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