Yossi Schwartz, ISL the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 08.05.2022
According to the reactionary ADL that spread fake information, the Palestinian refugee issue originated in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when five Arab armies invaded the State of Israel just hours after it was established. During the ensuing war, as many as 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled their homes in the newly created state as a result of many factors. Some of the Palestinian Arabs who fled did so to avoid the ongoing war or at the urging of Arab leaders, and expected to return after a quick and certain Arab victory over the new Jewish state. Other Palestinians were forced to flee by individuals or groups fighting for Israel. [i]
As we shall show the above statement is no less than 3 lies:
A. It is a lie that the Palestinians were expelled as result of the war that began in May 1948, it originated in the mass expulsion between December 1947 to May 1948.
B. It is a lie that the Palestinians fled the country at the urging of the Arab leaders with expectation to return to Palestine with the victorious Arab armies. As a matter of fact, the Palestinian leadership demanded from the Palestinians not to flee. The Zionists carried out at least 40 massacres. Among the most known massacres were in Dir Yasin, Lydia (Lod), and Daumia.
C. It is a lie that only individuals or groups carried out massacres. The main massacres were ordered by Ben Gurion and according to plan D.
The Zionists are lying because the real facts make it clear that two years after the end of WWII where the Nazis committed horrible war crimes against the Jews and others the Zionists committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
The aim of this article is not to show that the Zionists lie, this has been proven long ago by the “new historians”, but to examine whether the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians has ever ended. The importance of the reply to this question is that is shows that under certain conditions like a major war and the availability of large pool of cheap labor from poor countries that can replace the super exploited Palestinian labor the Zionists will carry out another Nakba. This will not happen in the short term but the possibility that it will happen in the future exists and this is the aim of the growing ultra-right led by fascists like Ben-Gevir and ultra nationalist Bezalel Yoel Smotrich and PM Bennet and his Yemina party. At the present they are still a minority but a growing one.
The idea of ‘transfer’ in Zionist thinking before 1948
Theodor Herzl the father of Zionism wrote in his diary on the12th of June 1895:
“We must expropriate gently . . . We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country . . . Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly” [ii]
“In 1911 Arthur Ruppin, head of the Zionist Organization’s Palestine Office, proposed ‘a limited population transfer’ of peasants to Syria; a year later, Leon Motzkin, one of the organization’s founders, declared: ‘The fact is that around Palestine there are extensive areas. It will be easy for the Arabs to settle there with the money that they will receive from the Jews.’ For years, the Zionist advocate and novelist Israel Zangwill had been trumpeting the transfer solution to the Arab problem: We cannot allow the Arabs to block so valuable a piece of historic reconstruction . . . And therefore, we must gently persuade them to ‘trek’. After all, they have all Arabia with its million square miles . . . There is no particular reason for the Arabs to cling to these few kilometers. ‘To fold their tents and silently steal away’ is their proverbial habit: Let them exemplify it now” [iii]
“During the 1930s and 1940s by the dawning recognition among many of the Zionist leaders, including Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinsky, the leader of the right-wing Revisionist Movement, that Palestine’s Arabs had brought forth a new, distinct (albeit still ‘Arab’) nationalism and national identity; Palestinian transferees might not feel at home in Transjordan or Iraq. For all these reasons, the notion of transfer was something best not mulled over and brought out into the open in public discourse and disputation; best not to think about it at all. Zionism might necessitate displacement of Palestinians, but why trouble one’s conscience and linger over it? Rather, the Zionist public catechism, at the turn of the century, and well into the 1940s, remained that there was room enough in Palestine for both peoples; there need not be a displacement of Arabs to make way for Zionist immigrants or a Jewish state. There was no need for a transfer of the Arabs and on no account must the idea be incorporated in the movement’s ideological–political platform” [iv]
“In May 1930, the director of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department and the chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive in Palestine, Colonel F. H. Kisch, proposed to the president of the Zionist Organization, Chaim Weizmann, that the Jewish Agency should press the British to promote the emigration of Palestinian Arabs to Iraq, which is in urgent need of agricultural population. It should not be impossible to come to an arrangement with [King] Faisal [of Iraq] by which he would take the initiative in offering good openings for Arab immigrants . . . There should be suitable propaganda as to the attractions of the country which indeed are great for Arab immigrants – and there should be specially organized and advertised facilities for travel. We, of course, should not appear [to be promoting this], but I see no reason why H.M.G. should not be interested . . . There can be no conceivable hardship for Palestinian Arabs – a nomadic and semi-nomadic people – to move to another Arab country where there are better opportunities for an agricultural life – c.f. English agricultural emigrants to Canada” [v]
“By 1936, the mainstream Zionist leaders were more forthright in their support of transfer. In July, Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive and de facto leader of the Yishuv, and his deputy, Moshe Shertok (Sharett), the director of the Agency’s Political Department, went to the High Commissioner to plead the Zionist case on immigration, which the Mandatory was considering suspending: Ben-Gurion asked whether the Government would make it possible for Arab cultivators displaced through Jewish land purchases . . . to be settled in Transjordan. If Transjordan was for the time being a country closed to the Jews [i.e., closed to Jewish settlement], surely it could not be closed to Arabs also” [vi]
In 1937 the Peel Commission that recommended the partition of Palestine further recommended the transfer of all or most of the Arab population out of these areas allocated to the Zionist state.
“Ben-Gurion deemed the transfer recommendation a central point whose importance outweighs all the other positive [points]and counterbalances all the report’s deficiencies and drawbacks . . . We must grab hold of this conclusion [i.e., recommendation] as we grabbed hold of the Balfour Declaration, even more than that – as we grabbed hold of Zionism itself… because of all the Commission’s conclusions, this is the one that alone offers some recompense for the tearing away
of other parts of the country [and their award to the Arabs] . . . What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times. Any doubt on our part about the necessity of this transfer, any doubt we cast about the possibility of its implementation, any hesitancy on our part about its justice, may lose [us] an historic opportunity that may not recur . . . If we do not succeed in removing the Arabs from our midst, when a royal commission proposes this to England, and transferring them to the Arab area – it will not be achievable easily (and perhaps at all) after
the [Jewish] state is established . . . This thing must be done now – and the first step” [vii]
Teveth also informs us that Ben-Gurion, inspired by the Peel Report, which he accepted, considered “a Jewish state in part of Palestine [Peel’s suggestion] as a stage in the longer process towards a Jewish state in all of Palestine.” Lecturing to Mapai activists on 29 October 1937, Ben-Gurion explained that the realization of the Jewish state would come in two stages: the first, “the period of Teveth also informs us that Ben-Gurion, inspired by the Peel Report, which he accepted, considered “a Jewish state in part of Palestine [Peel’s suggestion] as a stage in the longer process towards a Jewish state in all of Palestine.” [viii]
We also learn from the official history of the Haganah that in the summer of 1937, ten years before the UN partition resolution, Ben-Gurion ordered the Haganah commander of Tel Aviv, Elimelech Slikowitz (“Avnir”), to draw up a plan for the military in the summer of 1937, for a takeover of the entire country in anticipation of the Peel Report. [ix]
The Haganah under Ben-Gurion tried selectively to keep its distance from the “dissidents “(Lehi), but this did not inhibit it from carefully orchestrated joint operations with them against British “targets” in Palestine in 1946. It was during this period that an innovative array of tactics was first introduced into the Middle East by the Zionist forces, including letter bombs, parcel bombs, vehicular bombs (the ultimate weapon in urban warfare), the whipping and lynching of British soldier hostages, booby-trapping their corpses, and electrically detonated mines against civilian targets [x]
There is no question that the UN partition plan included the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian in the 56% of Palestine allocated to the Zionists that owned less than 6% of the lands of Palestine. The 44% allocated to the Palestinians did not have any sea ports. The proposed Jewish state covered some 56 percent of Mandate Palestine divided into three barely contiguous parts/areas: the eastern Galilee (including Safed, Tiberias, Baysan, and the Sea of Galilee), a coastal area (about two-thirds of Palestine’s coast, including Haifa, Tel Aviv, and the fertile lowland plains), and most of the Negev (excluding Bir al-Sabi’ and a strip/area running about half-way down the border with Egypt, but giving access to the Red Sea). Of Mandate Palestine’s sixteen districts, nine were allotted to the Jewish state, only one of which had a Jewish majority. the UN-proposed Jewish state as a whole had an Arab “minority” approaching 47 percent.
Thus, there is no doubt that to form a Zionist state with a Jewish Majority the Zionists had to remove most of the Palestinians as they intended to do and did.
The UN the den of thieves
“The UN 1947 partition was not the legal, moral, fair, balanced, pragmatic, practicable “compromise” formula that it is made out to be. That it was legal at all is moot. The UNGA altogether failed to address the very serious legal challenges posed by the Arab delegations in the form of draft resolutions submitted to the UNGA meeting to discuss the Palestine problem. The Arab delegations requested that before a decision be taken, the International Court of Justice be asked for its opinion on the following subjects: (a) whether or not Palestine was included in the Arab territories that had been promised independence by Britain at the end of World War I; (b) whether partition was consistent with the objectives and provisions of the Mandate; (c) whether partition was consistent with the principles of the UN Charter; (d) whether its adoption and forcible execution were within the competence or jurisdiction of the UN; and (e) whether it lay within the power of any UN member or group of members to implement partition without the consent of the majority of the people living within the country. The voting on the issue of UN competence to partition Palestine-a combination of (d) and (e)-is particularly instructive. The draft counter resolution that said that the UN did have the authority was carried by only 21 votes to 20 in the Ad Hoc Committee whose total membership was 57”. [x]
“Nor is there much evidence that moral considerations played a significant role in the pro-Zionist votes of the member states or that these were genuinely motivated to alleviate the plight of European Jewry. In the spirit of UN- SCOP’s above-mentioned recommendation of international responsibility for the Jewish plight, the Arab delegations had proposed a draft resolution to the effect that “Jewish refugees and displaced persons . . . should be ab- sorbed in the territories of members of the UN in proportion to their area, resources, per capita income, population, and other relevant factors.” The resolution in the UNGA, again meeting as an ad hoc committee, was not carried. The voting was 16 to 16, with 25 abstentions” [xi]
“Apropos the morality of the UN partition resolution, the arm-twisting tactics utilized by Washington to pressure the smaller nations to vote in its favor against their own inclinations and better judgment have been amply documented, while even a cursory reading of the general debate preceding the vote reveals the serious moral misgivings about partition entertained by many of its proponents. Equally striking is the convergence of opinion about partition between the United States and the Soviet Union on the very eve of the cold war. It is left to the reader to impute considerations of compassion to Moscow, when its driving motive was to hasten Britain’s withdrawal from one of its principal Middle Eastern strategic bases in Palestine” [xii]
Indeed, it was Ben-Gurion himself who at the time warned his colleagues against seeing his acceptance of partition as a concession. He explained that there was such a thing as “deep Zionism” and that there are stages in the understanding of Zionism. Teveth paraphrases Ben-Gurion’s thoughts as follows: “Only those with deep Zionism would appreciate his doctrine of gradual implementation of the ideology. The Zionist vision could not be fulfilled in one fell swoop, especially the transformation of Palestine into a Jewish state. The stage-by-stage approach dictated by less than favorable circumstances required the formulation of objectives that appeared to be ‘concessions’ to Zionists at the lowest level of comprehension.” Perhaps also relevant in this regard is Ben-Gurion’s entry in his diary of 14 May 1948, the eve of the establishment of Israel: “Take the American Declaration of Independence, for instance…. It contains no mention of the territorial limits. We are not obliged to state the limits of our State” [xiii]
Ben Gurion’s plans to conquer all Palestine were not a secret. Those who voted for the partition knew them. Thus, the UN behaved as Lenin called the League of Nations a den of thieves.
In 1947-8 the Zionist armed forces launched a vicious process of ethnic cleansing in the form of large-scale attacks aimed at the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their towns and villages to build the Jewish state, which is known as the Nakba.
The evidence provided by Pappé attests to the master plan of ethnic cleansing. Inferences mad Morris) prior to the declassification of some do the late 1990s, that many officers acted on displacement of Palestinians was a product o rather myopic, if not ideologically and political claim, Pappé affirms: “Plan Dalet was handed t vague guidelines, but as clear-cut operations. Commanders were given specific dateline, location of every mission (large-scale intimidation; siege towns; setting homes on fire; expelling planting mines in the rubble to prevent the return of the expellees” [xiv]
The ethnic cleansing has never stopped
Contrary to the lie that the Palestinian refugees were the result of the war forced on the Zionists in May1948 from December 1947 to mid-May 1948, Zionist armed groups expelled about 440,000 Palestinians from 220 villages. By the end of the war 750,000-900,000 Palestinians were expelled and 530 villages were occupied and destroyed.
There is a wrong notion that the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians ended by the end of the 1948 war. This impression is wrong as the transfer of the Palestinians has never stopped. The forced displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian population under a regime of apartheid of the settler colonialist has continued before and after 1967.
Between 1949 and 1950, according to historian Benny Morris, “Israel had displaced and expelled between 30,000 and 40,000 Palestinians and Bedouin. Excluding the Negev Bedouin, it is probable that the number of Arabs kicked out of, or persuaded to leave, the country in the border-clearing operations and in the internal anti-infiltration sweeps during 1948-1950 was around 20,000. If one includes expelled northern Negev Bedouin, the total may have been as high as 30,000-40,000.” [xv]
On the eve of the 1956 war on Egypt the Israeli border police committed a massacre of Kefar Qasem killing more than 50 farmers returning from the fields. This massacre was by the order of Ben Gurion the arch Zionist war criminal. It was part of his plan to use this massacre to force Palestinians to flee the country.
Nineteen years after the Nakba (1947-1949), Israel carried out a second wave of expulsions of Palestinians from their homeland during and after the 1967 war. Without hope of return, they were forcibly displaced from the Latroun area, East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to Jordan.
During and immediately after the war, some quarter a million to 420,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes. This happened through war operations and was cemented by making some regulatory interventions that prevented the displaced persons from returning to their homes. One of the most significant was the eviction of three villages near the central Latrun area at the western edge of the West Bank, close to the Israeli border, resulting in the displacement of 10,000 civilians. Latroun looks on the map like a finger sticking out the West Bank body, which Israel failed to occupy in the 1948 war. The villages in the Latroun area continued to be populated until the 1967 war, when Israel forcibly expelled the whole population and demolished every single building. The lands that belong to the Latroun villages were later turned into a park called Canada Park, and an Israeli settlement was also built on part of the lands. In addition, Israel built part of its rail line on another part of the lands from which the refugees were displaced. The villages of Bayt Marsam, Bat ’Awa, Habla, Jiftlik and Al-Burj were all destroyed.
Another area of strategic importance was the Jordan Valley, which is the border between the West Bank and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. During the war, Israel displaced 88% of the population of that area. The first to be driven out of the area were refugees who had been displaced from what became Israel in the aftermath of the 1948 war. The residents of three refugee camps in the area were all expelled or fled to Jordan, in addition to half of the native population of the area.
In Jerusalem Israeli occupation forces demolished four Palestinian villages along with the Al-Sharaf and Al-Magharbeh neighborhoods in the Old City. During that war, 70,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites were either forcibly displaced or prevented from returning to the City. 50,000 others were violently driven out by the hostilities. Immediately following the occupation, Israel declared Jerusalem its “undivided capital.”
Although Israel annexed the area of 1967 occupied Jerusalem to its state territory in contravention of international law, the city’s Palestinians were not afforded automatic Israeli citizenship. Instead, only those Palestinians and their descendants who were registered in the 1967 Israeli census were given permanent residency status in Jerusalem. “The Ministry claimed that permanent residency, unlike citizenship, is a matter of the circumstances in which the individual lives, and when these circumstances change, the permit granting permanent residency expires. Thus, every Palestinian who lived outside the city for a number of years lost their right to live in the city, and the Ministry ordered them to leave their homes.”
“Since then, Palestinians must demonstrate that Jerusalem is their “center of life” regardless of whether they live in adjacent areas in the West Bank or abroad, and even if they do not hold foreign passports or permanent residency elsewhere. In 2008 alone, Israel revoked the residency permits of 4,577 Palestinian Jerusalemites.6 Israel revoked 721 permits in 2009 and between January and June 6, 2010, the state revoked 108 residency permits. This policy, which amounts to “quiet deportation,” has significantly altered the demographic composition of Jerusalem and is indicative of an ongoing forced population transfer policy.” [xvi]
“The explicit aim of planning in Jerusalem, and East Jerusalem in particular, is to maintain a demographic balance wherein Jewish nationals constitute an absolute majority. In its municipal plan, “Jerusalem 2000,” Israeli authorities expressed a desire to maintain a balance of 70 percent Jews to 30 percent Arabs in the city. Moreover, because trends project a balance of 60:40 by the year 2020, the plan proposed a number of measures aimed at maintaining a ‘Jewish majority in the city while attending to the needs of the Arab minority.’ These policies take on two dimensions: the privileged treatment of Jewish nationals and citizens and/or the discriminatory treatment of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents.
Despite their best efforts to secure building permits, the Jerusalem municipal government rejects Palestinian applications almost as a matter of policy. Consider that while Israel provides the services of urban planners to its residents free of charge, several Palestinian neighborhoods have hired and paid for planners to develop plans intended for review by municipal authorities. According to Human Rights Watch, municipal authorities have never approved such plans.” [xvii]
In flagrant violation of international law, US (President Donald Trump) recognized Israel’s illegal annexation of Jerusalem in 2017 and moved the U.S embassy to the city in 2018. Since then, Israel has escalated its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the 1967 occupied Jerusalem. In addition to endorsing the war crime of annexation, the US (Trump administration) took the unprecedented and unparalleled step of endorsing settlement construction and expansion, declaring them legitimate. This, despite their clear unequivocal classification as a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime under the Rome Statute. To enforce its aim of changing the Palestinian character of Jerusalem, Israel uses the illegal practices of home demolitions, forced evictions, ID revocation, illegal settlement construction, daily harassment and detentions, entry bans, family separation and imposing high taxes.
The Biden administration criticized Israel for building settlements but it is not hard to understand this is no more than hypocritical lip service.
“In 2002, Israel began building the illegal annexation wall, separating Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank and de facto annexing the most fertile and water-rich parts of the territory. The illegal wall extends 181 km and was built on 7,000 dunams, preventing Palestinian construction on a total of 18,000 dunams. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the wall and its associated settlement regime was illegal. The ICJ also affirmed that Israel was obliged to dismantle the Wall and pay reparations to Palestinians whose land, property or livelihoods were adversely affected by the Wall’s construction. The Court also declared that the Wall and Israeli settlements viola the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self -determination and that all States have an obligation to ensure the Palestinian people’s exercise of their right to self-determination. The Wall especially targets Jerusalem, severing its natural and physical connection with Palestinian cities. It creates a physical, economic, and cultural siege that burdens all aspects of life in the city.” [xviii]
So, the International Court of Justice paid lip service to the Palestinian rights that Israel protected by other imperialist states simply ignored.
In 1948 Jews who lived in the old city were evicted. At the same time Palestinian refugee families settled under the Jordanian rule in Sheikh Jarrah. The evicted Jews from Sheikh Jarrah were given Palestinian homes in West Jerusalem in compensation. In 2001, Israeli settlers moved into the al-Kurd family’s house in Sheik Jarrah and refused to leave, claiming the property was owned by Jews. The case was heard by the Jerusalem District Court, which ruled in 2008 that the property belonged to the Jews. Forty-three Palestinians were evicted in 2002, the Hanoun and Ghawi families in 2008, and the Shamasneh family in 2017. The struggle over the Palestinian neighborhood was one of the reasons for the military clash between Israel and Gaza last year. On 20 January 2022, eviction was set for a trial. between March 1 and April 1, 2022. Since 12 February, Israeli police restricted exit and on 22 February 2022, the court froze the eviction order pending the hearing of an appeal. What can the Palestinians expect of the Zionist court system we can learn from the following case:
“Israel’s High Court ruled late Wednesday night that the Israeli army could evict around 1,300 Palestinians living in eight villages in the South Hebron Hills, after a legal battle lasting more than 20 years. In a unanimous decision, Justice David Mintz wrote that the Palestinian petitioners had not successfully proved they had lived in the villages as permanent residents before the army declared the area a training zone in the area in the early 1980s. The court also dismissed the Palestinians’ argument that mass eviction would violate a widely held prohibition against population transfer in international law. Mintz ruled the ban sought to prevent atrocities such as genocide and thus had “nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the issue before us.”
The B’Tselem rights group said the court’s decision was meant to “transfer the land on which they live to Jews.” [xix]
The Zionist judges are not the first judges who say that the racist national laws of their own state are above the international law. This is the case not only with the Nazi judges but with all the judges of the imperialist states.
Thus, the answer to the question of when the Zionists stopped the ethnic cleansing is never. As long as this apartheid state will exist it will continue with ethnic cleansing.
The reformists and the centrists
Hadash – the font of the Stalinist party of Israel supports the phony program of two states. A Palestinian state on 22% of Palestine alongside of imperialist and apartheid state on 78% of historical Palestine. This is the continuation of its support for the creation of Israel in 1947-8 and getting the Zionists the weapons from Stalinist Russia to be used for the Nakba. 76 years have passed since the establishment of Israel. Enough time to understand that as long as Israel will exists a Palestinian state even in the size of a washroom will not exist. Short of a revolution as part of the Arab revolution the Palestinians will not be able to get their right to self-determination and the right of return of the Palestinians refugees.
The right-wing centrist – “Socialist Struggle”, the section of the ISA also supports the two states solution but they decorate it by claiming that the two states will be socialists. Their rationale is that without convincing the Jewish workers to struggle for socialism no solution is possible. To convince the Jewish workers they argue it is necessary to promise them a Jewish state. If you think that this is a pro Zionist position you are not wrong.
The right centrists MIT led by woods also recognize the right of self-determination for the settler colonialists but in a form of a bi national federation which means the right to separate and have a Zionist state.
For a free Palestine from the river to the sea!
[ii] B Morris THE BIRTH OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM REVISITED p.41
[iv] B Morris THE BIRTH OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM REVISITED p.43
[v] B Morris THE BIRTH OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM REVISITED p 44
[vi] B Morris THE BIRTH OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM REVISITED P. 45-46
[vii] B Morris THE BIRTH OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM REVISITED P.47-48
[viii] Walid Khalidi Revisiting the UNGA Partition Resolution
[xv] D. Seif review of Han Pappé. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
[xvi] Morris (2004)”Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited P.536