Celebrating the denial of ethnic cleansing

On 14 May 1948, the Zionist state of Israel declared itself to be in existence. Before and after that event 60 years ago, many of the Arabs of Palestine were dispossessed of their land and their rights, and the Palestinian refugee problem was created. How, really, did it happen? (The essence as summarised below gives due prominence to the statements of Zionism’s own leaders)

The birthplace of Israel’s founding father was the small Polish factory town of Plonsk, about 38 miles from Warsaw. He was born David Green, the son of a lawyer, in 1886. He arrived in Palestine from his Polish homeland in 1906 as a Russian tourist on a three-month visa and, in his own words, he“simply overstayed.”

On his first visit to Jerusalem, and reflecting the fact that the small number of Jews then in Palestine were from many homelands, he described the Holy City as a “Tower of Babel“, with Jews “speaking to each other in 40different languages, half of them unable to communicate with the other half.”

As David Ben-Gurion he was Israel’s first and long-serving prime minister and minister of defense.

In 1937, and as he recorded in his diary, Ben-Gurion wrote a letter to his son. In it he said: “The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as war.”

The founding father of Israel’s army was Vladimir Jabotinsky. He was a Russian Jew, born in Odessain 1880. In 1923 he published The Iron Wall,which became the main inspirational text for all Jewish nationalists who committed themselves to Zionism’s colonial enterprise. Its purpose was to take for keeping the maximum amount of Arab land with the minimum number of Arabs on it. In The Iron Wall, Jabotinsky was brutally frank about what Zionism’s ethic had to be. He wrote this:

“Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore itstands or falls by the question of armed force. There is no other ethic. It is important to speak Hebrew but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonization. To the hackneyed reproach that this point of view is unethical, I answer – absolutely untrue. As long as there is the faintest spark of hope for the Arabs to impede us, they will not sell these hopes – not for any tasty morsel because this is not a rabble but a people, a living people.And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions,except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall”. (Emphasis added).

The need for most if not all of Palestine’s Arabs to be dispossessed of their land and their rights had, in fact, been recognised and accepted by Zionism’s founding father, Theodore Herzl.A Hungarian-born Jew who worked as a journalist and playwright in Vienna, Herzl convened the first Congress of the World Zionist Organisation at Basel in Switzerland in 1897. It ended with Zionism’s first public statement of its mission. It was “to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine.” The term “home” was used because the Zionists did not want the world to know their real intention – to create a sovereign state. What Herzl really thought at the time was confined to his diary, which was not made public, published, until 1960. His diary entry for 3 September 1897 included the following:

“Were I to sum up the BaselCongress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly- it would be this: At BaselI founded the JewishSTATE. Perhaps in five years, and certainly 50, everyone will know it… At Basel, then, I created this abstraction which, as such, is invisible to the vast majority of people.”(Emphasis added).

Herzl also confided to his diary his vision of what would have to happen to the Palestinian Arabs:

“We shall have to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries while denying it any employment in our own countryBoth the process of expropriation(of Arab land)and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” (Emphasis added).

In 1940, when Nazi persecution of Europe’s Jews was turning to extermination, Joseph Weitz, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonisation Department in Palestine, wrote a secret memorandum headed A Solution to the (Jewish) Refugee Problem. In it he said:

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