Monday, January 29, 2007


Oxblog reviews the evidence for and against the Palestinian claim that Israel engaged in the mass expulsion of Arabs at the very birth of the state. In the end David Adesnik comes to no definite conclusion. Historical guilt is hard to ascribe, especially when every injustice stands upon the shoulders of an earlier and reciprocal grievance. Here's a summary of how Adesnik's inquiry started, though it is by no means finished.

Recently, my colleague has raised the question of the 700,000 or so Palestinian refugees who fled their homes during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-1949. Arabs refer to this flight as the nakhba, or catastrophe. For many advocates of the Palestinian cause, the nakhba was a historic injustice that fatally compromised the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

But what, precisely, was the nakhba? My limited knowledge of the subject derives from Benny Morris' 1999 survey of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, entitled Righteous Victims. However, I read the book in 2001, so my recollections of its content were vague at best until I stopped by the library today to refresh my memory. ...

According to Morris, the refugee crisis developed in four stages during the war, which I will describe below.

But first, Morris points out that Zionist leaders such as David Ben-Gurion considered the forcible transfer of Palestinians to be necessary and just. As the future Prime Minister said in 1938, "I support compulsory transfer. I do not see in it anything immoral." Other influential Israelis agreed, although both they and Ben Gurion felt that it would be best not to make their opinions known.

This position, however, does not seem to have resulted in any clear plan to force out the Palestinians. Rather, the refugee crisis developed in a series of unplanned stages ...


In the course of trying to help upland tribesmen obtain titles to their ancestral lands in the Philippines, I became acutely aware that ethnic expulsions did not begin, nor did they end, with the arrival of the White Man. But even the tribesmen had the good sense to realize that there was no point in aspiring to return the clock to some arbitrary point in the past. They were content to have aspire to peace and prosperity in the present. Judith Weiss describes the perils of invoking the sacred past in arguing for an unattainable future with respect to Christian Zionists who claim that since God gave Israel to the Jews, then so it must be. Churchill was alleged to have said (I cannot find the quote) that the problem with the Past is that it made the Future impossible. Today, with unprecedented population movements taking place under the impetus of globalization, to what past could we conceivably return? But Churchill, almost anticipating the Internet, definitely did say was that "the empires of the future will be empires of the mind". And in that future, which is our present, it is the location of your mind rather than your body that matters most. In that respect, where is Israel? And where are the Palestinians?


Blogger allen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/29/2007 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Just heard on Fox that we're planning to release evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraq. Supposedly it will be comprehensive and compelling. Can't find it online.

1/29/2007 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

“[T]he nakhba was a historic injustice that fatally compromised the legitimacy of the Jewish state.”

Here is another of those irony soaked statements that escape notice. Hundreds of thousands of refugees were created, how? Because, rather than submitting to the will of the“world community”, Israel’s primarily Arab/Muslim neighbors invaded, hoping to kill the infant state in the crib. Had they succeeded, that would have constituted a “historic injustice”. Happily, they failed.

Would there have been a “nakhba” had the Arabs not militarily attacked Israel? Who knows? But they did attack and the rest is history. And they attacked for precisely the reason that to them both Israel and the “world community” were illegitimate.

Since 1948, the Arabs and Muslims of the world have experienced one “nakhba” after another, including the recent overthrow of regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As with 1948, the cause of their woes goes directly to a sense of suicidal self-importance that wholly discounts the legitimacy and means of all others. There is probably a better than 50:50 chance that Iran will continue the tradition by overplaying its hand, bringing catastrophe upon itself. As always of course, when it does, the Arab and Muslim street will whine about the Zionists and Americans.

1/29/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Yes Allen, as history does reveal the Muslim does over play his hand in most encounters from the late 18th century to the late 19th century, Islam started on a rocky road until the usurper Mohamed was able to rally the tribes (they where only Muslim by fear) to attack with him the rumored (Most likely started by him or his inner group) the gathering Byzantine pay back army (that was also rumored to be many times larger) for Mohammad’s illegal caravan raids and small out lying city destruction, Mohamed used this to galvanize his hold and on the luke warm muslim tribes and when the small army of Muhamid arrived to do battle with a foe that was not going to show up, Mohammad crafted it into a sign from god that, He, the prophet was able to scare the then superpower way by calling upon “Allah”, this Allen is where the circle of history maybe at now? Had Jimmy Carter become to the militant Islamic Jahids rumored Byzantine army that never appeared to pay back the woeful aggression upon the super power of that day today (1979?) there where kingdoms and empires able to crush Mohamad and kill off Islam while Mohamad was alive, but was ignored and then accomidated, Islam became a world religion after Mohamid was long gone and thru the fear of separation of body and head, look at the cycle of history today. Where are we? Rumor and propaganda to produce fear or increase it have from the beginning been at the heart of Islam, it has not changed and Islam can not survive the truth (just like the left’s many motivations)

1/30/2007 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

Just heard from Pravda that capitalism is going to kick it. Come on. Get a grip.

1/30/2007 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The number of 700,000 is lie, nothing more than Jihadi propaganda. That number of 700,000 might apply today, but in 1948 it would have less than a 1/20th of that number. And the only reason it was even that, is because Arab foreign migrant labor was attracted to the area due to the new industries and jobs Jews were creating. But foreign Arab migrant labor from neighboring lands does NOT equal permanent citizenry, and we should not buy into Jihadi fairy tales about the land being populated with Arabs. It was not.

1/30/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Hundreds of thousands of refugees were created, how?

The nakhba was driven by the terrorist action against Arab civilians and the massacres of strategic Arab villages by Jewish forces.

David Ben-Gurion considered the forcible transfer of Palestinians to be necessary and just. As the future Prime Minister said in 1938, "I support compulsory transfer. I do not see in it anything immoral."

I agree. The use of force expulsions and killings does not illegitimise a state. The fact that it offends the liberal sensibilities of some of our fellow travellers is neither here nor there. The foundation stages of Israel show that real positive results are achievable through the use of terror, as long as terror is used in its proper way - to exclude others - it can be effective.

1/30/2007 01:46:00 PM  

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