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http://www.ptimes.com

 

Israeli Myths

By Dr. Musil J. Shihadeh*

Palestine Times 1999.

(1-2)

 

Every country has its own myths, or stories that have no place in reality but are used to propagate certain images that might misrepresent the facts and events that have actually taken place. Of course the purpose is to create an unblemished picture of the source, especially if involved in certain immoral or illegal acts, that might compromise its image in the eyes of the world. Once the myth has served its purpose, it was normal to discard it, lest researchers and independent observers might unveil its falsehood. What makes Israel's myth a unique case is not its normal propagation of the good image while hiding the evil, as much as such myths had become an integral part of Israel's own history. Therefore, false information about the "glorious" history of Israel has become the "real" history taught to the next Israeli generation so as to instill false pride in all the history of the State. In other words, the Zionists were so pleased with their unchallenged success in propagating these myths to the Western world that they decided that such myths should also become an integral part of Israel's own contemporary history.

We have heard that if one repeats a certain lie so many times he would start believing it himself. Why should the new Israeli generation be allowed to feel ashamed of the inhuman acts of their forefathers in Palestine when the other alternative is to aquire "false" pride in what the early Zionists have already achieved? Since the whole world started to believe these myths, why not their own people? Talking to many Israelis on this issue, I found out that many of them were not disingenuous about believing these myths, because when presented with documented proof to the contrary, they reluctantly accepted the new version of history, after passing through a transient shocking experience. One has to recognize, though, that it would be very difficult for anyone to change the attractive image of his forefathers from the courageous pioneers who fought very hard to establish a "legitimate and moral" objective called Israel, into the real grotesque and evil image of a group of bandits who were involved in the immoral and cruel acts of the unjust uprooting of the indigenous Palestinians from the lands they lived in since Biblical times.

Myths, therefore, were needed to justify the biggest land grab in the 20th century and to dispel the justified grievances of the victims in the eyes of the world. Myths were needed in this case to justify the forced evictions of the indigenous Palestinians from their homes while replacing them with foreign entities swarming from all parts of the world. Such Israeli myths sheltered many flagrant violations of international laws embodied in the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions and The Hague Conference on human rights.

Some of these myths maintain that Palestine was the land without people (no indigenous Palestinians) and should be given to the people (the Jews) without the land or it was the Palestinians who sold their lands to the early Zionists and so they have no legal claim to an already "sold" land. Another popular myth is that the small Zionist forces were able to defeat the invading mighty Arab armies who started the war against the "peaceful" Zionists on 15 May 1948 with huge armies that outnumbered the Zionist forces at a ratio of 20 to 1, or the myth that purports that because the Palestinians rejected the UN Partition on Palestine, it follows that they alone should bear the horrible consequences of such rejection. Of course there were many other myths about the wars of 1967 and 1973, but it would be appropriate to explore a few of these myths so as to show that honesty was not exactly the preferred approach used by the classical Israeli and Zionist historians.

I do not need to elaborate on the first myth, as the facts later dropped this myth from any serious consideration when over 800,000 Palestinians were evicted from the land "without people" under the astounded eyes of the world! How could such a huge number of people come out from the "land without people"? As to the lie that the Palestinians have sold their lands myth, it is debunked forcefully by the Israelis' own sources when we realize that since the beginning of the century the feverish campaign to buy land in Palestine by the Jewish Agency (JA), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and private sources has failed to purchase more than one-half per cent of the land over a period of 50 years of continuous efforts. According to JNF sources, the increase of Jewish ownership of land has only increased from 7% to 7½% (discounting the 2% State land controlled by the British Mandate) (1).

This failure has been the rationale used by Menachim Begin to justify the largest heinous massacre he perpetrated at Deir Yassin, and the secret instructions given by Ben-Gurion to commanders in the field to execute the systematic expulsions of the Palestinian civilians (2). It should be obvious to any neutral observer that with the exuberant prices offered, it would be very hard to believe that Palestinians would sell their land for such good prices only to end up living in the sub-human conditions of the refugee camps (3).

As to the claim that it was the huge Arab armies who invaded Israel without any provocation on 15 May 1948 and Israel had "no choice" but to defend itself against this "aggression", it should not be hard to expose such a Zionist claim for what it really is when we realize that by the time Israel declared its "Statehood", it already occupied almost 78% of Palestine and had evicted over 800,000 refugees while simultaneously demolishing their homes and villages in the process to make sure they would never return or be repatriated. These events had taken place before one single Arab soldier intervened in the conflict. Actually, such Israeli systematic occupations and expulsions forced the Arab governments to react and intervene, albeit a bit too late.

The major black "hole" in Israel's history is the period from 29 November 1947 to 15 May 1948, when by sheer "magic" Israel expanded from a 7% land control to 78% in less than 5½ months! Even if one would probe into the archives of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such a period is missing from the historical files! The claim that the Arab armies were outnumbering the Zionist forces at a ratio of 20 to 1 is most ludicrous when we realize that the entire Arab armies did not exceed 13,600 in number when compared to the well-equipped Zionist forces of 26,700-almost 2 to 1, all right, but in favour of the Zionists! (4).

The most malicious of these myths is the claim that had the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular accepting the UN Partition resolution on Palestine (resolution 181 of 29 November 1947). None of the tragedies we are facing today would have ever taken place. Accordingly, expulsions then were not planned in conjunction with Zionist propaganda, but were simply "accidents" of the 1948 war, or exigencies of the conflict. Hence there would have been no refugees, no expropriation of land, no violence, no wars, no victims and everybody would have coexisted harmoniously ever since. This sounds like a very pleasant dream, but miles away from the real world of international Zionist objectives, and much further from the real truth. Regrettably, many Arab sources repeat such myths and assign the blame to the indigenous Palestinians for rejecting the UN Partition Plan.

The Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan of resolution 181/11 was within the normal attitude of any people, as no one would cede more than half of his best land to a foreign colonialist, who declared his intentions of evicting the indigenous Palestinians once he established his presence. Actually, the Arab rejection of the UN Partition was a Zionist blessing in disguise, because had the Arabs accepted the Partition resolution, the Zionists would have to invent a new excuse to still uproot the Palestinians and to expropriate their lands in the process. As I pointed out earlier, one has to understand that since the advent of Zionism in the area and up to the date of the Partition, the Zionists collectively could not own more than 7% of the land of Palestine, including that land owned by the Jewish Agency (JA), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the entire private Jewish sector. Let us remember here that the UN Partition, even though it had allotted almost 55% of the best coastal areas in Palestine for the Zionists to establish a Jewish State, strictly prohibited in either State any land expropriation or the expulsion of anybody from his home or property. This meant that the Palestinians would still own over 93% of Palestine and represent the majority of the population even within the assigned Jewish State (5)! And since according to the same UN Partition, democratic process would be implemented with equality for all within either State, the Arab Palestinians would control the majority in government representation while owning most of the land in both States. Since the Zionist demand from the UN that future immigration to the State be under their control was rejected by the world organization, it became more than apparent that future Jewish immigration would be decided by the majority Arab representative government and even if it was not, no one could find a solution for future immigration of millions of Jews to a land that did not comprise more than 7% of Palestine. Even if the State land (less than 2%) under the British were turned over to the Zionists, it would still fail drastically to cater to a small portion of the future needs of the Jewish State. Therefore, accepting the exact implementation of the UN Partition resolution would have been an unwelcome disaster for the Zionist leadership, and the so-called goal of a majority Jewish State to be established would simply go down the drain!

In order, then, for the dream to come true, Arabs would have to be expelled and their lands would have to be expropriated since the Jewish limited geographic realities could hardly cater to the needs of the existing Jewish community in Palestine, let alone when the future Jewish immigration would become the top urgent priority dream of the future Jewish State. It was a declared and publicized objective of Zionism to create a majority Jewish State in Palestine, which was drastically contravened by the facts on the ground, and therefore the transfer (euphemism for expulsion) of the Arabs had to be practiced to realize such goals. You cannot create a majority Jewish State as the declared objective of international Zionism when the demographics and geographics favoured the Arab majority owning 93% of the land and a marginal Arab majority of the population. The Zionists knew this very well, and the transfer of the Arabs was not therefore a result of the exigencies of the war, as falsely claimed by the Zionists, but rather a long sought plan since the advent of this racist ideology, as noted by Theodore Herzl, who called for the "gentle" transfer of the Arabs out of Palestine as early as the end of the 19th century and has been repeatedly advocated ever since (6).


References

  1. Uri Davis, "Israel-an Apartheid State", Zed Books, London 1987.

  2. Benny Morris, "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem", Cambridge Press, 1987.

  3. Norman Finkelstein, "Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"; and Benny Morris, see note 2.

  4. Ilan Pappe, "Arab-Israeli Conflict", paperback, London 1994.

  5. Uri Davis, see note 1.

  6. Herzl Diaries, entries dated 12 June 1895.







*The writer is a free-lance American of Palestinian origin whose writings and ideas have frequented the American media.




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