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Ilan Pappe. Oneworld Publications, Oxford, England, By Stephen Lendman PalestineChronicle. Zionists needed to neutralize Jordan because it had the strongest army in the Arab world and would have been a formidable threat had it become part of the overall Arab force that went to war with the new Jewish state.
Cairo only committed forces the last minute on May They had no training, were likely picked as convenient cannon fodder, and despite their fervor were no match for the Jewish military. Syrian forces were better trained, their political leaders more committed, but only a small contingent was sent, and they performed so ineffectively the Consultancy considered seizing the Golan Heights later gotten in the war.
Even smaller and less committed were Lebanese units most of which stayed on their side of the border defending adjacent villages.
Iraqi troops were also involved but only numbered a few thousand. Their government ordered them not to attack Israel but only to defend the West Bank land allocated to Jordan. Still, they defied orders, became more broadly engaged, and temporarily saved 15 Palestinian villages in Wadi Ara until when the Jordanian government ceded the area to Israel as part of a bilateral armistice agreement.
Overall, invading Arab forces performed "pathetically. In contrast, Jewish forces had a ready source of armaments from the Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc countries like Checkoslovakia. As a result, their weapons easily outgunned the combined Arab force, and its force size outnumbered and outclassed them. Jewish forces were never threatened, and Pappe exposed the Israeli-concocted myth that the very existence of a Jewish state was at stake.
It never was, and Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders knew it early on. It spared no one from removal, slaughter and loss of their homes and land. They were dynamited, torched, and leveled to the ground to make way for new Jewish settlements and neighborhoods to be built on vacated land.
Still Arab forces continued fighting getting Israelis to agree to the first of two brief truces. The first one was declared on June 8 and begun on the 11th.
It lasted until July 8, during which time the Israeli army continued its cleansing operation that included mass destruction of emptied villages. A second truce began on July 18 that was violated immediately. The Israeli leadership was undeterred and continued engaging in widespread ethnic cleansing and seizure of as much land as possible. Truce or no truce, the campaign went on unhindered to conclusion that was mostly completed by October and wrapped up finally in January, except for some mopping-up operations that continued until summer.
In September, , the war, such as it was, continued but subsided. It finally ended in when Israel signed separate armistice agreements with its four major warring adversaries.
The cease-fire lines agreed to became known as the "Green Line. For the victorious Israelis, this was their moment of triumph in their "War of Independence", but for the defeated and displaced Palestinians it became known as "al Nakba" — "The Catastrophe. Their lives were destroyed, and they were left to the mercy of neighboring Arab countries and conditions in the camps where they barely got any.
Toward the end of , Israel focused on its anti-repatriation policy pursuing it on two levels. The first was national, introduced in August that year, with the decision taken to destroy all cleansed villages transforming them into new Jewish settlements or "natural" forests.
The second level was diplomatic to avoid international pressure to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and villages. Nonetheless, Palestinians had an ally in the UN Palestine Conciliation Commission PCC that spearheaded efforts for refugees to return and called for their unconditional right to do it. Their position became UN Resolution giving Palestinians the unconditional option to return to their homes or be compensated for their losses if they chose not to.
Throughout , and beginning a precedent continuing to this day, about 8, refugees were put in prison camps while many others escaping cleansing were physically abused and harassed under Israeli military rule. The Palestinians lost everything including their homes, fields, places of worship and other holy places, freedom of movement and expression and any hope for just treatment and redress according to the rule of law not applied to them.
They were afflicted with such indignities as needing newly-issued identity cards. Not having them on their person at all times meant imprisonment up to 1. This went on in cities and rural areas as undisguised racism and persecution. Other kinds of Israeli harshness were also introduced at this time that all Palestinians are still subjected to today in the Occupied Palestinian Territories OPT.
There were roadblocks that now include checkpoints and curfews with violators shot on sight. These conditions were imposed to make life so unbearable, those subjected to them might opt to leave the territories for relief elsewhere. Worse still in were labor camps where thousands of Palestinian prisoners were held under military rule for forced labor for all tasks that could strengthen the economy or aid the military.
Conditions in them were deplorable and included working in quarries carrying heavy stones, living on one potato in the morning and half a dried fish at noon.
Anyone complaining was beaten severely, and others were singled out for summary execution if they were considered a threat. Red Cross representatives sent their Geneva headquarters reports of collective human rights abuses including finding piles of dead bodies. Overall, Palestinians surviving expulsion and now Israeli citizens gained nothing. They had no rights and were subjected to constant random violence and abuse with no protection from the law applying only to Jews.
Their places of worship were profaned and schools vandalized. Those still with homes were robbed with impunity by looters in broad daylight. They took everything they wanted — furniture, clothing, anything useful for Jewish immigrants entering the new Jewish state. The authorities did nothing to stop it or prosecute offenders. It was like living under a perpetual "Kristallnacht. The UN and Red Cross also reported many cases of rape, confirmed by uncovered Israeli archives and from the oral history of victims and their boasting victimizers.
Finally, with the war over and ethnic cleansing completed, the Israeli government relaxed its harshness and halted the looting and ghettoisation in cities. A new structure was created called The Committee for Arab Affairs that dealt with growing international pressure on Israel to allow for repatriation of the refugees.
Israeli officials tried to sidestep efforts by proposing instead refugees be settled in neighboring Arab states like Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Their efforts succeeded as discussions produced no results nor was there much effort to enforce Resolution Other issues also remained unresolved including money expropriated from the former 1.
The first governor of the Israeli national bank estimated it was valued at million British pounds. There was also the question of cultivated land confiscated and lost that amounted to 3. The Israeli government forestalled international indignation by appointing a custodian for the newly acquired properties pending their final disposition. It dealt with the problem by selling them to public and private Jewish groups which it claimed the right to do as the moment confiscated lands came under government custodianship they became property of the state of Israel.
That, in turn, meant none of it could be sold to Arabs which is still the law in Israel today. As this took place, the human geography of Palestine was transformed by design. Its Arab character in cities was erased and with it the history and culture of people who lived there for centuries before Zionists arrived to depopulate their state making it one for Jews alone. They only succeeded partially but managed to transform ancient Palestine into the state of Israel creating insurmountable problems Palestinians now face in it and the OPT.
In , about , Palestinians survived expulsion in the territory of Israel and were now citizens designated by the Committee of Arab Affairs as "Arab Israelis. They were put under military rule, comparable to the Nuremberg Laws under the Nazis and no less harsh. They still had the right to vote and could be elected to the Israeli Knesset, but with severe restrictions.
The Committee of Arab Affairs continued meeting, and as late as considered plans for mass removal of all remaining Arabs in Israel. Even though ethnic cleansing formerly ended in , expulsions continued throughout this period until , but never really ended to this day.
Palestinians surviving it paid a terrible price with the loss of their possessions, land, history and future still unaddressed with justice so far denied them and ignored. The theft of their land by ethnic cleansing led to new Jewish settlements in their place and now are built on occupied Palestinian land in the OPT. The JNF law was passed in granting the agency independent status as landowner for the Jewish state.
The Knesset passed a final law in , the Law of Agricultural Settlement, prohibiting the subletting of Jewish-owned land to non-Jews. The law also prohibited water resources from being transferred to non-JNF lands. Today, 1. The 1. The 2. Pappe emphasizes what other regional experts like him believe — the key to peace in the Middle East is a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem as well as equity for those living in the OPT and all Palestinian Israeli citizens long denied any rights and forced to live in an Israeli apartheid state under harsh conditions of severe repression.
It works because the US supports and funds the Jewish state allowing it to get away with mass-murder, property destruction, land theft and denial of everything Palestinians hold dear including their lives and freedom.
Nothing has changed since because the West goes along as well as do most Arab states for their own political and economic gain. Palestinians have no bargaining power and can do nothing to alleviate their plight. The UN world body should have aided them but never did. It cost Palestinians everything, and nothing happened since to win them redress. Even after its early missteps, the UN might have made a difference but erred again by not involving the International Refugee Organization IRO that always recommends repatriation as a refugee entitlement.
Its efforts amounted to little more than putting band-aids on gaping wounds still raw and unaddressed. Out of this mess earlier, Palestinian nationalism emerged as the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO that became the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It was founded by the Arab League in and committed to the Right of Return. Two more decades were then lost until after the war when the US got more involved, began colluding with the Israelis, and couched all new peace efforts within an overall context of a Middle East Pax Americana.
In , Israel excluded the Nakba and Right of Return from any peace discussions. This was how Israel sought to legitimize its "War of Independence" and all its crimes it wanted erased from the public memory.
No longer were they on the table to be considered in any future conflict resolution negotiation. For Palestinians, the Nakba is their core issue, and without it being settled equitably there can never be closure or a real lasting peace in the region. Nonetheless, by the mid-seventies, the PLO softened its stance enough to accept a US-led international consensus favoring a two-state solution. It led to the Camp David Accords and peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, but it left Palestinians out in the cold by implicitly renouncing their Right of Return and failing to address the issue of an independent state.
The predictable result was festering anger in the OPT that led to the first Intifada in that, in turn, led to the Madrid peace conference following the Gulf war. From it, the Oslo Accords and so-called Declaration of Principles emerged that once again betrayed Palestinian hopes for redress denied them to this day.
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Ilan Pappe. Oneworld Publications, Oxford, England, By Stephen Lendman PalestineChronicle. Zionists needed to neutralize Jordan because it had the strongest army in the Arab world and would have been a formidable threat had it become part of the overall Arab force that went to war with the new Jewish state. Cairo only committed forces the last minute on May They had no training, were likely picked as convenient cannon fodder, and despite their fervor were no match for the Jewish military.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe (Part II)
The conclusion of his main work on the topic The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem is that the exodus was the "result of war, not intent". Nevertheless, he stated later that "[i]n retrospect, it is clear that what occurred in in Palestine was a variety of ethnic cleansing of Arab areas by Jews. It is impossible to say how many of the , or so Palestinians who became refugees in were physically expelled, as distinct from simply fleeing a combat zone. No matter how meticulous the planning by the leaders of the Yishuv settlers was, it would have been to no avail without an unusual concatenation of international events the genocide of European Jewry, the onset of the cold war, the closing of liberal democratic gates to Jewish refugees, the emancipation of colonies in North Africa, and last but not least the hegemony of the model of the ethnic nation-state as the only available avenue for national emancipation.