Historic Origins of the Israel / Palestine Conflict – Free Post

The difficulty with the conflict between Israel and Palestine is that it has so many components immigration, national identity, empires and colonialism, democracy, religion and modernization, terrorism, victimization, persecution and war. The question of Palestine must still remain on the world’s agenda, even when focusing on the simplest building blocks of its very beginnings. Towards the end of the 19th century, outbreaks of violence against Jews called pogroms increased across Eastern Europe. In most countries, Jews were second class citizens. They couldn’t own land, though had different and varying legal rights and were marginalized, lived in ghettos and often randomly blamed for disruptions and targeted and murdered. This was coming to a head in the last two decades of the 19th century.

In 1881, in Russia, Jewish communities were attacked after czar Alexander the second was assassinated. And one of the conspirators, incidentally, had Jewish ancestry. Wave of pogroms resulted. But this was just one of many instances in what we now call Moldova.

In 1883, 49 Jews were killed and many more injured, raped and their homes attacked. The New York Times reported that the local police made no attempt to check the reign of terror. At sunset, the streets were piled with corpses and wounded. Those who could make their escape fled in terror. And the city is now practically deserted of Jews.

In 1894, France’s only Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was accused of spying for Germany and wrongly prosecuted for treason in a widely publicized trial. There were anti-Semitic riots across the country. Eugenic theories about superior races and blood and soil were also on the rise. Even in countries where Jews had rights like the US and Britain. Anti-Semitism was increasing both will have fascist parties and both will have outbreaks of violence.

In1897, seeing the writing on the wall, the Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist Theodore Herzl wrote a pamphlet, the Jewish State, arguing that the Jewish people needed a national home to avoid continual persecution when he encouraged Jewish Europeans to buy land in Palestine but also considered Argentina. The book resulted in the first Zionist Congress. That same year. Herzl was more than prescient, writing half a century before the Holocaust. Many Jews, fearing for their lives, left their homes in Eastern Europe. Most went to America, some elsewhere. Then a few started moving to Palestine. It’s important to remember that this is a relatively borderless period. Traveling was very different. Palestine had been administered by the decaying Ottoman Empire for centuries. It was home to a small number of Jews who lived peacefully with the vast majority of Arabs, mainly Muslims with a few Christians. This was a very different period from today. Empires were the norm, but often in decline. Borders always changing and ideologies becoming powerful. And the idea of nation states that the people had the right to self-determine, to govern themselves was on the rise.

In 1800, the population of the area was 2% Jewish, some 6700. By 1890, 42,000 Jews had moved there, while the Arab population was around half a million. And by 1822, the Jewish population had doubled to 83,000. Towards the end of the 19th century, Jewish settlers began buying land from absent urban Arab landlords, leading to the displacement of the Arab peasants who had worked the land until then. As a result, 500 Arabs signed a letter of complaint to the Ottomans about this in 1891.

In his book My Promised Land, Ari Shavit describes the complex and sometimes contradictory motivations of the young Zionist movement at the end of the 19th century. For some, fleeing violence, it’s a matter of life and death for others, like his own British Jewish great grandfather. It’s a complex choice, one comprised of solidarity with those fleeing persecution. Russian, yes, but also a romantic idea of the Holy Land. And a modern idea, too, of a new, thriving, modern technological future that can be built in a land that was widely and falsely seen to be empty, uninterrupted fighting. As Judaic studies professor David Novak has written.

The modern Zionism that emerged in the late 19th century was clearly a secular nationalist movement. However, it also had deep religious and historical roots to draw on as well that it was the Jewish ancestral homeland. The exodus from Egypt to the promised land and later exiles and returns to it was hotly debated. But Zionism was never unified. Many, many disagreed. Religious and secular alike. And those who did agree or became Zionists did so for many reasons.

Shavit points out that travelers from places like Britain didn’t see Palestine for what it was this empty desert. They saw a few Bedouin tribes. They saw possible sea. They didn’t see Palestinian villages and towns. Or maybe, he says, they chose to ignore them. The Zionists and the travelers also saw poverty. Dirt huts and tiny villages. They believed or said they believed, as many colonists also claim. It’s important to note that the indigenous population would benefit from prosperous Jewish capital education technology and ideas. And it’s true that many did.

Drawing on his grandfather’s diaries, Shiva asks why his grandfather did not see. After all, he was served by Arab stevedores, Arab staff at hotels. Arab villagers carried his luggage. He was led by Arab guides and horsemen and was shown Arab cities. Shavit uses a word blindness. They were too focused on a romantic ideal of the area and a tragic oppression. They were fleeing from rights, writes Between memory and dream, there is no hair and no, Not everyone was blind, though. At the beginning of the 20th century, one Zionist author, Israel’s uncle, gave a speech in New York that reported that Palestine wasn’t empty, that they would have to, quote, drive out by sword. The tribes in possession as our forefathers did. This was heresy. No one wanted to hear it. He was ignored by the Zionist movement.

And so between 1890 and 1913, around 80,000 emigrated. In the short period between World War 1 and World War 2, the same number again. And this snowballed with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Between 1933 and 1940, a quarter of a million fled Germany. In 1935 alone. 60,000 moved to Palestine more than the entire Jewish population in 1970. With this came millions in capital and investment, the building up of settlements, villages and towns. It continued to grow. This huge demographic movement coincided with the most important shift of power in the region the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during World War 1 and subsequent British control.

During the First World War, Zionists in Palestine provided valuable information to Britain, formed spy networks and volunteered to fight. At the same time, a coalition of Arabs supported Britain by rising up against the Ottomans in the Great Arab Revolt. In return, they were promised an independent Arab state by the British. But Britain made several contradictory promises in quick succession. In 1917, the Balfour Declaration, a memo between Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour and Lord Rothschild committed the British government to a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration neglected to mention the word Arab once a who comprised 94% of the population. It read His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this objective, being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Here lies the roots of the conflict. The contradictory promise. When the Promised Land became twice promised, in the words of historian Avi Schlamme reporting, this news in Palestine was banned by the British.

Avi Schlamme Historical reference

But another contradictory promise came instead. After the defeat of the Ottomans, the British and French divided the area and spheres of influence under the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, leaving Palestine as a British mandate under British control. This was the famous line in the sand drawn by people who had little knowledge of the area. In a private 1919 memo only published 30 years later, Lord Balfour admitted that in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age, long traditions and present needs and future hopes of far profound import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land. The British mandate gave the Jewish Agency in Palestine status as a public body to help run the country and Jewish communities and leaders started forming institutions for self-defense and governance, which the British slowly recognized, essentially becoming a government in waiting. As a result, outbreaks of violence began to increase in the 1920s, getting progressively worse.

In 1929, hundreds of Jews and Arabs were killed and hundreds more wounded at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Tensions rose, resulting in a series of massacres of Jews by Arabs, one of which in Hebron, led to the deathof almost 70 Jews and the injuring of many more. In response to the violence, the British declared a state of emergency. They proposed a legislative council that would be comprised of six nominated British and four nominated Jewish members and 12 elected members, including two Christians, two Jews and Muslims. But seeing themselves as outnumbered on a council in a country in which they were the clear majority, Palestinians rejected the proposal. Another was proposed that was slightly fairer to the Palestinians. But this time it was rejected by the Zionists and by British Parliament.

During the largest wave of emigration, as the Nazis came to power, Palestinians called for a general strike, demanding an end to Jewish migration and the sale of land to Zionists by absentee urban landlords which continued to dispossessed peasants. In 1936, an Arab revolt started when Arab gunmen shot three Jews, setting off a series of attacks and counterattacks, leading to the deaths of around 450 Jews and 101 British. The British response was swift and brutal. 5000 Arabs were killed by the British. Violence continued until 1937 and many were imprisoned and exiled. 10% of the Arab population were killed, injured, imprisoned or exiled. Khalidi puts the figure higher. He wrote that it was a bloody war waged against the country’s majority, which left 14 to 17% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled.

Sayeed Ali Feldman and Shikaki write that it was disastrous for the Palestinians. In one instance, an 81 year old rebel leader was executed after being found with a single bullet. The British tied Palestinian prisoners to the front of their cars to prevent ambushes and homes were destroyed. Many were tortured and beaten, including at least one woman. However, as a result of the unrest in 1937, a British government report recommended two states for the first time. But the Arab state wouldn’t be Palestina when it was to be merged with Transjordan.

In 1939, British government policy put forward in a white paper, decided to call for a single jointly administered Palestine and limited Jewish immigration and land sales. The Holocaust changed all of this, and even more disastrous for the Palestinians was their leadership’s decision to side with Hitler in 1941,as he had told them that the Nazis had no plans to occupy Arab lands. As the true extent of the Holocaust became clearer, the plight of European Jews became more urgent in the eyes of European and US policymakers.

It’s crucial to remember the extent of the horror. 6 million Jews industrially murdered. After the war, there were a quarter of a million Jews living in refugee camps. In Germany alone. Britain was bankrupt and pulling out of many of its former colonies. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. All of the countries surrounding Palestine gained their independence and an Arab League was formed by them. More plans were proposed, including the Morrison Grady Plan in 1946, calling for two separate autonomous Arab and Israeli regions under British defense, which was again rejected by both Zionists and Palestinians.

A UN plan in 1947 proposed 43% of the area going to Palestinians, despite them comprising two thirds of the population. This was rejected by the Arab higher Committee, who called for a three day general strike and the newly independent or quasi independent at least surrounding Arab states, were becoming increasingly hostile to Zionism and sensitive to the plight of the Palestinians. But they also saw potential potential to either increase their own territory or to gain power for themselves in the region. They were self-interested.

Egypt saw itself as a new Ottoman Empire. King Abdullah of Transjordan saw Palestine as part of Transjordan. He thought that victory would be secured in, quote, no more than ten days. And the USSR seen the potential of a state of Israel as a socialist ally, provided weapons to the Zionists, seeing themselves as decisively outnumbered and outgunned with no tanks, navy or aircraft fighters. The Arab countries, to varying degrees, did. Ben-Gurion secured a deal with Czechoslovakia for $28 million worth of weapons and ammunition, increasing their supply of weapons by 25% and ammunition by 1,000%.

In 1968, Ben-Gurion remembered that the Czech weapons truly saved the state of Israel. Without these weapons, we would have not remained alive by now. It was essentially a state of civil war with continued attacks and counterattacks. And in early 1948, knowing the British would leave, Arab countries were preparing to invade, and Jewish state institutions in waiting were preparing a plan of defense. There were of course, already many Jewish settlements outside of the proposed UN partition boundaries and of course many Palestinian ones within Zionist leadership prepared for what was called Plan D, which included, quote, self-defense against invasion by regular or semi-regular forces and freedom of military and economic activity within the borders of the Hebrew state and in Jewish settlements outside its borders. And all of this was exasperated by British bankruptcy and a hardline Zionist militant group called Irgun, who bombed the British Mandate headquarters, killing 92 peopleand were involved in many murders and skirmishes and brutalities with the Palestinians in the worst in April of 1948. Irgun killed between 100 and 250 men, women and children in a village near Jerusalem. Despite a non-aggression pact being agreed between them.

So on the 15th of May 1948, the British left the day before David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of a new state of Israel. The day after a coalition of Arab forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded. For the most part, Israel captured or defended the areas allotted to them by the 1947 UN plan as well as many areas outside of it. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes. Palestinians now call it the Nakba.

The catastrophe and the result of the war was the Gaza Strip. Under Egypt’s control, the West Bank contested, but under the control of Transjordan forces to be annexed in 1950, and anywhere between 400,000 and a million Palestinians displaced.

There is complexity, and this is only a small fraction of this story, but it’s impossible to ignore that the Nakba was a catastrophe. Power differentials, foreign influence, empire failures to compromise perpetration of atrocities, the loss of homes and land that would never be returned to the Palestinians were left divided, outnumbered and kept weak by Britain, Zionists, America, the USSR and its surrounding Arab neighbors.

Journalist Arthur Khosla famously said that one nation solemnly promise to a second nation. The country of a third. And while British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had tried to limit immigration to Palestine, he was replaced by Winston Churchill, one of the biggest supporters of Zionism in British public life in 1937. Churchill said of Palestine that “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

In response to the UN planning to partition Palestine in 1947, several Arab countries warned or even threatened violence against Jews in their own countries and expulsion in 1950 and 51. Iraq withdrew Jews, Iraqi nationality and property rights. anti-Semitism in Yemen led to the migration of 50,000 Jews between 1949 and 1950, and there were attacks on Jews in Tripoli before the war in 1945. Whether the threats from spokespeople of Arab countries and the punitive policies and the attitudes began before the war or as a result of it is a matter of debate. What becomes clear, though, or unclear, is that moral and ethical answers depend on the minutiae of often unanswerable questions, ones that historians are still often acrimoniously debating. Anyone who tells you that answers are easy to come by are wrong.

Anti-Semitism was at its height. The Holocaust had just happened. Jewish migrants had purchased land and settled in Palestine peacefully for decades. But among these difficulties, there are some indisputable figures. The UN partition plan offered Palestinians 43% of the land, despite to them comprising 68% of the population and around 700,000 Palestinians became refugees.

Shiva cites an interesting letter written from an Israeli he knew he fought in the 4748 war. In it, he wrote “at the time that when I think of the thefts, the looting, the robberies and recklessness, I realize that these are not merely separate incidents together, they add up to a period of corruption. The question is earnest and deep, really, of historic dimensions. We will all be held accountable for this era. We shall face judgment, and I fear that justice will not be on our side.

And this is another report from an Israeli military governor reporting the conversation. When Palestinians were forced from the small city of Laodicea in 1948 during the war. After the Israelis triumphed, the Palestinian dignitaries said, “What will become of the prisoners detained in the mosque?” – The governor responded, “We shall do to the prisoners what you would do had you imprisoned us Dignitaries. No, no, please don’t do that, Governor. Why? – What did I say? All I said is that we will do to you what you would do to us. Dignitaries, please. No, master, We beg you not to do such a thing. The Governor. No, we shall not do that. 10 minutes from now, the prisoners will be free to leave the mosque and leave their homes. And leave later, along with all of you and the entire population of later dignitaries. Thank you, master. God bless you. And with that, they were gone.”

And in many cases, people left before the war broke out. In one case, the Israeli mayor even begged the Palestinians to stay in that time, although this was only one recorded case. For many years, the Israeli narrative will later call it that is far too simplistic. Ignoring the disagreements, differences and dissent within the Israeli narrative was that surrounding Arab states called upon the Arabs in Palestine to leave so that they could invade schoolbooks in Israel, too – that Israelis wanted peace, but they were surrounded by enemies who wanted the destruction – that the Palestinian Arabs fled to safety as a natural process of war. This was challenged in the eighties as official archives were opened and a generation of new historians in Israel looked at the period differently.

Benny Morris, one of those new historians, has argued that there was no master plan of expulsion. However, it was understood that it was in the leadership’s interests to establish a Jewish state with as small of a minority of Palestinian Arabs as possible. Many say that the order came from Ben-Gurion directly, including later Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who reported in his autobiography that Ben-Gurion had given him the order to expel the Palestinian Arabs of Libya. When we’re being published this in 1979, it was censored. And the battle of narratives rages in Israel to this day.

This means that there was an overwhelming atmosphere fear, a fear of exodus of violence and beatings, of many massacres, too, that led to 700,000 Palestinians leaving their homes, never to return.

~ fact-based historical archives ~

Original source and historical timeline transcript: Uncensored History VIDEOThe Origins of the Israel / Palestine Conflict

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