Friday, June 17, 2005
The Palestinian Arab Refugees in April, 1948
This is only about Arabs in Haifa (and Jaffa) in a very small timeframe, but it shows the mindsets of the Jews and of the Arabs at the time and that it would be reasonable to expect that these mindsets remained somewhat consistent throughout the duration of the war.
The first article describes the Arab dilemma of whether they should leave a Jewish-controlled Haifa. Notice that these decisions are being made after the major fighting is over, while the truce is being negotiated. These Arabs, at least, were clearly not leaving because of war.
Notice also how the Haganah is bending over backwards to try to respect the rights of the Arab citizens of Haifa, pledging to protect their property and clearly expecting them to return. This is not the behavior of people who are trying to ethnically cleanse an area.
Meanwhile, Arabs were streaming out from Jaffa. A telling detail emerges in this account of the flight to Egypt: that Arabs were the ones encouraging other Arabs to leave, and other Arabs were upset by this. But no where do they say that Jews are expelling Arabs.
The general sense of panic among the Palestinian Arabs at the time can be seen from the tiny article at the end about the run on banks.
The next week, in a recap of the events that happened in Haifa, we see that it was clearly the Arab leadership who encouraged their people to leave. Interestingly, shortly thereafter most of Haifa's Arabs have returned to their intact homes, safe and sound. This is not the first time that the Arab leadership's treatment of the Palestinian Arabs were at cross-purposes with what the people wanted.
Again note how explicitly the Haganah is trying to keep the Arabs in their homes.
This is only a snapshot in time from a single source, and this is all before the outside Arab armies invaded (although this was considered a fait accompli), but it does show a couple of inescapable facts:
* The Haganah was acting in a way totally inconsistent with the desire to create a Jews-only state.
* The Jews were bending over backwards to respect Arab property and lives.
* The Palestinian Arab people were feeling that their leadership was not acting in their best interests. This feeling was amplified in an article the following week, right before Israel declared her independence:
The analogy to today is clear. Today the Palestinian people remain pawns in the hands of their supposed "leaders" - while the people just want to live and be able to raise their families, their leaders are obsessed with the destruction of Israel and are willing to sacrifice as many of their people as necessary to reach that goal. While the Arabs show no respect for the religion or property of others, the Jews retain respect for the human rights of their declared enemies. While the Arabs create nations that are Judenrein, the vast majority of Israelis have no desire to kick out the Arabs from Israel.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The historical Palestinians: A very simple test
But there is an incredible hue and cry whenever people say, accurately, that there were no such people that could be distinguished from the rest of the Arab world until relatively recently.
There is a very simple test that can prove which claim is more accurate, whether the Palestinian people have existed as such historically or not. The test is to look at newspaper archives from before the establishment of Israel and see how they used the word "Palestinian."
Unfortunately, there are not too many free newspaper archives on the Internet that go back that far. One of the best is the Palestine Post, in which Tel Aviv University has done an incredible job of showing articles from the time before Israel was founded in context (ads, too) and one can learn far more from reading these articles about how day to day life was in British Palestine than from any books.
Here is a sampling of articles that show up when doing a search for "Palestinian":
As is clear, at least in Palestine, the word "Palestinian" usually referred to Jews, not Arabs.
But perhaps you would argue that the Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post) is a biased source. Despite the fact that the above articles also quote British sources as using the word "Palestinian" to refer to Jews, but we can also look at other sources.
The Washington Post has its archives online as well, although you have to pay to see the full article. But even the abstracts can show interesting results:
Products of Palestinian Art Will Be Shown at Jewish Center; Novel 10-Bay Exhibit of Sculptured and Other Work by the Late Boris Schatz Will Open Tomorrow at 1529 Sixteenth Street.
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Apr 3, 1938. pg. TT5, 1 pgs
Abstract (Document Summary)
Products of the new Palestine art will be displayed in a novel ten-day exhibit, opening at the Jewish Community Center, 1529 Sixteenth street, tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. A number of pieces of sculpture work m relief, bronze, hand-hammered brass, ivory carvings and others of the late Boris Schnatz, founder of the new school of modern Palestinian art, will be exhibited by his son and daughter, ...
Palestinians in France
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Feb 29, 1940. pg. 5, 1 pgs
Abstract (Document Summary)
Somewhere in France, Feb. 28. -- Their past differences forgotten in the common effort, a force of 700 Palestinian soldiers, about three-quarters of them Jews and the rest Arabs, arrived at a French port today to join the British expeditionary force.
Even though this article includes Arabs as being Palestinian, it is the exception that proves the rule: there is nothing inherently Arab about Palestinians, and more often than not, Palestinians when referred to as such were Jews.
So how were the Arabs who lived in the area referred to? Usually just "Arabs", sometimes "Bedouins", and sometimes even "Arab nationalists:"
British Troops To Palestine.
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Sep 6, 1936. pg. B6, 1 pgs
Abstract (Document Summary)
The seriousness at the Palestinian situation is at last being recognized by the British government. No longer are the authorities at London taking the complacent view that the fires lit in the Holy Land by Arab Nationalists some months ago, when they ordered a general strike in protest against further Jewish immigration, would soon burn themselves out.
Note that nowhere are these Arabs referred to as "Palestinians."
This is just scratching the surface. Reading old newspaper archives is fascinating and fun, and little details emerge that show that things were just as messy then as they are now, along with the occasional ad in the Jewish-oriented Palestine Post that may strike you as strange:
So don't take my word for it. Do the research and you will find out that when people claim that there have never been a historic Palestinian people separate from other Arabs, they know what they are talking about.
The New York Times has a similar summary archive service. Check out this article:
PALESTINIAN COUPLE ENROLLS AT FORDHAM
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Nov 1, 1947. pg. 5, 1 pgs
Abstract (Document Summary)
Fordham University enrolled yesterday as students a young Palestinian Jew and his wife who hope to make American culture and its techniques play a more dynamic role in the culture of their homeland.
But the New York Times for the most part seems to have been very specific in referring to Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs, usually not "Palestinians."
The first time I am able to find a reference to Palestinian Arabs as Palestinians by default in the NYT is arguably this article from 1959 , a somewhat better reference is here although it can be argued that Jordanian Palestinians are of course Arab by default. The first I am able to find the word used unequivocally to mean Palestinian Arabs is here:
U.A.R. Plans to Draft A 'Palestinian Army'Special to The New York Times. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Nov 3, 1963. pg. 5, 1 pgs
So while the word Palestinian as referring to Arabs who lived in the area does seem to predate the 1964 establishment of the PLO, it is not by much - and it seems pretty clear that the impetus towards the establishment of the PLO came from Egypt and other Arab states, not from the Palestinian Arabs themselves.
January 22, 1939 - The more things change...
I have long held that there is a common denominator in the Arab side of the Israel-Arab conflict: the fact that Arabs do not want Jews to own land in the Middle East.
It is not that they don't want any Jews there, because historically there have been Jews in Arab lands. It is simply that they cannot abide Jews owning land in the area, no matter how legally it is acquired. I believe this is because the Arab Muslim psyche is so heavily invested in the idea that Jews are weak dhimmis, as they acted this way for centuries, and this was some sort of validation of the supremacy of Islam. But for whatever reason, land is the single factor that can explain every Arab action vis a vis Israel since the beginning of modern Zionism. It explains 1948, it explains 1973, it explains Camp David (where Sadat said that he'd rather have war than lose a single grain of sand of the Sinai), it explains the Intifada, the infamous "stages" plan of Arafat, and it explains the entire existence of the Palestinian people as the pawns they became and remain. It also explains the existence of Hamas and Hezbollah.
This fact must be recognized and addressed before any real peace can occur. And, frankly, this would require a complete turnaround of a century of Arab opinion and incitement, something that will not occur any time soon.
Read between the lines: At this point in time, Jews only lived on land they legally bought.
Every single "demand" of the Arabs mean the same thing: Jews should not own land in then-Palestine.
And the doubletalk at the end of the article is well-known to anyone who follows the news: Only when Jews no longer own land will Palestine have "tranquility" again. As in today, those the Arabs declare to be enemies don't actually have to do anything to cause problems - they just have to exist, and when Arabs riot as they did in the early 1930s, it is the fault of the Jews for owning land.
SoccerDad brings this up to date:
The PA passed legislation in 1998 making Israeli ownership of Palestinian real estate a "harm to national security" that constitutes a "crime of high treason" punishable by death. 33 The murders of five Palestinian land dealers who sold property to Israelis indicated that the Palestinian Authority was not simply using rhetoric.
And an even more egregious example happened quite recently:
The Greek Orthodox church in the holy land, already mired in financial and political scandal, has been accused of secretly selling off a prime Arab area of Jerusalem's old city to Jewish settlers.
The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, has ordered an investigation of the sale of land and buildings in Omar Ibn al-Hitab square, next to the Jaffa Gate, a sensitive area because its future is uncertain in any negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Mr Qureia said he suspected the deal was part of a broader strategy by Jewish groups to buy up property and force Arabs out, "all with the goal of making Jerusalem Jewish".
"It is dangerous and a clear indication of the Israeli plan that targets the holy city," he said.
Notice that no one is accusing Jews of buying the land illegally...just the fact that Jews want to buy land in Jerusalem is enough to drive Arabs crazy.
How can anyone think that a true peace is possible when Arabs clearly do not accept the idea of Jews owning or buying the tiniest bit of land in the area?
May 24, 1936 Palestine Post: Response to Arab riots
Note the "peaceful" protests of the Arabs to the existence of Jews owning land in Palestine. Notice how even then, the Jews stress how they want to live in peace.
Another point mentioned is that Arabs at the time were moving to Palestine "in the thousands" as a result of Jewish hard work in making the land a paradise. And they were specifically moving to the most Jewish areas. A significant percentage, perhaps most, of today's "Palestinians" are descended from these thousands who did not live in Palestine before the 1920s.
Lessons for today from June 2, 1937 - 1935 - 1933
The Arabs will not allow any part of the country to be owned by someone other then themselves, neither will they allow the country to be controlled, politically or administratively, by the Jews or anyone else.
No solution which does not meet these demands will ever be accepted by the Arabs and the Moslems throughout the world.
This statement can be seen as a blueprint for Arab-Israeli relations throughout the entire century. Everything that the Arabs have said or done since then, including Camp David and Oslo, has been entirely consistent with this statement. (In my opinion, the Jordanian leadership has been the only exception, and I think the reason is that they hate the Palestinians more than they hate the Jews.) All "peaceful" moves have been with an eye towards the long-term eradication of Jewish control over any part of the area.
Interestingly, on the same date in 1935, there was a review in the Palestine Post of a book about the history of Arabs in Palestine, and it rightly pointed out that Arabs themselves only ruled the area between 637 and 1071. Although this seems comical, it points out another fact that gets lost in today's world of instant news: the Arabs have a very long historical memory, their perceived humiliations from centuries past are still considered fresh wounds (reference Bin Laden's mention of "the tragedy of Andalusia"), and they are therefore patient as to when they will finally acheive their ultimate victory over the world.
Of course, Jews happen to have a historical memory that is quite a bit longer than the Arabs', as can be seen from this page 1 article of June 2, 1933: (Syria should be thankful that Israel doesn't assure its historic rights over Damascus!)
Yet somehow the Jews didn't rely on the very strong Biblical-era reasons that they should remain in the area, but they also worked hard to ensure that they keep their rights to the Land - with a superior claim historically, militarily, politically and legally.
Jew-hatred, however, will always ignore mere facts.
June 7, 1936: Arabs destroy 18,000 trees in 3 days
From the whining you often hear from Palestinians about their olive groves (68,000 hits on Google), you'd think that they felt that fruit trees were sacred and not meant to be politicized.
Oh well, another Palestinian Arab myth gone.
June 7, 1938: Thousands of Viennese Jews sent to Dachau
Besides its usefulness as a resource in researching the early history of Israel, the Palestine Post is also a remarkable (and often shocking) record of the events leading up to the Holocaust, as it had extensive coverage of the situation of Jews in Europe.
What is perhaps surprising is how widespread the knowledge of the persecutions of Jews were prior to the war. It is often assumed that the Nazis hid their crimes during the war and that the world had no idea such things could be happening. But the world apparently didn't care too much when stories like these came out before the war (it was not even the top story in the Palestine Post in this issue.)
Notice how the newspaper assumes without fear of contradiction that Dr. Paul Schott was murdered by the Nazis on the train to Dachau.
In the same issue was the news that 82-year old Sigmund Freud managed to leave Austria to live in England.
When the British jailed shofar-blowers
When the British jailed shofar-blowers
In my travels through the Palestine Post archives today, I found something astounding (to me, at least.) I saw that someone was arrested for blowing a shofar at the Western Wall at the conclusion of Yom Kippur:
What was this all about? Why should it be illegal for Jews to do a simple and important religious ceremony?
Throughout the '30s I kept seeing similar stories printed.
And it was only at the Wall, not in synagogues or anything like that. So what the hell was going on?
And the penalty - 6 months in prison for blowing a shofar?
Something was seriously wrong, and soon it became apparent what the problem was.
Ah, now it becomes clear.
A Jew does something that is a religious requirement, that takes a couple of seconds, that disturbs nobody - and Arabs rioted in 1929.
Not just rioted, but they murdered 135 Jews, expelling Jews from communities (like Hebron) that they had lived in for centuries.
And the British blamed the Jews. Because one of the riots started in 1929 after a Jew blowed a Shofar at the Kotel.
In the bizarre logic of genteel anti-semitism, Jews must be punished for the murderous actions of Arabs. And the ironic flip-side of such an attitude is that Arabs are treated like savages who cannot be expected to control themselves.
This is a role that we have seen time and time again the Arabs take advantage of - they themselves have now brought up generations that believe that the Arab world has no responsibility for their actions. The gullible West, wracked with guilt over crimes of colonialism and liberal angst that favors the underdog no matter how deadly they are, do not hold them accountable for their actions.
So we have riots in 1929 that were the fault of a Jewish shofar blower, we have an intifada in 2001 that is the fault of a politician taking a walk on a Jewish holy site nearby, we have deadly demonstrations for the supposed desecration of a printed book.
And who can blame Arabs for acting this way? It has been shown to be a successful strategy! The Western fear of the mythical Arab street has fueled brain-dead decisions like the British made in the 1930s. Arabs daily threaten the West with the "power" of their people who can be whipped up into a frenzy with a single word from a sheikh. And the West slavishly decides, whoa, we cannot risk the wrath of a billion Arabs, we'd better force the Jews do make more concessions instead, because Jews are intelligent and can see reason, unlike the Arab savages whom we are scared of.
It is a winning formula. The 1921 riots, the 1929 riots, the 1936 strike and violence, the 1989 intifada, the 2001 intifada - all are cases where violence by Arabs are rewarded by the West rather than punished. And as long as terror and violence is rewarded and the victims perversely blamed, it is a formula that is guaranteed to be repeated far into the future.
The only ray of hope are the people who truly know the difference between good and evil and who will fight for good no matter what the conventional wisdom is. People like those who, every year in the 1930s and after, made sure that the shofar was still blown at the Kotel.
Those are the heroes.
Early 1948: Arabs recruit Nazis to kill Jews
Arab countries in 1948 realized that they had natural allies in fighting Jews: Germans who were in British POW camps in the Middle East during World War II.
The Germans had the advantage of real-world combat experience to be able to effectively train Arabs to throw the Jews into the sea.
Soon, it became apparent that there were other Nazi sympathizers who could be called upon to help in this jihad:
And soon, a more organized campaign was started by Egypt and Syria to recruit Muslims who had fought with the Nazis in Europe to act as mercenaries against the Jews in preparation for the upcoming, inevitable war.
Apparently, the International Refugee Organization operating in Europe was at least partially complicit in this plan to allow former Nazi sympathizers to be recruited to try to finish the job that Hitler didn't.
There has been much documented about the collusion of Arabs and Nazis, but the Nazi contributions to the Arab cause in 1948 and the active Arab recruitment of Nazi and Fascist elements appears to be a lesser-known chapter in this wicked partnership.