I recently read an excellent comment made by “Tinelva” on the Economist.com which I want to quote here:
… it is unfortunately you who has little knowledge of the facts, although you hide behind blind ideology and extremism.
Your first point on there never existing an independent Arab entity in the West Bank as some sort of argument to justify the occupation is nonsensical. First you assume that ethnocentric nationalism is a legitimate, and more than that, the only legitimate form with which political state entities should exist. Not only is ethnocentric nationalism immoral however, it is also a modern creation, which would have been unknown to most of humanity before the very late 18th century. Your assertion that there has never existed an ‘Arab entity’ in the West Bank is meaningless as the very notion of ethnic nation-states is a modern one. You probably of course believe in perennial ethnic groups existing since time immemorial, each with a unique organic character, historical continuity, shared characteristics and historical experiences amongst its members, and historical motherlands over which the group should have power of to promote its ‘national character’; the usual romantic 19th century ahistorical garbage and myths that all modern extremist nationalisms are based on.
Here is the reality for you; most modern civilised people believe that all human individuals have equal rights cannot be discriminated against because of their race, religion or ethnicity – that human individuals have the right to control their own affairs and not to be subject to the arbitrary oppression and control of some other agency which does not represent them – regardless of identity. Most civilised people believe that a state which has sovereign power over a piece of land should only represent and exercise that power for the benefit of the individuals directly affected by it; that is the people who live inside that piece of land, regardless of the identity of each individual, his religion, ethnicity, and race – and that it must treat all those individuals as equals. A state which defines itself as serving the interests of only one specific ethnic or religious group violates the very principles of equal human rights which we uphold, and is by definition a racist state – ever so much a state which claims sovereign power over a piece of land, yet claims to exercise that power not for the benefit of the individuals living there, regardless of identity, but for a foreign ethnic group the world over that does not live on the land, and yet is to be subsidized for its colonization despite the wishes of the natives. The typical racist nationalist nonsense of ‘motherland’, ‘blood and soil’ and the like are just rubbish to justify the basic racist tendencies of humankind to promote that which is like it, and attack that which is different to it.
Your second point mainly regurgitates the typical Zionist narrative of 1948 and has nothing to do with reality. Of course the Palestinians, much like any group in the world refused to hand over more than half of the land to a group which owned less than 6% of it, a scheme which was ‘proposed’ (the 181 resolution being merely a resolution of the general assembly and not having passed from the security council having no legal power whasoever, a fact Zionist types are quick to point out as regards resolution 194 on the right of return of Palestinian refugees, but immediately forgotten when it comes to 181) under the shadiest of circumstances (when the amended majority proposal for partition was taken for a preliminary vote to see if it would pass for final vote to the GA, it managed to gain the majority needed to go to the final vote, but not the 2/3 majority that would be needed for the resolution to pass the next day in the final vote – knowing that this would mean the proposal would be defeated the Zionists lobbied the US team to postpone the final vote, and then the US team threatened other states with refusing to finance their post-war economies unless they were to vote for the final resolution). In any case, it is often said by Israel today that its policies will be decided by itself and not by any external agent – why should the Palestinian accept an agreement that robbed them of their property and the inalienable right for sovereignty over the land that they lived, reached by a group of foreign countries, into which they, the ones most concerned, did not even have a vote on!
Regardless of the legitimacy of the Palestinian decision not to accept the resolution, your claim that they answered with war is simply more historical propaganda. Ben Gurion had made it clear since 1936, when the Peel commission suggested partition and forced transfer of the Arabs, that he believed and supported ethnic cleansing:
“With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area …. I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it“ (Ben Gurion, 1937 speech in Zionist assembly on the Peel report)
He also had made it perfectly clear that Zionist aspirations extended beyond a suggested partition:
“Just as I do not see the proposed Jewish state as a final solution to the problems of the Jewish people, so I do now see partition as the final solution of the Palestine question. Those who reject partition are right in their claim that this country cannot be partitioned because it constitute one unit, not only from a historical point of view but also from that of nature and economy…’’
‘‘…after the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the [Jewish] state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of the Palestine…”
“…The acceptance of partition does not commit us to renounce Transjordan. One does not demand from anybody to give up his vision. We shall accept a state in the boundaries fixed today–but the boundaries of the Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them…’’
(Ben Gurion, parts from 1937 speech to Zionist executive)
The Zionists had been amassing weapons and formed a special intelligence program to gather intel on how to best attack Arab villages since 1936. The notion that the Palestinians started the war is historical propaganda at its worse. After the announcement of the 181 resolution vote, the Palestinians entered a 3 day strike, which did turn violent at some minor circumstances, but then died down soon afterwards. This was known to the Zionist leaders – when Palti Selta, a member of the Zionist intelligence units was assigned to report on the mood amongst the general Palestinian populace, he reported back that normalcy was the order of the day, the Palestinians were continuing life as usual, and even welcomed him to their villages for trade. This was not good for the Zionist leaders – Ben Gurion had already explained that the demographic makeup of the country that was to be Israel was not good enough:
“There are 40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state. This composition is not a solid basis for a Jewish state. And we gave to face the new reality with all its severity and distinctness. Such a demographic balance questions our ability to maintain Jewish sovereignty… Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a viable and stable state”
Palestinian resistance was then minimal, numbering no more than 3000 men divided into disorganised groups (from a population of more than a million), attacking mainly caravans and not settlements. Ben Gurion in his public propaganda painted a picture of a Jewish population facing a second holocaust, but in his private letters to Sharett makes it clear that he believed they were strong enough to crush all the Arab states combined, a conclusion he claims to be based on cold and rational calculations. What Ben Gurion and the Zionist leaders required was an escalation of the conflict and an excuse to carry out the ethnic cleansing of the country. It was the Zionist which first attacked settlements, with the December 1947 attacks on Deir Ayyub and Beit Affa, then the attack on Khisas, which ended in the slaughter of 15 civilians, including 5 chidlren. It was to be the start of a long line of attacks on unprotected villages, and of tens of full-scale massacres against unprotected populations. The Palestinian groups had not on the contrary attacked any settlements by that time, and small scale, and largely inefficient attacks on settlements began only in January 1947. The intentions of the Palestinians did not change much. In the Long meeting of 19 February 1948, Josh Palmon and Ezra Danin reported that the Palestinian villagers were in no mood to fight, and that the guerrillas were confining their activities to areas allocated to the Arab state.
Regardless, the Zionist proceeded with a full scaled scheme of ethnic cleansing after the final formulation of plan D in April. Despite the Zionist myth of a peaceful Israel attacked by hostile Arabs once it declared its independence, by May 15th, the day Israel declared its independence, and BEFORE the Arab states declared war, more than 200 villages were ethnically cleansed, all Arab urban centres in what is now Israel other than Nazareth had been depopulated (Nazareth being a famous biblical city which housed Palestinians Christians was spared as the eyes of the world would be quicker to take notice of it), and the Zionist armies were already well inside the lands allocated to the Arab state. Let’s remind ourselves that the often mentioned Deir Yassin massacre was carried out on a village inside the area allocated to the Arab state, before May 15th, and before a declaration of war by the Arab states, and on a village which had signed a non-aggression pact with the Hagannah. Tell me, in what reality and in which world would all of these not constitute legitimate grounds for declaring war?
And what a war the Arab states waged! The Jordanians had already colluded with Israel and had reached secret agreements on the partition of the country, leading to themselves never entering the lands claimed by Israel and taking a purely defensive stance. Egypt had no intention of going on an extensive war, started mobilizing its army only 3 days before it declared war, and largely kept to the south of the country – Syria and Lebanon, only recently granted independence after a disastrous occupation by the Vichy French had no army to speak of, and the Iraqi troops were ordered to stay in the areas allocated to Jordan and not to attack – an order which the troops violated, instead choosing to fight. Regarldess, they were crushed by the more numerous, more organised, and better armed and supplied Zionist forces.
As for your final point, it doesn’t even warrant a response. Israel has initiated more wars than any other country in the 20th century. All to support your racist 19th century extremist nationalist delusions and an ethnically pure state over another people’s land.