Chapter VIII: Zionism as Politics

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31 min.

A. Before World War I

At its early stage, Zionism considered central Asia, still newly annexed by Czarist Russia which was anxious to colonise it, as a possible Zion in which the Jews would dwell, and Zionism would fulfill itself. When this turned unworkable and Zionist leadership became attached to the bandwagon of the British Empire, Uganda was considered. However, its black population and neighborhood were too un-European for a racist’s comfort. It too was dropped, and Zionist attention focussed on Palestine, an integral part of the Ottoman Empire. So Herzl went to Istanbul to “buy” Palestine off from its “master,” the Sultan. When he turned down the offer, Herzl resorted to threats against the Empire as a whole which he knew his British and other western partners had been longing to defeat, dismember and devour.

Herzl’s threats did not work, and his political proposition was flatly turned down. He pleaded on the religious level, and begged that some Jews who are religiously committed to live and die in Palestine in proximity to the holy places which they cherish, be allowed to enter, to buy land and settle, and to live as integrated citizens of the wide world of Islam like so many of their Jewish brothers and sisters who are already living in most Muslim cities, and in Istanbul itself. Such a proposition could not be turned down because of the constitutional guarantee which the Islamic State granted to its non-Muslim citizens. What commended it most was the fact that it was not a political scheme but a humanitarian and religious one. Moreover, it was not the first time that Jews, persecuted by Christian Europe, sought refuge in the Muslim World. Not long ago, hundreds of thousands of them ran away from Spain when Ferdinand and Isabella, following their conquest of Granada in 1492, ordered all Jews and Muslims to be either baptised or put to the sword. Many more ran away when, having pretended conversion to Christianity, an “Inquisition” was arranged to expose their alleged “apostasy.” All of them were received and accommodated with open hearts and arms by Muslim North Africa. Some of them, travelled further east in the Muslim World in search of livelihood and fortune. Some landed in the midst of the Ottoman capital to become its financiers and tradesmen. Others rose to prominence to become viziers to the Sultan. More recently, numerous Jews from Western Europe, caught between Catholics fighting Protestants and vice versa, had equally found refuge in the Muslim World, in the Ottoman Empire per se. The Sultan therefore granted the request and the first Jewish settlement was established in Neter, a few miles east of Yafa, and began to function as an agricultural station. Little did the Ottoman Government suspect what the future was to bring. The first Jewish settlement in Palestine was exclusivist from the start. It was meant to be, and it was in fact, a purely Jewish settlement.

Nothing happened between that incident and World War I. Zionism was trying desperately to convince the European Jews of its thesis. There was no need to convince them of the negative part of the Zionist thesis, namely, that Christian Europe was preeminently anti-Jewish and there was no hope of a change, the glaring facts of pogroms being still in memory. However, the Jews of Europe could not yet digest the positive side, namely, that they ought to uproot themselves and go elsewhere. And there was as yet no viable “elsewhere” to go except the new world. Zionism was in those days the sport of Jewish intellectualism in Europe. Zionist leadership was weaning itself away from Germany, and cultivating a new collaboration with the Allies, Britain and France.

B. The Balfour Declaration

World War I presented the breakthrough. Sharif Husayn, Ruler of the Hijaz and of the two holy cities, Makkah and Madinah, was a naïve simpleton with an air for self-deceiving grandeur. He was anxious to carve out an empire for himself and thought that World War I furnished a good opportunity. British intelligence approached him with a suggestion of an anti-Ottoman revolt and baited him with the promise that following the Allied victory over the Ottoman Empire, the whole territory between Egypt and Iran would be his, united under his rule. At the same time, the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France fragmented the territory into five segments, and assigned two of them to France and three to Britain. Britain, at still the same time, gave the Zionists the Balfour Declaration under which she committed her government to establish a national home for them in Palestine. It was the doublecross story of the century, European colonialism at its worst.

The Arab armies of Sharif Husayn and of his three sons, ‘Ali, Faysal and ‘Abdullah cleaned the area of Ottoman troops, to find themselves invaded by the British and French armies who occupied the territory without let or hindrance. The Arab armies were forced to surrender their arms and disband. In the meantime, Sharif Husayn and his son ‘Ali passed away. Faysal was made nominal King of ‘Iraq and ‘Abdullah, a nominal amir of the land beyond the Jordan River for which the name “Trans-Jordan” was invented. Syria and Lebanon became French protectorates; and Palestine, Trans-Jordan and ‘Iraq British mandated territories. The Sykes-Picot agreement was ratified by a resolution to this effect from the League of Nations in which Britain and France played the decisive role. President Hoover had withdrawn the United States in disgust over European wrangling and greed, over Britain and France’s failure to honor their promises, or to respect the findings of the King-Crane Commission, an Anglo-American Committee sent to ascertain the desires of the natives of the same Arab lands in accordance with promises of democracy and self-determination made by the Allies. The end of the First World War thus found the Arabs of the “Near East” divided into five “states.” The Hijäz had been conquered by the small army of ‘Abd al ‘Aziz, founder of the Kingdom of Su’udi Arabia, who emerged from Eastern Arabia after a silence of a century following the crushing defeat of the Wahhabi movement launched by Muhammad ibn Su’ud, ‘Abd al ‘Aziz’s ancestor and Amir of Dar’iyyah, by an Egyptian army operating under the behest of Istanbul. While each of these “Mandate” states struggled under its newly imposed yoke of colonial occupation, the Hijäz and hinterland of the Arabian Peninsula were left for ‘Abd al ‘Aziz who depended upon the meagre income the annual pilgrimage brought. Further West, Egypt and the Sudan were under an older yoke of British colonial occupation. The same was true of the rest of North Africa which fell under French and Italian rule before the World War.

C. The British Mandate on Palestine

To return to Palestine. Palestine was a fertile land populated by about a million people practising agriculture. The coastal plain had a good rainfall, a few small rivers and water wells capable of irrigating a large stretch of the plain between Hayfa and Ghazzah. The Northern plain, Marj ibn ‘Amir [Plain of Esdraelon], which runs from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, was a rich alluvial land which produced cereals and fruits. The northern and central mountains were covered mainly with olive and some with fruit trees. The Jordan Valley was rich with sun and water, tropical greenery of fruits and vegetables. Only the hills of Hebron and the Naqab desert around Bi’r al Sabi’ were dry and poor by comparison, for their farming depended on rain which was scant. The land was divided into small farms worked out by all members of the family. Politically, the Palestinians regarded themselves as citizens of the larger Muslim World around them. Those of them who excelled would rise with the Ottoman hierarchy on a par with the citizens of any other part of the Empire.

Most of the Palestinians were Muslims. A few, about a fifth, were Christians, and about 1.5% were Jews. All spoke Arabic and belonged to Arab culture and civilization. Ethnically speaking, they were a mixed lot. For they descended from the original Canaanites and Philistines with a mixture of Hebrew, Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, European-Crusader, Egyptian and Turkish blood. Palestine has known many regimes but its people persisted through all of them. It has known many invasions all of which its people either repulsed or absorbed in time. Finally, Palestine has known numerous languages and cultures superseding one another throughout its history; but its people persisted throughout their succession. Indeed, they were the continuous human substrate which rejected and repulsed, or received and absorbed, enriched and fertilized, acculturated and converted the invaders, that gave Palestine its continuity in history. Nothing could be more spurious than the argument that because today’s Palestinians are Arabs, they had gained possession of the land by conquest in 635 A.C. The Arabs have indeed conquered Palestine then; but they did not empty it of its native population and refilled it with manpower imported from Arabia. The conquering Arabs intermarried with the natives, converted most of them to Islam and all of them to Arabic language and culture. The Palestinians are as Canaanite, Philistine, Hebrew, Greek, Roman as they are Arab. That the Arabs were the last to convert the Palestinians, does not alter the fact of their persistence through the centuries.

In thirty years of colonial administration, the British Government transformed Palestine into a country divided against itself. From 1918 to 1948 about 600,000 Jews from Europe were allowed to settle in Palestine. The Palestinians were in constant rebellion, with large explosions punctuating history every two or three years. The prisons and concentration camps were always full of Palestinians incarcerated for no crime but their rejection of the Zionist and colonialist policies of the British Government. That government was in every sense a police state built on overwhelming terror. Practically every one of the British heroes of World War II, from Wavell to Montgomery, had his training in Palestine, pursuing and killing Palestinians in rebellion against British Zionist policy. The little over half a million Jews that entered Palestine settled in the most fertile plains. The overwhelming majority of them settled in the most fertile parts of the land, namely, the northern half of the Jordan Valley, Marj ibn ‘Amir, and the coastal plain between Hayfa and Yafa. These parts of Palestine have always been under intensive agriculture for centuries as witnessed in every report of every traveller, Western pilgrim or Muslim, since the Arab conquest. Contrary to the Zionists’ claim that they were fulfilling the Isaiahn dream of making the desert bloom, they occupied no desert and made none bloom. In actual fact, they were ill-adapted to the land’s agricultural needs, applying new untested methods. Their agricultural settlements, whether the small holders variety or the Kibbutz, were all running at a deficit all the time, from their foundation to the middle of World War II, when wartime buying by the British and other armies in Palestine balanced their budgets. This is despite the fact that the land was paid for by the Keren Kayemet (The Jewish Agency) and Keren Hayesod (The Jewish National Fund) as were the capital investments in buildings, animal stock and equipment.

D. Zionist Acquisition of the Land

The lands on which these agricultural settlements stood amounted in 1948 to no more than 3% of Palestine. An infinitesimal portion of them was acquired directly by purchase from its Palestinian owners. The small and poor farmers who sold their lands to Jews had to balance their awakening consciousness of the national danger Zionism posed, against offers of purchase at ten and twenty times the normal value of the land. The Zionists bought the land with an eye on politics and colonisation rather than on economics, just as they picked out the site of the land with an eye on colonisation under military security, rather than finding a shelter from Europe or fructifying the desert.

The largest part of Jewish land acquisitions were made by other means, purchase from absentee landlords who never worked or lived on the land, and appropriation of state domain. Large tracts of land in the Hulah region (upper Jordan Valley) and Marj ibn ‘Amir plain belonged by title to absentee Lebanese and Syrian landlords who led a life of debauchery in the European capitals. They had inherited their lands from powerful ancestors who at one time or another worked as tax farmers to the Sultan. In few cases, the land became theirs by a direct fief tendered by the Sultan for some service. In most others, they offered to pay the tax on behalf of the farmer-owner who in a year of drought or lack of means could not make the payment. Accumulation of tax debts soon brought the transfer of the land title to the tax farmer, often without even the knowledge of the farmer-owner who continued to live on and farm the land as before; and to give up part of his crops in taxes as before. What did it matter to him whether in a certain register in distant Istanbul, or nearer Damascus, which he had never seen anyway, his name or that of the tax collector showed against the land? What did it matter whether the crops or cash he had to pay at harvest time was called “tax” or “rent?” It fluctuated anyway depending on the abundance of the crop. Thus, over the generations large tracts of land came to be owned by these landlords. Accustomed to high living, the disturbances of the World War and the continuous revolts against colonial occupation made their lives in the cities unbearable. Their agents continued to collect and deposit their incomes in the banks while they sought pleasure and comfort in Europe. The Zionists were quick to capitalise on the situation. Large sums of money were offered and the transactions of sale concluded without the farmers on the land knowing anything about the matter.

The same was true of the rest of Jewish land acquisitions, namely state domain lands. Where the tax farmer was an honest official working for the government, or a poor functionary devoid of means with which to speculate, the same situation of failure to pay taxes would end up by a decision of a tax court passing the title to the land to the Sultan as chief of state, i.e. to the government. The same considerations were obtained, the farmer-owner being unconcerned except for the immediate possession and cultivation of the land which he always continued to enjoy. In fact, the land registry title of the land was for him an esoteric affair. He not only lived on and cultivated the land exactly as if it were his real own, but he “sold,” “rented,” “divided” and disposed of the land between himself and his peers in the same or neighboring village as if neither land registry, nor Istanbul, nor Sultan, nor tax-farmer or collector existed at all. The titles arising out of such transactions were kept in his turban or under his pillow; and they alone mattered.

When the British set up their Mandate over Palestine, they, by one stroke of the pen, declared themselves heirs to the Ottoman Government and hence “owners” of the lands registered in the Sultan’s name. These lands were henceforth called “state domain.”

The absentee landlord was offered his millions in Paris and Rome. He sent an attorney to sign on his behalf in the new British Land Registry in Jerusalem. On the other hand, State Domain belonged to the government. The “government” was not only a colonial administration in whose eye the local farmer meant little or nothing, but it was headed by a British High Commissioner who was himself a Zionist Jew, as in the case of Herbert Samuel, or a pro-Zionist Christian such as Arthur Wauchope and Harold MacMichael. Moreover, the very Mandate incorporated the Balfour Declaration. Hence the “government” itself listed among its purposes that of establishing the Jews in Palestine and transforming it into a national home for them. The Jewish Agency had only to choose the lands it wished to acquire, in accordance with a militarily laid out plan of settlement of area after area, and the “government” would effect in the land registry the following typical scenario: The Keren Kayemeth’s representative would apply for leasing the land in question for 99 years at the rate of one Palestinian Pound (at the time $4.00) per year per one hundred acres, and the “government” would agree and enter into the land registry the name of the lessee as possessor for the near-century duration. Constitutional reasons dictated that the government cannot sell its state domain land though officially it is the owner of it. Hence, the transaction took the form of a lease for 99 years. Any Western state constitution would enable a government to dispose of small portions of state domain in the interest of the public welfare. In this case, however, it was large portions of thousands and thousands of acres, the purpose being eventually to hand over the whole of the state domain lands to the Zionists. Anxious to maintain a foothold for themselves in Palestine unto eternity, the British thought a renewable lease for a century at a give-away price would fulfil the Zionist need just as well.

It was one thing to “buy” the land in Paris, or to “lease” it in Jerusalem, and another to take possession of it in the field. Since the farmer lived on the land, possession would not be effected without eviction of the Palestinian occupants. Such Palestinian land occupant was never even informed of what happened, and the eviction order always came to him as a surprise which he could not comprehend. Indeed, the surprise was always planned militarily. The Palestine Police Force — maintained with three-quarters of the total state budget — would arrive at the scene at dawn with its cavalry and machine guns, as well as its trucks to transport away the farmer, his family and their miserable belongings. Behind them would stand the Zionists, ready with their tractors to plough the land over whatever crops contained, bulldozers to level whatever houses, shacks or tents stood on it, and group workers ready to fence the new acquisition with barbed wire. Behind the Zionists stood the British Army troops with their bayonets drawn, their mortars and guns on the ready, their armored vehicles completely surrounding the whole area of action. All of a sudden, the Palestinian had to make the decision, with his children and family yards away, whether to resist and die or be uprooted from the land of his ancestors, the land on which he was born, the land which he has tilled all life long. In most cases where the farmers were few in number, the resistance ended with a beating with sticks and the farmers to be evicted was considerably larger, the resistance stones and a temporary arrest in jail. Where the number of I was always bloody. Tens of thousands of Palestinians laid down their lives against British bayonets drawn to effect the occupation of the land by the Zionist settlers from Europe.

E. Zionist Immigration to Palestine

At the beginning, the stream of Zionist immigrants to Palestine was a trickle. It was not until 1933, when Hitler assumed power in Germany and began his anti-Jewish campaigns, that the floodgates opened. Running for their lives, the Jews of Europe stampeded by all manner of means out of Christian Europe. Christian France, Britain and her great Empire, and the United States, with their immense territories and still more immense capacities for absorption of the Jewish refugees closed their doors in their faces. They too, though not as open as Hitler, were anti-Jewish. Vociferously, they called on the Arabs to accept the Jewish refugees, but they would not accept them in their midst. These Christian benefactors must have thought that since there was another place, a distant Palestine where Jewish Zionist leadership wanted to take the Jewish refugees, then, Good Riddance! The argument is that the Christians were laden with a guilt complex because of their previous persecution of the Jews, or of the repetition of such crimes by Christian Germany and Italy, or that they desired to fulfil the moral imperative of charity in helping the Jews to escape, is the most bogus argument of the century. In Christianity, more contrition and atonement begin and end in the person, charity in the giving of his own self, his own wealth and property, not that of someone else. By giving in charity the stolen property of someone else, a property seized in the armed robbery that conquest by war is, the Christians of the West proved themselves as far from Christian morality as anyone can be.

The relatively few Zionist settlers that arrived in Palestine before 1933, and the relatively larger numbers which arrived thereafter, huddled together in their agricultural settlements, or in their urban quarters built on the edges of cities. Both were meant from the start to be exclusivist enclaves, closed and segregated, totally Jewish, the purpose being, as the Zionist adage goes, “to make Palestine eventually as Jewish as Cromwell’s England was English.” The agricultural settlement was always surrounded with barbed wire to keep the Palestinians physically out. Not only was no Palestinian ever permitted to own or work any land within the settlement; he was never employed as laborer, or allowed in as seller or customer. The Zionist agricultural settlement was literally out-of-bounds to the Palestinian who risked his life approaching its barbed wire fence. The trees in it may have been planted by himself or his parents or grandparents; but they were not his to touch, under pain of death by the bullet of the watchman at the bunker or turret a few yards away.

The urban settlement was not fenced with wire except during the violent disturbances which erupted so often everywhere. At other times, Palestinians were free to walk in the streets, to buy in the stores. But the stores, offices and industries never hired a Palestinian to work in them. They never purchased anything from a Palestinian except in the direst of necessity. Their schools were absolutely closed in the face of Palestinian children. So were all their other public institutions and voluntary associations of all kinds. Only after 1948, did the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) and the Communist party admit their first Palestinian member, obviously for political reasons alone. They sought to give themselves a semblance of democracy and pluralism. If the Jews had any contact with the Palestinians, it was with them as patients of their aggression, or as paying consumers of their goods and services.

F. Civil Inabilities of the Palestinians

The Palestinians could not act positively, whether in the economic or the political arena. Rebellion was the only road open to them. They were bereft of their right of association with one another by the British colonial government which decreed that no five adults could arrange a meeting of any sort without prior permission from the police; that no shop or business could be started without authority from the government; that no import or export of anything could be made without a licence; that in most areas, no travel or transportation from place to place could be done without government authority. The Palestinian who grew oranges for export, did in fact send his oranges to London but he never sold them there. They were sold for him by agents of the Government and he had to accept whatever proceeds were assigned. As export prices were fixed behind his back, so were the import prices of whatever commodities he needed. Jewish production was “protected” by insurmountable tariffs imposed by the government against competition from the outside, even if that outsider happened to be a British factory.

The Palestinian was never free to build a home or shop, or to raise any other building without governmental authority. The Government dispensed its authority to build lavishly on the Jews in their areas; and withheld it from Palestinians whose quarters, in consequence, became overcrowded and deteriorated gradually. Whereas the Jews began with a land free of buildings and planned their villages and cities in accordance with the most modern techniques, the Palestinian villages and cities were medieval and they could not change without an authority which the colonial government hardly ever gave. Worse yet, the town-planning councils, headed always by a British officer, included within the town-planning areas such agricultural land as the Zionist development plans called for, even if owned by Palestinians. The result was an immediate quadrupling or quintupling of taxes on the land, and the Palestinian owners had to sell or be dispossessed for failure to pay the new taxes.

From the start, the Jews established their own completely independent system of education. They were free to indoctrinate their children into Zionism, hatred and contempt for the Palestinians, and even train them in para-military organisations, as they pleased. For military training, the British colonial administration supplied free armaments as well as manpower. Per contra, no Palestinian was allowed to open a school, the only schools other than government institutions allowed to function were the pre-elementary Qur’an and a few junior high schools run by the Muslim Supreme Council. The latter were no competition to the government schools built with public funds and whose graduates were readily employed as clerks by the colonial government. Missionary schools run by European powers or their missionary organizations were encouraged, but they were restricted to Palestinian children alone. Never was a Christian missionary school opened in a Jewish area for Jewish children. Evidently, their purpose was not to teach “Christ crucified” to humans, but to help alienate the Palestinians from their own tradition, and divide them into culturally disparate groups (French, Italian, German, Russian, American, as well as the various Christian Church denominations) which can never work for national homogeneity.

Whenever the Palestinians saw the need for a new school they had to go to the colonial government to assess that need and plan for its satisfaction. The government imposed property taxes, poll taxes on the local inhabitants, as well as excise taxes on flour, sugar, tobacco and other basic commodities. Only when such funds accumulating in the Government treasury rose to substantial amounts, did the Government move its public works department to design the school. This latter procrastinated as long as it could and then came out with plans which required years more of taxation to meet the costs of building. When finally, the building was completed and all the funds spent, the school stood empty or was given one teacher when there was room for six, because there were no funds budgeted to operate it.

The Jews were always free to send their children to Europe for college and/or graduate study. They were allowed and encouraged to build several colleges in Tel Aviv, and the university in Jerusalem. Their financial resources seemed infinite. As to the Palestinians, their highest educational institution was the government high school; and the highest degree awarded was the London Matriculation. Their high school graduates were not free to go overseas for an education. Indeed, they were not free to travel to Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad or Cairo without a police permit which was rarely granted. Admission of Palestinians into any British university or college was in the hands of the colonial administration which did everything in its power to discourage and prevent it. Education in other European universities was in the hands of the missionary schools. Too poor to afford the expense of education overseas even if permission was granted, the Palestinians remained deprived of higher education, as if the duty of the mandatory government was to keep them in ignorance and backwardness. It was not until the mid-thirties that the one million Palestinians produced three or four B.A. graduates from England who took up duties as servants of the colonial administration upon their return home. Moreover, they were all sons of Palestinians who collaborated with the British Government.

The Zionists took complete advantage of the situation, the British being there precisely to help them do so. The Palestinians were systematically denied any help to the end of fulfilling the Zionist objectives, the British mandate having little else to aim at as far as its internal policy was concerned. The Jews quickly monopolised industry, the import-export trade, the professions, and the higher posts of the government. When World War II broke out, they moved immediately to monopolise and benefit from every activity associated with the “war effort.”

G. The Palestinian’s Continuous Rebellion

Despite all these attempts at keeping them down, backward and ignorant, at dividing and impoverishing them, dispossessing them of their land and inheritance, at isolating them from their Arab brothers to the North, East and South, from world currents and developments, the Palestinians made remarkable advances. Above all, they sustained a continuous armed struggle against the might of the British Empire. Despite the fact that the Zionists were self-separatist and closed to everything native or Arab, they were not the target of these revolts which were aimed at the British exclusively. Throughout the British Mandate, the Palestinians undertook little or no action against the Zionists. Partly, they did not yet quite understand them, for they were absolutely strange and foreign, and little did they ever come into any significant contact with them. Partly, too, they understood only too well that the real villain was the British Government that had imposed upon them its administration and policy and brought these apparently helpless refugees in their midst.

The Palestinians’ revolts were continuous, 1918 to 1948, with major outbreaks occurring every two to three years. Sporadic armed resistance took place in all districts, and the major outbreaks were universal and ever-increasing in intensity. Hundreds of thousands were killed on the streets of the cities, the highways, the open countryside, or were arrested and thrown in jails and concentration camps. The Government budget for all other services never exceeded one half of the budget for “Police and Prisons,” as it was then called, not to mention the British army budget for Palestine operations which came out of the “Home Budget” of the United Kingdom itself. The revolt of 1938 exceeded all expectations. The whole of Palestine became a no-man’s land. With the breakout of World War II, political leaders from other Arab countries pressured the Palestinians for an armistice, and the British Government for a settlement of the problem. The White Paper was issued by the Government in which it recognized that its Balfour Declaration had fulfilled its objective and that henceforth, there shall be neither immigration nor land transactions to Jews except with Palestinian approval. The Palestinians were only partly satisfied. They silenced their guns and returned to work to help once more the cause of freedom and democracy. As to the Zionists, though this was diametrically contrary to their ideals, their leadership had the bigger problem of the war to face. It pledged its support to the Allies’ war effort and founded the Jewish Legion. During the war, thousands of Jewish escapees from Europe were given immigration certificates to Palestine as a war measure, or were smuggled into the country.

H. United Nations Partition of Palestine

Following World War II, the Palestinians, as an integral part of the Arab World, were engulfed by a surging tide for general political liberation. For their part, the Zionists too began to agitate for repeal of the White Paper; and the situation in Palestine deteriorated on all fronts. Defying its provisions, the Zionist leadership began to force the way into Palestine for the Jewish refugees from Europe with arms. When Britain resisted their attempt in fear of evoking the Palestinians into renewing their armed struggle, Zionism opted for terrorism. The Haganah, the Stern Group and the Irgun Zvai Leumi, founded previously in secret, began operations designed to humiliate individual British administrators and force their hand.

Unable to sustain another military campaign and finding herself under mounting pressure from the United States to give in to the Zionist demands, Britain first resorted to the Anglo-American Committee to find a solution and finally tossed the hot problem into the lap of the United Nations. President Harry Truman did not regard himself or his government as bound by F. D. Roosevelt’s commitment to King ‘Abd al ‘Aziz, that the United States of America would not support any solution to the Palestine Problem in which the Arabs had not been consulted and to which they did not agree. He openly supported the Zionist demand for immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish immigrants to Palestine, and thus for the repeal of the White Paper. He put the whole power and might of the United States of America behind the Zionist attempt to win a United Nations resolution for partition of the country and the setting up of a Jewish State. Motivated by his Jewish partner from his haberdashery days, and flouting every advice of his own secretaries of state and defence, Harry Truman instructed the United States ambassadors around the world to exercise every pressure possible upon the governments to which they were delegated to vote for the partition plan. As soon as the vote was taken in favor of partition, Britain began a systematic pull out handing practically all their armaments to the Haganah. After 30 years of British Mandatory administration designed to prepare the natives for responsible independence and self-rule, the mandatory power left Palestine in a state of chaos with the majority of its people unable to protect themselves against the Zionist settler-invaders.

I. Emptying Palestine Through Terror

The Haganah and its shock troops, the Palmach, had been trained for years for this day. They pounced upon the unarmed Palestinian villagers and wiped out several of them prior to the official end of the Mandate on May 15, 1948. By their terror, their massive massacre of the innocent, of women and children, they caused the Palestinians to stampede, running away for their lives. In most cases, Jewish army trucks on the ready carried the Palestinians to their exile beyond the borders set, not by the Partition plan but by the Zionist leadership. For the plan to empty the largest possible area of Palestine of its native population was carefully laid out long before the events accompanying the birth of the Jewish state. The Zionist argument that the Palestinians sent themselves into temporary exile on the command of their leaders is pure rubbish. Human beings do not leave their homes, lands, personal belongings and effects, the country of their birth, on the command of anyone. But when bombs fall all around, bullets buzz past the ears and a cruel enemy bent upon wholesale massacre approaches, then and only then one leaves; nay, one would then run and leave the door to his house wide open. These tactics had become popular during World War II. The Wehrmacht would concentrate all its power on one point in the line and demolish it so perfectly and completely that its example may be used to terrorise the other points and demoralise their defendants before the attack. Rommel obtained surrender from several Allied army posts in the Western Desert by reminding them of the massacre of Bir Hakim. So, the Zionists attacked the village of Deir Yasin, and literally wiped it out—men, women, children, as well as animals and buildings. They then brandished the example before other villagers with the order to leave their homes and march. Through such terror tactics, the Zionists obtained a portion of Palestine denuded of its native population. Palestinian lands, homes, furnishings—indeed Palestinian kitchens, bedrooms and dining rooms, all completely furnished and ready, received Jewish immigrants. This was the most massive armed robbery on the grandest scale, and with the most thoroughgoing results history may have witnessed. Bigger robberies may have taken place elsewhere, but not without the destruction of the properties in the process of seizing them or destruction of their rightful owners. Here, the case was neat and simple: A living, ongoing population was forced to walk out of their homes without the time to pack a suitcase. On the border, they were stripped clean of whatever valuables they carried on their bodies. Then, another population, just as cleanly devoid of personal effects, home furnishings, homes and lands, walked right in and took possession of the emptied lands and houses.

The majority of incoming Jews were not Zionists. They too had been terrorised into a stampede to exit from their homes in the Arab World where they had lived in peace and harmony for centuries. The Zionist leadership needed them as materials for the new state and hence planned in every case a strategy suited to bring about their stampede. It planted explosives in their synagogues and marketplaces; connived with corrupt Arab officials to allow incidents of aggression upon them by bands of plebeians hungry for booty; and it plotted with Arab kings and ministers of state to permit their exodus to take place. Besides filling the Palestinian homes emptied of their inhabitants with new citizens for the Jewish state, the exodus of Jews from Arab countries was desirable because it provided Zionism with an argument justifying the terrorisation of Palestinians out of their homes. Zionism is guilty of two terrorisations: that of emptying Palestine of its innocent and rightful owners, and that of uprooting Jews who are equally innocent and rightful owners of their homes in the Arab World.

It was to stop this operation of emptying and refilling that the Arab states found themselves compelled by their own peoples to intervene militarily in Palestine. As states, they could not intervene until the British Mandate was officially over, on May 15, 1948. By that time an area of Palestine twice as large as that allotted to the Jewish State by the United Nations Partition Resolution had already been emptied and occupied by the Zionists. Even so, the Arab states did not “protect” except such areas as were already agreed upon in secret by the imperial powers that they may occupy. For in May, 1948, the Zionists were no military match for the Arabs whose armies were preponderantly bigger and mightier. The three most effective ones were the Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan, the army of ‘Iraq and that of Egypt. The Arab Legion was officered by the British. It won decisive victories over the Zionists in Jerusalem, its men occupied the offices of the Jewish Agency—the Government headquarters of Israel—but was ordered to withdraw by King ‘Abdullah in agreement with a British-Jewish-Jordanian entente. The ‘Iraqi Army did not fight a single battle in Palestine even when challenged by Zionist forces, its preordained role being merely to keep the main portions of Jin?n and N?blus sub-districts under H?shim? control (monarchies of ‘Iraq and Jordan). Finally, the Egyptian army was betrayed by its own king and his minister of defence by giving it restrictive orders, cutting down its supplies and providing it with faulty ammunition, bringing about its defeat by smaller and weaker Zionist forces.

Armistices were arranged by the superpowers and the United Nations machinery which they dominated. Their purpose was to give time to the Zionist forces to receive arms from the communist world. Anxious to fish in troubled waters, the U.S.S.R. knew well that the waters of the Middle East would not be troubled if Zionism were prevented at this stage from planting a beach-head in the Arab World. For the first time, Western, Communist, and Zionist interests coincided, and Czechoslovakia was given the green light to supply the Jewish state with the most sophisticated weaponry ever to enter the Near East. The Arab states, divided against themselves and fearful of evil designs against one another, accepted the armistice and bickered among themselves. When the Zionists were ready, another push was made in all directions to seize and empty the Ramlah-Lydda district, the Naqab all the way to the Red Sea, and most of upper Galilee including the cities of Nazareth and Safad. In May and earlier, the Palestinians, the contingent of Muslim Brethren from Egypt and the Palestine Liberation Force, an army of volunteers under the generalship of Fawzi al Qawuqji, a former hero of Palestinian anti-British resistance, were the only ones that fought continuously in Palestine to the second armistice in July, 1948. In numerous instances on the battlefront, Palestinians were betrayed by the Arab States’ armies with false promises of supplies in men and materials.

J. Zionism and Colonialism

Following the second armistice, the superpowers continued to reinforce the Jewish state with military supplies in fear of Arab recoupment of their forces. In October 1948, the Zionists launched an offensive against Egyptian positions in the South in order to complete their mastery over the Naqab. The Arabs of Africa were thus to be physically separated from those of Asia, and the Jewish state was to have a free highway from its center to the Red Sea. Manning the Egyptian position at F?l?jah was a colonel by the name of Jam?l ‘Abd al N?sir who saw his own men die because of faulty ammunition and lack of military supplies.

After their conquest of most of Palestine, the Zionists reenacted the disturbance-laws of the British Mandate under which Palestinians were deprived of their civil liberties, and any resistance from them could be met with indefinite imprisonment and torture, arbitrary deportation, imposition of collective fines, confiscation of property, and summary execution. They enacted laws under which they could expropriate the lands of Palestinians still living within the Jewish State and, at least ostensibly, supposed to be its citizens. Even all these were not enough. They resorted to outright ruse, as in the case of Kufr Bir’im whose villagers were invited by the Zionist army to withdraw to the hinterland in order not to fall within the range of fire and then set up civilian Jewish settlements in their lands and in their homes. Arab villages were wiped off the map; the Arab character of numerous towns was obliterated and the towns transformed into Jewish cities.

The interests of Zionism coincided beautifully with the imperialist interests of France and England. Both these colonial powers were embroiled in a desperate fight with the Muslim natives of their colonies everywhere. To win over them, i.e., to perpetuate the occupation of their lands, the exploitation of their natural and human resources, the use of their strategic positions on the globe, the Muslims must be kept divided, their energies dissipated, their economies primitive, their populations demoralized, their forces demobilized, their leaderships corrupt and irresponsive to their national aspirations. In an age of global anti-colonialism, nothing fulfills all these desiderata better than the presence in the very midst of the Arab World which is the heart of Asia-Africa, of an alien state—Israel—that is militarily superior to all of the Arab states combined and capable of draining away their energies by its continuing conflict with them. This role was cut to order for world Zionism. The Zionist state would like nothing better than a role in world affairs which guarantees its occupation of the land and expands it, strengthens its state to the point of invincibility, and nurtures the Jewish hatred of all non-Jews, the Jewish persecution complex, and Jewish racism on which Zionism has rested the whole being and existence of Jews in the age of romanticism.


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