So Israel Is "Occupying" Palestinian Territory? Hardly





Mr. Harsanyi has written for the Associated Press, CNN/Sports Illustrated, as well as numerous magazines and is based in NYC. Visit his website or email him at David_Harsanyi@yahoo.com.

The April 1 edition of Newsweek carried the ominous headline: How will Israel survive? Most of us thought we'd never have to hear the question again. But with psychopaths cashing in on Iraqi-sponsored life insurance policies at the expense of innocent Israeli civilians daily, the dramatic headline is more than fitting. The problem isn't the headline, however, it's that Newsweek answers its rhetorical question with cliches and historical misconceptions that have contaminated mainstream coverage of the Middle East for years.

Israel, one of the most technologically advanced and humane nations on earth, a marvel of postwar economic and scientific development, is under attack. A concerted Arab effort to encourage terror against Jews (Iraq's payment of suicide bombers' families would be enough for any sane nation to declare war), coupled with the rise Muslim fundamentalism puts Israel's existence into serious danger for the first time since 1973.

Palestinians, pawns in a regional push to eliminate Jews in the Middle East, have instigated a war against the civilian population of Israel, a portion of which was previously sympathetic to their cause. Over the past decades the PLO, the world's leading terrorist organization, has morphed into the Palestinian Authority, but their goal remains the same: the destruction of Israel. Journalists have long overlooked the historical details of this conflict. The widow struggling to cross an Israel checkpoint, the boy throwing harmless rocks at an occupying Israeli tank, the story of a disenfranchised people is dramatic. It sells. Instead of factual reporting, the mainstream media has placed culpability on both parties, creating a perception of equal aggression, of a 'cycle' of violence.

Since the Arab world has transferred its failed military campaign against Israel into a diplomatic and public relations siege, they have used an underprivileged Palestinian population as their primary weapon against Israel. Jordanian King Hussein described this strategy as early as 1960 in an interview with an Associated Press:"Since 1948 Arab leaders have approached the Palestine problem in an irresponsible manner. They have not looked into the future. They have no plan or approach. They have used the Palestinian people for selfish political purposes. This is ridiculous and, I could say, criminal."

What King Hussein understood about his own people, American journalists are still oblivious to. Arabs have been negligent of Palestinian rights, many times prolonging their misery in effort to undermine Israel. This plan is bearing fruits now, as homicidal fanatics with little to lose, blow themselves up among women and children in Netanya, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

It all begins with the presumption that the West Bank and Gaza are 'occupied territory.' While most Israelis have come to terms with the fact some form of Palestinian autonomy is forthcoming, at the very least these lands should be considered 'disputed' territories. The phrase 'occupied territory' has become universally accepted, however, despite its historical complexity. Newsweek's recent coverage of Israel, for instance, uses the phrase countless times without even mentioning a challenging view.

Fact is, Jews have had a continued presence in Israel for 3,000 years and have never relinquished their claim. Arabs rejected the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, with an all out war to eliminate Jews enacted by the Arab world. After the 1967 War -- another war of Arab aggression -- Israel recovered a small remnant (13% in whole) of what was promised to them by the UN -- eventually handing back the Sinai Desert for peace with Egypt in 1977.

Between 1948-1967, Jordan and Egypt, who governed the West Bank and Gaza, respectively, never offered to surrender those lands to form an independent Palestinian state. No Palestinian organization ever sought an independent state. No Arab country had even suggested its existence. An Arab Palestine has never been the name of any nation or state. 'Palestine' was a geographical term used only to identify administrative boundaries within larger empires, nothing more.

The purpose of a separate Palestinian State was defined faultlessly by the late Zoher Moessein, head of PLO bureau of military operation:

"There is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians and Lebanese; we are all members of the same nation. Solely for political reasons are we careful to stress our identity as Palestinians. Since a separate State of Palestine would be an extra weapon in Arab hands to fight Zionism with. Yes, we do call for the creation of a Palestinian state for tactical reasons. Such a state would be a new means of continuing the battle against Zionism, and for Arab unity."

An offshoot of the occupation myth is the 'refugee' fabrication. It states that a significant portion of the Arab population was driven out of Israel by force during the 1948 War. It makes for good copy, but it's false. Egyptian activist, Edward Said, the most famous of these"refugees," for example, has been exposed as a fraud, as has this revisionist history.

Mark Twain, a man, one would think, as devoid of 'imperialistic Zionist' intentions, wrote in 1867 that Palestine was"a desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds." Yet, Arabs have claimed that over a million refugees were forced from their homes during the 1948 War of Independence -- this number includes Arabs whose relatives entered Israel from 1946 onward. The number of Arab refugees is probably closer to 400,000, most of whom took it upon themselves to flee despite Jewish assurances that they would not be harmed. The contention that Arabs were removed by gunpoint is totally incorrect. Research by the Arab-sponsored Institute for Palestinians Studies in Beirut found that"the majority of the Arab refugees in 1948 were not expelled and 68 percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier."

In her meticulously researched book, From Time Immemorial, Joan Peters proves that a roughly equivalent number of Jewish refugees were expelled from Arab nations during the same period -- 120,000 from Iraq alone. It is estimated that one million immigrants were integrated into Israel's society from 1948-1950.

None of them, on the other hand, were confined for life to refugee camps.


This article first appeared on FrontPageMagazine.com on March 29, 2002.


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More Comments:


Tony R. Garza - 12/2/2004

"Palistine is a self created nation of no real historical existence."

What nation is not "self created", and what nation has a boundless "historical existence"?


Randy Compton - 7/14/2003

"I too would prefer to see a truly multinational state of Palestine in which Jews, Muslims, Christians, people of Arab descent, people of European descent, could co-exist peacefully and govern their lives in accordance with precepts of democracy, human rights, and freedom in the pursuit of happiness."

We have this...South Florida, USA


David - 6/14/2003

There is a cleverly designed approach by the main stream media to falsly report the true intentions of the Arab States. Isreal is the target of their "affections", and it is time that the truth be told. What is their gain you might ask? Well it is obvious that even the Twin Towers have not convinced the so called reporters of the truth to do just that. There is no accountability, no moral representation of justice when it comes to giving accuracy and consistancy. The vast majority of the population are being led and fed what only the corporate media wants to give them to digest.
This type of forum is important more than most would think.


Mike Hazlewood - 4/19/2003

I have heard that Isreal stole the land they now occupy. But i have also heard that the land that Isreal occupied after ww2 was in fact purchased fom the local inhabitents. Could you shed some light on this for me, I would certainly appreciate it. I most certainly agree that Isreal has shown marked patience in dealing with their "neighbors". Thank you for your time.

Sincerely
Michael Hazlewood


guy magnuson - 4/2/2003

Israel certainly isn't innocent or above prejudice. It seems that the jews of all people would be sensitive to a people that have no state. Members of their right wing extremist group assasinated the man who stood most for peace there and was trying to accomplish it. Also, peace will never come until Jeruselum is no longer held by Israel. If you look at the history books the U.N. was originally supposed to control Juruselum. The Israelies took it for themselves after the six day war. That was a mistake that should be corrected. Doing so would be a sign of a real desire for peace rather than domination. Give the palestenians there own state and give peace a chance. No I'm not an Arab, just a non-biased observer.


Grg W Sm - 2/11/2003

Al of the debate over land for a people/nation of no existence "PALISTINE" is a waste of time. The facts still remain the same. Palistine is a self created nation of no real historical existence. For example the Gaza Strip, which is in fact part of the inheritance from God is a piece of the The Promise Land. Ignorance has led to the belief of a nonexisting people "Palistine". Which is beleaved by some to have came from Phillistine. I have read the beliefs that Isreal does not want peace, if you had any true knowledge of which you speak and write you would know that peace will never be given to Isreal by these radicals. The entire religion of the Muslim faith is based on killing Jews. So to wish peace for these murdering radicals no matter what you call them is a lost cause. Palistine along with all Muslim people are the single most evil minded people ever writen about. I suggest that if you find yourself simpathising with these radicals "Palistine or any Muslim", you might want take a good look at what kind of person you are.My deepest sympathy to the Isreally people and all who must die protecting the land that is rightfully yours. God will protect you in the end, and you shall conquer. Wether you like it or not, this is the truth and the facts of both Isreal, and the so called Palistine. My doctrine is based out of the King James Verson of the Holy Bible and prophets far more knowledgable than me or you. Anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ read John 3:16, god bless you all.


Jerome Lovato - 2/6/2003

Isreal is never going to peacfully exist. Nor do they want to. If they were seroius about solving the problem, they could dicuss it on international t.v., leaders face to face. Why not? because peace is the last thing they want. A contract could be laid out in front of everyone, allocating the space that the palistinians are crying for, then any militrary action could be justified. suicide bombings are not a military tactic, they are a human beings who have been frustrated to the point where their life is an acceptble cost to end the suffering, HOW MANY OF US LIVE IN TENTS?


JOHN - 12/17/2002

A new book, A History of Israel, by the UK-based Israeli historian Dr Ahron Bregman, to be published in the US in January 2003 (Palgrave Macmillan), reveals new evidence about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, which left 34 US men dead and 171 wounded. Using never-before-published recordings of conversations over the radio system between Israeli pilots - attacking the ship - and the Air Control Tower in Tel Aviv, Bregman shows that the possibility that the ship was American was raised at the Israeli Air Control Tower before the first strike on the ship. This new evidence contradicts the Israeli official version that it was only after the attack that the vessel was identified as a ship of the US navy and indicates, according to Bregman, a possible cover-up by the Israelis.


clint gauthier - 12/11/2002

I am just investigating this issue and found your article. Excellent ! This has been one of my complaints for along time. I hope to read more such views in the future.People need to wake up .Thank you!


Janusz Duzinkiewicz - 10/31/2002

It is amazing how a person, and a people, could be so focused on their own wellbeing that they are oblivious to other people's needs and rights. Using satire Mr. Hatanyi "bolsters" his dangerous defense of imperialism. One wonder, would we ever hear the end of it were the Israelis to be treated as they treat the Palestinians?


Nick Mallory - 10/10/2002

In the ever so erudite academic journals it's always a crisis for capitalism, for the USA, for Israel and yet it's communism which fell in a day, the USSR which imploded and the arab nations which stagnate in political tyranny and social decay. Israel is morally, economically, socially, politically and millitarily so superior to the states which surround it that questions of its survival don't really arise. It's the theocracies, police state thuggeries and moribund monarchies of the arab world which should be checking their plane tickets and making sure they're carrying their swiss bank account books at all time. Israel is hated because it is strong. Leftist apologists in the west, when they're not denouncing fascism, spend their time sniping at Isreal but their rants are as ineffectual as they are misguided. Living in England i'm depressed by the constant anti-isreali propoganda in our supposedly unbiased news programmes. There is no context given to Israeli's efforts to defend itself, no reminder of the geographical facts of the situation, a constant moral equivilence drawn between those who murder civilians and those who seek out terrorists. Yasser Arafat doesn't want peace, he really doesn't, he rejected the two state solution, at Camp David, and sent the kids into the street again. Just as the Saudi Arabian regime, boy Assad in Syria and Saddam in Iraq justify their appalling regimes by inflaming their downtrodden populace against the great satans of the USA and Israel so Arafat can only survive by blaming all the troubles of the Palestinians on Israel. Without the jewish scapegoat where would these lords of misrule be? The restraint of Israel, which could cheerfully expunge all its enemies from the face of the earth one by one over the course of a few weekends amazes me. The self hatred of Israel's critics in the west used to amaze me, now it just makes me tired. Israel depends upon itself for its survival and it survives. Check out the Bob Dylan song 'Neighbourhood Bully' on the album Infidels. Pretty much all you need to know i think on this one.


Mike Nargizian - 9/26/2002

Great Post Chris. You looked up a lot of the facts I generalized about. Though I misquoted the blocking of the "Suez". Good job.

The Arab myths never stop and keep coming. Just as Hitler said if you repeat a Myth/Lie long enough it becomes accepted.
The Arabs were trained and allied to the Nazis I assume everyoneher here knows. The Mufti thug who incited pogroms on Jews in Hebron and Jerusalem in the 20's and 30's visited Concentration Camps and Encouraged quicker murdering of the Jews.
1) Right of Return? (Term Arabs Stole from the Jews)
2) "Palestinian" Arabs hated this term prior to 73
3) "Occupation" "Occupied Territories"
Israelis are in the "Palestinian's" country??
Jerusalem was 70% Jewish in 1850. Hebron was majority
Jewish. Of the 3000 Muslims in Jerusalem there were
Turks, Moors and Arabs.
4) "Palestinians" are related to the Philistines of the
Bible. Even though they are from the Greek and Aegean
Islands 1000 years before Muslims ever conquered Palestine
and they we assume were Arabs.
5) Jerusalem is the "3rd" holiest city in Islam??
Never mentioned in the Koran, Mohammed never went there,
the Al Asqua Mosque where he supposedly ascended to Heaven
was built 80 YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH, under Jordanian and
Turkish Muslim control Jerusalem was left as a desolate
rotting uncared for area never given any priority at all and
never the Capital of any Arab Empire or country.
6) The Arabs always treated the Jews well and protected them in
the past.
The Persians at some points got along well with the Jews.
The Muslims and Arabs though historically have treated the
Jews from Horribly to left alone 5th class citizens. They protected them from the Crusaders thousands of years ago, to which Jews are now "repaying" them with "repressing" the so called "Palestinians" STUFF FOR FAIRY TALES.


Mike Nargizian - 9/26/2002

Subject: Query
I doubt whether many bonafide scholars of the Middle East would want to go anywhere near this piece by David Harsanyi, so maybe one of the other armchair amateurs following this site can enlighten me:

Is there any conceivable sense in which the 1967 war could be described as (in Harsanyi's words) a "war of Arab aggression" ? Am I imagining things or do I recall a very often reprinted press photo of Egyptian airplanes, destroyed on the ground in a pre-emptive surprise attack ?

If you with a straight face can say that then you are either very ignorant of the facts or smoking a lot crack. Husseini's own biography states that he entered the coming war against Israel that Egypt and Syria were embarking on AND that Israel specifically told him to stay out of the War and that the Arabs put pressure on him TO ENTER. READ IT! The Syrians cut off the water, Egypt kicked UN Peacekeepers out of the Sinai and blocked the Suez to Israeli ships, they both put thousands of troops and tanks directly on the border and Nasser went on TV and declared they would destroy Israel. This not to mention the tons of Intelligence the Israelis likely had.

NOW EXCUSE ME BUT IF THE ARABS HAVE FOR TO THAT POINT 29 YEARS YEARNED FOR NOTHING ELSE BUT TO LAUNCH WARS TO DESTROY YOU! AND YOU HAVE A TINY COUNTRY 12 MILES WIDE AND OBVIOUS FACTS THAT EVERY COUNTRY **SURROUNDING** YOU ARE ABOUT TO ANNIHILATE YOU IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO LAUNCH A PRE-EMPTIVE STIKE KNOCKING OUT AS MUCH OF THEIR AIR FORCE AS POSSIBLE SINCE IT IS ABOUT TO SLAUGHTER THOUSANDS OF YOUR CIVILIANS.

MR. RABIN IN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY STATES HE WAS HAVING PANIC ATTACKS ON THE EVE OF THE WAR. IT WAS ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH FOR ISRAEL. TO THE ARABS IT WAS ANOTHER CHANCE TO TRY AND ANNIHILATE ISRAEL. Most of Europe thought Israel would lose and them and the so-called "United Nations" did nothing to save Israel. Only when the UN realized Israel was winning did they "step in" and call for a cease to the "violence" and "blood-shed".

Mike


Mike Nargizian - 9/26/2002

Posted By: John Robertson

Thanks to Mr. Wolf for his response to Mr. Harsanyi's poorly informed piece. As Mr. Wolf points out, Harsanyi's account of the events of is informed by a traditional narrative that a newer generation of Israeli historians like Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Zeev Sternhell, and Ilan Pappe have exposed as inaccurate and often as fabricated to provide some legitimacy for the creation of the state of Israel.


Recently these "New Historians" have taken a beating in Israel by the way. Morris admitted that his first book on the 48 War he wrote BEFORE EVER seeing the newly opened up archives of Secret Israeli information. Most of what he wrote in that first book is thus him postulating theories he may believe based on no facts. Since this new information was opened up many of his "postulates" as well as his credibility per this admission have been destroyed.

The fact that he cites the book by Joan Peters - whose work has been soundly trashed by most scholars who have tried to explore the issues carefully and with some modicum of even-handedness - suggests to me that Mr. Harsanyi is not interested so much in history as in acting as an apologist for Israel's realpolitik.
Peter's stats on Arab populations in the 20th and 19th Centuries have been questioned especially based on some of her sloppy postulating and footnoting. However, her facts on Refugees and treatment of Jews throughout the Middle East are considered SOLID AS A ROCK. She exposes the FALLACY of the Arab Right of Return and the MYTHS SURROUNDING IT!

I too would prefer to see a truly multinational state of Palestine in which Jews, Muslims, Christians, people of Arab descent, people of European descent, could co-exist peacefully and govern their lives in accordance with precepts of democracy, human rights, and freedom in the pursuit of happiness.

No offense but do you realize how comical that statement is? If the Arabic MEast had these tenets they would have left Israel alone 50 years ago. The Police States always need a bad guy. Further, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO ISRAEL, HAIFA, AFULA, THE GALILEE what you just described is reality for every group you just mentioned!!! Have you a clue what Arafat has done to Christians in Lebanon in the 70's and now in Bethlehem and Beit Jalla in the last 8 years, post Oslo?? These tenets don't exist anywhere in Arab run countries, ANYWHERE!

Call me a cock-eyed liberal optimist, but shouldn't we all hope and try for a solution that will accomplish this, rather than resign ourselves to a view of history as an inexorably unfolding, take-no-prisoners, conquer-and-be conquered, real-life game of "Risk"

AGAIN, LET ME REMIND YOU OF THE PLO CHARTER, THE ARAB RESPONSE AFTER THE ISRAELI OFFER OF LAND FOR PEACE,
"No Peace, No Compromise, NO RECOGNITION"
THE 54 YEAR QUEST TO RID ISRAEL, QUOTES ON ARAB TV IN THE LAST 10 YEARS,
THE QUOTE OF HUSSEINI, the Israeli Left's former Hero as a "Moderate"... his quote before he died in Kuwait 2 years ago,
"I must admit Oslo has just been a Trojan Horse. The goal has always been the same" (The Destruction of Israel)

IF I RECALL, BILL CLINTON, DENNIS ROSS AND BARAK ALL QUESTION WHY DID ARAFAT NOT ONLY REJECT AN UNREAL OFFER FROM AN ISRAEL YEARNING FOR A ****FINAL**** PEACE AND INSTEAD PLANNED THE INTIFADA DIRECTLY AFTER CAMP DAVID.

Respectfully,
Mike



Mike Nargizian - 9/26/2002

Posted By: George Wolf

The assassinated prime minister of Israel -- Rabin -- revealed in his autobiography that he had been a member of a Haganah unit that in 1948 did in fact forcibly evict Palestinians from their village at gunpoimt. This is NOT saying that this is the way that all Palestinians ended up as refugees. I'm sure that many of them fled the way that I would probably flee a war zone. But I now worry about how many of Mr. Barsanyi's remaining points have more to do with propaganda than fact.

George, come on I assume you know the Real Fact is this plain and simple. Almost 70% of the Arabs left Israel before a single bullet was fired. FACT. The Surrounding Arab Armies demanded they leave!! (I have the quotes from the leaders of Syria and Lebanon) They told them to leave so they could blugeon the earth of Jews and then they could quickly come back to their homes and the Jewish land, towns and homes. Of course, that's bull as well. They wanted them out so after they evicted the Jews they could split up the spoils among themselves, not some poor migrant Arab workers.

He claims that the Palestinians have only recently become interested in forming a state.

The Arab world never wanted a separate state there. The Marxist Jimmy Carter is quoted saying every Arab leader in private never speaks of any "Palestinian" State only for public posturing. This state is the last resort to ridding Israel since every War failed. READ THE PLO CHARTER PLEASE-1964!.

A hundred years ago, he could have written precisely the same statement about Zionist Jews.
The Arabs and Jews mainly got along and King Hussein's great grandfather, Emir Faial was favorable to RE-establishing a Jewish Homeland in all of Palestine, East of the Jordan, 1915, 83 years ago. Zionism is defined as a belief in a country for the Jews. So don't know what logic you're using.

The motives for the nationalism wouldn't be that different: persecution and violence in their own homes.
If that's true why have the Christians in Egypt(Coopts), Syria(Assyrians) and Lebanon have their own homeland yet. The Muslims have been slaughtering them for years. 100,000 in Lebanon in that PLO incited Civil War alone.
By the way the way "Palestinians" have been treated by the Arabs is defined by what you just said above. The "Palestinians" in Israel are treated better than in any Arab country which in reality couldn't give two CRAPS about them. This last fact is known full well by "Palestinians" and Israelis alike. ITS ACCEPTED FACT THERE.


"Arabs rejected the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, with an all out war to eliminate Jews enacted by the Arab world. After the 1967 War -- another war of Arab aggression -- Israel recovered a small remnant (13% in whole) of what was promised to them by the UN -- eventually handing back the Sinai Desert for peace with Egypt in 1977."


As I recall, the Israeli War of Independence left Israel with MOST of Palestine -- including many areas that the partition gave to the Arabs.

AGAIN, WRONG! 78% of Palestine is Jordan which Jews were banned from by the British and later the Arabs. Jerusalem, the real city was almost 75% Jewish and so since 1850 as we know. After the war the new suburb now called West Jerusalem was what the Jews got, Holy Jerusalem, which is NEVER mentioned in the Koran was controlled and desecrated by Jordan. The Israelis did expand the land they got from what the Mandate gave them in the South and North. Perhaps, they should have given it to Jordan are you intimating?? Further, Jews were rounded up and either shot or expelled from Jordan, Judenreined! This then happened in Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Egypt and the like. Baghdad had over 100,000 Jews and the Jewish section is the OLDEST part of the city! LOOK IT UP! Meanwhile, the Arabs in Israel became citizens and live in freedom and paradise compared to the Police States throughout the MEast.

I would think that if Israel had been any more interested than the Arabs in implementing the UN partition, it would have withdrawn from the "extra" areas it captured. During the 1967 "war of Arab aggression" Isreal not only continued to control its own territory but also occupied the REST of Palestine. It may have given back the Sinai (which was never considered part of Palestine) but it certainly hasn't given back anything else.

Ben Gurion a way Leftist immediately made the Temple Mount joint controlled with Jordan after Jews were banned from the site when Jordan controlled it. Israel offered to give back almost all of the area outside of Jerusalem and enter into full negotiations if the Arabs agreed to end their quest to rid it from the earth and fully recongnize it.
THEIR RESPONSE WAS (I QUOTE)
NO PEACE, NO COMPROMISE, NO RECOGNITION!



The history of the United States demonstrates that segregation is not only morally obscene, but politically and economically detrimental. To see what I mean, I advise looking at Northern Ireland and what used to be Yugoslavia. I do not believe that we -- or anybody else -- should be prescribing the segregation of the Israelis and Palestinians from each other. Nationalism has proved odious, one of the great poison pills of the past century. A combined state would be better. We in the United State are betraying our own heritage -- our own motto of "E Pluribus Unum" -- by not advocating that for the Israelis and Palestinians.
THAT SOUNDS JUST PEECHY GEORGE. HOWEVER, WELCOME TO REALITY. THE ARABS FOR 54 YEARS HAVE ONLY 1 THING IN COMMON TO DESTROY ISRAEL AND IMPOSE A MUSLIM STATE, PERIOD! The Arab Muslims control 99.99% of the Middle East. The Jews want .01% for a Homeland, what a Greedy Bunch of Jews HUH?? LOOK AT A MAP SOMEDAY. Plus, 15% of the population there is Arab Muslim. Please instruct India and Pakistan and Germany and Poland that there population exchanges at the end of WWII should be reversed as they were UN PC in today reverse PURVIEW.

If the Israelis and Palestinians combined to form a state, I think there would be a moderate majority who would be able to outvote the "Palestinianist" or Zionist "patriots" who have been causing most of the trouble. There are very few strictures on freedom of speech in the United States. One of the very few that has passed any court tests is speech that is incitement to riot or violently overthrow the government. I think that is precisely what the Israelis and Palestinians need. I note that this would put both Sharon and Arafat behind bars.
This was proposed in Israel in the 80's before the Kuwaitis, Saudis and Jordanians dumped several hundred thousand supporters of Saddham there. Also before Arafat and his TUNISIAN thugs got their poison infested into the area. Today it is Alice in Wonderland. Plus, the Arabs want to dump another 3 million Arabs in this overpopulated region as well, because there wasn't any "room" for them in the 99.99% of the rest of the Oil laden Middle East.

George Wolf

Respectfully,
Mike


Mike Nargizian - 9/26/2002

What you state is partially true and false.

1) Peter's statistics regarding the populations of transient and permanent of Arabs in Palestine in the late 1800's and early 1900's have been criticized. She is the first one to translate the Turkish Statistics on the area but some of her quoting in the book is sloppy. Thus, the numbers of Arabs there is still debated based on different sources of information, and Peters assertions are not necessarily correct just that some of her footnotes and theories are a bit sloppy and questionable in some areas.

2) However, her information on the REFUGEE ISSUE though is considered EXTREMELY SOLID by even those who criticized her above.

3) Edward Said is a far leftist who is extremely biased and anti Western and Israeli. Thus, quoting him criticizing Peters would not be a surprise or meaningful. However, Daniel Pipes wrote a critique of the book as well as a few others who would be considered Pro-Israeli which agree with what I have stated above.

In conclusion, I really don't think you want to talk about myths since the Arab world is known for the ability to spin tales. Plus, if you would like I'll give you several quotes from Arab leaders, which I believe you would have a hard time blowing off as the State Run Arab Progoganda machines do by stating any fact that they don't like is just a ZIONIST MYTH.

Mike


Sam - 8/3/2002

I cannot believe how many of these zionists don't bother to research the truth concerning Palestine and instead are happy to repeat the same propaganda over and over. "From Time Immemorial" was not even accepted in israel and was thoroughly debunked by none other than Edward Said himself! What a joke!


Chris Messner - 5/1/2002

Opinion based? Gee, I actually looked up and cited the Resolutions in question, and directly posted portions of them, to support my argument. But yes, that must be opinion since it disagrees with your supposition.

As to the number of Jews exiled from Arab countries:
(from New York Times, (November 25, 1947)). Egypt's delegate told the General Assembly: "The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries would be jeopardized by partition."

As it was, the estimate for the number of Jews actually exiled is 820,000; Israel took in 586,000 of these without compensation from the Arab countries.

Census records of the area from British records in 1945 placed 1.2 million Arabs in ALL of Palestine. On the date of the U.N. partition in 1947, there were 809,100 Arabs within the border of Israel. In 1949, an Israeli census listed 160,000 Arabs in country. That leaves a total of 650,000 'Palestinian' Arabs that had left Israel after partitioning. So much for the millions of Palestinian refugees scattered worldwide. Just in case you want further info, a U.N. mediator on the issue said there were far fewer - 472,000 (Progress Report of the United Nations Mediator on Palestine, Submitted to the Secretary-General for Transmission to the Members of the United Nations, General Assembly Official Records: Third Session, Supplement No.11 (A48), Paris, 1948, p. 47 and Supplement No. 11A (A0689, and A0689Add.1, p. 5.)

And why are the refugees "scattered world wide"? At the time that Israel was taking in thousands of Jewish exiles from Arab states, the Arab states wanted nothing to do with the Palestinians. The belief was that Israel would soon be defeated, and then it wouldn't matter. The refugees received aid through the UNRWA; UNRWA was funded almost 2/3 by the US, and Israel gave more to UNRWA in the first 20 years than most Arab states. Only in 1973 did Saudi Arabia match Israeli contributions, and by 1994 only Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Morocco contributed more yearly than Israel.

You're right, I don't like Arafat; neither do a lot of prominent Arabs (the king of Jordon, the president of Lebanon, the president of Egypt, etc.). When the US recently sought possible countries to help Arafat escape to, in case Israel did try to exile or arrest him, Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan all refused. Might have something to do with his attempts to overthrow various governments?

But please do reply with more of your facts, I enjoy seeing your reaction to my 'opinions'.


Student - 4/30/2002

In reply to your comment:

.........As to "Israel also refused Palestinian's right of return guaranteed under the international laws." Do you acknowledge the right of return to various Arab states of the Jews who were expelled from them after Israel's creation? If the Arab states don't comply, should Israel?..........

How many Jews are we talking about, compared to millions of palestinans scattered world wide? And is it really surprising that the arab's would do that? Think logically. If the jews are so desperate to return, maybe the arab countries could do a deal, let the millions of refugeed palestinians back to their country and the jews can return to the arab countries.

As for the rest of your comment, a lot of what you say is opinion based (oh, do I get the impression you don't like Arafat?) and the rest is just subjective. I won't ask YOU to improve your research since you're only concerned with seeing the things that support your opinions.


Chris Messner - 4/30/2002

A few other facts the "student" might have missed:

1. Myth: the PA complied with the Oslo agreement in setting up the Palesitinian Police force.
Fact: The PA set up not only a police force 10,000 members in excess of agreed numbers, but also a variety of other PA security forces at Arafat's command.
2. Myth: Arafat honestly entered into the Oslo accords.
Fact: Arafat wore a sidearm in signing the accords, and referred to the accords, in Arabic, afterword as a first step to achieving the '1974 plan' - to eradicate Israel. The Palestinian National Authority State Information Service still displays a map of Palestine, one that includes all of Israel (http://www.ipc.gov.ps/ipc_a/ipc_a-1/a_map/pal-e.html ).
3. Myth: U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 mandate the return of all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.
Fact: Resolution 242 calls for:
(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

As to Resolution 338, no mandate on territories is present other than a call to implement Resolution 242.

The resolution does not specify all territories, or which territories; especially not Palestinian territories (since Egypt and Jordan controlled them in 1967). The Arab states and the PA, with the exception of Egypt and Jordan, have not complied with part ii.

As to "Israel also refused Palestinian's right of return guaranteed under the international laws." Do you acknowledge the right of return to various Arab states of the Jews who were expelled from them after Israel's creation? If the Arab states don't comply, should Israel? Please reply after the 'student' in you does more research. As to who is lying, check your sources.


Student - 4/30/2002

A few facts...im sure you are all capable of judging accordingly:

. Since 1948 U.N. Security Council has passed more than 70 resolutions condemning Israel.
. U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 mandate the return of all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.
. The Oslo Accord, signed in 1993, mandated immediate freeze on the building of settlements in Palestinian areas.
. Since signing the Oslo Accord,
. Israel has built settlements for over 100,000 additional Israeli settlers -a violation of the accord.
. Israel has confiscated Palestinian lands to build nearly 300 miles of roads for settlers.
. Israel has demolished thousands of Palestinian homes in violation of Oslo Accord.

MYTH - At 2000 Camp David convened by President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered to give 97% of the West Bank including East Jerusalem to Palestinians which President Arafat rejected.

FACT - Barak only offered recently-annexed suburbs and not East Jerusalem.
Israel also refused Palestinian's right of return guaranteed under the international laws.
Who is lying? You be the judge.
What is really happening in
Palestine?


Chris Messner - 4/25/2002

Accusing the Israelis of genocide based on a 3 palestinian to 1 israeli death toll is facetious at best. Just because 3 Palestinains are killed when their car bomb explodes prematurely, thereby killing no Israelis, or 3 Palestinians attacking a settlement are killed before they actually kill an Israeli (maybe only wound one?), doesn't imply genocide on the part of the Israelis. Apparently the day a suicide bomber can trigger a nuclear weapon, or maybe even a 'dirty bomb', you will consider the caualties more balanced.

You also note the US money; funny I recall a lot of Soviet money supplying the Arab armies. I also recall the Arabs being very agressive, and I seem to hear a lot of offical declarations for the destruction of Israel and the Jews in Arab press and Arafat's statements (even referring to Oslo as a step in the 1974 plan to end Israel). But the Israelis are the bullies? You must have a much better crystal ball.

As to independent observers, you mean like the ones the Egyptians kicked out of Sinai when they wished to mobilize, or like the ones who filmed Hezbollah kidnap 3 Israeli soldiers using UN vehicles (the soldiers were later murdered) and then refused to turn over the film, citing neutrality? I wonder why the Israelis would question an international force!

Chris


Michael Grace - 4/25/2002

In WWII the French Résistance fight against Nazi occupational forces were called heroes not terrorists. The Israelis are the occupational force and to claim that those who defend their land are terrorists is somewhat a bias stretch of the imagination. With a death ratio of greater than three Palestinians to one Israeli it is clear which side if any is committing genocide.

As reported on the BBC, Arafat did succeed in controlling the Palestinian and stopping violence for two weeks. The Israelis response after two weeks of Palestinian restraint was to assassinate one of the Palestinian leaders with the expected response of starting the bombing again. Clearly, while the Israelis can jump on the “stop the terrorist bandwagon” backed by the USA, regardless of who is really right or wrong it is not in the interest of Israel to seek a peaceful solution. As Brg. Gen. Mordecia Hod said in 1967 on beating the Arabs “A perfect combination of Israeli soldiers, with American money and French arms". This is the problem, Israel is a bully on the back of the USA’s money. As Kuwait proves, under other circumstances we would have troops there as of yesterday driving out the Israelis.

Had there been independent observers as requested by the Palestinians but vetoed by Bush, there prior to the start of Israel’s latest aggression it may not have happened or at least closer to the truth would be out.


Chris Messner - 4/23/2002

Mr. Wolf,

We can't have it both ways, either the Israeli military is good or it isn't.

The theoy goes, that the Liberty found out something on the Israelis, the Israelis decided to take out the Liberty, and the Liberty's crew was too good for the boat to sink.

To quote you, "Puleeze!"

The Israeli topedo boats launched 3 torpedoes after taking machine gun fire; one of three hit. Had this been an intentional attack on a known target, they had more torpedoes. I don't care who the crew was, or if the captain was a veteran of WWII, one or two more torpedo salvos, on an already badly damaged ship, would have put an end to it. SO WHY DIDN'T THEY! And if they were machine gunning the lifeboats, WHY DID THEY ALLOW SURVIVORS! If Israel intentionally attacked a known US ship because of what it knew, they could have done so; as it stands, they obviously didn't know what the ship was, and even had it been Arab they were trying, by these actions, to at most capture the vessel. What stopped them from launching again? There were no American aircraft on station? What stopped them?

They had the method (aircraft, torpedo boats); you say they had the motive (the ship knew something the Israelis wanted quiet); they certainly had the opportunity; so tell me, why didn't they take it? That's the tricky question, isn't it.

Chris


George Wolf - 4/23/2002

Mr. Messner,
I would suggest that you read some of the other articles on this website. There is an account by a USS Liberty crewman about the attack, among other things. It took an hour of careful sighting of the vessel to identify the hull number? Puleeze! If the ship was misidentified, how did the Israelis know which frequencies to jam? Why did the gunboats strafe the lifeboats? Wouldn't that have been against the Geneva Convention even if the ship was an enemy vessel?

I think the best explanation is the simplest one: before the attack, the Israelis calculated that the United States wouldn't do anything to them for sinking the Liberty, especially if the evidence was on the bottom and all the witnesses were dead. As was standard practice when the United States attacked Japanese ships in WWII, the strafing attacks came first to force the crew to abandon its guns on the deck. Then the torpedo boats could make their runs without being fired upon. Is it coincidence that a torpedo hit the vessel in its signals intelligence spaces? When the Israelis realized that the ship had found a clear frequency to call for help, they called off the attack and fell back to the "mistaken identity" story that they've used ever since. That the ship wasn't lost has a lot to do with the fact that the captain was a WWII combat veteran and an experienced ship handler. If the Navy had thought otherwise, I doubt he would have gotten the Medal of Honor.

It is my experience that the IDF doesn't "leak" anything the way armies in more peaceful democracies do. So I'm not surprised that what little documentation has come from them fits their story perfectly. And if it really were an accident, why don't they release everything they have to prove it? After all, the weapons, vessels and aircraft used during the attack are all obsolete now and the Arabs wouldn't gain much in the way of new intelligence. This happened nearly 35 years ago.

Until the attacks in Beirut on the US Embassy and the Marine barracks, the USS Liberty incident was the bloodiest for Americans in the Middle East.I see all of these as deaths caused by cynical people in pursuit of unworthy goals.

George Wolf


George Wolf - 4/23/2002

My apologies to everybody. It was the USS Liberty that was hit, not the Mayaguez, at least not in that war.
Never could shoot straight late at night.

George Wolf


Chris Messner - 4/22/2002

The peace process was unravelled from the moment the decision was made to sign anything with Arafat. The man is a terrorist, and can't even maintain the aura of elected leader (he threw that inconvenience aside in 1999). He signed the agreement with a sidearm on (a wink to his buddies), he appeared in the UN with a holster (wow, even he UN didn't let him bring his gun in), he never entered the 'peace process' honestly. At least Israel has made real overtures, and has shown a lot more restraint than we would have in the face of civilian deaths due to genocide bombers (like this one better than homicide bombers, better reflective of Hamas and the ilk). Barak would have given him a foothold in Jerusalem along with the chance to start a nation, and he threw tht over because he knew he'd give up his power if a Palestinain nation were to be created next to Israel. Israel is the 2nd biggest threat to the Arab states; the first biggest threat is a democratic Palestinian state living next to Israel; how would the dictatorial leaders of the Arab countries explain that to their held in bondage citizens!

Chris


Endorse - 4/22/2002

The specific details of a particular incident are less important than the general point about both sides committing repeated blunders, provocations and atrocities while claiming victimhood. It is becoming increasingly obvious that both Sharon and Arafat have contributed mightily to a wanton unravelling of the "peace process".


Chris Messner - 4/22/2002

MR. Wolf,

Could you relate where your information on the USS Liberty attack is from? I know a lot of rhetoric has built up in regard to this incident, but everything I have found recently seems to support the misidentification evidence. The USS Liberty crew website notwithstanding, the ship was in the wrong place (orders were sent to withdraw but had not been received), and mistakable to an Egyptian vessel that had operated the previous day. Israeli tapes even indicate that when the hull number was identified as western in type, the Israelis broke off the attack (contrary to purposely attacking it). The torpedo attack occurred after the Liberty returned fire (against orders, but still hostile to the approaching Israeli boats). The Israelis actually were ptrified that they had attacked a Russian ship at first; later fear turned to regret and, admittedly, relief (regret that they had attacked an American ship, relief that they had not started a conflict with Russia)(Rabin, Memoirs, p. 108.) Interestingly, the planes dispatched by the USS America were recalled by the CO, as they were equipped with nuclear arms, and the CO feared that the attack was Russian, not Israeli, in origin and he didn't want to start a world war (LBJ, Country Files, Box 104/107, The National Military Command Center: Attack on the USS Liberty, June 9, 1967. See also Cristol, Liberty Incident, p. 55.)

You claim that they attacked the Liberty methodicaly, then rather clumsily claimed mistaken identity. What benefit would it have been to attack this vessel, NOT sink it, allow survivors, and offer assistance. You have pointed out Israelis' skill and hardware, so if they wanted to attack a US ship why not sink it, especially if it was to conceal something? Why let it get away, even dispatch (unaccepted) assistance? There were multiple torpedo boats, they could have easily destroyed it (the aircraft that attacked were not equipped for ship engagement, and so conducted strafing runs that wouldn't easily sink a ship).


Joerg Boettger - 4/22/2002

Actually, it was the USS Liberty that was attacked first by IDF aircraft anf then by torpedo boats.

Best, Joerg Boettger


Chris Messner - 4/22/2002

PM Begin's comment, in 1982, followed a peace treaty with Egypt in a time that he was attempting to encourage peace and diplomacy with the arab states; the additional removal of the UN peacekeepers certainly illustrated less than peaceful intentions. That the Soviets encouraged arab hostilities by falsely reporting Israeli hostilties does not seem to overly swing the isue either way, outside of improving Soviet hardware sales.

I will not dispute Israel's proactive role, I might be a little proactive too considering the odds and the forces arrayed. At the same time, Israel did, throughout that time, many things to try to stop war (for instance, how many winners in a regional war, especially involving territorial disputes, give back even portions of the land they conquer? The Sinai was returned TWICE! Had Jordan not participated, the west bank and east Jerusalem would still be Jordanian).

As to the UN document, you have Syria arguing Israel is the agressor, and Israel arguing Syria is, you have Muslim countries supporting Syria, and then you have Western countries refusing to condemn Israel, and USSR supported countries condemning Israel. Gee looks like the same old UN game, even played to this day (although in condemning Israel now replace USSR with EU).

The UN has not, and is still not, objective when it comes to Israel. Just recently its been revealed that the UN observers in Lebanon observed an videotaped a Hizbollah kipnapping of 3 Israeli soldiers, using UN vehicles. The three soldiers were murdered later. The UN hid the tape, and refused to initially turn it over when the tape's existance was known, as it might undermine UN neutrality!!! BTW, this same UN official is now commenting on the "Jenin massacre". Some neutrality.


George Wolf - 4/22/2002

I want to add my two Sheckels' worth to this debate.

I think the problem now is to prove that either side is the only victim or the only aggressor. It looks to me like everybody has blood on their hands. Every "crisis" is used as another excuse to send in the tanks and the explosive belts.

Regarding the 1967 war, both sides have a lot to answer for. The Arab leaders all tried to outdo each other with their "tough measures" after being shown (and stupidly accepting) the Soviet "Intelligence." King Hussein always claimed he just had no choice but to join the alliance. After the Israeli invasions, Nasser adroitly "resigned," so that he could be brought back to power by popular acclimation. The members of the Arab alliance went on to accuse the United States of launching "massive" airstrikes from Sixth Fleet carriers on behalf of the Israelis, and then cut off relations. Among the war booty captured from the Egyptians were chemical warfare decontamination units.

Meanwhile, Israel twice attacked neutrals. First, IDF/AF aircraft strafed clearly marked UN troops in the Sinai, causing serious casualties. Then, they attacked the equally clearly marked USS Mayaguez, a signals intelligence ship operating in international waters off the Israeli cost. They didn't attack just once, they first reconoitered it thoroughly and then methodically conducted airstrikes and torpedo boat attacks on the vessel. They caused a lot of death and injury and then rather clumsily claimed that it was all a case of mistaken identity. This is after they boasted about the pinpoint accuracy of their strikes against Arab aircraft bases, in which they claimed they even knew to leave alone some dummy targets. Later they offered reparations and death benefits for the crew. The ship's seriously wounded captain barely saved the vessel from sinking. He won the Medal of Honor for his ship handling -- but the awards ceremony was done almost in secret by the Secretary of the Navy rather than President Johnson. The Navy ordered the crew to keep quiet, and they did until their secrecy agreements expired. It turns out that they discovered the upcomming Israeli attack on the Golan Heights. The secrecy paranoid Israelis didn't even want their friends the Americans to see that. I have often wondered if the Israelis inspired the next attack on a signals intelligence vessel; the successful capture of the USS Pueblo by North Korean patrol boats the following year.

The more both sides cry about their "victimhood" the more nauseated I feel.

Thanks for reading this.

George Wolf


CDunn - 4/19/2002

you see that things aren't nearly as cut and dry as your post implies.

You state that Syria had been staging attacks, yet when you read the UN documents from that period things become much murkier-- more Israeli unprovoked attacks on Syria and Jordan than vice versa. http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/314a25bea7f2d8ef0525672700579634/f46f0d5ca57118da852562cf006c1096!OpenDocument I imagine things were probably similar to the way they are now--in the eyes of israeli supporters they were only victims, even when they repeatedly and systematically take a policy that escalates the situation, they are still the victims.

Even when you look at Israeli sources, you see that things weren't that cut and dry. According to the IDF's website: "The Soviets gave the Egyptions a report stating that the Israelis were massing on the border--fraudulent report was the declared reason for the concentration of Egyptian forces in Sinai.." http://www.idf.il/english/history/sixday.stm

They go on to say that "This concentration of forces gradually led the Arabs to believe that an opportunity had been created to realize their 19-year aspiration to destroy Israel. In the light of this development, Israel had no choice but to preempt."

but Prime Minister Menachem Begin said it better, in a speech delivered at the Israeli National Defense College, he stated that: "The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him" (Jerusalem Post, 20 August 1982).

Israel has created so many myths for itself--almost each and every point brought out in a discussion just takes a little bit of research to find out that things were much much more complex, and Israel had a much much more aggressive and proactive role than implied.


Chris Messner - 4/19/2002

To respond to Mr. Diggs,

Point taken, I may have overstated my response to previous comments in regard to "Israeli aggression", and I do apologize. But I did want to emphasize Israel's position at the time, based on a previous comment:

"Is there any conceivable sense in which the 1967 war
could be described as (in Harsanyi's words) a "war of Arab
aggression" ? Am I imagining things or do I recall a very
often reprinted press photo of Egyptian airplanes, destroyed
on the ground in a pre-emptive surprise attack ?"

Based on my above points, I hoped to illustrate that Arab aggression, in actions and statements, including ordering out the UN (although that didn't take much aggression), forced Israel's hand. I do apologize for not dating the Israeli strike (June 5th); I should have added that after the Iraqi joining of the arab alliance.

I still stand on the cause of the war being Arab aggression, however, especially removal of the UN and closing the Straits of Tiran, which cut off Israeli shipping with Asia. So in principle I agree with it being a "war of arab aggression".

Chris






Duby Diggs - 4/19/2002

Concerning C. Messner's question, "please tell me why Israel should be branded the aggressor in this particular conflict ?":


No one in this comment threat is "branding Israel the aggressor" in 1967. We've been discussing D. Harsanyi's statement about the 1967 War being "another war of Arab aggression".

According to my dictionary (Webster's New Collegiate),"aggression", in this context, means an unprovoked attack.
It is clear from C. Messner's timeline of May-June, 1967 (though I wonder what his source is for all this detail),
once the timeline is extended to include the Israeli attack which Messner acknowledges but doesn't date, that

a) what happened in '67 was a provoked attack by Israel, not an unprovoked attack by Arabs,
in other words, it was not a "war of aggression" by either side, and

b) D. Harsanyi's statement about the 1967 Arab-Iraeli war being a "war of Arab aggression" looks like an attempt to run roughshod over basic historical facts or the English language or both


Chris Messner - 4/19/2002

Let me weigh in on a few points:

1. Syria had been staging attacks on Israel from the Golan heights from 1965-1967, prior to full fledged war.
2. Nasser, after years of rhtoric, ordered the UN forces in the Sinai out on May 16, 1967; the UN complied (seems like a trend, does't it). Egyptian troops entered the Sinai, which was under UN protection, and massed on Israel's border. I don't know, seems pretty hostile.
3. On May 18, the Voice of the Arab broadcast procalimed, "as of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel.....the sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war..."
4. On May 20, Syrian Defense Minister Assad: "Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland." (Note NOT Palestine, but Arab homeland. Palestine didn't start til after the loss)
5. May 22 Egypt closes Straits of Tirian to Israel. US tries to stop blockade, but no international support.
6. May 30, Jordan signs defese pact with Egypt. Nasser declares: "The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel...toface the challenge, while standing behind us are...the whole Arab nation."
7. Iraq joins the alliance June 4; president Aref of Iraq had previously stated: "The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified." By this time, 250,000 troops, more than 2000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel.

Given the choice, and with a military that was numerically very inferior (wathever the technological advantage, if any); I think the decision to attack was pretty obvious. Israel had 200 fighter aircraft, by attcking first it negated the numerical odds (although it lost 46 of these in the war). Had the Israelis waited for attack (see 1973 - a close run thing), they very well could have been annihilated.

BTW, the Israelis tried to bargain with Jordan before this conflict, saying that if Jordan stayed neutral then the Israelis would also. Jordan participated in the conflict, and lost the west bank and Jerusalem in the process. The west bank need not have been 'occupied', and Jordan has had no interest in it since (see Arafat's attempt at overthrowing Jordan's government as to why Jordan wasn't hot to get back a Palestinian hotbed of terrorism.)

Now, please tell me why Israel should be branded the aggressor in this particular conflict; especially after the UN rolled over in the Sinai (gee, another fine example of UN peacekeeping). Had Israel not attacked, the UN evacuation of the Sinai would have outshone the recent report on UN/Dutch failures in Bosnia.

One quick further note, as to military superiority: Custer, technically, was militarily superior to the Native Americans he attacked. Being superior in equipment or tactics doesn't mean your not going to lose; had Israel waited for the Arabs to attack, sheer weight of numbers could have proved the difference. Israeli military technology may have helped them in 1973 when they wited, but probably not in 1967 (before real US military aid in the face of Soviet aid increases to the Arabs).



John Robertson - 4/17/2002

There certainly were several years of inflammatory rhetoric preceding the 1967 war - remember that Gamal Abdul Nasser had emerged as the leader of Arab nationalism, that there had been several fedayeen guerrilla infiltrations into Israel by 1967 - and reprisals by the Israelis, including an especially nasty one commanded by Ariel Sharon at the Jordanian village of Qibya in 1953 - and that an escalation of hostilities seemed to be in prospect. However, it seems well established that the war indeed began with an Israeli pre-emptive air strike that essentially took out the Egyptian air force on the ground. Also - and I can't cite an exact source for this, but clearly remember reading it in what seemed an authoritative source - a U.S. assessment of the relative military capabilities of the Israel and the Arab countries at that time indicated that Israel already possessed military superiority.


Duby Diggs - 4/17/2002

I doubt whether many bonafide scholars of the Middle East would want to go anywhere near this piece by David Harsanyi, so maybe one of the other armchair amateurs following this site can enlighten me:

Is there any conceivable sense in which the 1967 war could be described as (in Harsanyi's words) a "war of Arab aggression" ? Am I imagining things or do I recall a very often reprinted press photo of Egyptian airplanes, destroyed on the ground in a pre-emptive surprise attack ?


John Robertson - 4/17/2002

Thanks to Mr. Wolf for his response to Mr. Harsanyi's poorly informed piece. As Mr. Wolf points out, Harsanyi's account of the events of is informed by a traditional narrative that a newer generation of Israeli historians like Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Zeev Sternhell, and Ilan Pappe have exposed as inaccurate and often as fabricated to provide some legitimacy for the creation of the state of Israel. The fact that he cites the book by Joan Peters - whose work has been soundly trashed by most scholars who have tried to explore the issues carefully and with some modicum of even-handedness - suggests to me that Mr. Harsanyi is not interested so much in history as in acting as an apologist for Israel's realpolitik.

I too would prefer to see a truly multinational state of Palestine in which Jews, Muslims, Christians, people of Arab descent, people of European descent, could co-exist peacefully and govern their lives in accordance with precepts of democracy, human rights, and freedom in the pursuit of happiness. Call me a cock-eyed liberal optimist, but shouldn't we all hope and try for a solution that will accomplish this, rather than resign ourselves to a view of history as an inexorably unfolding, take-no-prisoners, conquer-and-be conquered, real-life game of "Risk" (a la the viewpoint expressed by Bruce Thornton in another lamentable piece on this site)?


George Wolf - 4/17/2002

"The contention that Arabs were removed by gunpoint is totally incorrect."

The assassinated prime minister of Israel -- Rabin -- revealed in his autobiography that he had been a member of a Haganah unit that in 1948 did in fact forcibly evict Palestinians from their village at gunpoimt. This is NOT saying that this is the way that all Palestinians ended up as refugees. I'm sure that many of them fled the way that I would probably flee a war zone. But I now worry about how many of Mr. Barsanyi's remaining points have more to do with propaganda than fact.

He claims that the Palestinians have only recently become interested in forming a state. A hundred years ago, he could have written precisely the same statement about Zionist Jews. The motives for the nationalism wouldn't be that different: persecution and violence in their own homes.

"Arabs rejected the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, with an all out war to eliminate Jews enacted by the Arab world. After the 1967 War -- another war of Arab aggression -- Israel recovered a small remnant (13% in whole) of what was promised to them by the UN -- eventually handing back the Sinai Desert for peace with Egypt in 1977."


As I recall, the Israeli War of Independence left Israel with MOST of Palestine -- including many areas that the partition gave to the Arabs. I would think that if Israel had been any more interested than the Arabs in implementing the UN partition, it would have withdrawn from the "extra" areas it captured. During the 1967 "war of Arab aggression" Isreal not only continued to control its own territory but also occupied the REST of Palestine. It may have given back the Sinai (which was never considered part of Palestine) but it certainly hasn't given back anything else.


"Israel, one of the most technologically advanced and humane nations on earth, a marvel of postwar economic and scientific development, is under attack."

It would seem that you could substitute "Palestine" for "Israel" in the above statement and it would have about the same amount of truth. I say that as an indictment of both sides.

The history of the United States demonstrates that segregation is not only morally obscene, but politically and economically detrimental. To see what I mean, I advise looking at Northern Ireland and what used to be Yugoslavia. I do not believe that we -- or anybody else -- should be prescribing the segregation of the Israelis and Palestinians from each other. Nationalism has proved odious, one of the great poison pills of the past century. A combined state would be better. We in the United State are betraying our own heritage -- our own motto of "E Pluribus Unum" -- by not advocating that for the Israelis and Palestinians.

If the Israelis and Palestinians combined to form a state, I think there would be a moderate majority who would be able to outvote the "Palestinianist" or Zionist "patriots" who have been causing most of the trouble. There are very few strictures on freedom of speech in the United States. One of the very few that has passed any court tests is speech that is incitement to riot or violently overthrow the government. I think that is precisely what the Israelis and Palestinians need. I note that this would put both Sharon and Arafat behind bars.

George Wolf

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