Last year was the 61st anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel by the Zionist Terror group Irgun (or Etzel), led by the man who later became Israel’s sixth prime minister: Menachem Begin. That anniversary found little mention in the Western media and certainly no reflection in speeches made by Western heads of state. This year is the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, and Western leaders fall over themselves to congratulate the country on its achievements. The Australian prime minister Rudd with his March 12 speech was just one of many who heaped praise on the Jewish state. And while Western governments condemn worldwide ‘terrorism’, they of course do not mention the terror Israel was founded on and continues to produce as a state. That task seems to fall on the more liberal minded Western newspapers, like the Sydney Morning Herald – even though only in form of personal opinions.
Peter Manning is adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Technology in Sydney. In Redress the balance in Palestine, he reminds us that 78% of Palestinian land was taken away for the establishment of the Jewish state and 700.000 Palestinians were driven out in the process which they call “the nakba” (the catastrophe). And as a result of that landgrab, today five million Palestinians still live as unwelcomed visitors in refugee camps in surrounding Arab countries.
The catstrophe had its roots in the 1920 when radical Zionists hatched concrete plans to establish a Jewish ‘homeland’. Ethnic cleansing though began in all earnest on November 29, 1947 when the UN voted on the partition of Palestine, and it continued through 1948. For decades the Israeli propaganda machine fostered the myth that the Palestinians simply abandoned their country. According to Peter Manning though, that narrative has been demolished by younger Israeli historians (Avi Shlaim, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev and others) since the opening of Israeli archives during the last decade. They show for example that from December 1947 to May 1948 a series of massacres took place, designed to terrorise the native population into abandoning their homes and fleeing to safety. Manning writes:
[…] in Pappe’s latest book, The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2006), he draws from the archives of David Ben-Gurion, Haganah and Irgun papers and other sources to reveal how deliberate and articulated was the famous Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948 – the plan by Jewish leaders to ethnically cleanse Arab cities (like Haifa and Jaffa) and villages getting in the way of the creation of the Jewish state.
The result was a series of massacres during April and May 1948, the most important in Deir Yassin on April 9. Jewish soldiers burst into the village and sprayed it with gunfire. Those not dead were gathered together and shot. A number of the women were allegedly raped and then shot. Ninety-three villagers were reported to have died.
The Herald of April 10, 12, and 13, 1948, reported the horror as “Jewish terrorism”. In such attacks, many were robbed by Jewish troops of their jewellery, furniture and goods.
[…] many Palestinian and Arab Australians have their own stories. I have spoken with some. Their memories are as sharp as a tack. One man from Jaffa recalls as a boy being fired on as he tried to board a ship to leave his home town. Further up the coast, refugees from the Holocaust were arriving on boats that were “illegal” in the terms of the British Mandate.
I think it’s appalling how generations of Israeli politicians and citizens have never ever shown any regret for the actions that led to the the foundation of the state of Israel or made any reparations to the Palestinian people. Members of the Jewish community have no problems lamenting the holocaust and even today are asking for compensation for Nazi wrongdoings, but they have no ethical qualms about the criminal and international law breaking activities of Israel.
Colin Rubenstein, exceutive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council typifies the arrogance and racist attitudes that pervade official Jewish thinking when he refers to the above mentioned atrocities by labelling them as ways Palestinians lost their homes “otherwise”; how belittling. No remorse, no regret, no apology – instead he goes on blaming generations of Palestinians for the ongoing conflict! It is this shocking and inherently violent attitude as well as its practiced forms of oppression, ongoing ethnic cleansing and other abuses of international law perpetrated against the Palestinian people that continue to provide no room for celebrating Israel’s birthday on May 8. Instead it should be a day of mourning.