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Sol Stern
The Nakba Obsession « Back to Story
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You should republish Stone's book and see whether he asserts a copyright claim. :)
Dear Sol Stern:

Israel has been the BIGGEST welfare state in the history of humanity!

Using the year 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $3 trillion in 2002 dollars (PRESENT VALUE SCALE). If divided by today's population, that is more than $11,400 per American citizen that has sent his money to Israel in taxes. This is an amount almost four times greater than the cost of the Vietnam war, also in 2002 dollars.

Israel has never been self-supporting. It has always required massive subsidies from the outside - above all from the United States. In addition, Germany and other European states and companies have paid out many billions in "restitution," and wealthy Jewish communities, especially in the US, have provided tax-deductable substantial financial assistance-"a net drain" on the USA economy.

--US Jewish charities and organizations have remitted grants or bought Israel bonds worth $60 billion. Though private in origin, the money is "a net drain" on the United States economy.

--US help, financial and technical, has enabled Israel to become a major weapons supplier. Weapons make up almost half of Israel's manufactured exports. US defense contractors often resent the buy-Israel requirements and the extra competition subsidized by US taxpayers.

-- US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs. Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual in foreign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs.

Israel was founded on terrorism, massacres, ethnic cleansing and the dispossession of its native Palestinian population. Even now it violates international law, inflicts a harsh collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza, and continues to deny Palestinians their human and national rights. In accord with its Jewish supremacist ideology, Israel's discrimination against non-Jews is systematic and institutional. It is the only country in the region that occupies territory of its neighbors, that refuses to define its borders, and which possesses a large and illegal arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Even as a Jewish sanctuary, Israel cannot be regarded as a success. Jews are less safe and secure in Israel than almost anywhere else in the world. The great majority of Jews in the world have preferred not to live in "their" country.

Around the world, including the United States, loathing of Israel is widespread and steadily mounting. In Asia and Europe, political and business leaders increasingly regard Israel and its policies as harmful to global order and stability.

Regional demographic trends are also important. In Israel and its occupied territories, the Arab population is growing at a faster rate than the Jewish population, and within 20 years non-Jews will almost certainly be the majority.

Very few persons in 1985 foresaw the collapse six years later of the mighty and seemingly solid Soviet Union. But its end was predictable because it was an essentially artificial entity based on an inhumane and impractical ideology. Although Israel is a formidable military power, it is an aberrant, crisis-prone state, artificially kept alive with outside support, and based on an unworkable ideology.

Given its artificial character and built-in problems, as well as global political-economic and regional demographic trends, Israel's future in the next 60 years is not bright.

Michael Santomauro
Steve, in case you hadn't seen this one.
Excellent article, Sol Stern, thank you very much. The capacity of people to cling to a point of view and disregard facts that prove it false has always perplexed me. I find it incomprehensible. I admire the saying (attributed among others to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan) - "we are entitled to our opinions, we are not entitled to our facts.."
Time for a lesson in basic reading comprehension.

S Mann: "I've answered your question about what the people of Lebanon think about Palestine and Zionism"

Me: "By the way, maybe you're the one who should go to Lebanon and Syria and ask people what they think of Palestine and Zionism. Have you ever done that?"

Homework assignment: Read the above two sentences and answer this true or false question: I asked what people in Lebanon think of Palestinians. (true/false)

Bonus Question: S Mann believes I am ignorant of how Palestinians are treated in Lebanon. Based on my post before this one, do you believe that. Why or why not.
andrew r: I see, you deny historic and documented facts to put forward propaganda and slander. You have put forward no actual facts to disprove my comments. Where are YOUR facts?

Clearly, you DO need a lecture on how "Palestinians" are treated in Arab countries because you are either grossly ignorant of the facts or you are yourself knowingly engaging in disinformation and propaganda. A conclusion logically and fairly derived from documented historic facts is not a crackpot theory.

I've answered your question about what the people of Lebanon think about Palestine and Zionism by reminding you that the historic and present fact is that the Lebanese keep the "Palestinians" in a fenced and guarded camp with no civil rights, but you don't like the answer and close your eyes to facts. The Lebanese government policy is to keep "Palestinians" incarcerated for fear of their violence and terrorism - a basic right of any sovereign state.

The name "Palestinians" is properly in quotes because that was the name given the Jews resident in the British Mandate after 1920 by the international community. The Arabs have misappropriated the name in order to falsely try to establish a right to the land. I suggest you read history with an open mind instead of falling for propaganda.

Certainly Assad has repeatedly expressed his hate for Jews and Israel. But that is because Assad is a loser dictated to by Hisbolla and Iran; Assad and his "government" are a puppet government which do not really have independent power. The world does do not know what the Syrian people think because they are not allowed to freely express their opinions in that totalitarian state.

The King of Jordan is so anxious to get rid of the "Palestinians" whom he has publically stated threaten his government and country that he is trying to gather international support for forcing the Israelis to allow them into the West Bank, that is, into the historic Jewish provinces of Judea and Samaria which were specifically included in the British Mandate as part of the actual, historic homeland and sovereign state of the Jews now legally a part of Israel. Like ibn Saud, King Abdullah is trying to export his criminal residents to Israel. More properly, he should export them back into their native Saudi Arabia.

The "Palestinians" have for 90 years been actively involved in violent overthrow of legitimate governments throughout the Middle East. I have recently read that Arafat and the PLO actively supported and participated in the violent 1979 overthrow of the Shah in Iran which installed Khomeni and the mullahs who still rule the totalitarian Islamic state of Iran. Another example of "Palestinian" culture.

A zionist is a person who supports the Jewish national state of Israel - an internationally-recognized sovereign state. The treatment of Arab Israelis by the Israeli government is to give them equal civil rights WITHIN THE LAW applicable to all Israeli citizens. All sovereign states are entitled to defend themselves against traitors, criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants - many of which in Israel are "Palestinians".

You are wilfully wrong-headed, Andrew r.
Wow, you dropped the scare quotes from Palestinian. Very impressive.

The point though is I don't need a lecture on how Palestinians are treated in Arab countries from someone who pushes crank history as a way to rationalize their treatment by Zionists and has no concept of the Middle East beyond something Europeans can conquer and mold to their heart's content. There are many Lebanese critics of the political system in Lebanon and its effect on Palestinians.
andrew 4: what do the Lebanese think of the Palestinians? The Lebanese keep the Palestinians in a fenced and guarded camp. They are not allowed to buy property or vote. Does that answer your question?
Well, if anyone's still around, here's a review of Karsh's book by a certain Benni Morris, with all useful and detestable sides of Morris on display.
By the way, maybe you're the one who should go to Lebanon and Syria and ask people what they think of Palestine and Zionism. Have you ever done that? What did they tell you?
Sure, and I'll go back in time to 1888 and ask the peoples and governments of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia how they like the presence of Jews in their country. That's what Zionism is, a replication of the persecution Jews suffered in Eastern Europe, with Jews recast as the Cossacks and Palestinians as Jews.
Please look at who is writing...Sol Stern...and consider what to expect from a Zionist Jew. Those bastards have stolen a country, have voted terrorists to head their gangster state and are blaming the Palestinians, the victims, for complaining about their bullying, their occupation??? The last I heard of the Sterns was when they ran a gang that assassinated the UN Ambassador in Palestine...come on City Journal, be a little chosey!!!
P.S. andrew r: nakba means catastrophe and the migration in the 1920's of Saudi terrorists into the rest of the Middle East has certainly proved to be a catastrophe. Ask the King of Jordan and the peoples and governments of Syria and Lebanon how they like the presence in their countries of their own "Palestinians".
andrew r : You need to read unbiased history and read more carefully with an open mind. Ibn Saud was defending his own power base in his newly-created state against home-grown Saudi terrorists which he could no longer control. It was an internal matter and he exported his criminal tribesmen who migrated to other parts of the Middle East including the British Mandate of Palestine where, according to the terms of the Treaty of Sevres 1920, they became illegal immigrants. The Arabs calling themselves "Palestinians" are in fact descendants of the Saudi tribesmen ibn Saud expelled - and he expelled them with the asssitance of the British military. Read the history of how ibn Saud created Saudi Arabia. I am certainly no fan of Saudi Arabia; historic facts are historic facts.

If you want to know what happened to the Turks in the British Mandate of Palestine after WWI, then read the Treaty of Sevres 1920 [available online] - an international peace treaty between the WWI allies and the Ottoman government which makes detailed provisions re-drawing boundaries within the Ottoman Empire, establishing new, independent states and providing for the relocation of peoples of various nationalities then residing in the former Ottoman Empire and the terms under which they would be re-located. It is really an excellent treaty including the provision that children under the age of 18 on the date of the Treaty automatically took on the nationality of ther mother [a provision which the U.S. would be wise to follow for the children of their own current illegal immigrnts]. The League of Nations accepted the Treaty of Sevres' validity but it is not a League of Nations treaty, as some people believe, but a treaty between independent sovereign states binding on those states.
I've heard some crack pot theories regarding Palestinians but this is the first time I've heard of ibn Saud fighting evil. So you're a fan of Saudi Arabia now?

And only Turks lived in Palestine before the end of WWI. And what happened to these Turks in the Nakba, or do you think they should've been expelled with the non-existent people who somehow manage to be terrorists?
Mr Stern's analysis does not go far enough back in time. How many "Arab Palestinians" lived in the land west of the Jordan River in 1919 which had been owned for the previous 400 years by the Ottoman Turks? NONE. Even in 1922 when the British Mandate officials carried out a census, the census did not identify "Arab Palestinians" - only Muslims (who were primarily Turks not Arabs) and Jews. The Arabs calling themselves Palestinians are descendents of Saudi renegade tribesmen whom Ibn Saud expelled from his country in 1920-1922 for continuing terrorist acts against fellow Saudis and threatened ibn Saud's power. The Nakba is the dispersion of these Saudi renegades/terrorists throughout the middle east where they have to this day continued their evil behaviour.Palestinians are illegal immigrants to land west of the Jordan beginning 1922 - not natives with historical rights to the land. These historical facts should be brought to light and repeated again and again to bring truth to the conflict.
While the world has repeatedly heard the Arab 'naqba' narrative, successive Israeli governments have failed to tell the Israeli side - the history of the region during the last 90 years, the promise of a viable Jewish homeland that included today's Jordan and Palestine, the failure of the British challenge to facilitate the creation of that state,the collaboration of the British with the Arabs - permitting their illegal immigration from neighboring countries while Jews were prevented from entering, the pre-Israel terrorist acts against Jews. Today how many know that Jews were 'Palestinians' before 1948; the world believes that Israel was imposed upon an Arab Palestine. How can we ever undo the problems caused by our own Israeli governments that have instead appeased our enemies and yielded far too much.
The campaign should hinge on abolishing UNWRA as unnjustified "exceptionalism."

If the US really wants an Arab-Israel peace, it has to twist Arab arms as well by cutting aid to UNWRA and giving the buildings etc to the PA on a year at a time basis dependent on the progress of peace talks.

Start with the same demand that PA recognise Israel's Jewish self determination in the same way that Bibi was forced to recognise the prospect of a Palestine state.
Wonderfully stated and crafted.
I would like to read more of your articles.
Rabbi Yitzhack Rubin, Jerusalem

[ A transplanted American born Jewish yankee from Boston living in Jerusalem since 1978]
Reflecting on the major international political changes wrought following the Great War in the previous decade, Winston Churchill remarked: ‘whole empires had disappeared in that great cataclysm… the boundaries of many countries have been re-drawn… But when the floodwaters have subsided and we look across the landscape, we see again in all their glory, the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone. Only the integrity of their quarrel remains undiminished…’

That ‘intractable’ quarrel, carried out with the same intensity as yours, Mr Stern, for at least two hundred years, is now ended. The combatants do not need to enjoy each others’ company (though many of them do now) nor share each others’ sporting occasions, but for the sake of peace and stability both sides opted for a workable political solution to replace nearly two hundred years of bitterness. Surely, Jewish ingenuity should not allow your quarrel to last as long.

At the very least, for Israel and the Palestinians the time for point-scoring is long past. What passes for political dialogue on this subject is exemplified by some of the responses to the original article. Meanwhile, one and a half million people are corralled by a democratic state into the most densely populated area on earth with limited access to basic human needs. Conjuring up straw men like I.F Stone cannot hide the shame of Gaza. The point about obsession is that it is not exclusive to one tribe alone. The path of the monstrous wall that snakes through the West Bank according to the predilection of Jewish settlers on a land grab testifies to their religious myth. To say it was the Palestinians own fault for ‘leaving their homes’ in 1948 because of the urgings of their leaders is to blame the victim. Should we blame the Holocaust victims for timidly entering the freight cars at the behest of the Judenrat?

Shortly, Israel will set out to destroy Iranian nuclear capability and no doubt has mustered all its military and diplomatic muscle for the aftermath. Might it not be in its own interest in this regard to work towards at least an accommodation with its Palestinian neighbours? Iran no more gives a damn about the Palestinian cause than the surrounding Arab states ever did. The long-range ‘capability’ of Iranian WMD is likely to affect both Israeli and Palestinians to the same extent. Survival is a wonderful common cause.

Palestinian aspirations to live in dignity cannot be denied indefinitely. An important part of the successful peace process in Ireland was the official Anglo-Irish recognition that Sinn Fein could aspire and work peacefully towards a united Ireland. They entered government with their age-old unionist enemies on that basis, and guess what? Very shortly afterwards they discovered that the responsibility of dealing with so many pressing day-to-day problems served to swamp the mythical aspiration. Indeed,the same Sinn Fein are currently standing shoulder to shoulder with their unionist counterparts in The Assembly in facing down dissident Republican violence. Forget about peace talks in Oslo or Washington, come visit the not-so-dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone.

(Perhaps as a quit pro quo you might give us some pointers on resurrecting our moribund economy, please.)
Andrew, this is hardly the venue to "debate" this point -- let's just end this with the fact that Israel is on the right side of history; this reality will be made crystal clear to you someday.
Maccabee, I think there's some value in disputing your historical facts (which aren't) on the face of it. However, even more important is the context in which you make assertions like, "Until 1964 there never were Arab Palestinians." As long as Israel kills Palestinians with impunity such as three farmers, including a 91-year-old, who were several hundred km out of their 300 km buffer zone into non-occupied Gaza, such assertions are effectively a justification of their murders. The crank non-history of Arabs diffusing into Palestine to steal what the Zionists rightfully stole and calling themselves Palestinians to win the world's sympathy is not even a cover for land theft and mass expulsions, it is a rationalization.

Not to mention you aren't all that coherent to begin with. You say Palestinians are the only refugees in history who haven't been absorbed elsewhere and then say they weren't refugees to begin with.

There's really no point in giving you the 411 on Zionism because you know it anyway. You simply reserve the right to do more of it.
Why are all of the arbitrarily drawn borders [the result of the collapsed Ottoman empire being on the wrong side of history] of every state in the Middle East legitimate -- except for Israel?
My problem with people like you is your hypocritical, one-sided morally-equivalent opinion that the Jews/Israel are monsters while Arabs/Mulims are victims -- nothing could be further from the truth.
The so-called Palestinians who were "forced" from their homes
were only there because of the economic opportunities that the Zionists provided.
They have not lived there from time immemorial as people like you believe.

As I've already stated: Zionists were purchasing hardscrabble wasteland
all over what is today Israel[which they eventually cultivated] from the rightful owners at obscenely inflated prices.
This fabricated narrative, spun from whole cloth, is doing Israelis the injustice -- not the Arabs. Yassir Arafat was born in Cairo, Egypt, as was Edward Said -- two out of many so-called "agrieved" Palestinians.

Until 1964 there never were Arab Palestinians, nor was their "history"
ever even hinted.
It has been a slow and steady body of lies, which you have swallowed.
The simple fact is that Arabs simply do not desire peace.
Dear Maccabee,

I did not forget the plight of Palestinians refugees in Arab countries, although I probably should have examined in greater depth the moral responsibility (if any) the Arabs owed to the refugees. As I stated: “Whatever injustices the Palestinian refugees suffered at the hands of fellow Arabs cannot absolve Israel’s responsibility for instigating their dispossession.” It is true that the surrounding Arab countries have behaved badly towards the Palestinians - only Jordan allows them to become citizens, and in many Arab countries they can’t even work full-time or own property; and, yes, it is true that Israel extended help to exiled Middle-Eastern Jews, for which it should be commended; however, all of this does not justify Israel’s theft of Palestinian land.

"This is the result of all armed conflicts David -- refugees. Every single refugee from every conflict in history has been absorbed -- except for your precious palestinians [sic]."
Why didn’t Israel re-absorb the refugees, Maccabee? After all, Israel did colonise abandoned Palestinian land, which put the moral onus on Israel, and not the Arabs, to make amends. The philosopher Martin Buber saw this perfectly, writing a letter to David Ben-Gurion on the question of the Arab refugees, stating that “The Prime Minister’s stand [of refusing to allow the refugees to return to their homes in Israel] contradicts not only the repeated resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, but also all the principles that the civilised world has come to accept out of humanitarian considerations as well as the Declaration of Rights of Man, as a result of which a vast number of refugees, among them many Jews, have returned to their former homes.”[1] You illogically try to shift the blame for Israel’s wrongdoing to the Arabs, on the grounds that they refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. That is akin to a thief who, after stealing a loaf of bread from a hungry man, then blames the victim’s family for refusing to feed him! While the victim’s family should be censured for a lack of generosity and its neglect of familial duty (assuming it could afford to feed the man), the chief culprit in this scenario is the thief. This is not “selective sympathy”, as you put it; it is simply a statement of fact.

The continued denial of the Palestinian Nakba is driven by a misconception: that if the State of Israel was founded at the expense of another people, then Israel is an illegitimate state, since colonial states have no legitimacy. This misconception should be addressed, since it goes to the central issue of statehood, and what it means to be a nation. What I mean by the “State” is a political organisation that rests on a common loyalty and attachment to a particular territory. It must be remembered that such organisation has not been universally applied throughout history, eg the ancient Greek city-states; the classical Islamic caliphate, whose legitimacy was based upon religious orthodoxy rather than loyalty to a “fatherland”; and the numerous pre-political kinship and tribal groupings which still exist to this day, the Bedouin tribes being an example. States, at least according to modern international law, do not obtain their legitimacy from any special moral character. Indeed, most states in the modern world founded upon dispossession of the indigenous peoples are recognised without any challenge to their right to exist. Numerous examples include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and every country in North and South America. The right of statehood does not rest on moral purity, but on a world-wide recognition that the State is the primary organising principle of politics in our time. Israel has the same right to exist as any other nation on earth in spite of its conduct, not because of it.

[1] Martin Buber, “Letter to Ben-Gurion on the Arab Refugees”, dated 15 October 1961, cited in A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 295.

And your unselective sympathy for all refugees of all conflicts is so touching. So sympathetic are you to refugees that you've studied every conflict in history to ascertain all the refugees were absorbed.

When you start the day believing non-existent people are trying to kill you, it's no surprise every argument you come up with is stupid or insane.
David Kruse asks rhetorically:"Why were the 700,000 Palestinians who fled the area that became the State of Israel not allowed to their homes? The answer is: Because Israel would not allow them to return."

This is the result of all armed conflicts David -- refugees. Every single refugee from every conflict in history
has been absorbed -- except for your precious palestinians [sic].
As I asked another poster, why doesn't your heart bleed for the Jewish refugees who lost their homes and all possessions when they were uprooted, never to return to their countries - the various arab controlled countries
in the Middle East and North Africa?
Because you have a selective sympathy, that's why.
Now go back to sleep and dream of your beloved palestinians [sic].
Mr. Stern’s recent article “The Nakba Obsession” asserts that Israeli responsibility for the Nakba is a “myth”, contending that because most Palestinians either fled their homes to temporarily escape the fighting in the 1948 war, or were ordered to evacuate by Palestinian leaders, the Palestinian refugee problem was a self-inflicted wound: “[Efraim Karsh] deftly uses this new material to seal the case that the Nakba was, to a large extent, brought on by the Palestinians’ own leaders.” He sets out to discredit as myth “the Palestinians’ backward-looking national narrative (the Nakba), which depicts the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as the original sin that dispossessed the land’s native people.” He also argues that this myth is “the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.” I will address this point later.

Mr. Stern misses the obvious point about the Nakba; a point so obvious that if put into a question would sound naive: Why didn’t the refugees go back to their homes? After all, with the fighting ended and the threat of danger cleared, wouldn’t the refugees try to resume their normal lives? Wouldn’t they try to return to their permanent abodes before they made do with makeshift camps? To return to the places that held their memories instead of becoming listless refugees? So, let us ask the glaring question that the article never discussed: Why were the 700, 000 Palestinians who fled the area that became the State of Israel not allowed to their homes? The answer is: Because Israel would not allow them to return.

The debate over the reasons for the Palestinian exodus is irrelevant to the fundamental tenet of the Nakba – that 700,000 individuals were disinherited when they were prevented from returning to their homes. The dispossession of the refugees did not begin when they left the theatre of war; it began when Israel refused their return when the war ended. As Moshe Sharrett, Israel’s second Prime Minister, said in a debate as early as the 16th June 1948 – one month after Israel’s War of Independence began – “[the Arabs] must get used to the fact that [their wish to return] is a lost cause.” A month later, on 21st June, a special Israeli Cabinet decision made this official policy. One month after this another Cabinet decision institutionalised the policy of settling abandoned Arab lands with Jewish settlers [1]. It was this decision which transformed the Palestinians evacuees into a displaced community. Mr. Stern even acknowledged this fact, but failed to see its significance: “Many [Palestinian refugees] lived in tents, eking out a bare subsistence, and were then denied the right to return to their homes by the new State of Israel.”Whatever injustices the Palestinian refugees suffered at the hands of fellow Arabs cannot absolve Israel’s responsibility for instigating their dispossession. The Nakba was not a self-inflicted wound, or even as Benny Morris contends, an accident of war; it was a trauma brought about by official Israeli policy.

The refugees could not be allowed to return, for this would run contrary to Israel’s national narrative. The Nakba was indeed the “original sin” of Israel; she could not reconcile her national goals with the legitimate rights of the Palestinian refugees. The goal of Zionism was to create a Jewish State, which means the Jewish people had to hold political power. Since the new state would be a democracy, the Jews of Israel had three choices regarding the refugees: 1.) Allow them to return and grant them citizenship. However, the Jews would cease to hold political power in such a state, since the majority Arab population would out-vote the Jews on any national policy (there were more Palestinian refugees than there were Jews in Palestine at this period). This would undo the Zionist enterprise the pioneers had risked their lives to achieve; 2.) Allow them to return, but not grant them citizenship. However, this would create an Apartheid state, anathema to the liberal democratic principles of Zionist ideology. Given the Jewish Diaspora’s tragic history as minorities in foreign countries, such a scheme was equally unthinkable; this left only one option, 3.) Prevent the re-entry of the displaced Palestinians to the new Jewish state. This would ensure a Jewish majority in the country and conform to liberal democratic principles.

President Chaim Weizmann described the Palestinian exodus as “a miraculous simplification of the problem.” And what problem was that? It was the obstacle of resolving Israel’s goal of a Jewish state with a democratic ethos. The UN Partition Plan granted Israel 55 percent of Mandate Palestine, with a slim Jewish majority of 51 per cent. By 1949, Israel controlled 78 per cent of Mandate Palestine and a 90 per cent majority by keeping the Palestinian evacuees away. In essence, the “problem” was resolving the conflict between democracy and demographics. This is why soon after the war Israel granted the remaining 10 per cent of Arabs Israeli citizenship. And why they worried about the number of Arabs in the country. Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi, who would later become president, complained to a Labour Secretariat Meeting in 1949 that “there are too many Arabs in the country.” MP Shlomo Lavi echoed similar concerns: “The large number of Arabs in the country worries me. The time may come when we will be a small minority in the State of Israel.” [2] The “problem” explains these contradictory impulses. More than merely benefiting from the dispossession of the Palestinians, the Zionist project required it. The Nakba was not a myth, but a historical reality which would define two nations – and midwife only one.

Mr. Stern makes an additional contention that the Arab insistence for the return of the refugees and their descendants to their lands is “the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.” What he is referring to is the “Right of Return”, which every Arab country has insisted upon since 1948, a non-negotiable demand from Palestinians as a condition for peace with Israel. Whether this is the greatest obstacle to peace between Israel and her neighbours is a matter for debate. I can think of other major hindrances. The Occupation is one such hindrance since it engenders humiliation and bitter feelings, difficult barriers to overcome if co-existence is to be achieved. Yaakov Peri, a former director of Shin Bet – the organisation responsible for counter-terrorist measures in the West Bank – once said, “I think our policies are making for Israel another two generations of enemies.” [3] Another is the flawed political culture of both nations. Despite the fact that two-thirds of Israelis and Palestinians support the two-state solution according to the Green Line (the shape of the 1949 boundaries after the war), and despite the fact that these Israelis are willing to abandon most of the settlements in the West Bank, there is still no peace. This is because of the political shortcomings on both sides: in the dysfunctional nature of Israel’s proportional representation system, which gives opponents of the two-state solution enough power to block its implementation, and in the civil war conducted between Al-Fatah (which accepts the two-state solution) and Hamas (which does not). I believe these obstacles are just as important as the insistence on the Right of Return.

Nevertheless, Mr. Stern is indeed correct to say that the Palestinian demand upon the Right of Return is a major obstacle to achieving peace between Israel and her neighbours. Israel cannot possibly afford to receive and enfranchise the refugees and their descendants for the simple reason that the land once belonging to the latter is now either owned by three generations of Israelis or turned over to new development. It is impossible to ask these people, most of whom have known no other home, to give up their place. Nor is it feasible to undo recent developments on that land. For example, it would be unthinkable to tear up a road or a shopping mall to settle a refugee in his ancestral land. These present realities make it impossible to return what was once taken. The land can no more be given back to the refugees than, say, America or Australia be given back to its indigenous inhabitants. No less a champion of Arab grievances than the socialist Maxime Rodinson, who saw the conflict as “the struggle of an indigenous population against the occupation of part of its normal territory by foreigners,” cited that not every claim could be justly fulfilled: “If the consequences of pressing a just claim are liable to be calamitous and unjust, and too fraught with practical difficulties, there may be grounds for suggesting that it be renounced.” [4]

But even if this obstacle did not exist, if the reinstatement of the refugees and their descendants could physically take place, then their integration into Israeli society would be impossible. The Israelis could never enfranchise them, since this would end the Zionist enterprise – which is why the ’48 refugees were kept out in the first place. This has prompted many to advocate a bi-national state between Israel and Palestine, which like Canada would have two ethnic groups but a common political loyalty. The refugees would be able to return and Jews and Palestinians would co-exist in a unified country, moving beyond the Zionist ideal of a “Jewish State”. Many see this as an alternative to the stalemate between Zionism and the Right of Return. This scheme, although enjoying the support of a number of academics and statesmen, is incredibly naive [5], and ignores the historical developments which made the two societies irreconcilable. Conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians was not simply a contingent factor in shaping their national identities, but their very raison d’être. The lifeblood of their national narratives is mistrust and hostility towards the other. Zionism grew out fear of Gentile persecution (Palestinian or otherwise), and Palestinian nationalism grew out of local Arab fear and rejection of the Zionist presence. In essence, what made Israelis “Israeli” and Palestinians “Palestinian” was antagonism and mutual exclusion. Israelis and Palestinians cannot create a new society together, since the very birth of their societies was formed through strife and division. Like Eteocles and Polynices they strove together in the womb and were fated to bring calamity upon each other. If a bi-national scheme were carried forward, the result would not be one society of two peoples, but two nations continuing their squabbles under the same flag. However much the idea of a “Jewish State” offends multicultural sensibilities, it’s an unchangeable reality, which means the only choice left open for the Palestinians is to have a separate country of their own. However difficult it may be to come to an agreement over the details and arrangements of the two states, it is a difficulty which guards the only possible avenue to lasting peace.

Moshe Sharrett’s words divide Israelis and Palestinians sixty-two years on. However, while Sharrett spoke his words in exaltation of the Zionist cause, now Palestinians will have to speak them, this time for the interests of peace.

[1] Shlomo Ben-Ami, Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy (London: Phoenix, 2006) p. 46

[2] Peter Rodgers, Herzl’s Nightmare (Carlton North: Scribe Publications, 2004) p. 28

[3] Richard Ben-Cramer, How Israel Lost: The Four Questions (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005) p. 91

[4] Maxime Rodinson, Israel and the Arabs, trans. Michael Perl (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968) p. 231

[5] It is also undemocratic, and pays no heed to what the refugees themselves would like to do. Khalil Shikaki, a director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, once asked the refugees if they were interested in exercising the Right of Return. He found that only 10 per cent of them wished to exercise this right. This is understandable, given that most would not like to live as stranger among the Israelis. This discredits the feasibility of Israelis and Palestinians working together within a bi-national state. See Ben-Cramer, Op Cit, p. 103.
Whats wrong with a multi ethnic democratic state for all the people living in the Levant?
Why must there be a Jewish only state? If there must and should be a Jewish only state, Where should the people who are not Jewish go? What are the borders of Israel as a Jewish state? Why must anyone look back in time to justify their existence now? What if the Palastinians are overstating the "nakba", and Israelis are understating the persecution of Jews, why should it matter anyhow in today's world? Few of the people living today were around for any of that history, shall be be tied to it in perpetuity?
Whenever there is a clash of two Civilizations-the forward looking Israelis (who are Westerners), and the backward looking Palestinians, (who love their dreams, but cannot reach out and touch reality), then any PEACE efforts, between them must fail!!. This is simple chemistry-water and oil do not mix.Our (smart) leaders must try for an accomodation, rather then a peace treaty, for the long term ""relaxation"" of the two parties. Peace in the Middle East is not an option , it is objective, and will take many generations to fullfil.
Yes, lefties supported Israel in the 40s and conservatives didn't:

Interesting comparison of I. F. Stone and Walter Lippmann from eulogizers of the former here:

"The First Palestinian National Congress held in Jerusalem (February, 1919) was based on Palestinian delegates from different cities and regions, members of notable families. Among the Christian representatives, they came in the delegations of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa and Tiberias. Good to note that all of them came from zones that Israel occupied during Al Nakba in 1948-49."
Reading Dr. Ruth's biography, I learned that the starving European skeletons lived their first several years in tents.

They had one shirt, shorts, 1 pair of shoes, and about 10 gallons of carefully rationed water per week. And a rifle.

(Tiny Dr. Ruth- Doctah Voots!- 5' tall- was a perimeter guard. A soldier.)

And yet they built modern Israel.
Plucky, indeed.
The original Nakba occurred in 1922, when
France split Syria Palestina into two northern and southern provinces.

This, because the Ottoman Turks, and their German allies, had lost WWI and their control of the territory we now call the Middle East.

Southern Syrians were somewhat mystified.
However, they were soon swamped by the many thousands of Muslim debt slaves imported for agricultural labor by the Arab land barons.

"Palestinian" meant "Jew", much as "South Asian" means Pakistani.

To call an Arab "Palestinian" earned a fist in one's face.

That changed thanks to an American public relations firm.

The Arab League paid them 10 million dollars to answer one question-

"How do we wrest world regard away from plucky little Israel, that dauntless, defiant underdog?"

The answer: "Become the underdog. All the world admires bravery against overwhelming odds."

So in 1967, for the first time, some Arabs were called "Palestinian".
Great article.
As I read this, I was breathless. The mind-set of the left makes it impossible them to accept what is written here as fact. Knowing this makes me weep at the injustice of it all. What can be done?
Thank you for this sane perspective on an otherwise insane trend.
Should've written Sephardic and Mizrahim voices, sorry.
Me below.
Rich, try to think about the world you're advocating for a minute. People can be punished for the actions of a state they don't even live in because they happen to be a certain ethnicity. Why don't we punish white people at random for apartheid? Do you also rubber stamp the internment of the Japanese Americans and the Stalinist deportation of the Volga Germans?

Also, I think should you read Rachael Shabi, Smadar Lavie, Reuben Abergil and Yehouda Shenhav and watch the documentary "The Ringworm Children" (on Google video) if you're interested in Mizrachi voices which don't hock exculpating narratives for Zionism.
"Obviously the zionists.... Ben-Gurion et al accepted 181 (which is routinely painted as noble by pro-zionists)"

Good comment, except Ben-Gurion did not even accept 181. He accepted the idea of partition as a tactic, but he did not accept THE partition laid out in 181. And 181 wasn't only partition; it called for unconditional citizenship for anyone regardless of what state they were found in. So the whole act of denying the Palestinian refugees citizenship was contrary to 181 as well.
There were 900,000 Arabs in 1948 Palestine.

Of these, about 150,000 were left in Israel after the war.

Another group already lived in what became the West Bank and Gaza. I estimate this group as at least 250,000 - there were 50,000 just in the towns of Gaza, Hebron, and Nablus.

That leaves a maximum of 500,000 people who were displaced in the 1948 war, not 700,000+.

Israel took in 680,000 Mizrahim: not "an almost equal number of impoverished Jewish refugees from the Arab countries", but a much larger number.

It is arguable that the original Zionist plan was a historic mistake. However, the Arabs destroyed their moral case by resorting to murderous violence. (Ironically, had the Arabs confined their opposition to non-violent protest, Israel today would be majority Arab and Zionism would be dead.)

The Palestinian refugees of 1948 still had a claim to some redress. But...

The persecution and expulsion of the Mizrahim from Arab and Moslem countries gave them a comparable claim, which was stronger because there were more of them.

In short, even if Israel was not justified in 1948, it was by 1960, as a result of Arab actions, and it certainly is now.

If I was U.S. President, I would tell the Palestinians:

"Most Israeli Jews are Mizrahim. They are there because they were driven there by your Arab cousins. They aren't going anywhere, and any historic obligation they have to compensate you is more than offset by the historic injury they received from other Arabs.

"You once had a case for repatriation - but your Arab cousins threw it away. You're irrevocably screwed on this. The world is never going to fix it for you. Get over it. Quit huddling in camps, making nasty but pathetic efforts to destroy Israel. Make the best of what you have - and if you want compensation, get your Arab cousins to pay up.

"If not, then the U.S. washes its hands of you. No more U.S. aid, and no more U.S. participation in any pointless 'peace process'. Israel will do whatever it needs to do to be safe, and that will be fine with us. Whatever you suffer as a result, you are asking for."
The surrounding Arab nations came in 1948 at the request of the people who held sovereignty in palestine...the palestinians, whose sovereignty was under threat by armed groups who were being aided by outside forces, such as Czechslovakia. To claim they 'invaded' is a falsehood. Zionists declaring statehood did not negate the rights of the indigenous people of Palestine. srael declared statehood against the wishes of the vast majority of the indigenous people. Resolution 181 held only recommendation status, not enforcement. it was only binding so long as both sides agreed, and the palestinians were well within their legal and moral rights to refuse the 181. The surrounding Arab nations came at the request of the people who held sovereignty in palestine...the palestinians, whose sovereignty was under threat by armed groups who were being aided by outside forces, such as Czechslovakia. A famous jurist of the time, Hans Kelsen, himself a jew, pointed out the fact that the palestinians were legally entitled to refuse 181 and that it held no enforcement status over them. Obviously the zionists.... Ben-Gurion et al accepted 181 (which is routinely painted as noble by pro-zionists) , I mean if i was overed a slice of somebody elses land, against their will i'd seriously consider it..then probably decline it as it is IMMORAL. And given the widely acknowledged expansionist aims of the founders of Israel....

"..after we become a strong force, as the result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine." (Ben-Gurion).....

To deny the event known as the naaba is no better than somebody who denies the holocaust. You seek to deny one peoples suffering and so cannot complain when others do likewise.

And i can't believe you actually cite karsh...

But this is Karsh's way, to belabor minor points while completely ignoring, and hiding from his readers, the main pieces of evidence. It is a measure of Karsh's ignorance of what actually went on in the Middle East in 1948 that he writes (p. 97) of "the Arab attack on the newly-established State of Israel, in which Transjordan's Arab Legion participated." Quite simply, it did not. Karsh employs his usual method of focusing on the one document that seems to uphold his argument-often while twisting its real purport-while simply ignoring the mas of documents that undercut it.

Glad to c you've moved from the intractable issue of public education to a less controversial issue ... as always an excellent analysis ... and IF Stone references.

The adulation of the Palestinians reminds me of the victimization mantle of native Americans, genocidal conflict between tribes is ignored, only the white genocide of pure Rousseau innocents,
You Tube Mosab Hassan Yousef. He speaks the truth about islam. He was raised by a leader of Hamas . Read his book also if you think you know so much: SON OF HAMAS. Also read Bridgette Gabriel's THEY MUST BE STOPPED.

It's interesting that many Muslums end up denouncing Islam when they are end up being educated and have privy to the truth?

People in the middle east are treated like ignorant slaves and they act like plantation slaves in return. They do whatever they are told, believe whatever they are told. They believe their corrupt media and newspapers. Their government is totalitarian and doesn't want their people to know the truth. Because they are being lied to.
Excellent article as always and so true!
"9/11 was retaliation for US surgical strikes on civilian targets in Iraq during Gulf War I and the sanctions."

You can't be serious.
"the Israelis bend over backward to conduct surgical strikes upon her enemies who hide behind women's skirts [or burkas]"

But that's not the story about 1948. This very article quotes a writer, "“While the Arab guerrillas were moving in, the Arab civilian population was moving out.”" Yet in this case the civilian population wasn't allowed back in. So if Arabs separated combatants and civilians today, why should we not expect the Israelis to occupy the land and keep the civilians out?

"And by the way, andrew, regarding cities "hollowed and gutted" you were probably thinking of what Hafez al Asad did to the Syrian city of Hama in 1983."

The Israelis did it to Beirut, Sidon, Tyre and Ain al-Hilweh in 1982 (By the way, Hama was in 1982 as well). Israel's crimes have a level of ideological support in this part of the world -- you're proving it even as you speak -- lacking for the Arab states. The USA also provided weapons to both sides in the Iran-Iraq war if you're interested. Not to mention Israel and the US stood by to intervene during Black September. They weren't concerned about Hussein's killing of Palestinians, so being in lock step with Israel you shouldn't be either.

And of course many Iraqi cities were destroyed by the USA. 9/11 was retaliation for US surgical strikes on civilian targets in Iraq during Gulf War I and the sanctions. It is the only real case of the US war machine boomeranging on itself. I think we should quit while we can get off easy.

The fact is, the crimes of Israel and the Arab states are to some extent the crimes of the reigning imperial champion by proxy. I would agree it's hypocritical to oppose Israel and not the Hashemites and the Ba'athists but it goes the other way around, too.

Wow andrew -- you really need to lay of Al Jazeera, Reuters and AFP for your "news" sources. Entire cities "hollowed and gutted by aerial bombings"? Correction, your news sources exist in Bizarro world.
I'm not even going to answer such a libellous statement, other than to say that the Israelis bend over backward to conduct surgical strikes upon her enemies who hide behind women's skirts [or burkas] and baby carriages. Were the shoe on the other foot, we all know what would be the fate of Israel.
No mercy.
Oh I know, you'll retort that Israel does not act "proportionately". This is the diabolical catchphrase of those who wish Israel would simply disappear; by that calculus, those who demand "equality" in terms of body counts [as if rational people conduct wars this way] with Israel and her six million citizens versus her enemies with roughly three hundred million people -- Israel would be gone in months if it
went body-for-body. I see what you're calling for.
And by the way, andrew, regarding cities "hollowed and gutted" you were probably thinking of what Hafez al Asad did to the Syrian city of Hama in 1983. Yes? More people were killed in that one act than all of the palestinians [sic] who have died since Israel's reconstitution in 1948. Or maybe you were thinking of what King Hussein of Jordan did to the poor palestinians
in 1970 -- you know, the "Black September" massacre? Jordan [formerly Transjordan] is the actual land that the mandate set aside for palestinains [sic]. Why doesn't the world condemn the Hashemite Kingdom? Or perhaps you were thinking of the Iran/Iraq war, where Iran sent hundreds of thousands of children in "human waves" to their
horrific deaths at the hands of Iraq's vaunted "revolutionary guard"?
And what would you call what happened on September 11, 2001? Was that not an aerial assault which gutted a western city?
You have shown your true colors, andrew.
My point is you're substituting worn catch-phrases for analysis. Lebanon has always been recognized by the other Arab states except Syria. The Arab rejection of Israel doesn't boil down to it being non-Muslim.

The "facts on the ground" include no western or Israeli city ever hollowed and gutted by aerial bombings from a Muslim state. It's been the other way around.
andrew -- Not long ago Lebanon was a majority Christian country. What's your point? The "facts on the ground" today are that islam is asserting itself all over the world; and everywhere it goes, there's a trail of blood and tears.

P.S. I don't accept your characterization that many of the wealthy absentee landlords were Christian, to begin with.
Maccabee - While I'm not interested in doing a blow-by-blow responsed, it is worth pointing out internal contradictions. You say Israel is objected to because it is a non-Muslim presence in the Middle East, yet many of those absentee landlords who sold land to the Zionists were Christian (i.e. the Sursuk family). So what were non-Muslims doing there owning land to begin with?
Talk about straw men. I hope I'm not selective in sympathizing with refugees from any country but space precludes me from mentioning them all in a few paragraphs. Nor do I do hold the Arab states up as paragons of virtue by any means - they have treated their religious minorites very badly indeed.
OK, SW -- Let's say you purchase a home [the home is an investment property, the owner is an absentee owner who rents to a family] and you wish to move in after the renter's lease expires; but they like the home, and do not wish to vacate -- now what?
Does the renting family have any rights? NO.

The arabs for whom your heart bleeds so profusely could have stayed in what would become Israel, but they chose to leave at the urging of their leadership. Their status for the past five decades has been unlike the status of any other refugees in the history of humanity.
Speaking of refugees, SW, how come your heart doesn't bleed for the 750,000 Jewish refugees who were summarily kicked out of the arab countries of the Middle East with only the shirts on their backs in 1948?

Oh, I see, you're selective in your pity. Let's just call it a population exchange, where nearly equal amounts of Jews moved to Israel [remember now, they lost their longterm homes also -- most likely living as second-class citizens in arab countries longer than any arab ever lived in "palestine"] while simultaneously the same amount of arabs would be absorbed by Israel's neighbors?
Because this isn't about "settlements",
or about refugees, or injustice -- this is about the unwillingness of muslims to have in their midst any NON-muslims.
The fact that several generations of arabs have lived in those camps SHOULD NOT reflect upon Israel in any way -- but on the cynical hatred that arabs have for each other.

Wake up.
Very few peoples in history have been happy about losing their land - it's hard to think of a counter-example. For those Arabs who ended up in refugee camps, Israel has not been good news and it's a bit rich to tell such displaced persons and their wretched descendants to stop moaning about their lot. Of course, the obvious solution is for Arab governments to stop using these refugees as hostages and grant them full citizenship.

I don't dispute that Jews are indigenous to the region, too, but there are colonialist elements in how the Zionist claim is justified. The idea that group A can annex land by a private purchase from an individual belonging to group B, without the informed consent of group B as a whole, is a deeply colonial one that ignores the inherent and inalienable rights of indigenous people to their land. Other slogans familiar from American history - the land was empty/underused/misused, the natives are lazy/ungrateful/treacherous/immigrants and the priceless one, God/Providence/Destiny sent us (so bugger off).

I'm not calling for a Right of Return, merely a more respectful tone toward refugees who have suffered more than enough.
"SW:The indigenous Arabs faced a situation similar to that of the Sioux or Tibetans -of being inundated by immigrants - and they responded in the usual fashion."

Arabs/muslims are not indigenous to the middle east -- hordes of them spilled out from the arabian penninsula murdering, raping and pillaging all the way.
The mosque complex on top of Judaism's holiest site is a symbol of this conquest.

Hey "SW" just because you've swallowed the so-called palestinian narrative, which has been fabricated from whole cloth, doesn't make it any closer to the truth.

Give up its land? Whose land?
Aside from the mandate which was eventually administered by the United Nations, the same pen which drew national borders for all of the other nations in the Middle East, was the same ink used to demarcate Israel's borders. Jordan, Syria, Iraq, etc have similar arbitrary borders resulting from the disintegration of the defunct Ottoman empire -- yet only Israel is illegitimate!

More importantly, SW -- what of all of the huge tracts of hardscrabble land [with malarial swamps or large swaths of desert] which Zionists purchased legally from absentee arab landowners throughout what is today Israel?
Whose land is that?
Take your head out of that arab tuchus and wake up.
There's nothing mythical about the catastrophe visited upon the Palestinians. Is any nation expected to give up its land without objection, resistance or even regret? What does Churchill's 'fight them on the beaches speech' mean for a nation under assault? We will fight them for a year tops and then get used to the new order? The indigenous Arabs faced a situation similar to that of the Sioux or Tibetans -of being inundated by immigrants - and they responded in the usual fashion. You'd think supporters of the recent legislative changes in Arizona would have some sympathy for those businessmen of Jaffa who complained to the Mandate government regarding the alarming flood of 'aliens' into their neighbourhoods but for some strange reason the opposite is the case.

"meyer rothberg" [hehe] you are so wrong, and you have chosen to repeat one of the big lies; therefore you win today's boobie prize.
It's not about "settlements" at all -- it's about the presence of non-muslims
in the world. Wake up, dolt.
Incredible that this long article fails to mention Israel's policy of settlements in the west bank! That, of course, is the MAIN issue and main obstacle to peace.
I wasn't going to comment but something occurs, Palestinian fighters are frequently criticized for hiding among civilians. Now you quote this from Stone as if it's relevant: "The Palestinians, by contrast, began to run away almost as soon as the fighting began. “First the wealthiest families went,” Stone recounts. “While the Arab guerrillas were moving in, the Arab civilian population was moving out.”"

So the one time Palestinians separate civilians and combatants, the civilians are prevented from returning. What are we to expect, then, if Gaza's population evacuates while Hamas fights the IDF. Probably the civilians won't be coming back?
Bravo, Sol Stern!

Erudite. Erudite. Erudite.

As well written and researched as works by Alan Dershowitz.
"Kull" and "Abu al-Sous" cannot handle the truth. Why don't the so-called palestinians [and for that matter ALL arabs/muslims] go back to where THEY came from -- the arabian penninsula.
Francis W Stocker, M.D. August 02, 2010 at 6:12 AM
Sir: What needs to be added is the fertility rates amongst Palestinians and Israelis since 1948 and at present. The CIA World Fact Book gives the children per woman's life span as 2.75 in Israel. This would make Israel perhaps the only developed part of the globe with a clearly positive growth. I do not know what the break down of Jews and non-Jews.
The rate for Gaza is given at 5.03.
This means the "way forward" as diplomates like to put it is crowded with persons unfriendly to Israel.
I tried to put in HTML to a link in my previous comment, but it got stripped out.

"here" ->

Thank you Mr Stern. You confirm what I have believed for many years. I refer to my comment in the Daily Telegraph on 6th June 2007:

All the Arab dictatorships (and Kingdoms) have it within their power to end the ages-long war between themselves and Israel. They should agree that Israel has a right to exist, and accept that the Palestinians will not recover land now held by Israelis. Instead they continue to hold aloft the deliberately deformed Palestinian people as a banner of poverty and brutality, to extract guilt money and influence from the West. They have made the Palestinians the political "Rat Children" of the Middle East.

Gloss: "Rat Children" is the English name for the chuhas in Pakistan. See here.
Zionist Gentleman August 01, 2010 at 4:38 PM
A clear, reasoned, well-researched account that exposes the Naqba myth for what it is. How quickly we forget the facts and are drawn into facile and disingenuous narratives!

Unfortunately, for the entire Muslim world the Naqba is unassailable truth, irrespective of the facts. If you could invent a time-machine and transport each Muslim individually back to 1948 they would deny the evidence of their own eyes.

The challenge now is not to make peace in this generation; It is to create the prospect of peace for future generations. For this generation there can be no peace unless one or other side achieves total victory over the other - a horrifying prospect.
As disturbing as the naqba obsession may be, even more disturbing is the minimisation or complete silence concerning the Jewish naqba -- nearly one million Jews ethnically cleansed from the Muslim world.
This "article" (for lack of a better term, which would have much of scatology in it) reeks of so much disingenious and putrid lies that, if it were to be granted odoriferous powers suited to them, would kill a rhinoceros at fifty meters of distance.
No matter how much the author desires it to be lost and forgotten, consciousness of the Nakba will only rise and expand and fluorish in the coming years, to no little extent thanks to the efforts of corageous and honest israeli historians like Ilan Pappe, who have no qualms about debating the crimes and the atrocities committed by their own compatriots.
What a clear, powerful account -- the kind of piece I'd send to friends who have been resistant to argument. Terrific!
This article is great!

Thomas, to compare Hitler's attitude toward the Jews with Israelis attitude toward Palestinian refugees is absurd. Hitler felt all Jews, even German Jews, were inferior and should be exterminated. There are no concentration camps or gas chambers for Palestinians who stayed in Israel, just full citizenship. But, it is a Jewish state and they don't want to be outnumbered by non-Jews. Germany was never in danger of being a majority-Jewish country.

And, Abu al-Sous, if you think that 99.5% of Jewish refugees went to America, you are beyond absurd!
Menachem Chazan July 30, 2010 at 4:11 PM
The Media is so intimidated that they are fearful of laying the blame, for World Terrorism, on the Arab Despots who provide all Hatred Education & Terror Financing.
The Arab Despots of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria supported by Fundamentalist Religious Leaders are willing to sacrifice the last “Iraqi/Afgani Assassin” and the last “Palestinian Freedom Fighter” to ensure the perpetuation of their own regimes.
These Despots are totally dedicated to the subjugation, exploitation and disfranchising of their own citizens and abhor the messages of freedoms emanating from the emerging Middle Eastern Democracies.
Poor Israel, the spearhead of Democracy in the Middle East, has suffered the brunt of their hatred since its inception.
Only the overthrow of these despicable Despots will rid the world of the hatred that they are spewing on the world.
The main point of Zionism has been missed in the analysis. Zionism aimed for the start to establish a "Jewish state" in Palestine based on Jewish Majority. When that was not possible based on Jewish Immigration (99.5% of Jews preferred and still prefer to go to America then and now) and natural growth; then only ethnic cleansing was THE solution. The process to dispossess Palestinians and to vacume it from its indigenous population did not start in 1948, if you Google the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd transfer committees and Yosif Weitz you will find how what happened in 1948 was a well planned way in advance and sadly Palestinians recognized that when it was too late. For those who are interested also google Palestine Village Files as well

This article cites Mr. Karsh who was discredited many times, I urge you to see him debating Dr. Pappe (the author of: The Ethnic cleansing of Palestine). In that debate (which you can view on youtub) Mr. Karsh made an fool of himself.
phil lister,edmonton, Can. July 30, 2010 at 9:37 AM
Having lived thru these days I can say that this is 100% accurate.As many jews were displaced in the 1948 parittion as arabs- but the jews were welcomed into their new state while the arabs were NOT welcomed into (Trans)Jordan, as the arab half of the old british mandate was called.Instances of forced exclusion- eg Ramla, were rare and by far the exception. Nor were those (few) people expelled from the country-just sent down the road.
Hitler used the same derogatory idea that sharing Germany with the Jews would bring an end to Germany as he knew it. Isn't it amazing how we condemn him and yet fail to realize how Zionism is propelling the same ideology in the Holy Land.
A great article! Unfortunately, these facts about the so called arab refugees are widely unkown in the West. I highly recommend to publish this article in Western Europe, e.g. Germany, France.
Nice history, however the author failed to go back far enough to the biggest myth of all when he refers to these people as Palestinians. THIS is the biggest obstacle to peace in the middle east. There is no such thing as "Palestinians".

When this myth is debunked the entire narrative surrounding it, crumbles.

The entire story the world has been fed that there is a native people to the region called "Palestinians" who are much like the Native Americans whose land was overrun and taken from them, etc. etc. etc.

Debunk THIS myth first. The rest will follow.
As depressing as it is true. The amazing thing is that Palestinians and leftists truely believe Israel will commit suicide to satisfy their perverted notion of "justice."
Well-said , indeed . I read Palestine Betrayed this spring and have passed it along to others interested in the "Nakba ". What I found most compelling in Karsh's account was his reliance on contemporaneous British reports of real time facts . And the Brits were no friends of the Jewish people ,yet their reports tend to support the inconvenient truth that the Arabs ,and esp. their leadership, brought this disaster down on themselves . I would also hope the work that leadership did for the Nazi's , which has not been given nearly enough currency, become part of the so-called narrative . In a more just world , the Mufti would have shared the gallows with the other Quislings
Excellent piece of work!! I will send it to my English-speaking friends.
Yeshayahu Hollander July 29, 2010 at 2:30 AM
Absolutely first class reporting.
Another narrative element that leads to discombobulation which is a inverse parallel to the Naqba element is the argument that runs: why do you Jews come to our country because of what the Nazis did to you and then do what they did to you? are we guilty for European anti-semitism?

This too neatly avoids the fact that the major contributor to the results of the Holocaust caused by the shutting of the gates to Jewish immigration in the late 1930s and then the finality of 1939 White Paper was the Arab terror in the Mandate. At first sporadic in 1920, 19291 and 1929, the years of 1936-39, with over 500 Jews killled and several thousands of Arabs, almost half of which because of internecine fighting between Mufti loyalists and the Nashashibi-led forces, were a direct influence of Gt. Britain to pervert the idea of a Jewish National Home, sacrificing the Jews between Hitler and the Mufti. Add to that the active participation of the Mufti in the killing of Jews, and one is usually astonished that this story-line never gets played out anywhere, probably because of Arab acute embarrassment and Left-wing hypocrisy.
It is a shame that old men from the past can do so much harm in the future,if you believe in God then you people's will learn that killing each other is not the way.