Local Time

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1948 LEST WE FORGET – Palestine and the Nakba

The Zionist Project
“Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word…it would be this: ‘At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today [1897] I would be answered by universal laughter. If not in 5 years, then certainly in 50. Everyone will know it’ “. Theodor Herzl Diaries 1987.
Herzl missed his goal by only 1 year.
Theodore_Herzl.jpgZionism emerged as a national movement in Eastern Europe in the 1880’s. Its founder, Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), a Hungarian Jew, dreamt of establishing a Jewish State in the land of Palestine, a dream which was to be realised through colonisation and land acquisition. According to Zionist archives, the leadership of early Zionism believed that the native population of Palestine, as a result of this colonisation, would simply “fold their tents and slip away” or, if they resisted, they would be spirited across the borders”.
It all started in a small way as the first Zionist settlement in Palestine was founded with the financial help of Edmond James de Rothschild (1845-1934), a French financier who assisted a small group of the Russian Bilu Jewish Society to immigrate to Palestine in 1882. This Philanthropist sponsored a few more tiny settlements at the time such as Gai Oni, Roch Pina, Zichron-Ya’acov (which he named after his grandfather) and Rishon Letzion with settlers from around Eastern Europe.
The single aim of all these settlements and their planners who envisioned them was to slowly and secretly transfer, drive out and ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous people.
This concept of transfer of the local population was held dear by almost every member of the Zionist leadership in Europe. At their first official Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897, they called already for “the establishment of a publicly and legally secured home in Palestine for the Jewish people”.
20 years later, the Balfour Declaration threw them a lifeline.
Copy%20of%20Israel_Zangwill.jpgTo secure support for this project, Israel Zangwill (1864-1926), an Anglo-Jewish writer and a powerful leader of British Zionism, coined the phrase: “a land without a people for a people without land”. Little did he and all his colleagues in the Zionist leadership realise (or wished to remember) that there were almost 410,000 Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) living in Palestine around the early 1890’s.

weizmann.jpgChaim Weizmann (1874-1952) who was to become Israel’s first president, said once: “…there is a country which happens to be called Palestine, a country without a people…and there exists the Jewish people and it has no country. What is left is to fit the gem into the ring…”
The Zionist leadership did not actually mean that there were no people in Palestine. They meant that there were no people in Palestine worth considering as a people.
The Zionists truly believed that the Land of Israel belonged exclusively to the Jewish people. Theodor Herzl wrote in June 1895: “We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border…and both the process of expropriation and removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly...”
Israel Zangwill followed by saying that “if we wish to give a country to a people without a country, it is utter foolishness to allow it to be the country of two peoples…”.
Zionism’s idea of transfer was even tested within a wider Arab framework where Zionist leaders would offer Arab leaders financial incentives, expertise and international influence in exchange for acquiescence in the expansion of the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine). In January 1919, for example, Chaim Weizmann and the Hashemite Emir Faisal who was aspiring to the leadership of the Arab Nationalist Movement, concluded an agreement under British auspices whereby Faisal would support Jewish immigration into Palestine in return for economic support for the future state Faisal was hoping to create.
As Palestinian resistance to the expansion of the Yishuv was growing, so was the Zionist determination to implement the doctrine of separation between the Jewish community and the Palestinian population in preparation for the eventual establishment of a Jewish state.
David_BG.jpgYishuv leaders such as David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), born in Poland as David Gruen and who arrived in Palestine in 1906 at the age of 20 and later became the first prime minister of Israel, strongly advanced the idea of transfer and saw the link between the separation of the Palestinians and of the Jews and the plan for the eventual transfer of the Palestinians out of Palestine.
When the Palestinian Revolt took place (1936-39), the Zionists saw a chance and a reason for the strengthening of their underground forces and the expansion of their military infrastructure. It was becoming clear to the Yishuv that the solution to the Palestinian demographic problem can only be achieved through military threats.
Ben-Gurion declared in 1936: “…What can drive the Arabs to a mutual understanding with us?…Facts, only after we manage to establish a great Jewish fact in the country will the precondition for discussion with the Arabs be met”.
Valdimir%20Jabotinsky.jpgVladimir Jabotinsky (1880-1940), born in the Ukraine-USSR, was a member of the World Zionist Organisation and later founded the Zionist-Revisionist movement, which was the central ideological component of the Likud (now Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party), always believed that the creation of a Jewish state meant imposing the will of Zionism on the Palestinian population. He stated:
“…colonisation can continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through…this is our policy towards the Arabs and to formulate it in any other way would be hypocrisy…The Jewish question can be solved either completely or it cannot be solved at all. We are in need of a territory where our people will constitute the overwhelming majority…and one must not be afraid of the word ‘segregation’ ”.
Jabotinsky believed that only ‘an iron wall of bayonets and Jewish armed garrisons’ would be able to secure Jewish sovereignty on both sides of the Jordan River. Like Weizmann and Ben-Gurion before him, he had only contempt for the indigenous Arabs. He once said: “we Jews, thank God, have nothing to do with the East. The Islamic soul must be broomed out of Eretz Yisrael”. This ideology found expression in two military terrorist organizations:
Menachem%20Begin.jpgThe first was the Irgun formed in 1935 by Menachem Begin (1913-1992) a Polish Jew who became prime minister in 1977 (and about whom Albert Einstein in a 1948 letter to the New York Times said that he and his party were “closely akin in their organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties”).

Shamir.jpgThe second was the Stern Gang led by Itzhak Shamir (born Icchak Jaziernicki in Rozana, Poland in 1915) which was responsible for many terrorist acts including the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte. Shamir, of course, became Israel’s Prime Minister not once but twice: from 1983-84 and again from 1986-1992.

This Shamir described the Arabs as “beasts of the desert, not a legitimate people”. In a memorandum to UNSCOP in 1947, his Stern Gang called for the compulsory evacuation of the entire Palestinian population from Palestine, preferably in the direction of Iraq. As the sale of land by absentee landlords increased so did the bitterness of the Palestinian farmers who worked on them and who were now forced to leave by their new land owners. For this purpose, Chaim Weizmann established the Jewish Agency Executive to promote the idea of Palestinian transfer from newly acquired land. At the same time, Jewish immigration increased and the number of Jewish immigrants jumped from 30,000 in 1933 to 61,000 in 1935 (representing 29.5% of the total population).

The Concept of Transfer
With Palestinian riots erupting in 1936, Britain decided to dispatch a commission to investigate the causes for the riots and the clashes taking place between Jews and Arabs. The Royal Commission, known as the Royal (Peel) Commission arrived in Palestine in November of that year led by William W Peel, 1st Earl Peel (1867-1937). It interviewed Zionist and Arab leaders before it made its recommendations suggesting in a nut shell that “sooner or later, there should be a transfer of land and, as far as possible, an exchange of population”.
Lord Peel arriving in Mandate Palestine
The Commission’s recommendations were seen as the first official indication of a plan to partition Palestine and to transfer its population, an idea credited to one of the Peel Commission members, Reginald Couplan, who was considered Zionism’s greatest friend on the Royal Commission.
So the transfer concept was slowly tied to the idea of partitioning and became the central core of all Zionist lobbying efforts that followed.
MosheSharett-1894-1965.jpgMoshe Shertok (1894-1965), who, like Jabotinsky, was born in the Ukraine, (and later became the 2nd Prime Minister of Israel), was elected as the head of the political department of the Jewish Agency. He was crucial in formulating policies on the question of transfer. In a speech to the Zionist Actions Committee in April 1937, he stated:
“The proposed Jewish state would not be continuous. The frontier line would separate villages from their fields…the Arab reaction would be negative [to the partition idea] because they would loose everything and gain almost nothing…they would loose the richest part of Palestine…the orange plantations, the commercial and industrial centres…most of the coastal areas…and [they] would be driven out into the desert. As for now, we must not forget who would have to exchange the land? Those villagers who live more than others on irrigation, on orange and fruit plantations, in houses built near water wells and pumping stations, on livestock and property and easy access to markets. Where would they go? What would they receive in return? This would be such an uprooting, such a shock the likes of which had never occurred before and could drown the whole thing in rivers of blood”.
This 70-year old speech, could have been made today as it would reflect exactly what is happening to the Palestinian territories now. The fear amongst the Palestinian people was that the Peel Commission was taking one step towards turning the Balfour Declaration of a ‘Jewish National Home’ into a Jewish State.
Although Ben-Gurion admitted that he could forsee enormous difficulties “in uprooting by foreign force some 100,000 Arabs from the villages in Galilee which they have inhabited for hundreds of years”, he was, nevertheless, determined that “we must be prepared to carry out the transfer…we must expel Arabs and take their place, and if we have to use force…the we have force at our disposal…Our strength will exceed theirs [the Arabs] and we will be better organised and equipped because behind us still stands…the whole younger generation of Jews from Europe and America”.
This is from a terrorist who became the first Prime Minister of Israel.
Eliezer Kaplan (1891-1952), born in Minsk, Belurussia, was appointed head of the Finance and Administrative Department of the Jewish Executive (and later became the Finance Minister in Ben-Gurion government). He declared that “the question here is not one of expulsion, but of organised transfer from Jewish territories to another place”.
Other Zionist leaders were even worried that such a transfer to neighbouring countries would actually jeopardize future expansion of the Jewish state [into these neighbouring countries]!
One of the leaders of the Mapai Party, Yosef Baratz (1890-1968), born in the Ukraine but moved to Palestine against his parents’ wishes, was initially doubtful whether it would be possible to transfer 300,000 Palestinian Arabs. Yet, he confidently remembered that: “…dind’t we transfer Arabs from D’Aganiya [the first Zionist communal settlement in Palestine where he lived and married] , Kenert, Merhavya and Mishmar Haemek? I remember the nights on which Shmuel Dayan [Moshe Dayan’s father] and I were called to help Hashomer [a Zionist terrorist organization] carry out Arab evacuation. What was the sin in that?”.
Dayan.in.Hebron.1967.jpgYears later, Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) was born in a kibbutz to Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. He later became Israel’s defense minister between 1953-1958. He spoke of the effect of the Zionist transfer policy on the Palestinian landscape [as quoted in Haaretz in April 1969]: Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages [in Palestine]. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not either. Nahlal [Dayan’s own settlement] arose in the place of Mahlool; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal Al-Shuman. There is not one single place in this country [Israel] that did not have a former Arab population”.
The records of the Protocol of the 20th Zionist Congress on 9 August 1937, show that the idea of transfer was heavily debated: “in Dr Weizman’s opinion, it would be possible to transfer100,000 Palestinians in 20 years, i.e., 5,000 per year. He [Weizmann] told of a plan to set up a fund for a large [Arab] re-settlement. The Jews will contribute to this the amount of1 million Palestinian pounds, and another 2 million pounds will be given…from the savings of the Mandatory treasury”.
MenachemUssishkin-1863-1941.jpgMenachem Ussishkin (1863-1941), born in Imperial Russia and elected chairman of the powerful and influential Jewish National Fund, advocated the transfer of Palestinians not only to Transjordan, but to Iraq [the farther the better, he apparently thought]: “the Arab people in Palestine have immense areas of land at their disposal. Our people have nothing. We demand that our inheritance, Palestine, be returned to us”.
Another character, Dr Selig Soskin (1872-1959), Director of the Land Settlement Department of the Jewish National Fund, had extensive knowledge of land issues and means of transferring people form one place to another. He advocated the idea of total transfer of Palestinians as a condition for the establishment of a Jewish state. With the help of the Land Fund set up to purchase Arab land, he argued that the transfer must be carried out with the greatest speed possible: “The transferring of the Arabs by such numbers in a long period shall not have the desired effect of freeing the country from the heavy burden of a second class citizen and from cheap producers. Besides, the small numbers suggested by the Peel Commission will be made up by the natural increase in numbers through their economic development under Jewish rule”. He estimated that 40,000 Palestinian families or 250,000 Palestinian Arabs will have to be transferred from the proposed Jewish state. The cost of this transfer, he estimated, would be about £P200 per Arab family.

Britain’s Zionists Prepare the Ground
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Prime Minister from 1874-1880 once said: “The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews”.
On 31 October 1917, a British army contingent numbering 150,000 soldiers led by General Allenby attacked the Turkish garrison town of Beer Sheba (Beer Al-Sabe') near the Gaza Strip and raised most of its buildings to the ground. This crucial victory laid the Palestine landscape beyond open to the invading British forces.
Within hours of that victory, Allenby shot a telegram to London informing the government of the great news.  Months earlier, Chaim Weizman leader of the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) and Arthur J Balfour (1848-1930), a Conservative politician  and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had been conducting secret negotiations the aim of which was the establishment in Palestine of 'a national home for the Jews'. When Allenby's telegram arrived on the 1st of November, Balfour pulled out, on the very next day, 2 November 1917, a secret document which had been agreed with the WZO, and known ever since, as The Balfour Declaration and issued it in the form of a letter addressed to Lord L Walter Rothschild (1868-1937) a British banker and member of the wealthy Rothschild financial dynasty.
It read:
This Declaration came about after extensive lobbying from the Zionist leadership whose spokesman and tireless lobbyist Weizmann never missed an opportunity to prepare the grounds to secure this Declaration. For instance, in one letter he wrote to a friend in December 1914, he said: 
“I saw Balfour on Saturday [mid December 1914] and the interview lasted one and a half hours. Balfour remembered everything we discussed 8 years ago [1906] and I gave him a brief summary of what has happened over these years…He listened for a long time and was very moved - I assure you, to tears - and he took me by the hand and said that I had illuminated for him the road followed by a great suffering nation [the Jewish nation], and expressed his opinion that the question of Palestine would remain insoluble…until there was a normal Jewish community in Palestine. He asked me whether I wanted anything practical at present. I said no, [but that] I would like to call on him again…when the roar of the guns had stopped [meaning, WW1]. He saw me out into the street, holding my hand in silence, and bidding me farewell said warmly:
'Mind you come again to see me, I am deeply moved and interested, it is not a dream, it is a great cause and I understand it'“.
Arthur%20James%20Balfour.jpg       Walter_Rothschild1.jpg
Arthur Balfour (1848-1930)           Walter Rothschild (1868-1937)

The Declaration then followed 3 years later.
This Declaration may be considered the most extraordinary document of any government. What makes it extraordinary is the fact that, in the words of Arthur Koestler (Jewish novelist 1905-1983), "one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third". Even more extraordinary is the fact that this third country (Palestine) was still part of the empire of a fourth (Turkey).  
Britain had no business offering the nation of one people to the people of many nations.
In a curious comment, which smacks of typical colonial arrogance, Balfour said:
"...in Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder impact than the desires of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit this ancient land".
Henry Cattan  (1906-1992) a renowned international jurist and writer, once observed that the Balfour Declaration was "legally void [it did not obtain the consent of the indigenous people of Palestine], morally wicked [because Britain solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third] and politically mischievous [because it planted he seeds of conflict between Jews and Arabs who had lived together in peace and harmony for many generation]".
But to give it an international seal of legitimacy, the Balfour Declaration draft text was submitted to President Woodrow Wilson of the United States who approved it prior to its publication. On the 14th February and 9th May 1918 respectively, France and Italy publicly endorsed it. 
Fighting with the Turks ended in victory for the Allies on the 28th June, 1919. The League of Nations Covenant was also signed at this time. Article 22 of the Covenant prescribed that the wishes of the people formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory. According to the surveys conducted at the time, it was privately reported that the Arabs had opted for the United States to be their supervisory body. The Zionist leadership opted for the trusteeship of Great Britain over Palestine and when Turkish rule formally ended under the Treaty of Sevres on 10 August 1920, the Zionists ensured that the famous Balfour Declaration was embodied in it under Article 22.
The embodiment of this Zionist dream within the League’s Covenant sealed the fate of Palestine at this early stage of the Mandate. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about this linkage, it was dispelled by Article 4 of the Mandate which stated:
“An appropriate Jewish Agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine…as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine…The Zionist Organization shall be recognized as such agency…and shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to…assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home in Palestine”. 
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) twice British Prime Minister between 1940-45 and 1951-55, endorsed it officially in a letter he wrote in 1920 which said that “it has fallen to the British Government, as a result of the conquest of Palestine, to have the opportunity and the responsibility of securing for the Jewish race all over the world a home and a centre of national life. The fiery energies of Dr Weizmann leader of the Zionist project, supported by the full authority of Lord Allenby, are all directed to achieving the success of this inspiring movement. Of course Palestine is far too small to accommodate more than a fraction of the Jewish race, but if there should be created in our lifetime by the Banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown, which might comprise 3 or 4 million Jews, an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire”.
In this atmosphere of promises and deceptions, the Mandate for Palestine was formally allotted to Great Britain at the Peace Conference of San Remo on 25 April 1920. 
The borders of Mandate Palestine were drawn up in the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement in San Remo  by Great Britain and France between 15-16 May 1916. This agreement was seen by many as a turning point in Western-Arab relations, as it negated promises made earlier to the Arabs for a national homeland in exchange for their help in defeating the Ottoman Empire. Here is what Item 10 of that Agreement stated:
"10. The British and French Governments, as the protectors of the Arab State, shall agree that they will not themselves acquire and will not consent to a third Power acquiring territorial possessions in the Arabian Peninsula, nor consent to a third Power installing a naval base on the east coast or in the Red Sea..." All the promises made to the Arabs for independence and sovereignty once the war was over, have been broken. To add insult to injury, their land was cut up and Palestine was promised to the the Jews 18 months later via the Balfour Declaration.
Sir Mark Sykes (1879-1919) 
The British, as the Mandatory power in Palestine, therefore, were confronting the contradiction of two irreconcilable aims: assisting Palestine to advance towards and to achieve independence under the Mandate Charter, and the commitment, under the Balfour Declaration, to a future Jewish Home in Palestine.
Article 22 of The League of Nations Covenant stated that the right of “those colonies and territories which, as a consequence of the late war, have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves…there should be applied the principle that the well being and development of such people form a sacred trust of civilisation and that the securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant
Continued illegal Jewish immigration and the purchase of Palestinian land by the Jewish National Fund reached record levels in the 1930’s with Hitler in Germany, and Mussolini in Italy, advocating the expulsion of Jews from Europe. By the mid 1930’s the Jews in Palestine formed one third of the total population enjoying the blessing of the Balfour Declaration. 
Arab resistance escalated from delegations and emmisaries, petitions and declarations to demonstrations and strikes. This culminated in the first Palestine Riots in 1929 forcing the British Government to issue The Passfield White Paper in November 1930 calling for a limitation on Jewish immigration into Palestine. But with Zionist pressure mounting to allow more Jews into Palestine, the registered figures show that such immigration reached ‘invasion’ proportion in just 4 years: from 9,553 Jews in 1932 to 30,327 (1933) to 42,359 (1934) to 61,854 (1935) totalling 144,093. In the same period, the equivalent number of Jewish immigration to the USA was only 14,118. The Palestinian Arabs now braced themselves up for a national revolt.
The Palestinian Arab Rebellion of 1936 lasted for 3 years and forced Britain to send yet again one of its time-honoured commissions to Palestine. Led this time by Lord Peel, it concluded that the two objectives of Article 2 of the Mandate (eventual independence for the indigenous population and the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine) could not be reconciled, The Peel Commission recommended that Palestine be partitioned. The Palestinians, of course, were horrified at this conclusion which granted the Jews 40% of Palestine when Jewish land ownership at the time did not exceed 5.5%; the cruellest provision of all was that there should be, if necessary, a “forcible transfer of Arabs” out of lands allotted to the Jewish state (see later sections). 
The Peel Commission (November 1937)
Arab revolt and resistance to this policy was more than equated by fierce British repression against the Palestinians. More than 5,000 were killed and over 15,000 wounded out of a population of 1 million (the equivalent at the time of 200,000 British and 1 million Americans killed and 600,000 British and 3 million Americans wounded). The number of detainees was over 5,600 in 1939 alone. All of this was accompanied by the terrorisation and murder of Arab villagers by special British-trained Jewish squads and underground terrorists.
The Zionist leadership in the persons of Weizmann and Ben-Gurion, were of course jubilant at the Peel recommendations, for this was the first time that the “Jewish National Home” was being officially and publicly equated with a “Jewish State”. It was also being pronounced by a great power, Britain, which was itself the Mandatory. 
Ben-Gurion, although grateful for the Peel recommendations, stated soon afterwards that “The Jewish state now being proposed to us is not the Zionist aim. But this will be a decisive step in bringing about the great Zionist aim. In the shortest time possible, it will build the real Jewish strength that will carry us to our historic objectives”.
The Palestine Arab Revolt evoked the sympathy and support of Mahatma Gandhi who wrote in 1938: “Surely, it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their National Home”
As the clouds of WWII were gathering and as the threat of international crisis was looming, the British Government called for a Round Table Conference attended by Arabs, Palestinians and Zionist representatives. Malcolm Macdonald, the new Colonial Secretary was the driving force behind it. The inconclusive conference issued its White Paper on May 17, 1939 which indicated a sudden change of heart from the British Government about the recommendations of the previous Peel Commission. Perhaps this is because the British government  began to realise that Palestine could never become the solution for the Jewish problem and that the development of a National Home for the Jews in Palestine can be achieved only as a result of the wholesale eviction of the existing indigenous population. The White Paper of 1939 stated the following:
1. “The proposal of partition recommended by the Royal Commission, namely the establishment of self-supporting independent Arab and Jewish states within Palestine, has been found to be impracticable. 
2. His Majesty’s Government now declares unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish state. 
3. The object of His Majesty’s Government is the establishment within 10 years  (i.e., by the end of its Mandate) of an independent Palestine State…in which Arabs and Jews share in government in such a way as to ensure that the essential interests of each community are safeguarded”. 
The Zionists rejected the White Paper outright and, with the increasing  influence of David Ben-Gurion on Zionist strategic thinking, began to shift their base of political lobbying and influence from London to Washington leading up to 1947. The events taking shape during this period sounded the death knell for Palestine. The Zionist link between Palestine and the Holocaust was forged.
The Population Transfer Committee: November 1937
On the heel of the Peel Committee recommendations, the Jewish Agency created the Population Transfer Committee with an impressive list of executive members, one of whom was Dr Kurt Mendelson from Holland considered to be ‘the expert on the question of population transfer’. He would divide the Palestinian Arabs into 3 categories to be cleared in the first stage of the Transfer Plan:
1. Tenant farmers.
2. Landless villagers working as agricultural labourers.
3. Farmers who owned less than 3 dunums per capita.
To resettle these people, the Transfer Committee calculated that 1.15 million dunums would have to be purchased in Transjordan and that it would take nearly 10 years to complete the transfer.
Ben-Gurion opted instead for a total evacuation of Arabs from the proposed Jewish state. He said that he looked at the Jewish part only as a provisional solution “on the basis that after we build a strong force following the establishment of the state, we will abolish the partition of the country and we will expand to the whole Land of Israel”.
One executive member of the Jewish Agency concurred: “...we will not achieve this by preaching sermons on the mount, but by machine-guns which we will need”. Some Committee members even opposed the idea of partition itself and argued for a single state for the Jewish people: “We cannot begin the Jewish state with a population of which Arabs constitute almost half of the population…Such a state cannot survive even for half an hour”.
Fearing moral backlash from world opinion against forced expulsion of the Palestinian population, the debate considered ways of how to contain such a possible backlash. But this did not deter one Committee member to volunteer: “If you ask me whether it is moral to remove 60,000 families from their place of residence…I will say to you that it is moral. I am ready to come and defend the moral side of it before the Almighty and the League of Nations”.
Ben-Gurion closed the debate: “I support compulsory transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it.
Surprisingly, the British Government decided that all this transfer talk would not wash. It sent a new commission to Palestine in April 1938, called the Woodhead Commission chaired by Sir John Woodhead. It was to examine the recommendations of the Peel Commission for the partition of Palestine.
It issued The White Paper 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper, which was in essence an internal policy paper in which Britain unilaterally abandoned the Mandate’s goals of establishing a ‘Jewish homeland in Palestine’ in favour of an independent bi-national state governed jointly by Palestinian Arabs and Jews. However, this Paper was later rejected by the League of Nations to whom the Mandatory Authorities had to answer and which had to approve every change to British policy in the Mandate.
Meanwhile and behind the scenes, a New York-based Jewish Multi-millionaire by the name of Edward A Norman (1900-1955) was devoting much of his fortune to supporting the Yishuv (the Jewish population in Palestine). He established what later became the American-Israel Cultural Fund which supported all cultural institutions of the Yishuv in Palestine and later in Israel. Part of his plan evolved around the transfer of Palestinian Arabs to Iraq. Norman estimated that the cost of settling one family would be in the region of $300. He hoped that the Palestinian families would be ‘bought out’ and be induced to leave, starting with those in the coastal plain where land is suitable for agriculture. Later in February 1937, he was to revise his figure to $1,800 per Palestinian family of 6 persons. This cost would be partly covered by money earned from the sale of Palestinian land to immigrant Jews.
Norman presented his scheme to British Colonial Office officials when he visited London in early 1938. He was relying on the fact that Britain would rather have the support of a future majority Jewish population in Palestine than an Arab one aspiring to an independent nation. He wrote articles in the London Times in the spring and summer of 1938 promoting Palestinian transfer to Iraq. He discussed these ideas with Weizmann and Ben-Gurion. Weizmann and Norman even lobbied the American Government to accept the idea of transfer to Iraq as a necessary means for producing foodstuff by Palestinian labourers to help war efforts by the allies in the various theatres of war at the time.
This scheme, mercifully, came to nothing as Britain’s Labour Party came to power.
For the next few years and for the duration of WW2, the Zionist leadership began to shift their priorities and looked away from Britain for alternative sponsors: the United States of America.
Although the idea of transfer was not in the foreground of all Zionist discussions, it was believed that as a result of WW2, shifts in populations in Europe and in Palestine would eventually take place. Weizmann, the energetic Zionist that he was, intended to discuss his plan for a Jewish state in Palestine with American President Roosevelt. He would propose that the Palestinians would be evacuated from the proposed state to allow room for 3-4 million Jewish immigrants from Europe.
In New York, on May 6, 1942, a small group of Zionist leaders (including Weizmann, Ben-Gurion and Nahum Goldman, chairman of the Jewish Agency) together with 6000 American Jews gathered at the Biltmore Hotel in New York to formulate their official demand for a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Their declaration, known as the Biltmore Programme, reiterated the following aims:
1. The fulfilment of the original purpose of the Balfour Declaration
2. The total rejection of the White Paper of 1939
3. That Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth integrated in the structure of the new democratic world.
It is worth noting here that what Ben-Gurion meant by ‘Jewish Commonwealth’ was neither ‘a national home in Palestine’ (Balfour Declaration), nor ‘a Jewish state in Palestine’ (the Peel Partition Plan), but the undisputed control by the Zionists of immigration of Jews into Palestine and the extent of land acquisition in the country. (At this time, it is worth remembering, Jewish land ownership stood only at 5.9% of the total area, and the Jewish community at only 31.2% of the total population. This Biltmore Programme wielded President Wilson’s name for the benefit of the American people, and confirmed Washington as the new centre of gravity for decision making on Palestine.
Jewish Land Ownership in Palestine
On the other side of the Atlantic, in December 1944, the British Labour Party issued its Conference Resolution supporting Zionist ideas for Palestinian transfer from Palestine. This resolution was drafted by Hugh Dalton, an ardent supporter of Zionist maximalist aims for the establishment of a Jewish state on both sides of Jordan River and the Sinai Peninsula.
In 1945, another transfer plan was formulated by a close friend of Jabotinsky. His name was Eliahu Ben-Hurin, editor of of Yishuv’s Hebrew paper Doar Hayom. His campaign reached as far as the American White House where, in 1943, he had convinced Herbert Hoover to lend his support for transfer of Palestinians to Iraq. Hoover’s support came in the form of a proposal published in the New York World-Telegram paper in 1945 where he called the transfer ideas as ‘a sane and practical solution’. As an engineer by profession, Hoover stated that he wished to achieve an ‘engineering solution’ to the Palestine conflict.
The full impact on the Palestinian people of the transfer policy can be confirmed by the following statistics:
Percentage of Palestinian population drop vs rise in Jewish land ownership
As the Palestinian Nakba was taking place in 1948, Harper’s Magazine published an article by Ben Horin entitled ‘From Palestine to Israel’. The Editor of the magazine noted that “Now, with thousands of Arab refugees facing a dismal future, the transfer idea appears to be a likely bet…in view of Mr Ben Horen’s earlier judgement and prophecies, we can bank on his words about present-day Israel: ‘It works’ “.

The Link: Palestine and the Holocaust
The main Zionist efforts and objective now concentrated on the abrogation of the White Paper. With the White Paper out of the way, and with world public sympathy aroused as a result of Nazi barbarism against the Jews in Europe, the Zionists could move to present this abrogation of the White Paper as the one available solution to move Europe’s Jews to Palestine. This was the main call at the Biltmore Conference in New York (see later) which stated: “The policy of the White Paper is cruel and indefensible in its denial of sanctuary to Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution”.
This statement is inexplicable in terms of logic and equity. The Allies were victorious in the war against Germany. Nazism had been crushed. Jewish survivors were moved into relief centres which were supervised and protected by Allied troops and Palestine Jewish Brigades. The plight of these Jewish survivors was a scar on the conscience of the Western world which possessed the resources and the ingenuity to provide them with a secure future. But to exploit the plight of the Jewish refugees for the political purpose of tearing the White Paper of 1939, itself the end result of two agonised decades of Palestinian struggle for national survival, is to throw into question the motive of the American endorsement.
Moved by the plight of Jewish Holocaust survivors, no less a person that the US President Harry S Truman was endorsing the Biltmore declaration. He asked the British Government in August 1945 to allow the immediate immigration of 100,000 Jews from Europe into Palestine while declaring to his constituents (as he ran for election in 1948) that the US would ‘alone’ bear the brunt of the 300,000 refugees moving into the US. This secured for him the support of the Zionist leadership in America and alienated the Arab world from the West. Truman told his assembled American diplomats from Arab countries: “I am sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism; I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs in my constituency”.
At war’s end, the international environment suffers from general fluidity and is therefore vulnerable to territorial surgery. World public opinion has been saturated by the Holocaust tragedy and its sympathy for Zionism peaked regardless of what it understood Zionism to be. The corollation between the Zionist doctrine and its aims in Palestine and the Holocaust tragedy itself became clear. The political solution for the Jewish problem had to be at the expense of the humanitarian one.
Ernest%20Bevin%204%201881-1951.jpgThe staunchly pro-Zionist Ernest Bevin (1881-1951), British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, established a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, made up of 6 ‘non-official citizens’ of Britain and USA, to look into the Palestine question.
It set out for Europe and Palestine in 1946 an event which marked the beginning of a diplomatic struggle between the Palestinians and the Zionists for the sympathy and understanding of world public opinion through its new forum, the United Nations which was only 1 year old.
It is worth noting that the Committee of Inquiry first toured the Jewish concentration camps in Europe before travelling to Palestine, a critical success by the Zionist lobby to impact committee members with the Holocaust events. Many camp dwellers, initially not wishing to immigrate to Palestine, were influenced by Jewish organisations to adopt a pro-Zionist line when interviewed by Committee members and to request that they be moved to Palestine.
Consequently, when the Committee of Inquiry reached Palestine, it was warmly welcomed by the Jews and their leaders but and immediately boycotted by the Arab High Committee. The Committee was already leaning towards the view that the Jewish situation in Europe had to be linked with Jewish migration to Palestine. This link proved to be a vital factor in understanding the role played by the Holocaust in the creation of the state of Israel.
On 30 April 1946, the Committee concluded its work by recommending that 100,000 Jews from Europe be allowed admission into Palestine and the establishment of a bi-national state under a UN trusteeship with equal rights for both communities. These proposals were rejected by the British Government on the basis of Clause 76 of the UN Charter which protects the right to independence through majority rule for any nation desiring it.
In 1947, and despite mass illegal Jewish immigration into Palestine, the Palestinians still constituted 65% of the population of Palestine: that is, 1,350,000 Palestinians vs 650,000 Jews (of whom 253,700 were born in Palestine and the rest were alien immigrants).
With the Mandate coming to an end, fierce Zionist operations against the British in Palestine forced the British to submit the Palestine problem to the United Nation, which in February 1947, was only 2 years old with little experience in solving regional conflicts. With 5 permanent members and 6 non-permanent members, The Security Council began its crucial deliberations which, as we shall see, sealed Palestine’s fate and squashed its hopes of becoming an independent nation.

UNSCOP: The United Nations Special Committee On Palestine
Following the British example, but not learning from it, the Security Council decided to establish the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) to be made up of 11 members, none of them permanent members of the Council, and many of them having very little knowledge of the Middle East, let alone of Palestine. The Committee members represented the following nations: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, The Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay, Yugoslavia.
Before UNSCOP reached the shores of Palestine, the British, in a desperate attempt to ease Jewish immigration into Palestine, asked the US government to take up an initiative by Congressman William Stratton in April 1947 to allow a one-off immigration, from Europe to USA, of some 400,000 Jews. This was categorically rejected by the US Administration.
UNSCOP’s arrival in Palestine coincided with the arrival of the Jewish refugee ship The Exodus. The British decision to capture and return it to Germany reinforced the link in the minds of UNSCOP Committee members of the survival of European Jews with their eventual settlement in the land of Palestine.
It is in this emotional atmosphere that UNSCOP was conducting its enquiries and discussing the fate of the Palestinians. The Arab Higher Committee was becoming convinced that the independence of Palestine was not UNSCOP’s main priority.  Interestingly, we now know that the Jewish Agency provided UNSCOP in May 1947 with a map of Palestine which showed a future Jewish state in over 80% of Palestine. This is equivalent to the land Israel has so far claimed today.
Jewish Agency Proposal - August 1946 (copyright George Kirk)
It took UNSCOP exactly two and a half months to complete its task. It met in Geneva in the conference room on the first floor of the Palais des Nations where they signed the official Report on the last hour of the last day of August 1947, just minutes before its term of office expired.
Its Report was presented to the UN General Assembly on 1 September 1947. The fate of Palestine was formally sealed.

The Road to Partition
UNSCOP’s report included a partition plan which divided Palestine into two independent states: a Jewish one to include Eastern Galilee, the coastal strip along the Mediterranean (excluding Jaffa and the coastal strip down to Gaza) and the Negev. The Palestinian State included Upper and Western Galilee, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The City of Jerusalem and its environs were to be an international enclave with autonomous rights for both communities.
The Palestinians were allocated 38% of Mandatory Palestine when they made up 63% of the total population. The Jewish state was to include 498,000 Jews and 407,000 Palestinians.
Mandatory Palestine was made up of 16 districts, nine of which were to be allocated to the Jewish state. None of them had either a Jewish majority or land owned by a Jewish majority.
This demographic imbalance was to be solved by settling the displaced Jews from Europe in the Jewish part of partitioned Palestine.
The two states were required to eventually conclude a 10-year treaty of economic union as a condition for their promised independence.
Whilst the Jewish Agency decided to exert all its diplomatic energy to assure the acceptance of the partition of Palestine, the Arabs expressed a total rejection. For Britain, a neutral position was the only choice left. UN Resolution 181 was set in motion.

Resolution 181: The Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947
On the 23rd day of September 1947, the General Assembly assigned the question of partitioning of Palestine to its Ad Hoc Committee. Another sub-committee was to study the proposal of establishing a unitary State in Palestine in which the Democratic Constitution would guarantee the human rights and fundamental freedom of all its citizens without distinction as to race, language or religion. The two reports were submitted and after prolonged discussions, there was great pressure from the United States and Soviet Delegations to adopt the Resolution to Partition Palestine.
It was on 25 November 1947 that the world became acquainted for the first time with the final draft of the partition resolution: Resolution 181. The General Assembly refused a resolution to submit the Palestine question to the International Court of Justice to determine whether the UN had any jurisdiction to recommend the partition of Palestine or any other country.
For a draft resolution to become an official one, UN procedures required a two-third majority of its ad hoc committee. As two votes were lacking for such a majority, the draft was handed to the General Assembly. Both Zionist and Arab delegations were now in a race against time. Other delegates who had originally favoured the partition proposals, but now seemed to be wavering, were pressured and guided by the White House to ensure that a favourable outcome is secured. Concerted and remarkable lobbying by the Zionist lobby ensured at the last moment that those 8 wavering and doubtful votes, were swung into the partition lobby. The strength of the Jewish/Zionist lobby in Washington had been a revelation.
Zionist politicians did not waste time to recruit and lobby wavering delegates. Intensive efforts were made by the Zionist leadership around the world to gain crucial votes: the French altered their position from abstention to supporting the resolution; Liberia, as a result of economic promises, offered support; the direct lobbying of President Truman and pro-Zionist senators and congressmen secured the votes of 12 out of 20 Latin American countries.
On Saturday morning, 29 November 1947, and against the will of the Palestinian people, the General Assembly in New York voted for the partition of Palestine and accepted Resolution 181. It was supported by 33 votes with 13 opposed and 10 abstentions including Britain, whose prime minister Clement Attlee saw to it that Britain's Commonwealth partners voted for it.
The United Nations had no business offering the nation of one people to the people of many nations. Its General Assembly had neither the legal nor the legislative powers to impose such a resolution or to convey title of a territory; Articles 10, 11 and 14 of the UN Charter bestows the right on the General Assembly merely to recommend resolutions.
The UN Partition of Palestine
Palestine was thus divided into 3 parts: a Jewish part, a Palestinian part and an internationally administered zone to include the city of Jerusalem as a Corpus Separatum to be administered by the United Nations. After 10 years, a referendum would be held to seek the views of the city’s residents. Today, that Referendum is dead history. It has been replaced by continued Zionist expulsions of the indigenous Palestinian people of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem as "Corpus Separatum" under the UN Partition Plan
The Arab League rejected the plan to partition Palestine by any outside power and declared its intention to wage war against the implementation of this resolution. The stage was thus set for the Zionists to make their dream a reality. They brought out the map they showed to UNSCOP in May 1947 and decided it was time to act. But they faced the problem of having 1 million Palestinians in the part of Palestine allocated to them in the Partition plan. But, since the 1880’s, the Zionists had been preparing for such an eventuality.
Palestine was not partitioned. It was destroyed.
Once adopted, the execution of Resolution 181 was referred to the Security Council. The Arabs rejected it outright while the Jews celebrated its adoption. The Palestinians rebelled as the Zionist underground forces attacked Palestinian villages and towns in order to secure more than their portion of Palestine allocated to them by the Partition Plan. The United States admitted around March 1948 that the partitioning of Palestine could not be carried out in a peaceful manner and proposed that Palestine be placed under a temporary UN Trusteeship. This plan and calls for a ceasefire fell on deaf ears. The Jewish forces exerted all military efforts to achieve maximum land gains as the British prepared to end their Mandate in Palestine. By April 1948, they had achieved a military superiority and set in motion all political machinery to declare their Jewish State. Herzl’s prediction to establish a Jewish State in Palestine within 50 years was missed by only 1 year.
On the afternoon of May 14, 1948 the Jewish State of Israel was proclaimed just as the Sabbath began at sunset that day. At 6:11pm Washington time, U.S. President Harry Truman authorised the recognition of Israel. Truman's decision to recognise the new State was not shared by many of his high ranking advisors, such as Dean Rusk, Dean Acheson, Secretary of Defence James Forrestal and Secretary of State George Marshall (read details of White House showdown leading to this recognition by Truman).
The British mandate ended the next day on 15th May 1948 at noon.
In this process, most of Palestine’s indigenous population were expelled and, together with their descendents, became numbers in an UNRWA register. Today, they total about 5.5 million people living in miserable refugee camps in Lebanon (12 camps), Syria (10 camps + 3 unofficial sites), Jordan (10 camps) West Bank (19 camps) and Gaza (8 camps). These Palestinian refugees hold the record of being the longest suffering and largest refugee population in the world. Yet, even within these camps, they remain dignified and determined that, through the application of international law, their right to return to their homes will be upheld.
Where did the refugees go?


Partition and The Law
In front of Congress on January 1918, US President Woodrow Wilson proposed 14 points for a Programme of Peace. The 5th and 12th points of this Programme related to territories which were placed under the Mandates systems.
Point 12 stated: “The Turkish portion of the Ottoman Empire [now Turkey] should be assured a secure sovereignty….the other nationalities which are under Turkish rule, should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous developments…”.
In February of the same year, President Wilson addressed Congress thus: “Peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were chattels and pawns in a game. National aspirations must be respected; people may be dominated and governed ONLY by their consent. Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their own peril”.
In July of the same year, he formulated the following: “The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement or of political relationship, [must be] upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery”.
After the end of WW1, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 (PPC), the principles of nationality and self-determination of peoples was advocated by President Wilson with two dozen other world leaders marking the beginning of the end of Colonialism. It proclaimed that no new territories should be annexed by the victors, and that such territories should be administered solely for the benefit of their indigenous people and be placed under the trusteeship of the mandatories acting on behalf of the League of Nations, until the true wishes of the inhabitants of those territories could be ascertained.
The PPC decided to recognise the territories under the mandatory system as provisionally independent nations subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand by themselves”. It follows from this phrase that the mandatory mission is not intended to be prolonged indefinitely, but only until the peoples under tutelage are capable of managing their own affairs.
Class A mandates (Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Transjordan) recognised the peoples of these territories to have reached advanced stage of development and their independence could be recognised once they have achieved a capacity to govern themselves. It is universally and legally accepted that sovereignty in the mandatory territories lie in the inhabitants of the territory in question (Article 22 of the Covenant of The League of Nations).
Under International Law, Palestine, throughout the Mandatory period, was to receive administrative assistance and advice from the Mandatory to help it set up its own government. Already, Palestine had its fixed boundaries, its government institutions, its own currency and, in 1934, its national anthem.
Palestine’s legal position under International Law was clear: it was a provisionally independent state receiving administrative assistance and advice from the Mandatory. The sovereignty was vested in the people of Palestine. It was a dormant sovereignty exercised by the Mandatory power on behalf of the people of Palestine.
Article 28 of the Mandate stipulated that at the end of the Mandate, the territory of Palestine would pass on to the control of ‘the Government of Palestine’. The termination of the Mandate on 15 May 1948 was to signal the birth of a free and sovereign Palestine in fulfilment of Paragraph 4 of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. It was supposed to pave the way for the establishment of an independent and sovereign government in Palestine without the intervention of either the United Nations or any other foreign government for that matter.
It was under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 that Turkey finally renounced its administration of the Middle East territories after nearly 500 years of occupation. Britain was the Mandatory power in Palestine and the guardian and the trustee of Palestine. Its duty was to guarantee the interest and well-being of the country’s inhabitants until the termination of the Mandate and the assumption by Palestine of its independence as a sovereign nation. When that happens, the newly independent nation would then be admitted to the League of Nations. This was the case with Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. They became sovereign nations . Indeed, this was Britain’s intention in Palestine when it issued its White Paper in 1939.
But that was not to be the fate of Palestine.
The UN had no right in 1947 to even debate the idea of partitioning the country or to dispose of any part of it,  or deprive the majority of its indigenous population of their territory or to transfer it to the exclusive use of illegal immigrants. The General Assembly had no right or jurisdiction to destroy the territorial integrity of Palestine or to propose its partition. The British Government, perhaps under the weight of its guilt for abusing the trust the League of Nations had bestowed upon it to protect, guide and assist Palestine achieve its independence at the end of its mandatory period, opted, when it was time to vote, to abstain from voting.
The United Kingdom did not own Palestine and had no relationship whatsoever with it in 1916 when it agreed with Zionist leaders to issue the Balfour Declaration in November 1917. This Declaration remains illegal, invalid and inapplicable even though it was injected into the Mandate for Palestine through power politics.
The International Law Digest defines a state as “ a people permanently occupying a fixed territory, bound together by common law, habits, and customs into one body politic, exercising, through the medium of organised government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries”. In the area labelled Israel today, the majority of the people, at the time of the Balfour Declaration and later when Palestine was partitioned in 1947, were indigenous Palestinians. In International Law, the territory of any state must belong to the people of that state. The possession of the territory must be a legitimate possession and could not have been acquired by war, conquest or through annexation.
It was at the Paris Peace Conference that Chaim Weizman put forward Zionist claims to Palestine calling for the imposition of the Mandate over all of Palestine including areas up to the Litani River in Lebanon (to the north) and to the Hijaz Railway line which is well east of the Jordan River. He then famously declared his wishes for a Palestine to be “as Jewish as England is English”.
A declared state should have a sovereign government but waht existed in the so-called Jewish state in 1948 were  illegal immigrants from Europe and Russia, and three Zionist terrorist organisations: the Irgun, the Hagana and the Stern gang. They could not be considered a government. They were military organisations supported by western funds and left to roam the land and dispossess its people of their right to live there.
Despite this miscarriage of justice, the so-called State embarked on a massive military project to ensure the total and final expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland.
To achieve this objective, they had their Village Files ready.

The Village Files
In pursuit of their aims to take over the land of Palestine, the Zionist leadership founded the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in 1901 whose sole aim was to provide funds for the pupose of purchasing Palestinian land to settle Jewish immigrants. Incidentally, this role continues up to this day with other 'charitable' activities assigned to it to camouflage its aggressive aims.

The activities of the JNF were closely associated with those of the Zionist Settlement Department whose main priority was to facilitate the eviction of Palestinian tenants from Palestinian land bought by the JNF from absentee Palestinian landlords. The tenants came with the land, but, in Zionist eyes, they did not have the right to stay on it.

The brain behind the JNF was a Ukraine-born Zionist called Yosef Weitz (1890-1972) who came to Palestine in 1908 at the age of 18. Under his tutelage, the 'Village Files' were compiled. These files comprised aerial photographs of Palestinian villages, topographical maps and detailed records of their inhabitants. They took years to collate and were nearly complete in the late 1930's. They contained information on the quality of the land in the village, the water sources, the names of its inhabitants, their political and religious affiliations, their ages and their marital status, etc.

Names associated with the Village Files project included the following people who were the core of The Consultancy Council: Ezra Danin (1903-1985), a Syrian-born Zionist who played a key role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Moshe Pasternak (1920-1976) from Poland, Yaacov Shimoni, Yehoshua Palmon, Tuvia Lishanski, Eliyahu Sassoon, Yohanan Ratner, Fritz Eisenshtater, Yaacov Tahon and an Anglo-Jewish professor of chemistry, Sasha Goldberg who conducted experiments in biological weapons in what became later The Weizmann Institute. Ephraim_Katzir.jpgLater, this project was developed further under the directorship of a physical chemist called Ephraim Katzir (born Ephraim Katchalsky on 16 May 1916, died on 30th May 2009) who became the 4th president of Israel (in office from 24 May 1973 to 19 April 1978). Special units in the service of the Village Files project were trained and recruited in the Zionist youth village of Shefeya in Upper Galilee. It is from here that they went out on reconnaissance missions of Palestinian villages gathering detailed information from village elders whose traditional hospitality they abused.

'Most Wanted' lists were compiled with names of young Palestinians who, after a village had been occupied by Zionist forces, would be lined up, identified, taken away and shot on the spot. Many names belonged to Palestinian National Movement fighters who were fingered out by masked collaborators. As the villages were invaded and later occupied, the pattern of ethnically cleansing them became efficient, direct and swift.
Ygal_Yadin.jpgYigael Yadin (1917-1984) who later became Israel's second Chief of Staff, admitted once that it was the detailed information gathered on these villages (i.e., the Village Files) which enabled the Zionist undeground forces in November 1947 to sweep through the Palestinian landscape with such speed and efficiency and with little resistance from the 'Arab side'. In fact, it was not 'Arab resistance' that they feared. It was the British forces. Had it not been for the British presence, Yadin declared, the Palestinian resistance to the Partition Plan would have been quelled in one month. He knew what he was talking about.

Plan Dalet and The NAKBA
Zionist operations outside the UN designated Jewish part of Palestine
Terrorist operations were first introduced in Palestine by the Jewish underground to demoralise the British Army. These operations were carried out by those Jewish elements trained by the British Army in North Africa as an adjunct to their WWII effort against the Nazis. By 1939 this Jewish auxiliary force numbered 20,000 strong.
This force, which was given the innocuous name of The Jewish Settlement Force, employed terrorist tactics (the first to be carried out in the Middle East) against British troops inside Palestine supplemented by terrorist operations carried out by their underground brethren throwing bombs in bus stops, cafes and marketplaces. These bombs were hidden in milk cans, fruit baskets and similar daily objects. Parallel with these operations, terrorist innovations included the kidnapping of British officers, whipping them, hanging them and booby-trapping their hanging bodies which made shocking headlines back home in the UK.
In the last year of the British Mandate, the ratio of British officers dead to Jewish terrorists killed was 4 to 1 - a very high ratio even in today's standards. No wonder Britain wanted out of Palestine.
The Zionist plan to transfer Palestinians out of their land was headed by no lesser character than David Ben-Gurion himself. He plotted these schemes in his own home aided by a small ad hoc group of people referred to as The Consultancy. Its aim was to plot and carry out the disposession of the Palestinian people. As early as February 1947, when the British Cabinet voted to pull out of Mandatory Palestine, the Zionist leadership knew that the road ahead was clear for their aims to be achieved. The Consultancy first met (according to Ben-Gurion's diary) on 18 June 1947 and continued to meet regularly during the months leading to October 1947 when it transpired that the UN will now issue its Resolution 181 to partition the land of Palestine.

The Zionist leadership and its Consultancy group also knew that the Palestinians and the Arab leadership in general would reject the Partition Resolution. The Consultancy realised that this is the time not only to forge forward their plan to clear the Palestinian population from the UN-designated future Jewish state, but also from the areas accorded to the Palestinian state.

Prior to 1947, the Zionist agenda concentrated on building a political, ideological, cultural and economic enclave within historic Palestine. Now, during these crucial months leading to UN Resolution 181, it was decided that the time has come to translate these ideologies into realities on the ground. The Zionist leadership openly declared that it intended to take over the land of Palestine and to expel its indigenous population.
Just before the UN voted to partition Palestine in November 1947, Ben-Gurion secretly mobilised Jewish groups inside and outside Palestine and dispatched them to Europe to purchase massive quantities of arms for the next phase: the military plan to conquer as many Palestinian villages and to expel their inhabitants.
Their plan was called Plan D better known as Plan Dalet, (Dalet being the fourth letter in the Hebrew alphabet) which was launched nearly six weeks prior to the end of the British Mandate in Palestine. It is worth noting that Plan D had been preceeded by Plan A (February 1945), Plan B (May 1947) and Plan C (November 1947). There is no mistaking their intention: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
March 1948: two months before the so-called Declaration of Independence, the Zionist leadership gathered in Tel Aviv and agreed and embarked on their Plan. Over 13 military underground operations were carried out (according to The History of the Palmach archives released in full in 1972) before the Arab forces entered the areas allotted to the Palestinians by the UN in their Partition Plan. Both Menachem Begin and David Ben-Gurion wrote extensively about their underground military campaigns to cleanse Palestinian villages of their indigenous inhabitants.

At the onset of Plan Dalet in April 1948, Jewish immigration into Palestine had exceeded 600,000 (compared to 56,000 in 1917). With that many immigrants, the Zionist leadership was able to deploy an army of 65,000 well armed and well trained soldiers, (a number that increased to 120,000 in early 1949, amounting to 20% of the total Jewish population of the newly declared State). This is an unprecendented percentage when compared to 1%-2% for a typical country at the time.
As the execution of Plan Dalet proceeded with clockwork precision, the Haganah created a 'Committee for Arab Properties in Villages' the purpose of which was to register and take possession of all Palestinian properties  in the villages the Zionist forces had conquered. Similar committees were established in major Palestinian cities like Haifa, Safad, Yafa and Tabariyah.
All this was taking place BEFORE Israel even existed! The claim that Arab forces invaded Israel is hog-wash. When the Zionist leadership unilaterally declared their so-called state of Israel on 15 May 1948, they purposefully avoided declaring its boundaries to keep their options open for future expansion. That expansion has now covered the whole of historic Palestine.
At the end of Plan Dalet, the Haganah set up "The Committee For Abandoned Arab Property" – The CFAAP – which was entrusted with the disposal of all Arab possessions into Yishuv hands. The intention was to obliterate any sign of ‘life’ in the abandoned Palestinian homes and villages.
By June 1948, approximately 370,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, and by the end of that year the number was nearer 780,000. Josef Weitz declared, at a cabinet meeting chaired by Ben-Gurion on 18 August 1948, that 286 villages had been cleared or evacuated and about 3 million dunums had been left behind by their Palestinian owners as they fled the Zionist terror. The last of the villages to be cleared was Al-Majdal (later renamed Ashkelon by Israel).
Within 6 months, Zionist terrorist organizations went on a rampage expelling and murdering Palestinians and destroying their homes and villages. They expelled 452,780 Palestinians men, women and children from the areas allocated to the Jews in the Partition Plan, and a further 347,220 were uprooted from areas beyond the allocated boundaries. All in all, a total of 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, 530 of their villages destroyed and 11 of their urban neighbourhoods were emptied. Massacres, like that at Deir Yaseen, spread fear and terror in the hearts of Palestinian families and forced them to take flight.
In November 1948, Israel completed the occupation of the most fertile and populated areas of Palestine, and by December, it issued "the Emergency Regulations Relative to Property of Absentees". This was followed by yet another discrimanatory law called the "Law of The Acquisition of Absentee Property", (Absentees Property Law, 4L ST. Israel 68, 1949-1950). This law effectively classified all Palestinian refugees as "absent" and immediately transferred the control of their private properties to a Custodian who has the sole discretion to determine whether any Arab Palestinian is "absent' and to confiscate his/her property. This arbitrary definition was applied, not only to those who were expelled beyond the 'Armistice Line', but was extended to Palestinians who remianed in Israel.
Those who remianed in Israel, but were not in the specified place on a particular date (i.e., they may have been in the next village or away for a day or so), were declared "absent". Since these people, thus declared, eventually became Israeli citizens, they were dubbed as "present absentees", an ironical but accurate description of this Israeli fictitious legislation.
The Palestinian Exodus was one of the largest in post war history, and the reasons for it were confirmed by IDF intelligence as follows: Haganah operations (55%), operations by Irgun (15%) and whispering campaigns of psychological warfare (14%).
Chaim Weizmann later commented that this Palestinian Exodus had been “a miraculous clearing of the land: the miraculous simplification of Israel’s task”.
And so it was: the Zionist dream of transfer and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine came to fruition with the Palestinian Exodus of 1948 when more than 80% of the inhabitants of what became Israel were expelled and became refugees until this day. Some 140,000-150,000 Palestinians had remained behind in what became Israel and were allowed to stay. The borders of this new state, remain unrecognised and unofficial, since they have been expanding through military conquest from the 55.5% of Mandatory Palestine (under the Partition Plan of November 1947) to 78% of historic Palestine (at the time of the 1949 Armistice Agreement). Of course, the conquests continued in 1967 when Israel swept through and occupied the whole of historic Palestine.

The Massacres
In their drive to gain control of not only the part of Palestine allocated to the Jewish State under UN Resolution 181, but also land allocated to the Palestinian State, the Zionist forces committed the following massacres:
Al-Tira December 1947
Haifa Oil Refinery December 1947
Balad el-Sheikh December 1947
Yehiday Massacre December 1947
Khisas Massacre December 1947
Qazaza Massacre December 1947
Jaffa Massacre January 1948
Semiramis Hotel Massacre (Jerusalem) January 1948
Cairo-Haifa Train Massacre March 1948
al-Lajjun Massacre April 1948
Deir Yasin Massacre April 1948
Qaluniya Massacre April 1948
Ayn el-Zaytoun Massacre May 1948
Abu Shusha Massacre May 1948
al-Tantura Massacre May 1948
Beit Daras Massacre May 1948
Lydda Massacre July 1948
al-Dawayima Massacre October 1948
Saliha Massacre October 1948
Eilaboun Massacre October 1948
Hula Massacre October 1948…
For a chronology of key events in the history of Palestine which led to these massacres and to the Palestinian Nakba, please log on to:

The Declaration of Independence of the so-called State
David Ben-Gurion declaring the birth of Israel
Having carried out their massacres and having expelled over 725,000 Palestinians from their homes, and while the UN General Assembly was considering the Trusteeship Plan for Palestine, 37 Zionist leaders representing Zionist parties worldwide hurried to meet at 4:00 PM on Friday, May 14, at the Tel Aviv Museum on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv to sign what they called a “Declaration of Independence”.
Of these 37 Zionists, the oldest was 82, the youngest not yet 30. Three became prime ministers, one became president, and 14 became cabinet ministers. Of these 37 zionists, only 1 was born in Palestine. Of the remaining 36 Zionists, 13 were born in Russia, 11 in Poland, 2 in Romania, 2 in Germany, 2 in Latvia, 2 in Lithuanian, 1 in Austria, 1 in Hungary, 1 in Denmark and 1 in Yemen. Most of them migrated to Palestine between 1920 and 1940. One of them came to Palestine only in 1947.
We name 35 of the signatories to give credence to this project which started back in 1898:
David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), Daniel Auster (1893-1962), Mordekhai Bentov (1900-1985), Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (1884-1963), Eliyahu Meir Berligne (1866-1959), Perez (Fritz) Bernstein (1890-1971), Rachel Cohen (1888-1982), Eliyahu Dobkin (1898-1976), Rabbi Wolf Gold (1889-1956), Meir Grabovsky (Argov) (1905-1963), Abraham Granott (Granovsky) (1890-1962), Yitzhak Gruenbaum (1879-1970), Rabbi Kalman Kahana (1910-1991), Eliezer Kaplan (1891-1952), Sa'adia Kobashi (no dates available), Moshe Kol (Kolodny) (1911-89), Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Levin (1894-1971), Zvi Lurie (1906-1968), Rabbi Yehudah Leib Maimon (Fishman) (1875-1962), Golda Meir (Myerson) (1898-1978), Avraham Nissan (Katznelson) (1888-1956), Nahum Nir-Rafalkes (1884-1968), David Zvi Pinkas (1895-1952), Moshe David Remez (1886-1951), Berl Repetur (1902-1989), inhas Rosen (Felix Rosenblueth) (1887-1978), Zvi Segal (1901-1965), Moshe (Hayyim) Shapira (1902-1970), Mordechai Shattner (no dates available), Moshe Sharett (Shertok) (1894-1965), Behor Shalom Shitrit (1895-1967), Ben-Zion Sternberg (1894-1962), Meir Vilner-Kovner (1918-2003), Zerah Warhaftig (1906-2002), Aharon Zisling (1901-1964).
Most of Israel’s elected prime ministers, past and present, belonged to, or are known to be members of terrorist organisations in their heyday.
Their Declaration was dressed up with legal and civilised phrases to give it legitimacy. It said that the state of Israel will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.
On that eventful day, 14 May 1948, at 11:00am local time, the new state was recognised by the United States of America followed by the USSR 3 days later.
As Ben Gurion and his Zionist colleagues were issuing that declaration, their underground forces were sweeping the Land of Palestine conquering villages and expelling Palestinians from their homes. The previous Section documents the massacres perpetrated by these gangs in pursuit of that goal. As they swept eastward, they attacked west Jerusalem which surrendered at 16:36 on Friday, 28 May 1948.
It must not be forgotten that the crimes committed in Palestine and which paved the way for the creation of the so-called state of Israel, were the work of over 3000 zionist and Israeli leaders since 1939. In the words of Dr Issa Nakhleh, author of the massive 'Encylopedia of the Palestine Problem', "these zionist and Israeli leaders were all members of the Hagana, Palmach, Irgun Z'vai Leumi, the Stern Gang, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund. Many of them became presidents, cabinet ministers, generals, officers of the armed forces...and occupied high positions in Israeli society. They are still at large enjoying the fruits of their crimes, and are referred to as heroes. Many of them are [today] being honoured as heads of state, Prime Ministers, cabinet ministers, and scholars of an allegedly democratic state...The victims of their crimes are called terrorists, murderers and criminals, and the real terrorists and war criminals are being received as respectable representatives of a democratic society".
As these fateful events were engineered in such a relatively short span of time, culminating in one people expelling another and taking over their land, they exposed a well orchestrated and carefully executed Zionist project with the blessing and connivance of major world powers and a huge amount of financial muscle. The Holocaust tragedy was injected into this project to silence any opposition to its swift and perfect execution.

The Right of Return
The UN emissary, Count Folke Bernadotte (1895-1948) arrived in Palestine in May 1948 to mediate a cease fire. The recently proclaimed Israeli government consented to his appointment because, as president of the Swedish Red Cross, he saved 15,000 Jews from the Nazi Camps during WW2. Now in Palestine, having witnessed the expulsion of the Palestinians from their home, he called for the unqualified return of all Palestinian refugees expelled as a result of the conflict. He declared:
“It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes, while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine”.
For this, he was assassinated by Jewish underground terrorists on 17 September 1948.
It was partly as a tribute to Count Bernadotte that the UN General Assembly issued its Resolution 194 on 11 December 1948 calling for:
1. Return of all expelled Palestinians (Art. 11)
2. Protection of and free access to the Holy Places (Art. 7)
3. Demilitarization and UN control over Jerusalem (Art. 8)
4. Free access to Jerusalem (Art. 9)
Only the day before, on 10 December 1948, The UN published The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 13 of that Declaration states that every person has the right to return to his/her home. To prevent that person from returning. no matter what the reason for his/her exodus, is a war crime.
The right of the refugees to return to their homes is not only a sacred and legal right, but also a possible one. Studies show that 80% of Jews live on 15% of historic Palestine. The remaining 20% of Jews live on 85% of land that belongs to Palestinians.
The Right of Return is an inalienable right scaredly held by all refugees and entitles them to return at any time to their homes. This Right can never be diminished by the passage of time or by any treaty unless the rfugee himslef/herself, declares otherwise, and forfeits that Right, but under no duress of any kind.

The expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948
One year after their expulsion... and the same family 60 years later
We repeat: The right of return is an inalienable and non-negotiable right. Period.
International Law considers agreements between occupiers and occupied as null and void if they deprive civilians of their right to return to their homes, their right to repatriation and their right to restitution.
Acceptance and implementation of Resolution 194 was made a condition for Israel’s entry into the United Nation. No surprise, then, that the Zionist leadership quickly welcomed it. But Resolution 194 has never been implemented despite its reaffirmation by the UN on more than 130 occasions. Despite this miscarriage of justice, Israel was admitted as a member of the UN on 11 May 1949 “as a peace loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is willing to carry out those obligations”. This peace loving State has defied more UN Resolutions than any other member state of the UN.
Resolution 194 remains the major legal foundation on which the Right of Return is based. It states that the General Assembly “resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at their earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return…”
A number of international conventions including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 9, 13 and 30, the UN Resolution 242 passed in 1967 and many others, call on Israel to permit the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes. It must now be forced to do so. Or be expelled from the UN.
One of the many Palestinian refugee camps
Copyright 1996-2004 The Palestinian Return Centre

They Shall Return...Homeland Is Not For Sale.
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