Thursday, May 22, 2008
The U.N. passed a resolution that established Israel and called for an Arab state as well. Jewish leaders agreed. Had Arab leaders done likewise, Palestinians also would be celebrating 60 years of statehood this month — and there would have been no war and no refugees.
[A recent Washington Post story said that Palestinians] fled “their native Jaffa out of fear of advancing Israeli troops.” This has become the conventional narrative — Palestinians driven from their homes by Jews. But as Efraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College, University of London, writes: “The recent declassification of millions of documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920–1948) and Israel’s early days . . . paint[s] a much more definitive picture of the historical record. . . . By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence . . . none of the 170,000–180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centers, and only a handful of the 130,000–160,000 villagers who left their homes had been forced out by the Jews.”
Karsh quotes Ismail Safwat, the Iraqi general who served as commander-in-chief of the Arab Liberation Army that was attempting to “drive all Jews into the sea.” Safwat noted “with some astonishment that the Jews ‘have so far not attacked a single Arab village unless provoked by it.’ ”
The overwhelming majority of those who fled, Karsh explains, were instructed to do so “by their own leaders and/or by Arab military forces whether out of military considerations or in order to prevent them from becoming citizens of a prospective Jewish state.”
This is not what alternate reality Democrats believe, nor those ignorant of history, but I may be repeating myself there.
Labels: First Arab-Israeli War History