The Acts of the Democracies
Year : 1948
7 Items Selected
David Ben-Gurion (the first Prime Minister of Israel) had written in his dairy after the United Nations vote to partition Palestine into two states:
"In my heart, there was joy mixed with sadness: joy that the nations at last acknowledged that we are a nation with a state, and SADNESS that we LOST half of the country, Judea and Samaria, and, in addition, that we [would] have [in our state] 400,000 Arabs."
As the UK leaves the region, Israel declares independence and ethnically cleanses large areas of its allocated territory forcing over 1,000,000 Palestinians into refugee camps in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 500 Palestinian villages are depopulated and destroyed. The Israelis attack parts of the territory allocated to Palestine and clear West Jerusalem of its Arab residents.
In the end, 68% of the indigenous people of Palestine have been expelled and Israel ends up with 78% of the territory after having been allocated less than 57%.
|Palestinian refugees leaving their land after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The USA has lobbied to disallow the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. It is also the biggest supporter of Israel.|
A few days before a peace proposal is to be debated by the United Nations (UN), the UN mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, is assassinated by Jewish terrorists (the Stern Gang). The group that gave the order included Yitzhak Shamir (a later Israeli minister).
One of the most notorious incidents occurs in the small Arab village of Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem, on 9-10 April 1948. The massacre is carried out by the Irgun and is designed to spread terror and panic among the Arab population of Palestine to frighten the people into fleeing their homes. The vacated land could then be confiscated for the use of Jewish colonialist settlers.
254 people are killed. The dead include 25 pregnant women, 52 children (who are decapitated) and babies. Many bodies are mutilated, some before death.
150 women and girls who survive are stripped and placed in open cars. They are driven naked through the streets of the Jewish section of Jerusalem, where onlookers cheer. In the following days, Israeli forces use loudspeakers to warn Arabs to leave their villages or suffer the fate of Deir Yassin.
Menachem Begin (leader of Irgun and later Prime Minister of Israel) describes what happened:
"the Arabs fought tenaciously in defense of their homes, their women and their children."
and justifies the action:
"The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state without the victory of Deir Yassin."
Arnold Toynbee (UK historian) describes it as "comparable to crimes committed against the Jews by the Nazis."
|Deir Yassin, scene of a massacre of Palestinians by Israeli militia. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left their homes after news of the atrocity spread.|
Many similar operations are carried out around Palestine by heavily armed Jewish groups (mainly Haganah and Irgun):
"[Palestinian Arab] villages inside the Jewish state that resist should be destroyed .... and their inhabitants expelled beyond the borders of the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Palestinian residents of the urban quarters which dominate access to or egress from towns should be EXPELLED beyond the borders of the Jewish state in the event of their resistance."
Since the creation of the State of Israel, the West's often uncritical support lays the foundations that would reverberate for decades. The USA immediately recognises the new state. The USSR also recognises Israel. The USA would arm and finance Israel and protect the state from United Nations criticism.
Between 1948 and 1960, over 1,000,000 more Jews would migrate from Europe, North America and North Africa to Israel.
"The main thing is the absorption of the immigrants. . . for many years, until. . . . a regime takes hold in the [Arab] world that does not threaten our existence. . . . The state's fate is dependent upon 'Aliyah [Jewish Immigration to Palestine]" (David Ben-Gurion)Israel finds justification in the Old Testiment of the Bible:
"Destroy all of the land; beat down their pillars and break their statues and waste all of their high places, cleansing the land and dwelling in it, for I have given it to you for a possession" (Numbers 33:52,53)
"And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city both men and women, young and old and ox and sheep and ass with the edge of the sword." (Joshua 6:21)
|After independence Israel is in control of 78% of the territory after being allocated less than 57%. Over a million Palestinians are expelled to became refugees.|
This and subsequent undemocratic governments is recognised and armed by the West, expecially the USA. Elections would not be held until 1980.
After a difficult war of liberation against Germany only afew years earlier, the Netherlands becomes an invader and occupier.
The Samoza family amasses a huge fortune and crush dissent ruthlessly. Although Anastasio is assassinated in 1956, the dynasty continues.
In December Batang Kali was attcked by UK soldiers who killed 24 Chinese and burnt the village.
In the next five years the UK dropped over 500,000 tonnes of bombs in 4,500 air strikes. Over 4,000 Malays died. 34,000 people were detained without trial. Hundreds of square kilometers of land were sprayed with defolient - an activity that would be famously repeated by the USA in Vietnam decades later.
Politically, the war was labelled as a police action so that the UK settler rubber barons would be able to get compensation from their insurers.