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Palestine Betrayed

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There, I stepped into the boundary I do not like to cross, that of conjecture. But that introduces another failing of Karsh's arguments, that of using conjectural material as if it is valid factual support for his presentation, especially fictional material about a supposed happy future as compared to historical fiction that incorporates the actual events of history. He quotes the Zionist novel "Alteneuland" (1923) by Herzl as if the imaginary speaker's voice represents the reality of the Palestinian people. In an academic argument that is simply baseless and false, a reversion "to hyperbole and lies in their quest for personal and collective exoneration."

It continues in other arguments, where Karsh describes a besieged kibbutz and how it fought to the last man, followed illogically - at least for an academic argument and not one based on politicizing the saga of Israel's birth - by the comment "True or not." Well, is it, or is it not? By the manner in which it is presented I would have to guess not, but it apparently does serve as "a symbol of heroism" for the "Israeli collective memory." A true "false flag" operation.

Military dominance

Another theme that is constantly reiterated throughout the work is the "massive" amounts of armaments that the Arab Palestinian population received contrasted with the isolated, over-whelmed, and poorly armed Jewish citizens. Alongside that, the Haganah is mentioned a few times but never described as to its overall purpose or power, nor are the other Jewish paramilitaries (Irgun and Stern gangs) and their effects and power presented.

Karsh never does put a number on the "massive" amounts of armaments although elsewhere in the work he seems quite capable of finding historical records that put very precise numbers on items for discussion be it economics, land sales, food distribution, or the inevitable figure of discussion, the refugee populations and the villages from where they originated. In contrast, the "new historians" are quite capable of finding references to armaments obtained by smuggling in European arms, and their relatively high sophistication compared to the arms of the Palestinians.

Similarly with the Jewish paramilitaries, the "new historians" present much documented material concerning the role of these militaries, their training during the Second World War with the British command, and their superiority in numbers compared to the number of Arab fighters in Palestine, before or during the 1948 war. Karsh seems to be able to find all sorts of numbers by town and village for the Arab fighters, but provides little of anything for the Jewish forces, nor does he mention their training and overall superiority in numbers.

Deir Yassin - a unique tragedy.

Karsh deals with the displacement and expulsion of the Palestinians dismissively. Except for the one exception of Deir Yasin, a "tragedy" or at worst a "carnage", all the villages and towns of Palestine as well as the cities of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Jerusalem were vacated on the orders and recommendations of the existing Arab authorities. He complains that Dier Yasin "would become the most effective Arab propaganda tool against Israel." The widely exaggerated descriptions of Jewish atrocities, especially of alleged rapes of women that never took place, spread panic across Palestinian society and intensified the ongoing mass flight."

Well, again, true and not true. It certainly became the "most" effective propaganda tool against Israeli military occupation, and yes it did spread panic, as that is the intent of any military action on a populace. However it is not the only incident of massacres of civilians, nor does it allow that over 450 Palestinian villages were immediately destroyed in order to prevent the return of the refugees, who under international law have the right of return.

Beit Daras - a reality

Any incidence of massacres or forced evictions and destruction of villages of towns would obviously be downplayed in any Haganah/Israeli records. The language of the victors would certainly minimize anything that might incriminate themselves and thus the reports would indicate only that the residents fled on their own initiative, at the urging of their own leaders, in spite of Haganah's supposed efforts to retain the population in the villages.

Beit Daras was situated 46 kilometers north east of Gaza city, with no real claim to fame other than that of a long standing local village that survived many series of invading armies passing over and around its location. However, shortly after 1917, the British built a police station east of the village which served to "ensure the safety of a Jewish colony known as Tabiyya." While the record supports Karsh's contention that the Jews and the Palestinians coexisted peacefully, there was still an underlying tension, in particular from the British patrols into Beit Daras. In contradiction to Karsh's contention however, is the knowledge within the Palestinian population that the "Jewish immigrants of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were not the typical seekers of religious salvation and escapees of oppression. They were part of a Zionist program to conquer Palestine, all of it, and eject its people."

From there the reality became that of another massacre of civilians by Jewish forces, unrecorded in the history books but well represented in the personal lives of those who lived there and survived as refugees retaining the eternal hope of their right of return.[1] Beit Daras was part of the plan in the region to deny Palestinian base operations, create panic and break morale in order to cause the exodus of the inhabitants.

On May 21, 1948 the village was surrounded by Jewish forces. News of the Deir Yasin massacre had reached the village and the women and children were encouraged to leave. When the fleeing families reached the outskirts of the village "they were faced with indiscriminate Zionist shelling no less ugly than that of Deir Yassin." 265 victims fell on that day, mostly, children, elders, and women." Another witness recorded that "The Jews let the people get out, and then they whipped them with bombs and machine guns."

I would wonder what the Haganah record shows for the fight for Beit Daras, and how many other Beit Daras' and Deir Yasin's there are that would simply be recorded as "villagers fled, men of fighting age detained."

..and more.

Another massacre occurred within recorded history at Tantura, a village on the Tel Aviv/Jaffa coastline. Attacked from four sides, the captives "were moved to the beach. There the men were separated from the women and children".Two hundred men between the ages of thirteen and thirty were massacred by the Alexandroni and other Jewish forces." Another incident of the not unusual scenario where military actions go against international and humanitarian laws, both for civilians and military prisoners.[2]

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Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and analyst who examines the world through a syncretic lens. His analysis of international and domestic geopolitical ideas and actions incorporates a lifetime of interest in current events, a desire to (more...)

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