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Date posted: May 21, 2013
By Adel Safty

May 15 marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. The Zionists refer to it as Israel’s Independence Day — as if Israel had been occupied by a colonial power and on May 15, 1948, It earned its independence.

In reality, May 15 marks the end of the British mandate over Palestine, whose independence was provisionally recognised by the League of Nations. May 15 also marks the proclamation of the establishment of the state of Israel. For the Palestinians, the establishment of Israel was accompanied by horrific events: Dispossession, expulsion, loss of home and country, terror and massacres and the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem. The Palestinians call that day Al Nakba (the Catastrophe).

Zionist leaders have assiduously cultivated a narrative based on fabrications and half-truths to explain the Palestinian exodus in 1948. It was claimed that the Palestinians left their homes and land in response to calls by Arab leaders to leave their homes temporarily and return after the defeat of the Jewish forces. Zionist leaders thus rationalised that if successful, this claim would remove responsibility for the creation of the refugee problem from the shoulders of the Zionist leaders and place it on those of the Arab leaders. This way, the international community would more readily understand the Israeli refusal to let the refugees go back to their homes and land.

This edifice of propaganda was given widespread credibility in conventional western scholarship and media, but it was demolished by Irish writer Erskine Childers in the late 1950s. Childers went to Israel and examined the Israeli claims and the evidence to support them. He later wrote in the Spectator: “There was not a single order, or appeal, or suggestion about evacuation from Palestine from any Arab radio station, inside or outside Palestine, in 1948. There is repeated, monitored record of Arab appeals, even flat orders, to the civilians of Palestine to stay put.”

Childers found that, on the contrary, “Even Jewish broadcasts [in Hebrew] mentioned such Arab appeals to stay put. Zionist newspapers in Palestine reported the same.”

Palestinian scholar Walid Khalidi examined the Israeli ‘evidence’ for their claim that the Palestinians left of their own volition, and reached the same conclusion.

However, it was the group of Israeli scholars, collectively known as the new historians (Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and others) who, some 30 years ago, examined Israeli cabinet and army documents and reached similar conclusions about the responsibility of Israeli leaders for the expulsion and the refugee problem.

“Above all, let me reiterate,” wrote Morris: “The refugee problem was caused by attacks by Jewish forces on Arab villages and towns and by the inhabitants’ fear of such attacks, compounded by expulsions, atrocities and rumours of atrocities and by the crucial Israeli Cabinet decision in June 1948 to bar a refugee return.”

Last week, on the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, Shay Hazkani published a lengthy article, examining the role played by the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, in the creation of the propagandistic rational to shield Israel from responsibility for the refugee problem. He states that most historians who examined the evidence argue that Ben-Gurion knew about the expulsion of Palestinians and authorised it when asked. He was also instrumental in the creation of a national consensus supportive of the propaganda euphemistically called public diplomacy.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Middle East scholars and Civil Servants were asked to find evidence to support the Israeli version of the Palestinian exodus, according to which the Palestinians had fled of their own volition.

Rony Gabbay, who immigrated to Israel from Iraq in 1950, was recruited to find evidence to support the official Israeli position. He read Intelligence Corps transcripts of local radio broadcasts of propaganda aimed at the local population by Arab armies. Gabbay affirmed that he had found nothing to support the Israeli claim that the Palestinians left their homes in response to the urgings of the local Arab leaders: “There was no mention of the local Arab leaders urging the Arabs to flee, that they ‘pushed them,’ as we claimed in our hasbara. I saw nothing like that.”

Twenty years later, Morris reached the same conclusion.

The struggle for the Israeli national conscience waged by the Zionist leaders to avoid accountability at home and block international support for the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, has reached a critical juncture. The propagandistic claim that the Palestinian exodus in 1948 was triggered by Arab leaders who urged the Palestinians to abandon their homes, has been exposed as mendacious and baseless. The culpability of Zionist leaders in expelling the Palestinians from their homes, and creating the refugee problem, has been documented not only by independent scholars, Zionist and non-Zionist, but also by academics and civil servants, entrusted by Israeli officials to find evidence to support the fabrications and half-truths of the official position.

The Palestinians’ right of return is recognised in international law. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” This right applies to the Palestinians, as is clearly stated in the UN General Assembly Resolution 194: “The General Assembly, having considered further the situation in Palestine ... Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes should be permitted to do so ..., and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible.” This resolution was further clarified by UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 which reaffirms “the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property, from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return”.

The awakening of the Israeli national conscience that their leaders, in expelling the Palestinians from their homes and property, have inflicted an injustice and in blocking their return continue to violate a right recognised in international law, is a prerequisite for peace and reconciliation between the two peoples.

Read More ...

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Date: 27/05/2013
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Date: 27/05/2013
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Date: 27/05/2013

Source: Gulf News
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