Palestinian Refugees: An ‘Abortion of Justice and Humanity’

A college educated Palestinian forced into a refugee camp in 1950, waiting for his meager ration of rice from Egyptians supplying aid. (Screen shot from “The Sands of Sorrow” documentary below)

Updated: 20 June 2018

This morning I chanced to read that on this day in 1948, Zionist forces pummelled the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate with about a hundred mortar rounds. It was the most devastating of the Zionist concerted attacks on Christian targets, which also damaged two convents and appended churches, as well as two schools and libraries. Eight people were killed and 120 wounded. [1]

I confess my ignorance about the history of Palestine, a country now almost totally swallowed by the python-like stretchable jaws of the Zionist State of Israel. In light of the current Great March of Return protest in Gaza and the West Bank, where Israeli snipers have killed over 120 Palestinians and wounded over 12,000, I decided that it was time I did some research to understand the history that led to this.

One could say that the fate of the Palestinians was sealed on 2 November 1917 when British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, sent a letter to the representative of the Zionist movement, Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild. For the Palestinians, this letter (later to become known as the Balfour Declaration), marked the beginning of over a hundred years of ethnic cleansing, ongoing violence and bloodshed, and a loss of their homes, land, farms, villages, communities, and employment.  It stated:

Gaza is marked in green on the left in the 2012 map, and the West Bank marked in green on the right of the map, which continually shrinks as more and more illegal Israeli settlements are built there.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Palestine at the time was still part of the Ottoman Empire, with a minority Jewish population. According to historian and author Jonathan Schneer, the British somehow “felt that the Jews held the key to winning the war and so they had to figure out how to bribe the Jews to support them.” [2]

The declaration made no mention of the “political rights” of the existing non-Jewish communities and their right to self-determination, which the Zionists went on to exploit – as well as their human rights, including the right to return to their land. Neither was it noted at the time that the biggest problem that stood in the way of achieving a “national home for the Jewish people” was the inconvenient fact that the “non-Jewish communities” comprised 92 percent of Palestine’s population, a percentage slightly lowered by recent vigorous Zionist immigration efforts.

As I see it, in effect the Balfour Declaration was like handing candy to children with the proviso that it was theirs to eat – except for, say, the chocolate bars and the lollipops. What is disturbing to note is that before the Balfour declaration was even signed, Lord Rothschild made it clear in a memorandum dated 18 July 1917 that “…Palestine should be re-constituted as the National Home for the Jewish People.” [3] It is clear from this memorandum, and Zionist actions since then, that the ‘proviso’ written into the Balfour Declaration meant nothing and the Zionists would do as they pleased.

Under such circumstances, it was inevitable that the Zionist state of Israel would be birthed in a violent bloodbath, which eventually happened during the so-called 1947-48 “War of Independence” where brutal and bloody massacres terrified the Palestinians so much they ran from their homes, their villages, and their land, to which the Zionists never allowed them to return. And that was the grand plan.

Nakba (the Arabic name for catastrophe) is the Palestinian name for this 1947-48 catastrophic ethnic cleansing, which has never ended. Many who survived became refugees forced to live on the Gaza strip, which, fundamentally, is a huge open-air prison where Israeli soldiers routinely storm into houses in the dead of night to arrest one or more occupants on some pretext, or for a minor ‘wrong doing’.

Ramzy Baroud, who was born and raised in a Gaza refugee camp and later went to live in the U.S., recently wrote about his experience of not being able to find “the single most important piece of earth that truly mattered to me” when he first tried to find it on Google Earth. It was simply erased. He wrote a heart-wrenching story about what it means not to be able to return home, the issue about which the Palestinians are currently demonstrating: their right to return.

“…I could only find [my village] by estimation. Beit Daras was located 32-kilometers northeast of Gaza, on an elevated ground, perched gently between a large hill and a small river that seemed to never run dry.

“A once peaceful village, Beit Daras had existed for millennia. Romans, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans ruled over and, even tried to subdue Beit Daras as in all of Palestine; yet they failed. True, each invader left their mark—ancient Roman tunnels, a Crusaders’ castle, a Mamluk mail building, an Ottoman khan (Caravanserai)—but they were all eventually driven out. It wasn’t until 1948 that Beit Daras, that tenacious village with a population of merely 3,000 was emptied from its population, and later destroyed.

“The agony of the inhabitants of Beit Daras and their descendants lingers on after all of these years. The tragic way that Beit Daras was conquered by invading Zionist forces has left behind blood stains and emotional scars that have never healed.

“Three battles were bravely fought by the Badrasawis, as the dwellers of Beit Daras are called, in defense of their village. At the end, the Zionist militias, the Haganah, with the help of British weapons and strategic assistance, routed out the humble resistance, which consisted mostly of villagers fighting with old rifles.

“The ‘massacre of Beit Daras’ that followed remains a subdued scream that pierces through the hearts of Badrasawis after all of these years. Those who survived became refugees and are mostly living in the Gaza Strip. Under siege, successive wars and endless strife, their Nakba—the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48—has never truly ended. One cannot dispel the pain if the wound never truly heals.”

Read the rest of Ramzy Baroud’s story…

After the 1947-48 massacres, the Zionist leadership under David Ben-Gurion declared Israel a state on 14 May 1948, which was immediately recognized by President Truman. Ten years prior to this, Ben-Gurion expressed the following Zionist “aspirations,” which clearly, are still in play today as Israel moves into its seventy-first year as a state with borders that continue to expand – even into Syria, where Israelis now occupy the resource rich Golan Heights.

…The state [of Israel] will only be a stage in the realization of Zionism and its task is to prepare the ground for our expansion into the whole of Palestine by a Jewish-Arab agreement… The state will have to preserve order not only by preaching morality but by machine guns, if necessary. [4]

In the words of Lord Sydenham during the debate in the British parliament over the wording of the League of Nations’ mandate for Palestine in 1922, “the harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country . . . may never be remedied.” With foresight Sydenham could see that the Mandate would “start a running sore in the East, and no one can tell how far that sore will extend.” [5]

Later, the 1939 White Paper predicted that as a result of British and Zionist policies in Palestine, “a fatal enmity between the two peoples will be perpetuated, and the situation in Palestine may become a permanent source of friction amongst all peoples in the Near and Middle East.” [6]

Alison Weir points out in the following extract of chapter 14 in her book Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel that this decision to support and acknowledge the creation of a Zionist state in Palestine would eventually create a huge humanitarian disaster.

Alison Weir points out in chapter 14 of her book Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel that this decision created a huge humanitarian disaster:

By 1949, Israel’s “War of Independence” and ethnic cleansing had created hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. The U.S. representative in Israel sent an urgent report to Truman:

“Arab refugee tragedy is rapidly reaching catastrophic proportions and should be treated as a disaster…Of approximately 400,00 refugees approaching winter with cold heavy rains will, it is estimated, kill more than 100,000 old men, women and children who are shelterless and have little or no food.”

The number of refugees continued to grow, reaching at least three-quarters of a million, and desperate, starving Palestinians inundated neighboring Arab countries. U.S. diplomats in Cairo and Amman described a disastrous situation in which the “almost non-existent resources” of these countries were stretched nearly to breaking point.

The State Department reported that during the last nine months of 1948 Arab states had donated $11 million to refugee aid, stating, “This sum, in light of the very slender budgets of most of the governments, is relatively enormous.

During this time, the report noted, “…the total direct relief offered…by the Israeli government to date consists of 500 cases of oranges.”

Meanwhile, Israel had acquired formerly Palestinian-owned properties worth at least $480 million in 1947 dollars; the equivalent of $5.2 billion in today’s dollars.

Journalist and academic Anders Strindberg reports:

“In the process of ‘Judaizing’ Palestine, numerous convents, hospices, seminaries, and churches were either destroyed or cleared of their Christian owners and custodians. In one of the most spectacular attacks on a Christian target, on May 17, 1948, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate was shelled with about 100 mortar rounds – launched by Zionist forces from the already occupied monastery of the Benedictine Fathers on Mount Zion. The bombardment also damaged St. Jacob’s Convent, the Archangel’s Convent, and their appended churches, their two elementary and seminary schools, as well as their libraries, killing eight people and wounding 120.”

Truman, whose caving in to Zionist pressures had helped to create the disaster, now tried to convince Israel to allow the refugees to return to their homes. His main representative working on this was Mark Ethridge, former publisher of the Louisville Courier Journal.

Ethridge was disgusted at Israel’s refusal, reporting to the State Department:

What I can see is an abortion of justice and humanity to which I do not want to be midwife…

The State Department finally threatened to withhold $49 million of unallocated funds from an Export-Import Bank loan to Israel if it did not allow at least 200,000 refugees to return. The U.S. coordinator on Palestine Refuge Matters, George C. McGhee, delivered the message to the Israeli ambassador and later described his response:

“The ambassador looked me straight in the eye and said, in essence, that I wouldn’t get by with this move, that he would stop it… Within an hour of my return to my office I received a message from the White House that the president wished to dissociate himself from any withholding of the Ex-Im Bank loan.”

Edwin Wright, a State department Middle East specialist from 1945-66, was the subject of an oral history interview many years later for the Truman Library. About this interview, he said:

“The material I gave [interviewer] Professor McKinzie was of a very controversial nature—one almost taboo in U.S. circles, inasmuch as I accused the Zionists of using political pressures and even deceit in order to get the U.S. involved in a policy of supporting a Zionist theocratic, ethnically exclusive and ambitious Jewish State. I, and my associates in the State Department, felt this was contrary to U.S. interests and we were overruled by President Truman.”

Extract from Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel – Chapter 14: Palestinian Refugees, by Alison Weir.

Further in her book, Weir points out that the Zionists did a masterful job in covering up this hidden history. However, my thinking is that if more people become aware of this history, it could change the whole future course along which the Zionists are pushing the Middle East.

I have to admit that today I cried over the ongoing plight of the Palestinians herded onto small tracts of land in their own country by subsequent massacres, and for the many hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes in terror to seek shelter in refugee camps during the brutal ethnic cleansing of Israel’s “War of Independence” which has no end in sight after over 70 years of bloodshed.

While Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine stipulated that the “rights and positions of the Arabs may not be prejudiced in the facilitation of Jewish immigration,” [7] the fact that their homes, their farms, and their villages continue to be bulldozed to make way for each new (and illegal) Jewish settlement, is a clear indication that the original Zionist policies confirm an earlier belief by Sir John Hope Simpson that it is “the intention of the Jewish authorities to displace the Arab population from Palestine by progressive stages.” [8]

In August 1929, when Arabs reacted violently to rumours that the Jews were attempting to take control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, intending to destroy the sacred mosques of Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, and that they intended to massacre the Arabs, the rumours were labelled “false.” [9] However, coinciding with the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14 was sniper fire with live bullets at Palestinians wanting to return “home” to their land, their villages, their communities from which they were driven, making the so-called 1929 ‘false rumours’ sound not so ‘false’ anymore.

Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque (Screen shot)
Jewish temple replaces Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque (above) in altered photo (below).

As for the ‘false rumours’ about the intended destruction of the sacred mosques of Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, consider the reality check of a framed photo presented after the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, showing a Jewish temple standing in place of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Friedman grinned from ear to ear at the sight of it. To him, and members of the Temple Movement, the building of a Jewish temple on this site would herald the end of a two state solution that Truman wanted, the end of peace negotiations, and the end of the Palestinian national movement. [10]

US Ambassador David Friedman (centre left), showing the photo shopped Jewish temple (bottom centre). © Kikar HaShabbat

Will our conscience still allow us to look the other way and pretend we don’t see when the Arabs in the splintered remains of Palestine are massacred, or allow another MH17 false flag incident to distract our attention like it did in 2014 while the Israelis launched a brutal attack on Gaza, killing mostly women and children and destroying their homes and schools?

Seared into my memory from the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza is Max Igun’s disgust at such acts, as well as the acts themselves. I make no apology for the language he uses. The killing must stop.

References

[1] Alison Weir (2014) Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel, p. 83

[2] Seeds of Discord: The Balfour Declaration still divides the Middle East 100 years later

[3] Said, p. 13
quoted by Hammond, Jeremy (2009) The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict, p. 9.

[4] Hammond, Jeremy (2009) The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict, p. 31.

[5] Ibid. p. 20

[6] Ibid. p. 67

[7] Ibid. p. 23

[8] Ibid. p. 23

[9] Ibid. p. 21

[10] Trump’s choice of envoys enable Israel’s worst extremists


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