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Sketch of Israel-Palestine History

by Peter A. Belmont / 2023-10-26
© 2023 Peter Belmont


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This is a very quick, very incomplete sketch, written in a hurry for a friend who claimed general ignorance.

EUROPE BEFORE 1920

There was antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence (pogroms: citizen violence allowed or helped by the governments) in Poland and Russia around and before 1900.

Hertz invented ZIONISM as a program for finding a safe place for Jews to go to to get away from the pogroms. Several places were considered but Palestine was chosen, and small numbers of Jews started to go to Palestine, then within the Ottoman Empire.

WWI happened, and when GB & France defeated the Ottomans, GB seized Palestine (1918) and got ther League of Nations to create a MANDATE allowing GB to hold Palestine and run it as a colony, supposed to lead to self government for the Palestinians within an unstated time. HOWEVER, after the BALFOUR DECLARATION, GB also promised (as part of the MANDATE) to make a home for the Jews in Palestine. The Zionists took this as a promise or an invitation to reach for MORE, namely, a Jewish State.

After WWII, thus after the Holocaust, there was enormous feeling among Jews to establish a Jewish State as a safe place for Jews to go where no Holocaust would ever happen (“Never Again!”). There was also a pro-Zionist feeling among countries such as GB who wanted a Jew-free population and hoped for mass emigration. Far more Jews began to flow into Palestine, Palestinian Arabs (now called Palestinians, but then the Palestinian Jews were also called Palestinians) objected because already, by 1920 or so, some Jews were talking about forming a Jewish State run by Jews for Jews and maybe expelling Arabs (expulsion was then called “transfer”).

IN PALESTINE

There were general strikes by Arabs against the British government and the Jews, and also violence, called “terrorism” by GB, by Zionists against the British seeking to make them leave, so Zionists could take over.

In 1945-47 there was a lot of violence by Zionists, and a realization at least in the leadership that they could not have the State they wanted unless they got rid of most of the Arabs.

The war of 1948 (1947-50) was the war of creation of Israel and also the beginning of the “NAKBA” (catastrophe) which in the beginning amounted to murder, massacres, rape, and the expulsion of about 750,000 Arabs—85% of the Arabs living before the expulsion in the land which Israel captured.

The Arab States attacked Israel as soon as it was declared a State (June 1948) but were militarily ineffective. This attack came after militarily important massacres by Zionists which frightened the Arabs and facilitated the expulsions/running away. Egypt kept Gaza and Jordan kept the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

From 1948-1967 Israel ran a sort of military dictatorship over the Arabs who remained. Very oppressive. Israel is still very oppressive toward its Arab (Palestinian) citizens. for them the NAKBA continues til the present.

In 1967 there was a M/E war in which Arab States made threatening gestures toward Israel and Israel made preemptive strikes against Egypt and fought Egypt’s allies (Syria and Jordan) , capturing Syria’s Golan heights and the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan. From 1967 til today, Israel has ruled these places with a violent oppression, thus continuing the NAKBA. In 2008 (?) Israel enacted a “closure” (siege?) (Blockade) around Gaza, strictly governing who can enter or leave (including for medical help in hospitals in Israel) and strictly governing what THINGS can enter or leave (produce to be sold outside Gaza—and food, medicine, building supplies,arms, and much more to be imported). after the horrendous attack of Oct 7, 2023, Israel decided on GENOCIDE as an appropriate way to soothe their own hurt feelings and openly and notoriously declared that they were shutting off all imports of FOOD, WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS (GASOLINE?), MEDICINE, and began horrendous bombing.

Before 2023, but in which years I’d have to look up, Israel several times attacked Gaza with horrific bombing—including of schools, hospitals, UN buildings and of course housing. what’s happening now is similar but MUCH WORSE.

OUTSIDE PALESTINE

Part of Zionism has always been propaganda (HASBARA in Hebrew) and diplomacy. And buying politicians (AIPAC and Jewish Billionaires seem to control Congress and to control mainstream media (MSM)).

An outcome of these manipulations has been the creation of a seemingly unbreakable IDEOLOGY that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East” and is a soft and pudgy friend, and America’s ally, “has a right to defend itself”, and so forth, AND CAN DO NO WRONG. So that, when Israel does do dreadful things—like current GENOCIDE—the ideologues cannot process the CONTRADICTION between their beliefs and the realities and therefore dis-believe and discount the realities. Thus, today, BIDEN refuses to countenance a ceasefire and sends bombs and artillery shells to Israel that should have gone to UKRAINE. Genocide? There is no genocide. “Israel has a right to defend itself” (and since self defense for Israel—but not for Palestinians—is OK, by oft-repeated mantra, war-crimes, genocide, apartheid, and all the rest of the oppressions cannot be “seen” or “admitted into consciousness by the ideologues. And cannot be discussed in public, are kept out of MSM.) [ Twitter, Facebook etc are changing that, since the young get news and opinion from social media instead of from MSM. ]




In 1948, the UNGA resolved that the Palestinian [hereafter, “P”] 750,000 refugees had a right to return to their homeland and homes (and thus villages), but Israel refused to allow P return, allowing only Jewish “return” to any Jew in the world, usually who had never set foot in Palestine.

When Ps tried to return (for instance to harvest crops), they were called “terrorists” [hereafter, “T”] and shot. Israel knew Ts: Jewish Ts had fought GB and Ps to wrest control of the MANDATE from GB and Ps. Jewish Ts assassinated various high officials (GB:Lord Moyne in 1944 and UN:Folke Bernadotte 1948), and massacred the village of Deir Yassin (1947) See also: here,here, and here.

There was small-scale fighting over the years, with P groups such as PLO attacking Israel and being repulsed with great violence, always being called Ts by Israel, called “freedom fighters” by Ps.

Diplomatic history (I/P): PLO gained recognition at UN as “sole representative of the P people”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Liberation_Organization

There was something called the “peace process” [ hereafter PP ], a long-drawn-out series of negotiations between Ps (later the PLO) and Israel, but always without successful issue. Success would have been a two-state agreement, presumably. Never happened. The leader of the non-PLO Ps was Hanan Ashrawi, a wonderful woman. You’d love her as many do, as I do.

The peace process has aptly been characterized as “All Process, No Peace.”

As to Ashrawi’s diplomatic work:
From 1991 to 1993 she served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process and a member of the Leadership/Guidance Committee and executive committee of the delegation.
(Id.)

But the PP was doomed by the fact that Israel always used it as a temporizing device, to appear ready to compromise, but never ready to give the Ps what they demanded: West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem as land for a P State, and a right of Return for the refugees from 1948 and their progeny. . An alternative view of the failure of the PP is that the Ps were unwilling to compromise. They wanted their 22% of The Land, were willing to allow Israel to keep its (1948-1967) 78% of The Land, but were unwilling to go lower. Israel made many offers of peace, but never acceptable to Ps.

”Peace Process” And Oslo Accords

While the Ps were PPing with Israel, a secret off-stage negotiation occurred in Oslo and the PLO and Israel agreed to the Oslo Accords. The Ashrawi crowd were astounded, shocked, and outraged by this because the PLO, which had been located in Tunis, had never lived under Israeli oppression and duplicity, and didn’t know what they were getting into. The PLO wanted to return to P from Tunis, and this possibility of returning to The Land seemed enough to them to sign the Oslo accords which many (Edward Said, e.g.) said was a duplicitous device, an induced sell-out.
From 1977 until 1991, Said was an independent member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).[70] In 1988, he was a proponent of the two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and voted for the establishment of the State of Palestine at a meeting of the PNC in Algiers. In 1993, Said quit his membership in the Palestinian National Council, to protest the internal politics that led to the signing of the Oslo Accords (Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, 1993), which he thought had unacceptable terms, and because the terms had been rejected by the Madrid Conference of 1991.

Said disliked the Oslo Accords for not producing an independent State of Palestine, and because they were politically inferior to a plan that Yasir Arafat had rejected—a plan Said had presented to Arafat on behalf of the U.S. government in the late 1970s.[71] Especially troublesome to Said was his belief that Yasir Arafat had betrayed the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their houses and properties in the Green Line territories of pre-1967 Israel, and that Arafat ignored the growing political threat of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories that had been established since the conquest of Palestine in 1967.

A map of the West Bank and Gaza strip highlighting administrative domains of the Palestinian authority in red.
The administrative domains of the Palestinian Authority (red)
In 1995, in response to Said’s political criticisms, the Palestinian Authority (PA) banned the sale of Said’s books; however, the PA lifted the book ban when Said publicly praised Yasir Arafat for rejecting Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offers at the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David (2000) in the U.S.[72][73]

In the mid-1990s, Said wrote the foreword to the history book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (1994), by Israel Shahak, about Jewish fundamentalism, which presents the cultural proposition that Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians is rooted in a Judaic requirement (of permission) for Jews to commit crimes, including murder, against Gentiles (non-Jews). In his foreword, Said said that Jewish History, Jewish Religion is “nothing less than a concise history of classic and modern Judaism, insofar as these are relevant to the understanding of modern Israel”; and praised the historian Shahak for describing contemporary Israel as a nation subsumed in a “Judeo–Nazi” cultural ambiance that allowed the dehumanization of the Palestinian Other:[74]

(Id.)

Under the terms of Oslo (which seemed to promise something good for Ps, the Israelis were enabled to colonize the West Bank and Gaza with Israeli-Jewish “settlers”. the settlers seized (or the government seized) land from Ps and by now 10% of all Israeli “Jews” now live in OPTs (Occupied Palestinian Territories) (Israeli-Jews: IJs: that is, holders of Israeli identity cards labeled “Jewish”, but including many Russian “Jews” who were not particularly Jewish or not Jewish at all (spouses, children).

In recent years, under Bibi Netanyahu as PM, Israel has openly declared that the two-state-solution (the possibility that motivated the PP for all those years) was dead—he killed it. Since then, as you may know, he has also killed the idea that Israel is a “democracy” (by acts officially elevating to legislated law what had previously been only long-time Israeli practice, that is, privileging Jews over non-Jews in Israel. As a “democracy”, Netanyahu has also very recently tried to legislate a reduction of the Supreme Court’s power to a point where ANY and ALL legislation is OK and cannot be thrown out as “unconstitutional”—as it can in USA by SCOTUS).

So, today, the state of play is:
     • 16-year blockade of Gaza
     • no peace process
     • active genocide in Gaza
     • active pogroms against Ps in OPTs (I need a reference for this, it’s kind of recent) aimed at completing the killing or expulsion of all or most Ps from The Land, as is the Gaza “genocide” (2023) and “closure”

Near Unconditional International Support For Israel

the USA, UK, EU, France, Germany all support Israel without reservation, using the CODE WORDS “Israel’s right to defend itself” as a disguised approval or GREEN LIGHT for genocide. The war-crimes of Russia in Ukraine and the illegality of the Russian War in Ukraine are RECOGNIZED AS SUCH, but
     •Israel’s continued occupation of OPTs (after 56 years seems an illegal acquisition of territory by acts of war)
     •Israel’s settlement project (violation of Fourth Geneva Convention, also a war-crime)
     •genocide in Gaza (2023)

are winked at if any facial expression at all attends them. The USA’s OFFICIAL IDEOLOGY of ISRAEL my country right or wrong, my mother drunk or sober, Israel can do no wrong, Israel as MASTER OF ITS ALLY USA remains securely in place.

Some Further Reading
Settlements.
the occupation.

Try reading:

     • AMEU.

     • IMEU.

     • WRMEA.

     • Mondopweiss.

     • +972 Israeli Magazine.

     • Haaretz, Isreaeli newspaper.

     • JuanCole Blog.











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