Biased myths confuse Arab/Israeli partition

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Deborah Kallick's opinion letter, "Said article omits important information," which was printed on Feb. 26 Kallick has repeated some very tired myths
By
March 04, 1999

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Deborah Kallick's opinion letter, "Said article omits important information," which was printed on Feb. 26 Kallick has repeated some very tired myths that have been the convenient and popular view of history but are at odds with the facts.
She claims, "When the State of Israel was 'created'in 1948, an approximately equal portion of the land -- consisting in part of what is now Israel and Jordan -- was offered to the Palestinians as their own state." Let me refute her claims with evidence and by identifying some "serious error omissions" in her letter.
(1) The United Nations General Assembly resolution 181, The Partition Plan, was passed on Nov. 29, 1947 not 1948.
(2) The area that was divided did not include Transjordan. Transjordan was separated from Palestine in 1922.
(3) The Jewish ownership of land in the mandate, including private holdings, amounted to about 6 percent while the Arab ownership was 84 percent plus the 10 percent of Church and Islamic Wafq ownership.
(4) In 1946, the population of Palestine consisted 1,035,000 Arabs (66 percent) and 533,000 Jews (34 percent).
The partition divided the area of British mandated Palestine (which did not include Transjordan or Jerusalem) into two states, a Jewish State -- as yet unnamed -- that received 55 percent of the land (the more fertile parts at that), while the Arab state received 45 percent of the land. Resolution 181 passed by a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions was completely rejected by the Arab states basically on the grounds that it was ridiculous to accept this plan without consulting the majority population within the mandate, who owned the overwhelming majority of the land.
This injustice was the reason that the Arabs rightly rejected the partition plan. Britain itself acknowledged in its TV series "End of an Empire" that the partition plan was unfair, and was achieved through pressure and intimidation by the Zionists.
Immediately following the passage of the Partition Plan in November 1947, the Zionists forces Haganah and the terrorists groups (Stern Gang and Irgun) launched their infamous "Plan D" aimed at capturing as much territory as possible inside the proposed Palestinian state. During this period, we witnessed the Deir Yassin massacre (April 9, 1948) and other atrocities that led to the mass exodus of Palestinians from their homeland.
Furthermore, the Arab states, which Kallick claims invaded and attacked Israel, mounted an ineffectual, poorly coordinated offensive into Palestine on May 15, 1948 -- six months after the Jews attacked and invaded the proposed Palestinian state. By that time, one-tenth of the population had already been ethnically cleansed Kosovo style, including most of the Arab residents of Jerusalem.
In the past 10 years, several prominent Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim have written books refuting the Zionist's myths after a thorough research in the Zionist Archives.
Benny Morris's book, "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-48" cited from Central Zionist Archives, that on Feb. 7, 1948, three months before the Arab states intervened, Ben-Gurion told the assembled leadership of the Mapai Party (precursor to the Labour Party):
"From your entry into Jerusalem through Lifta-Romema, through Mahane Yehuda, King George Street and Mea Shearim--there are no strangers [i.e. Arabs]. One hundred percent Jews ... In many Arab districts there is not one Arab. I don't assume this will change. What happened in Jerusalem could well happen in great parts of the country if we hold on ... and if we hold on, it is very possible that in six or eight months of the war there will take place great changes ... and not all of them to our detriment. Certainly there will be great changes in the composition of the population of the country." (Ben Gurion, Feb. 7, 1948; Central Zionist Archives, cited in Morris, Benny, "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-48").
My friend's own village of Lifta (mentioned by Ben-Gurion) was attacked twice in three days by Haganah, who in one of the worst atrocities killed six customers sitting at a cafe and injuring many others. It was after this incident that the Liftawis began their exodus, never to return home.
This was in December 1947. The Arab armies arrived six months too late and did too little to defend the 700,000 that were driven out. It is also important to point out that Morris found no evidence in Zionist archives or elsewhere of the famous radio broadcasts from Arab states allegedly telling the Palestinian population to leave so that they would have a clear run to "destroy" the Jewish state.
The Arab armies combined were considerably smaller and far worse equipped than the Yishuv groups, had never crossed into territory that had been designated by resolution 181 as the Jewish state, and only fought in that territory that was designated for the Arabs.
Avi Shlaim's seminal work, "Collusion Across the Jordan," shows quite clearly that Transjordan and the Zionists had made a deal to partition Palestine and Jerusalem. If anyone broke that deal, Shlaim concludes, it was the Zionists, who could never resist the temptation to seize more land. Shlaim finds that the Arab Legion stuck firmly to its agreement, especially in Jerusalem, where it did not advance into the west even when it could have done so.
Even now with this current peace process and the recent Wye deal, the Israeli government continues to confiscate Arab land in violation of international law. Since Oslo was signed, Israel has confiscated about twice as much Palestinian land as it has turned over to direct rule by the Palestinian Authority.
It is time to end the constant parroting of Zionist propaganda and myths that have been used for fifty years to justify the theft of a country and the ethnic cleansing of its people. It is this parroting of lies that promotes hatred and does a disservice to peace.
Fedwa Wazwaz, graduate student in computer science

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