Recent articles in Israel's daily Ha'aretz sharply criticize Israel's failure to effectively punish violence of Israeli settlers against Palestinians.
Ha'aretz says of Jewish settlers that "the coexistence approach often seems to make way for violent struggle that aims to deprive the Palestinians of their land." Jewish settlers "openly discuss their intention of making the lives of Arab residents a misery and pushing them out…" Israeli media has reported a number of violent attacks by settlers on Palestinians this spring. Yet Ha'aretz complains, "Even those that are heard by a court usually end in acquittal or a light sentence."
The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din "argues that police in the West Bank have failed in completing investigations on suspected attacks against Palestinians there." "The weak arm [of the law] avoids enforcing laws on Israelis living in the West Bank, causing the State of Israel to violate its ethical and international obligations vis-à-vis the population under our control."
Is such official injustice toward Palestinians a recent phenomenon in Israel? Hardly. Israel was birthed through terrorizing and expelling Palestinians from their ancestral lands.
Of course, Israel denies it expelled the Palestinians. They say the 800,000 indigenous Palestinians who fled Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israel war deserved to lose their properties; they were disloyal to the emerging State of Israel, defecting to Israel's Arab enemies at a crucial, vulnerable moment in Israel's struggle for nationhood.
Israel says that the Palestinians eagerly obeyed when Arab generals urged the Palestinians to vacate Israel so that the Jews could be slaughtered and driven into the sea. Such refugees, Israel alleges, were confident the conquering Arabs would return their land and property -- and more, once the Zionist experiment in Palestine was destroyed. Considering such alleged treachery, to this moment Israel remains adamant that no property of refugees who fled in 1948 will be returned to them.
Let's turn from propaganda to reality. Here's what really happened in 1948.
In his book The Revolt, 1 former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, then head of the Zionist terror organization Irgun, recounts how Irgun fighters attacked the small Arab town of Deir Yassin east of Jerusalem on April 9, 1948. Begin ridicules the "Arab hysteria" that says Irgun massacred its inhabitants. Yet the International Red Cross was on the scene, even as the butchery continued, counting the maimed and dismembered corpses of 250 men, women, and children. Their representative counted 150 bodies stuffed inside a well. The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem 2 says, "Of those 250 people, 25 pregnant women were bayoneted in their abdomens while still alive. 52 children were maimed under the eyes of their own mothers, and then they were slain and their heads cut off. Their mothers were in turn massacred and their bodies mutilated." (p.271) (See, Israel: Founded on Terror)
Word of this atrocity quickly spread throughout Palestinian Arabs, causing terrified awe and panic before the ferocity of Irgun. Irgun trucks, mounted with loud-speakers, drove throughout Arab communities, proclaiming in Arabic that if the inhabitants did not flee immediately they would soon experience the same horrific fate. Irgun also loaded trucks with the surviving Muslim women of Deir Yassin, parading them naked through the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem. 3 Such humiliation and insult to Muslim morals and womanhood intensified the searing effect of the massacre. It heightened the mystique that Zionist terrorists were cruel and vindictive beyond imagination.
Begin, mixing lies with reality, explains further: "The enemy propaganda was designed to besmirch our name. In the result it helped us. Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel." He tells of strategic Arab towns, resistant to Irgun attacks, suddenly evacuated. "In the rest of the country, too, the Arabs began to flee in terror, even before they clashed with the Jewish forces. Not what happened at Dir Yassin, but what was invented about Dir Yassin, helped to carve the way to our decisive victories on the battlefield. The legend of Dir Yassin helped us in particular in the saving of Tiberius and conquest of Haifa." "Arab headquarters at Ramallah broadcast a crude atrocity story, alleging indiscriminate massacre by Irgun troops of about 240 men, women, and children in Dir Yassin." 4
Begin confirms that indeed word of what happened at Deir Yassin induced Arab commanders to instruct Palestinians to flee. But it was not primarily to avoid the violence of Arab destruction of Israel. At first, Arab leaders commanded Palestinians to stay put. But as butchery by Zionists escalated, most acceded to the fact that the Zionists were so capable of such unrestrained atrocities and carnage that literally no Arab was safe in Palestine. A large part of the purpose of the Arab invasion was not just to restore Palestinians to their property but to insure that many more Deir Yassins would not happen in the months ahead. In fact, in the six months following Deir Yassin Zionist troops committed at least nine more massacres against Palestinians, with the Arabs striking back with two against Jews. 5
Begin concludes, "Arabs throughout the country, induced to believe wild tales of "Irgun butchery," were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives. This mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede. Of the about 800,000 Arabs who lived on the present territory of the State of Israel, only some 165,000 are still there. The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated." 6
Zionist forces, realizing a tremendous opportunity, used whatever means necessary to persuade Arabs to join the stampede. The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem presents dozens of contemporary accounts, largely from Israelis, describing the Zionist-induced panic of the Arabs and resultant carnage. The preferred strategy was to convince Palestinians that, in view of the present "national emergency" posed by invading Arab armies, Israeli Arabs should flee until hostilities subsided. They could then return to their properties. Of course, this proved a lie. If that stratagem failed, whole Palestinian towns were given the ultimatum to flee immediately, taking only the clothes on their backs. Those who delayed, or attempted to bring belongings, were shot.
Palestinian towns were bombed and strafed from the air. Leaflets threatening massacre were dropped from airplanes. Arabs were mowed down in the streets by machine gun fire. With 800,000 Arabs in flight, the surrounding Jewish population descended on evacuated Arab towns, ransacking and looting their homes and businesses. In fact, a small "new rich class" was established in Israel as Jews actively bought, sold, and traded the wealth of hundreds of Arab cities, towns, and villages. Meanwhile, many Zionist soldiers robbed fleeing Arabs and raped Arab women. It was imperative to the Zionists that Arab property was destroyed as much as possible, to prevent them from returning. 7
With exodus of the majority of Arabs from Palestine, Begin says the struggle to create a unified state of Israel was largely won. Twelve cities or major towns and 830 small towns and villages were occupied by Zionists. Most were soon bulldozed, replaced by modern Jewish towns or kibbutzes. They were given Jewish names, their original ones soon forgotten. 8 In the decades that followed, Israeli propaganda encouraged the world to believe the original Arab towns never existed. In fact, it says today that before the Israelis created the towns now bearing Jewish names Palestine was empty, virtually deserted land. It says that, untended and underdeveloped by a tiny indolent Arab population, the many Jewish towns, collectives, orchards, and fields in Israel are a testament to fulfillment of divine prophecy that God would make Israel "blossom as the rose."
In defense of their Palestinian brethren, the Arab armies at first prevailed over Zionist forces. But then, in what Zionists and evangelicals describe as one of the very greatest miracles of divine intervention on behalf of Israel, Zionists rallied and were able to repulse the Arabs.
In reality, it was not God but Joseph Stalin who delivered Israel. (This was the same Stalin who, 15 years earlier, systematically starved to death five million Ukrainian Kulaks. Their crime? They wanted to grow vegetables in their backyards for themselves, not collectives.) Stalin personally ordered the Skoda Works in communist Czechoslovakia to send massive shipments of the latest arms, equipment, and fighter planes to help Israel in her time of need. Such military firepower, not the power of God or a righteous cause, empowered Israel to prevail.
Most evangelicals believe that mass exodus of the Arabs, making room for "God's chosen people" to dwell in their promised land, plus Israel's victory over vastly outnumbering Arab armies, are two of the greatest miracles of history, making possible Israel's prophesied rebirth as a nation. Zionists, both Jewish and evangelical, believe these are undeniable proofs that God fought and still fights for His people, as in the Old Testament. As a result, Christian America should unflinchingly support Israel today, right or wrong.
We see, however, that Israel was founded by terror and the deviousness of the most wicked men, not God. Her rebirth as a nation happened not because of heaven-sent successes but as a result of something very different:
What the Bible calls "lying wonders" of the last days that "deceive, if possible, even the elect." 9
1. The Revolt, Menachim Begin, Henry Schuman, NY, 1951
2. The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, Intercontinental Books, 1991. This definitive work by Christian Palestinian lawyer and diplomat Dr. Issa Nakhleh is available in most university libraries.
3. Ibid, p. 271
4. The Revolt, p. 164
5. Israeli historian Benny Morris chronicles massacres by Jewish or Arab terrorists of at least 10 civilians or disarmed soldiers in the months following Deir Yassin. Israel committed many more slaughters of unarmed Palestinian townspeople but under the cover of a "military operation."
A. Massacres of Arabs by Jews:
Qalunya, April 12, 1948 -- 14.
Ein al Zeitun, May 3, 1948 -- 37 to 70.
Abu Shusha, May 14, 1948 -- estimated at 60 to 70.
Al-Kavri, May 21, 1948 -- undetermined.
Al-Dawayima, October 29, 1948 -- 80 to 100.
Sassaf, October 29, 1948 -- 50 to 70 (?).
Saliha, October 30, 1948 -- 60 to 80.
Hula, October 1948 -- 35 to 50.
Arab al-Mawasi, November 2, 1948 -- 14.
B. Massacres of Jews by Arabs:
Hadassah medical convoy, April 13, 1948 -- 78 (Arabs claimed the convoy actually carried arms and explosives).
Kfar Etzion, May 13, 1948 -- 50 to 120.
(Wikipedia, "List of Massacres Committed during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War)
6. The Revolt, p. 164. In 1914, at the beginning of Zionist presence in Palestine, the census showed there were 606,619 non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine. Contrary to Begin's figure of 800,000 non-Jews in Palestine at the time of the Deir Yassin massacre, there were an estimated 1,440,274.
7. The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, p.251-68
8. Ibid, p.234
9. 2 Thess. 2:9, Matt. 24:24
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