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Land Without a People

Chapter 1 of The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People From Their Homeland

By Michael Palumbo, 1987

I shall not expel them from the land in one year for fear that the land will become a desert... I shall expel them slowly before they multiply and possess the land. --Exodus 23, 29-30

'There is no hope that this new Jewish state will survive, to say nothing of develop, if the Arabs are as numerous as they are today." So spoke Menahem Ussishkin, at seventy-five, one of the oldest and most respected Zionist leaders. His audience on the afternoon of 12 June 1938 was the Executive Committee of the Jewish Agency, which was considering a plan by the British administration to divide Palestine between Arabs and Jews. For decades there had been strife between the two ethnic groups in the mandate territory and now the British administration was considering partition as the best way to end the conflict between the Jewish colonists and the indigenous Arab population. But partition would leave over 200,000 Arabs in the proposed Zionist state, and the leadership of the Jewish community in Palestine was grappling with the problem of how best to get rid of them.

None of the members of the Executive disagreed with Ussishkin when he stated: 'The worst is not that the Arabs would comprise 45 or 50 per cent of the population of the new state but that 75 per cent of the land is owned by Arabs.' This land was desired for the waves of Jewish immigrants who would populate the Jewish state. There were many other reasons why the Zionists wished to get rid of the Arabs. Ussishkin claimed that with a large Arab population the Jewish state would face enormous problems of internal security and that there would be chaos in government. 'Even a small Arab minority in parliament could disrupt the entire order of parliamentary life.'

For Ussishkin the solution to the problem of the large Arab Population in the proposed Jewish state was for their removal by the British army before the state was established. 'For this two things are required, a strong hand by the English, and Jewish money. With regard to money, I am sure that if the first requirement is met the Jewish money will be found.' Like most other Zionists at the time, Ussishkin believed that the Palestinians could be coerced into leaving their homes and settling on land that would be purchased for them in Trans-Jordan, Iraq or Saudi Arabia. He made it clear that he did not favour sending the excess Palestinians to the Arab state that the British planned to create on the West Bank. 'If you wish ever toexpand you must not increase the number of Arabs west of the Jordan,' Ussishkin reminded his colleagues.

Ussishkin seems to have had no moral scruples about dislocating tens of thousands of Arab families at gun point and moving them out of villages their people had occupied for centuries. He firmly believed in the Jewish right to all of Palestine; a belief he based on the Bible and the promises made by the British. For Ussishkin, the Palestinians were usurpers who deserved to be expelled. 'I am ready to defend this moral attitude before the Almighty and the League of Nations,' he said.

All the other speakers at the Executive Committee meeting voiced similar sentiments. Berl Katzenelson of Ben-Gurion's Mapai party saw only disaster in a Jewish state with a large Arab minority. 'There is the question of how the army will function, how will the police, how will the civil service. How can a state be run when part of its population is unloyal to the state.'[2] As a 'liberal' Zionist, Katzenelson had a relatively tolerant attitude toward the Palestinians. 'I am willing to give the Arabs equal rights,' he said, 'if I know that only a small minority stays in the land.' He proposed for the new state a development plan that would include a provision to eliminate thousands of Palestinians. He made the position clear: 'A development plan means evictions.' The Mapai party official urged negotiations, with neighbouring Arab states that might be persuaded to receive the expellees.

The proposal to partition Palestine and to transfer the Arabs out of the resulting Jewish state came from a Royal Commission under Lord Peel, which had been appointed in November 1936,in the wake of widespread Arab disturbances. Peel and his colleagues decided that the only solution to the Palestine problem was to divide the country, thus forming a Jewish state that would include Galilee and most of the coastal plain. Though small in area, the Jewish state would have most of the fertile regions of the country. The Peel Commission suggested that, if necessary, force should be used to eliminate the Arabs living in the proposed Jewish state. For several decades the Zionists had favoured the removal of the Palestinians and so they attempted to persuade the British to carry out the transfer. On 19 July 1937, Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist organization, spoke with Ormsby-Gore, the British Colonial Secretary. Weizmann told the British minister that the whole success of the partition depended on whether the removal of the Arabs was accomplished. Weizmann later noted, 'The transfer could only be carried out by the British government and not by the Jews. I explained the reason why we considered the proposal of such importance.'[3] It would serve the purpose of the Zionists to have the British carry out the expulsion for them.

But many British ministers, while favouring partition, had serious reservations about the transfer of Arabs. At a Cabinet meeting, the Secretary of State for India, 'pointed out the great difficulty which lay in, the transfer into Arab territory of some 250,000 Arabs now located in territory proposed for the Jewish state. It was clear from the report of the Royal Commission that land was not available for them in the proposed Arab state. What was to happen to the quarter million Arabs in the interval?'[4]

In January 1938, the British government appointed a second commission under Sir John Woodhead to consider the technical implementation of partition. Sir Stephen Luke, a British official in Palestine, noted that when the Peel Commission had originally proposed the transfer, it had in mind the 1922 'vast exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. They had hoped a similar situation could be found in Palestine but even before the [Woodhead] partition commission left England, the Secretary of State had ruled out any possibility of compulsory transfer of population and the Woodhead Commission concluded after investigating the situation that the Prospects for a voluntary transfer were slight indeed.' [5]

But despite the equivocal attitude of the British, most Zionists were determined to implement the transfer of the Arabs. David Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency Executive, believed that the Zionists had to exert pressure to force the British to act. But if necessary, he wrote in his diary, we must ourselves prepare to carry out'[6] the removal of the Palestinians.

A plan had been developed by Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund, who served on the Population Transfer Committee of the Jewish Agency. He wrote in a report that the transfer of the Arab population from the Jewish areas, 'does not serve only one aim - to diminish the Arab population. It also serves a second purpose by no means less important, which is to evacuate land now cultivated by Arabs and thus release itfor Jewish settlement.'[7] Weitz believed that the transfer of the rural Arab population should be,given preference over the removal of the city Arabs. In all he Calculated that 87,000 Arabscould be removed from the rural hreas along with 10-15,000Bedouins. Most would go to Trans@ordan while the remainderwould go to Gaza and Syria. Weitz realized that the Britishwould not remove the Arabs by force, so he hoped to persuade the Arabs to leave by economic inducements. For this he calculated that over two million Palestinian pounds would beneeded.

The Weitz plan was thoroughly discussed by the Zionistleaders, all of whom favoured the removal of as many Arabs as possible. Dr Yakov Thon also served on the Population Transfer Committee. Thon had been a founding member of Brit Shalom, the 'ultra-liberal' group composed of Jewish intellectuals who sought reconciliation and accommodation with the Arabs. But his remarks in the secret committee meetings made it clear what type of reconciliation he had in mind. 'Without transferring the Arab peasants to neighbouring lands,' he said, 'we will not be able to bring into our future state a large new population. In short without transfer there can be no Jewish immigration.'[8] Thon noted that the British would not use force to implement the removal of the Arabs but he urged that all other possible measures be taken.

Another member of the transfer committee, Dr Mendelsohn, suggested that once the Jewish state was formed, 'a certain amount of pressure could be used to encourage transfer - such as agrarian reform or government measures.'[9] At a later meeting of the Executive, Isaac Ben-Ziv proposed that, 'super-vision of citizenship'[10] might provide an opportunity to force the Palestinians to leave.

The British, however, soon abandoned the idea of partition and with it the plan to transfer the Arab population. But a decade later, the idea of partition would be revived in the form of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly, which proposed a Jewish state with an even larger Arab population. The Arab-Jewish conflict which followed the passage of the UN resolution would provide an opportunity for the Zionists to achieve their goal of a Jewish state in Palestine that was largely free of Arabs.

In the early years, the political Zionists, including the founder of the modern movement, Theodore Herzl, were not particular about where their Jewish state would be located. In 1896 when Herzl wrote Der Judenstaat, he was undecided as to whether the new Jewish nation would be in Palestine or Argentina. At various other times he considered Cyprus, Kenya, and the Sinai peninsula. Some early Zionists even proposed that wealthy Jewish bankers purchase several of the western territories of the United States as a site for a Jewish nation. In the end Herzl chose Palestine because of its strong emotional appeal to the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe. But he was opposed by practically every rabbi in Europe, many of whom denounced political Zionism as a vile heresy since religious Jews at that time believed that only the Messiah could resurrect the Kingdom of Israel. It was not until well into the twentieth century that the majority of religious Jews were converted to political Zionism. As Herzl, Max Nordau and many of the other early Zionist leaders were non-believers, the religious objections to political Zionism did not concern them.

An even more disturbing feature of the early Zionists was their close relationship with anti-Semites, who Herzl believed were the most useful allies for the Zionists because no one could doubt the sincerity of their desire to see the Jews leave to found their own homeland. Herzl wrote, 'Anti-Semitism has grown and continues to grow and so do I.'[11] He referred to anti-Semitism as a great force which, 'if rightly employed is powerful enough to propel a large engine and dispatch the passengers and goods' - to Palestine or anywhere else the Zionists desired.

Herzl did not hesitate to negotiate with the German Kaiser who made anti-Semitic remarks in his presence to which the Zionist leader offered no objection) as well as the dreaded Russian Minister Wenzel von Plehve, the most notorious Jew hater of his age. Although no concrete agreements emerged from Herzl's negotiations with anti-Semites, he set a precedent, which was followed by many Zionist leaders of subsequent generations who had extensive relations with all manner of Jew haters.

This tendency to deal with anti-Semites is more easily under-stood if we consider the anti-Semitic mentality of many leading Zionists. Herzl remarked on the lack of 'ethical seriousness in many Jews' and the 'crookedness of Jew morality'.[12] He looked down on the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe and admired the haughty Prussian aristocracy. Other Zionists called Jews 'parasitic' and 'fundamentally useless people'. [13] They criticized their own people for being a commercial urban race who they claimed worshipped the Golden Calf. The Zionists bemoaned the fact that few Jews were farmers or workers who created with their own hands. This they believed was the source of the hatred which many gentiles felt towards Jews.

The answer to this problem, the Zionists believed, was the establishment of a Jewish state in which all functions of society, including the working-class jobs, would be performed by Jews. The Zionist ideologue A. D. Gordon insisted that 'There is only one 'way that can lead to our renaissance - the way of manual labour... a people can acquire a land only by its own efforts.' [14] Unlike other European colonies in Africa and Asia, where the manual labour was done by local people, the Zionists were determined that in Palestine Jewish labourers would work the farms and industries of the new state. Thus there was no place for the Arabs, since Zionist ideology dictated that Jewish farm owners and capitalists could not employ non-Jewish workers.

Herzl foresaw that the Arabs would have to be removed froma Jewish state in Palestine. This is clear from long-suppressed entries in his diaries. 'We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border', Herzl wrote, 'by procuring employment for them in the transit countries while denying any employment in our country.'[15] Herzl believed that the 'expropriation and removal of the poor [Arabs] must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.' As for the richer Arabs of Palestine, Herzl urged that they should be bought out even if they demanded very high prices for their land. He wanted the Jews to buy up every parcel of land in Palestine. The Arabs, Herzl observed, 'will believe that they are cheating us, selling things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.' As with so many of Herzl's ideas, his plan that the Zionists buy up as much land as possible while denying employment to any Arabs on this land was to become standard procedure for Zionist colonies in Palestine.

The Zionists spoke of making Palestine 'As Jewish as England is English'. They also used the slogan 'A land without a people for a people without a land' to describe their attitude toward Palestine. The Zionists considered Palestine uninhabited, despite the fact that in 1881 almost half a million Arabs lived in Palestine, forming almost 95 per cent of the population.

Although the early Zionists made a considerable effort to organize a mass movement to the Holy Land, few Jews actually emigrated to Palestine. Most Jews who left Eastern Europe went to America, where there was considerable economic opportunity. By 1914, there were still only 85,000 Jews in Palestine, many of whom were religious people who strongly opposed the political Zionists in their aim of establishing a Jewish state. Those who ventured to Palestine before the First World War found a land that was not 'without a people' but a province of the Turkish Empire which was inhabited by an Arabic speaking race (85 per cent Muslim, 15 per cent Christian) most of whom traced their ancestry in the country back formany generations.

Ahad Ha'Am (ne? Asher Ginzberg) was a religious Jew who recorded many prophetic observations on the way in which the political Zionists were treating the indigenous Arab population of Palestine. Ahad Ha'Am deplored the fact that many Jewish settlers in Palestine believed that 'the only language that the Arabs understand is that of force.'[16] He observed that many Jews 'behave toward the Arabs with cruelty, infringe upon their boundaries, hit them shamefully without reason and even brag about it.' He believed that the main reason the political Zionists treated the native population so badly was that they were 'angry towards those who reminded them that there is still another people in the land of Israel that has been living there and does not intend at all to leave.'

During this period many Zionists were already setting up their own banks, schools and businesses. Although Palestine was still part of the Turkish Empire, Jews often flew their Star of David flag and were preparing for the day when they could create a Jewish state. As a young man, Moshe Menuhin studied at the dlite Herzlia Gymnasia. He later recalled, 'it was drummed into our young hearts that the fatherland must become goyim rein [free of Gentiles-Arabs].'[17]

In the years before the First World War, political Zionism continued to be rejected by many Jews. Although most religious Jews supported spiritual Zionism, which saw Palestine as the cultural centre of Judaism, they remained convinced that political Zionism, which favoured the establishment of a Jewish government in Palestine, was heretical. Assimilated Jews were offended by the suggestion that their loyalty must be divided between a Jewish state and the land of their birth. But Zionism had surprising support among the non-Jewish population inmost Western countries.

Besides anti-Semites, Evangelical Christians are another large and influential group that to this day remains as a strong base of support for Zionism. Evangelicals believe that the return of the Jews to Palestine is a necessary prerequisite to the second coining of Christ. The Zionists have not been reluctant to exploit the theology of fundamentalist Christians for their benefit.

In England in the early part of this century, many Christians believed that the millennium predicted in the Bible would occur when the Zionists achieved their goal of founding a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In his conversations with government officials, the leader of the British Zionists, Chaim Weizmann, often used religious arguments to gain support for his cause. Other arguments were used as well. When the First World War broke out, Weizmann suggested that if the London government sponsored Zionism, Jews all over the world would rally to the British war effort. Thus in November 1917, the British issued the famous Balfour Declaration which proclaimed: 'His Majesty's Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.'[18] But the document also made it clear that, 'nothing shall be done which will prejudice the civil and political rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.'

Prior to the Balfour Declaration the British had given written promises to the Arabs implying that Palestine would be among the territories in which Arabs would enjoy their independence after the war. Much has been written about whether the British promises to the Jews or Arabs took precedence. While not devoid of interest, this debate misses the central point that Palestine belonged to the people who had lived there for over1,000 years and the British had no right to promise away another people's country. This nineteenth-century tendency to ignore the rights of an indigenous population was widely accepted in 1917 (and still greatly influences the Zionist treatment of the Palestinians). But even during the First World War, there were some who raised serious objections to the Balfour Declaration.

Among the most vocal critics were English Jews who served in high positions in the British government. Edward Montagu, a Cabinet minister, called Zionism a 'mischievous political creed'. He believed that the creation of a 'Jewish state' in Palestine would make citizenship dependent on a religious test, which he strongly resented. Montagu did not want to see the Jews 'driving out the present inhabitants'[19] of Palestine, which would earn them the enmity of both Christians and Muslims. Indeed, he asserted that the Jewish claim to Palestine on religious grounds was no stronger than that of Muslims or Christians. The Jewish Cabinet minister pointed out that most of the British-born Jews opposed Zionism and that the Christian leaders of England were wrong if they believed that their espousal of Zionism would gain much support from Jews for the British war effort.

The severest critics of Zionism were its victims - the Palestinians. As early as 1891, Arab notables in Jerusalem sent a petition to Constantinople protesting against the intrusion of European Jews into Palestine. The most serious complaint was that these early 'proto-Zionist' settlers were buying up land and creating a class of landless Arab peasants. Also, the failure of the European Jewish colonists to respect local customs and their tendency to insulate themselves against the Middle Eastern environment aroused the enmity of many local inhabitants. By the turn of the century leaflets were widely distributed which warned Arabs not to sell land to the Zionists and demanding that the Turkish government halt Jewish immigration. The newspaper Al Karmel was established at Haifa in order to arouse the Palestinians against Zionism.

The Arab members of the Turkish parliament often spoke out against Zionism, especially against Jewish land purchase and immigration. They also accused Turkish officials of ignoring the separatist tendencies of the European Jewish settlers, in particular the Zionist establishment of paramilitary organizations, the open display of the Star of David flag and the singing of Zionist national songs.

The Christian Arab Naguib Azouri wrote Le reveil de lanation Arabe, in which he warned of the 'effort of the Jews to reconstitute on a very large scale the ancient kingdom of Israel.'[20] In 1911, an anti-Zionist association was founded in Jaffa. There were protests and several anti-Zionist demonstrations in various cities. But this early movement dissipated before it could play any real role.

Many Zionist settlers tended to ignore the unrest among the Palestinians, but some took note of the 'Arab problem'. It was suggested that increased Jewish immigration was necessary to secure Zionist control of Palestine against Arabs, Turks or other possible settlers. But when one Zionist physician was toldthat there must be an acceleration of Jewish movement into the country before others took it over, the doctor, mindful of the high Palestinian birth-rate replied, 'No one will take it, the Arabs have it and they will stay the leading force by a wide margin.'[21]

Indeed the birth-rate among the Palestinians, which was one of the highest in the world, ensured that the Arabs would remain the majority in Palestine even with a massive programme of Jewish immigration. To several Zionist leaders, the only solution appeared to be an implementation of Herzl's plan to deport a large part of the Palestinian population. In May1911, Arthur Rupin suggested a 'limited transfer' to northern Syria which would be financed by the Jews.

Others took up the idea. In 1912, Leo Motzkin, in a speech at the annual conference of German Zionists, suggested that those Arabs who sold their land to the Jews should be resettled on uncultivated land in neighbouring Arab states. But during this period it was the Anglo-Jewish author Israel Zangwill who did most to popularize the idea of an 'Arab trek' by the Palestinians to a new state, which would be created for them in Arabia.

Zangwill believed that the migration could be initiated peacefully. After all, he reasoned, other peoples, such as the Boers of South Africa, had been relocated. Why shouldn't the Palestinians welcome an opportunity to make a magnanimous gesture by giving up their homeland to be used by the Jews who had been so badly treated in Christian Europe? Of course it did not dawn on Zangwill that the Palestinians were no less attached to Palestine than the Zionists. If the Arabs did not leave, Zangwill believed that a Jewish state could not arise and there would be only an endless conflict between Jews and Arabs.[22]

After the First World War, the British, who had driven the Turks out of Palestine, ruled the country as a League of Nations mandate. The territory east of the Jordan River was separated from Palestine and formed the Kingdom of Trans-Jordan with King Abdullah as monarch. In the Palestine mandate English, Hebrew and Arabic were regarded as official languages, while provision was made for Jewish immigration into the colony.

After the establishment of the Jewish 'national home' under the British mandate, the residents of the Yishuv (Jewish community) in Palestine had to decide on their long-term goals. Some Jews, not very many, rejected the idea of creating an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine but instead preferred a 'binational' country in which the religion, language and customs of both Jews and Arabs would be respected. Such people as Judah Magnes, Chancellor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the distinguished philosopher Martin Buber argued that the future government of Palestine need not be Jewish dominated in order to secure the rights of its Jewish citizens. Buber wished that the Jews would recognize the Arabs as their brothers and hoped that they would avoid the temptation of seeing themselves as emissaries of Western culture, which Buber regarded as decadent. Unfortunately, the size and influence of the binational group remained negligible.

Most Zionists desired the creation of an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine but differed on how best to achieve this goal. The Revisionist movement consisted of a group of Zionists who wanted immediate action on the formation of a Jewish nation that would include not only all of Palestine but Trans-Jordan as well. As for the Arabs, the leader of the Revisionist party, Vladimir Jabotinsky, regarded them as 'alien minorities who would weaken national unity.' Jabotinsky argued that there were many neighbouring states to which the Palestinian Arabs could emigrate.

In 1916, before he had established the Revisionist movement, Jabotinsky had met Israel Zangwill, who convinced him that the evacuation of the Palestinians was a prerequisite of the implementation of Zionism. Jabotinsky believed that if possible the Arabs should be removed from Palestine peacefully. But he suspected that military force would have to be used. As early as 1925, in a letter to Senator O. O. Grusenberg, Jabotinsky proposed that the establishment of a Jewish majority in Palestine would 'have to be achieved against the will of the country's Arab majority. An "iron wall" of a Jewish armed force would have to protect the process of achieving a majority.'[23]

Jabotinsky was surely one of the most interesting if sinister figures in the history of Zionism. An, impatient man, he was honest enough to say publicly what Ben-Gurion and the other Zionist leaders plotted secretly. Greatly influenced by Italian Fascism, Jabotinsky and his followers introduced into Zionism a strident chauvinism, militarism and authoritarianism that had previously been absent from the Jewish Weltanschauung. Mussolini had proclaimed a desire 'to change a nation of lambs into a nation of wolves'; Jabotinsky also wished to alter the image of his people, whom he criticized for being effete and passive. Like Herzl, Jabotinsky had a basically negative attitude towards the Jewish people. He engaged in negotiations with anti-Semitic governments in the 1920s, especially the authoritarian regime of Poland, which was anxious to get rid of its Jews. The Revisionists wanted to transport the mass of East European Jewry to Palestine and took for granted the hostility of the Palestinian Arabs. But since they believed that the relocation of Eastern European Jewry to nowhere else but the Holy Land was amoral imperative, Jabotinsky concluded that the Arab opposition to this massive colonization was immoral and should be crushed.

Jabotinsky had utter contempt for the Arabs. He believed that they had contributed nothing to civilization and were not ready for independent nationhood. To the Revisionists, the Arabs of Palestine were decidedly inferior to Europeans and unworthy of a place in the Holy Land. In contrast to Martin Buber, Jabotinsky saw the chief aim of Zionism in classical nineteenth-century terms; thus he suggested that the Jews must come to Palestine in order to 'push the moral frontiers of Europe to the Euphrates.'[24]

The 'superior culture' that the Revisionists planned to bring to the Middle East contained a large measure of European racism. It is one of the tragic ironies of history that what the Rivisionists and other Zionists wrote and said about the Palestinian Arabs closely resembled the calumnies that the Nazis were making against the Jews. Indeed, in their writings the Revisionists often used the same terminology as the Nazis.

An extreme example of this can be found in The Rape of Palestine, a book written by William Ziff, an American representative of the Revisionist movement. Ziff described the Palestinian Arabs as a 'sickly and degenerate race'[25] that was 'low on the scale of human development'. In explaining the origins of the Palestinians, Ziff noted that 'from the steppes, mountains and deserts an agglomeration of primitive and savage man has swarmed in successive waves over Palestine and left their seed.'

Since to Ziff the Palestinians were the result of a 'churning stew of races', it should not be surprising that he believed that they had 'virtually no creative gifts'. He also charged that 'the ruling passion of an Arab is greediness of gold.' Ziff suggested that an Arab's 'love of money is such that he loses all sense of proportion whenever currency is discussed.' Similar remarks directed against the Jews could easily be found in any number of anti-Semitic propaganda sheets then being published in Germany. {FOOTNOTE: Not surprisingly Ziff's book was endorsed by many of the leading members of the 'American liberal establishment' of the 1930s. Like their equivalent in our own day, they saw no inconsistency in condemning anti-Semitism while supporting Zionist anti-Arab racism.} Considering the inflammatory nature of the Revisionist attitude toward the Arabs, it was inevitable that Jabotinsky's followers would provoke violence in Palestine.

One sweltering afternoon in August 1929, the American author and journalist Vincent Sheean sat in his room at the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem when a servant burst in to say that a lady was waiting to see him. Downstairs Sheean found a Jewish-American woman whose acquaintance he had made some time before. She informed him that there was going to be serious trouble at the Wailing Wall, since hundreds of Jabotinsky's followers were coming into the city 'ready to fight' to protect the sacred monument. Many of the right-wing extremists were armed and Sheean's visitor looked forward to a bloody confrontation with the Arabs since it would 'show that we are here.'[26]

Trouble had been festering over the religious shrines in Jerusalem for quite some time. It is unfortunate and ironic that the Wailing Wall, the holiest Jewish shrine, lies directly below Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the holiest Muslim shrine in Jerusalem. In September 1928, the Jewish sextant at the Wailing Wall placed a screen on the pavement in order to separate men and women according to Orthodox Jewish custom. The Muslimscomplained that this action violated the ancient agreements thatregulated Jewish and Islamic worship in the area of the sacred shrines. The British colonial administration agreed and ordered the Jews to remove the screens. The Zionists objected to the decision, complaining that the ruling represented 'wanton interference' with Jewish religious liberty.

Most British officials in Palestine did not take the escalating crisis over the Wailing Wall very seriously. Indeed, one senior bureaucrat in a report on 29 July 1929, wrote that it was 'much to be deplored '[27] that he and his colleagues were required to concern themselves with 'the dimensions of wash basins and the position of water containers.' He lamented, 'but this is typical of Palestine and its sectarian pettiness.'

Within a few weeks this 'sectarian pettiness' was to erupt into violence. When Sheean went to the Wailing Wall, he saw religious Yemenite Jews observing the ancient rituals, oblivious to the fact that Jabotinsky's followers were attempting to provoke a conflict with any Muslims they could find. Sheean wrote in his diary, 'if I were an Arab, I should be angry, very angry and I don't think for a minute that this is over.'

On 23 August, came the inevitable Muslim reaction. Angered by rumours that the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem were in danger, thousands of Arab peasants poured into the Holy City. Vincent Sheean again found himself in the midst of the melee. As the Arabs approached the Jewish section of the city, the American journalist saw a Jew throw a grenade into the crowd, killing two people. These were the first fatalities of the day. Fighting raged in Jerusalem and spread to other parts of Palestine with several hundred Arabs, Jews and British beingkilled before order was restored.

In the wake of the disturbances, the British set up the Shaw Commission to consider the underlying causes of the rioting. Before the outbreak the Colonial Office had considered a plan to give a measure of self-government to Palestine. The Zionists greatly feared home rule while there was still a large Arab majority in the country. Indeed they may have provoked the disturbances so as to persuade the British that Palestine was not yet ready for any degree of independence. The Arab reprisals, however, greatly exceeded expectation. Although religion was the initial cause of the fighting, economic grievances motivated many of the Arab rioters. In Hebron, for example, where many Jews were killed, the Muslim peasants of the region resented being exploited by Jewish speculators who they feared wished to drive them off their land.

While condemning the Arab excesses, the Shaw Commission recognized that the main reason for the Muslim violent reaction was the 'Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews consequent upon the disappointment and fear for their economic future.'[28] The British investigators recommended that the Palestine mandatory administration respond to the justified Arab grievances by limiting Jewish immigration, protecting Arab peasants from eviction by Jewish land purchases, and preventing the 'Jewish Agency' from assuming governmental powers in Palestine.

In another report on 30 October 1930, Sir John Hope Simpson, an authority on agricultural economics, concluded that the root of the problem was the policy of the Jewish National Fund, which was driving the Arabs off the land by buying up farming plots and refusing to employ Arabs on the Jewish-owned estates. Like the Shaw Commission, Hope Simpson urged that both Jewish immigration and land purchases should be limited. On the same day as the Hope Simpson report was released, the British Colonial Secretary issued a White Paper in which he ratified the recommendations of the experts with regard to Jewish immigration and land purchase.

It appeared that the Zionist strategy (based on Herzl's plans of three decades earlier) of driving the Arabs out of Palestine by land purchase and denial of employment was about to be curtailed by the British Colonial administration. But the Zionists were able to negate the findings of the legal and economic experts by applying political pressure in London. Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, had great influence with members of the British government. After having lunch with Weizmann, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald made public an official letter to Weizmann in which he repudiated all of there forms approved in the Passfield White Paper. MacDonald asserted, 'The obligation to facilitate Jewish immigration and make possible dense settlement of Jews on the land is still a positive obligation of the Mandate.'[29] He also upheld the right of the Jewish Agency to prohibit the use of Arab labour on Jewish land. After the publication of the letter the Arabs of Palestine realized that they could expect no justice from the British administration. During this period the Zionists were emboldened to make their intentions to the Palestinians quite clear.

On a spring evening in 1933, David Ben-Gurion, then a newly elected member of the Executive Council of the Jewish Agency in Palestine, visited the home of his associate Moshe Shertok.{FOOTNOTE in August 1948, he would change his name to Sharett.} The two members of the council, which acted as a quasi-legal governing body for the Yishuv, were planning a secret meeting with Musa a]-Alami who served as Attorney-General in the British administration. Ben-Gurion requested the meeting in order to discuss with Musa al-Alami, the scion of a distinguished Arab family, the ultimate fate of Palestine after the British left the troubled mandate territory. The official position of the Jewish Agency in Palestine was that 'neither of the two peoples shall dominate or be dominated by the other.' In reality, however, many of the Zionist leaders, including Ben-Gurion, had a somewhat different view.

During the discussion at Shertok's Jerusalem apartment, Musa emphasized the pessimistic feeling that prevailed among the Arabs of Palestine because they were gradually being ousted from all of the important positions, while the best land inthe country was passing into Jewish hands. For the Arabs of Palestine, according to Musa, the future seemed 'bleak and bitter' since both their economic and political position in the country was deteriorating.

Shertok had soothing words for Musa, likening Palestine to a crowded hall 'in which there is always room for more people.' There was space in Palestine for the Jews who wanted to movein, Shertok claimed, since they had no intention of inflicting any real harm on the Arabs. At this point Ben-Gurion interrupted the conversation snapping at Shertok, 'It is useless to talk like this to a realist like Musa al-Alami.' Ben-Gurion considered Musa to be a 'sincere, straightforward and sensible man' so he spoke plainly to him. The Jews had nowhere else to go but Palestine, Ben-Gurion insisted, whereas the Arabs of Palestine could move to any of the neighbouring Arabic-speaking countries. Ben-Gurion posed the crucial question, 'Is there any possibility at all of reaching an understanding with regard to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine including Trans-Jordan?'[30] In return for the displacement of the Palestinian Arabs, Ben-Curion offered Zionist support for an Arab federation which would include the remaining Arab countries. Alami would give no commitment.

Ben-Gurion had subsequent conversations with other Arab leaders with whom he was equally frank. On 18 July 1934, he met with. Auni Abdul Hadi, head of the Palestinian Istiqlal (independence) party. Ben-Gurion later recalled, 'Auni asked me, "How many Jews do you want in Palestine?"' To which Ben-Gurion replied, 'During a period of thirty years, four million.' In view of this candour, the Arabs could have little doubt that the real aim of the Zionists was to displace them with a flood of Jewish immigrants.

The fears of the Palestinians were greatly exacerbated in the mid-1930s as a result of the increased Jewish immigration, which reached a peak of over 60,000 in 1935. Many of these Jews came from Nazi Germany. Their immigration was the result of a Nazi-Zionist agreement that permitted departing Jews to withdraw their savings in the form of German-made goods at a time when Jews all over the world were attempting to organize an economic boycott of the Hitler regime. A recent study indicates that, 'the anti-Nazi boycott did have an excellent chance of toppling the Third Reich.'[31] However, the dealings between the Zionists and the Nazis severely undercut the effect of the boycott. Indeed, some Zionists showed a liking for the Hitler movement. {FOOTNOTE: Jabotinsky on 17 May 1933 sent a letter to Dr Hans Block in Germany complaining about the fascination which some members of the Revisionist youth movement had for the Nazis. 'I do not know what has happened,' Jabotinsky wrote, since Nazism 'impresses our youth so much in the manner which communism impresses other Jews.'[32]}. Of course most Zionists hated the Nazis but they saw cooperation with them as the best opportunity to bring fresh waves of Jewish immigrants to Palestine.

The Arabs of Palestine believed that they were receiving an unfair proportion of the Jewish refugees who could better be accommodated in America or in the underpopulated states of the British Commonwealth. They demanded not only a halt to immigration but also the establishment of democratic institutions in Palestine based on majority rule. This was staunchly opposed by the Zionists who realized that they had greater influence under the prevailing system through the political pressure they could put on the British Cabinet in London.

When it became clear that the Arab demands would not be granted, violence erupted in Palestine. On 25 April 1935 the Grand Mufti Haj Amin, the political and spiritual leader of the Palestinians, joined with other Palestinian notables in establishing the Arab Higher Committee (AHC). Shortly after its formation, the AHC urged all Palestinians not to pay taxes to the mandate government and organized a nationwide general strike which lasted seven months. During this period there was considerable fighting between the Palestinians and the British army in which thousands of Arabs were killed.

On 11 November 1936, the Peel Commission arrived in Palestine with instructions to determine the fundamental cause of the unrest. The Arabs who testified before the Royal Commission demanded the formation of an independent Palestine which would be ruled by proportional representation. But, as already noted, the Peel Commission recommended the partition of Palestine, which was not implemented.

With the failure of the Royal Commission, the Arab resistance intensified. Mahatma Gandhi believed that the justice of the Arab cause was obvious. He wrote, 'Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French;'[33] the Indian leader added,' according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in face of overwhelming odds.' But the Palestinians were gradually defeated because they foolishly dissipated their strength in open combat with the British army. The Jewish community worked closely with the British during this period. The Yishuv organized Haganah (The Defence) to combat the Arabs. Thus the Jews began to develop the fighting machine that would perform so well in 1948. The Haganah organized 'Pre-emptive' tactics, including raids on many Arab villages that were sanctioned by the British. By August 1939, the Arab resistance finally collapsed. The rebellion had fatally weakened the military potential of the Palestinians and decimated their leadership.

As war in Europe appeared increasingly unavoidable, the British government felt a need to make some gesture on Palestine that would pacify the Arab world and prevent the further increase of Axis influence in the Middle East. On 17 May 1939, a White Paper was published in which the British government ruled out the establishment of either a Jewish or Arab state in the Holy Land but instead announced that eventually both groups would share power in Palestine. During a ten-year interim period, Jews and Arabs would be given the opportunity for increased participation in government. With regard to immigration, the White Paper provided that 75,000 Jews would be permitted to enter Palestine over a five-year period but there would be a limitation on Jewish land purchases, particularly in predominantly Arab areas.

The Zionist response to the White Paper was immediate and violent. The headquarters of the Department of Migration was set on fire and government offices in Haifa and Tel Aviv were stormed by crowds bent on destroying all files on illegal immigration. In Jerusalem Arab shops were looted. A British policeman was shot during a demonstration. A few days later the Rex Cinema in Jerusalem was bombed, killing five Arabs and injuring eighteen. This was followed by the attack on the village of Adas in which five more Arabs were killed. So began a reign of terror against both Arabs and British that came to be known as 'Gun Zionism'.

The Zionists fought violently against the White Paper. However, they saw no reason to give up their plans for an exclusively Jewish nation. Not long after the White Paper was issued, Weizmann explained to Winston Churchill the Zionist intention to build up a state in Palestine with three or four million Jews. 'Yes, indeed I quite agree with that,' Churchill replied.[34]

Most Zionists were determined that their Jewish state should be free of Arabs. In December 1940, Joseph Weitz wrote in his diary:

Between Ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both Peoples together in this country... We shall not achieve our goal of being an independent people with the Arabs in this small country. The only solution is a Palestine, at least Western Palestine (west of the Jordan river) without Arabs ... And there is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe, should be left... Only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb the millions of our own brethren. There is no other way out. '[35]

On the eve of the Second World War, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy signed an agreement that provided for the transfer of thousands of German-speaking residents from the Italian South Tyrol to the Reich. The Revisionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky was greatly impressed by the accord which had been negotiated by his mentor Benito Mussolini. Jabotinsky believed that the agreement could serve as a model for the transfer of the Arabs out of Palestine. With regard to the Nazi-Fascist accord, Jabotinsky wrote, 'This precedent may perhaps be fated to playan important role in Jewish history.'[36] Indeed, other Zionist leaders tried to negotiate an agreement for the transfer of the Arabs out of Palestine.

On 8 October 1939, Chaim Weizmann, along with Moshe Shertok, Political Secretary of the Jewish Agency, conferredwith H. St John Philby, a British explorer, Orientalist and friend of King Ibn Saud. A few days before, 'Philby of Arabia' had met Professor Lewis Namier, an historian and confidant of the Zionist leaders. Namier had arranged the meeting between Philby and Weizmann because the British adventurer hadsuggested that King lbn Saud might be persuaded to take a position on the Palestine question that would be favourable to the Zionists.

At the conference with Weizmann, Philby revealed that King Ibn Saud would agree to the creation of a Jewish state in all of Palestine and the transfer of considerable "'numbers of Palestinians to Arabia in exchange for Zionist help in the unification of the Arab world under Ibn Saud and a subsidy of twenty million pounds. (Saudi Arabia was not yet oil rich.) Shertok suggested that the Zionists might pay the twenty million provided that at least part of the money was used for the 'transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to other Arab countries.'[37] But although Shertok favoured the scheme, he doubted whether Philby had sufficient influence to carry it out. Weizmann put a great deal of stock in Philby. For years afterwards the Jewish leader remained confident that a bargain could be made to transfer the Palestinians to Saudi Arabia.

In his memoirs Weizmann claims that he had 'never contemplated the removal of the Arabs.' [38] It is clear, however, that like all other Zionists, Weizmann saw the elimination of the Palestinians as a necessary prerequisite to the creation of the Jewish state. On 25 May 1941 Weizman told a conference of American Jewish leaders that the Zionists planned to acquire a great deal of land in the Arab states and would tell the Palestinians: 'We shall see that you are colonized [relocated] and you get five dunans of land for every dunan [in Palestine] that we get.'[39]

Although there is no evidence that he ever received the acquiescence of a single Palestinian leader, Weizmann believed that the Arabs of Palestine would agree to the transfer plan. When Colonial Secretary Lord Moyne asked Weizmann if the relocation of the Palestinians could be accomplished without bloodshed, the Zionist leader replied, 'it could be done if Britain and America talked frankly to the Arabs.'[40] For decades Weizmann had believed that Britain could be a valuable ally for the Zionists. During the Second World War, not only Weizmann but the whole Zionist movement began to focus its attention on America as their most logical and valuable ally.

It is hardly a coincidence that Ben-Gurion chose a conference of American Zionists in May 1942 at the Biltmore Hotel in New York to formulate his demand that 'Palestine be established as a Jewish commonwealth.' There is no doubt that the Zionist programme developed during the Second World War provided for the removal of the Palestinians from this Jewish common-wealth.

In 1943, General Patrick Hurley, the personal representative of President Roosevelt, visited Palestine on a fact-finding mission. He reported that many of the Jews in Palestine preferred to settle eventually in the United States or Western Europe after the war. He noted, however, that in contrast the Zionist leadership was determined to create a Jewish state that would include all of Palestine and 'probably Trans-Jordan'.[41] According to General Hurley, the Zionist leaders also desired 'the eventual transfer of the Arab population to Iraq.' Not allZionists believed that the transfer of the Palestinians could beaccomplished without strife. When an American diplomat told a group of Zionists that the relocation of the Arabs should be accomplished peacefully, Dr Nahum Goldmann, a Zionist representative replied, 'Justice can be enforced only if there is force behind it.'[42]

But Weizmann believed that the Palestinians could be removed via an agreement with King Ibn Saud. Eventually it became clear that Philby had greatly exaggerated the Arab monarch's interest in the transfer agreement. Ibn Saud told Colonel Harold Hoskins, a personal representative of President Roosevelt, that he refused to meet Dr Weizmann, 'owing to the dishonourable and insulting suggestion conveyed through Mr Philby.'[43]

Even after Colonel Hoskins reported on lbn Saud's negative attitude, Weizmann still retained hope for the Philby plan. On 13 December 1943, in a letter to United States Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, Weizmann indicated the Zionist intention, 'to carry out a Jordan development scheme suggested by the Americans,'[44] which would, 'facilitate the transfer of population.' Weizmann felt that the Zionists could use the help of, 'an outstanding personality in the Arab world such as Ibn Saud.' The Jewish leader added, 'I therefore feel that despite Colonel Hoskins' adverse report that properly managed Mr Philby's scheme offers an approach which should not be abandoned without further study.'

Nothing came of the Philby plan, but the idea of solving the Arab-Jewish impasse by expelling the Palestinians from their homeland was to re-emerge in April 1944 when the British Labour party's national executive urged the removal of the ban on Jewish immigration into Palestine and recommended that, 'the Arabs be encouraged to move out as the Jews move in.'[45] The Labour party announced that all of Palestine should be given to the Zionists and proposed that 'we should re-examine also the possibility of extending the present Palestine boundaries by agreement with Egypt, Syria and Trans-Jordan.'

The Arabs were outraged by the position taken by the Labour party, particularly since it was generally expected that the Socialists would come to power in England after the war. Zionist opinion as expressed in several newspaper editorials was favourable but an effort was made to avoid gloating. Zionist policy on the removal of the Palestinians had always been based on the hope that the British and/or the Arab states would do their dirty work for them. This of course would make the British and the leaders of the Arab states, and not the Zionists, the focus of Muslim world resentment. While in private meetings Ben-Gurion strongly favoured the removal of the Palestinians, in public he did not during this period reveal his true intentions. In a newspaper article the Zionist leader claimed, 'Jewish plans do not entail the displacement of a single Arab.'[46] Ben-Gurion wrote that if the Arabs wished to emigrate to other lands it was their own affair. Like every other Zionist, Ben-Gurion hoped that after the war, when, as expected, the British Labour party came to power, they would carry through their pledge to expel the Palestinians.

But when the Labour party did come to power, they found that in the post-war world, British hopes of maintaining her status as a world power depended in part on her retaining her traditional influence in the Middle East. There seemed no rational reason for Britain to antagonize the Muslim world by taking a pro-Zionist stance on Palestine. Meanwhile, the United States with Harry Truman as President had emerged as the champion of the Zionist cause. Truman greatly desired Jewish votes if he was to win a full term as President in 1948.[47] Besides, there was widespread pro-Jewish sympathy in the United States in view of the revelations about Nazi atrocities.

In late 1945, the British, who were concerned about Jewish immigration into Palestine, invited the United States to form a joint commission to study the future of the Jewish displaced persons (DPs) who had survived the Holocaust. After some negotiation the Truman administration accepted the proposal to form a commission. In January 1946, the Anglo-American Committee began hearings in Washington, after which it traveled to England, Germany and the Middle East. Although a disproportionate number of witnesses who appeared before the Committee espoused the Zionist party line, the record of the proceedings contains some interesting testimony.

Most of the Zionists stressed the need for Jewish immigration to Palestine, which they urged should be turned into a Jewish state. They pledged that the rights of the Arab minority in the new Zionist nation would be protected. But the testimony of the expert witnesses made it clear that no Jewish state could be created in Palestine without the removal of the Arab population.

Dr Frank Notestein, director of the Population Research Institute at Princeton, revealed that even with massive Jewish immigration, the Arabs would soon outnumber the Jews because of the unusually high Palestinian birth-rate and the low natural population increase among the Jews. In London, Notestein's testimony was supported by Dr D. V. Glass, another demographic expert. He estimated that the Muslim Palestinians (85 per cent of the total) had an annual population increase of 30 per 1,000 which was, 'among the highest recorded in the world'.'[48] The Jewish annual population increase was less than 18 per 1,000. It was obvious that unless the Arab population was somehow reduced, the viability of any Zionist state would be questionable since it would always face the danger of an Arab majority.

When the Anglo-American Committee arrived in Palestine, a visit to several Arab villages was on their agenda. The commission toured an Arab school where they asked the students about their future plans. The British and American committee members were surprised that they so often heard, 'work on the land',[49] as a reply. Richard Crossman, a staunchly pro-Zionist member of the Committee, wrote about the Palestinians, 'They cling to the soil even with education.' Indeed an acute sense of belonging to their soil was one of the most characteristic traits of the Palestinian Arabs. Earlier a British report on the Palestine mandate had noted: 'The bulk of the Arab community is composed of peasants and small landowners, hard-headed and stubborn, with a profound attachment to the land.'[50]

The Anglo-American Committee issued its report on I May 1946. With regard to the future government of Palestine, the report was vague, but it urged that 100,000 Jewish immigrants be immediately allowed into the country. It is ironic that the United States government strongly urged the British to allow large-scale immigration into Palestine, but only 4,767 Jewish refugees were permitted to enter the United States in the first eight months of 1946. There were many reasons why the United States permitted so few DPs into the country, not least of which was the apathetic attitude of the American Jewish community leadership to a liberalization of US immigration law.

By 1946 most American Jewish organizations had been converted to Zionism. As such they viewed the immigration ofthe Jewish DPs to the United States or anywhere else besides Palestine as a diversion from their goal to establish a Jewish state in the Holy Land. The Jewish DPs in their detention camps in Europe were subjected to intense propaganda by Zionist agents. But according to General Frederick Morgan who ran the camps for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA), if the Jewish displaced persons had been allowed to make their own decision, few 'would have gone elsewhere than to the USA.'[51] But the Zionists used the Jewish refugees as propaganda for their cause and as cannon fodder in the struggle to create a Zionist state in Palestine. After the horrors of the Holocaust, these unfortunate survivors deserved a better fate.

During this period, Palestine was suffering as a result of Jewish terrorism perpetrated by the Irgun and Stern Gang, which directed their attacks against British installations. The terrorists hoped to persuade the British, who had 100,000 troops in Palestine, that continued occupation would be too costly. Both the Irgun and the Stern Gang came out of the right wing of the Zionist movement.

The Stern Gang had originally been formed early in the Second World War by Abraham Stern, who like Jabotinsky, greatly admired Mussolini. Stern had studied classics at the University of Florence and had been influenced by the extreme Anglophobia of Italian Fascism. Stern believed that no effort should be spared to drive the British out of Palestine. Indeed in 1941, the Stern Gang even contacted Otto von Hentig, the German emissary in Syria, in the hope of making a Nazi-Zionist alliance against the British. In their proposal the Stern Gang (which included as one of its leaders the current Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir) offered to co-operate with the Nazis on the formation of a Jewish state, 'on a national and totalitarian basis which will establish relations with the German Reich'[52] and protect Nazi interests in the Middle East. The Jewish terrorists also proposed to recognize the Nazi 'New Order in Europe' which was then planning the murder of millions of Jews. These overtures were ignored by the Nazis but do no credit to the Stern Gang.

Although Stern was, killed in a gun battle with police in 1942,his group continued their operations, including the murder of British officials. Their best-known victim during the war was Lord Moyne, whose 'crimes' included a stat4mnent that the European Jews were not the descendants of the ancient Hebrews and therefore had no claim to Palestine. Lord Moyne had further displeased the Stern Gang because he refused to co-operate with Adolf Eichmann in a trade of Auschwitz inmates for Allied goods. The murder of Lord Moyne greatly angered the British public.

The other Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, was an offshoot of Jabotinsky's Revisionist movement. During the Second World War, the Irgun had come under the command of Menachem Begin, who proved to be a ruthless and resourceful leader. After the war the Irgun directed its terrorist activities against the British, killing scores of soldiers and police in bombing raids on British installations. On 22 July 1946, the Irgun carried out their most spectacular raid when they blew up the King David Hotel, killing ninety-one Britons, Arabs and Jews.

It is ironic that the news media laments PLO terrorism but fails to mention that it was the Zionists who first used political terrorism in the Middle East. Many of the victims of the Stern Gang and Irgun were innocent civilians, since the terrorists often planted bombs in Arab markets or other crowded areas. But in 1946, their principal target was in fact the British. The government in London, however, feared that the Americans would retaliate against a firm anti-terrorist campaign by holding up a much-needed loan. The British army was not allowed to use the tough tactics required to halt the Irgun and Stern Gang. Execution of captured terrorists was rare, house searches were limited and round-ups unusual.

The British army Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Montgomery, was outraged by the restrictions placed on the army by the politicians in London. While on a fact-finding mission in Palestine he reported, 'the whole business of dealing with illegal armed organizations in Palestine is being tackled in a way which will not produce any good results.'[53] He recommended, 'If we are not prepared to maintain law and order in Palestine it would be better to get out.' There were many in Britain who agreed with him. The British taxpayers were supporting an army of 100,000 men in the troubled mandate territory with no end in sight. The tactics of the Irgun and Stern Gang, designed to bomb the British out of Palestine, brought quick results.

On 14 February 1947, British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin announced that he was turning the Palestine problem over to the United Nations. On 13 May, the General Assembly set up the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine(UNSCOP). The purpose of the Committee was to investigate the Palestine problem, including the question of the Jewish DPs in Germany. The Arabs made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to have the DP issue divorced from the Palestine problem. This failure put the Arab Higher Committee in a difficult position since consideration of the Jewish refugees in connection with Palestine practically assured a UNSCOP report favourable to the Zionists. Many nations (including the US)which had done little or nothing to relieve the plight of the DPs were sure to vote on 'humanitarian grounds' for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine to rescue the refugees. Thus the Arabs declined to give testimony before the UN Committee. But the refusal of the AHC to work with UNSCOP cast the Arabs in a most unfavourable light from a propaganda point of view as the Jewish Agency extended full co-operation to the Committee.

After extensive hearings, the eleven-nation committee announced on 31 August a majority report (supported by seven members) which recommended the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state, an Arab state and the internationalization of Jerusalem. After some modifications were made, the partition plan provided that the Jewish state would include the coastal plain (except for Arab Jaffa), part of Galilee, and most of the Negev. There would be 538,000 Jews in the Zionist nation. The total number of Arabs in the Jewish state was in dispute since the AHC pointed out that the UN estimate of 400,000 failed to take into account the large Bedouin population in the Negev. Thus the Arab population nearly equalled the Jewish population of the proposed Zionist state.

When the UNSCOP report was announced, there was little stir among the Arab community in Palestine. On 8 September, Sir Henry Gurney, the Chief Secretary of the Palestine government informed the British Secretary of State for the Colonies that, 'the absence of any immediate reaction of the Arabs [to the UNSCOP report] can be attributed to their incredulity.'[54] According to Gurney, the Arabs didn't take the partition plan seriously because, 'it seems very possible that the Arabs would have a majority population within quite a short time if the present rate of natural increase continues.'

Most Palestinians found it difficult to imagine that the UN General Assembly would be so irresponsible as to vote for a partition plan that would create a Jewish nation which lacked viability. In view of the demographic time bomb, it was obvious that in the state created by the UNSCOP plan the Zionists must either accept an eventual Arab majority or expel a large part of the Palestinian population. There was no other possible choice. Even if the entire 250,000 DPs were admitted, because of the exceedingly high Arab birth-rate, there would be a Palestinian majority in the Zionist state within a few decades.

But long before that there would be massive chaos in view of the Zionist desire to seize Arab lands for Jewish colonization. During the debate in the General Assembly on the partition plan, Ambassador Camille Chamoun of Lebanon quoted from the constitution of the Jewish Agency to show that discrimination against the Arabs in employment and land ownership had been Zionist policy for decades. The Lebanese delegate made a telling point: 'If such had been Zionist policy under the [British] mandatory administration, it could be asked what the fate of the Arabs would be under the regime of a Jewish state.'[55] The Arabs realized that discrimination in employment and land ownership would be used by the Zionists to push out the Arabs and make room for new Jewish immigrants. Such a development could only lead to war between Jews and Arabs.

The Jewish state created by UNSCOP was also likely to have border disputes with the Arabs. Jaffa was completely surrounded by Jewish territory, so was the Arab portion of the Negev. About 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem were cut off from the Zionist state. This could also be the cause of friction and the rise of irredentist agitation in the Jewish state.

Despite its huge Arab population and its unstable borders, on 29 November 1947, the Jewish state in Palestine was created when the General Assembly approved the UNSCOP majority report by a vote of thirty-three to thirteen. The necessary two-thirds majority in the General Assembly had been achieved because the United States had supported the Zionists by putting great political and economic pressure on the many governments that had originally opposed partition. President Truman needed Jewish votes if he hoped to win the 1948 presidential election. Acting against State Department advice, during the last crucial days before the UN vote, Truman ordered American officials to make an all-out effort to support partition. The Liberian Ambassador later complained that the US delegation at the UNhad 'carried on a high pressure electioneering job in which they were assisted by the Jewish agencies and organizations which had not hesitated to bring pressure on many countries.'[56] Some nations were threatened with financial reprisals by the US if they voted against the partition resolution.

In view of the inviability of the Jewish state, the Zionists might have been expected to oppose the UNSCOP majority report. The reason why the Zionists supported the partition resolution was explained by Sir Mohammed Zafruilah Khan of Pakistan: 'if the Jewish Agency was prepared to accept the majority plan, it was probably because it considered it as the thin end of the wedge and not the final irrevocable culmination of Jewish hopes and ideals.'[57]

Ten years before, when the Peel partition plan was being considered, a Foreign Office report noted that partition, 'will mean the creation of a new jumping-off place for the Jews from which they will inevitably spread their influence over a much larger area. The Jews make no secret of this and it has become clear that it is the main objection of the Arabs to the partition proposals.'[58] Indeed in 1938, Ben-Gurion had told a Zionist meeting: 'I favour partition of the country because when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine.'[59] Even the 'moderate' Weizmann had a similar view. In 1944, he told Richard Meinertzhagen, a pro-Zionist British official that he had favoured the Peel partition plan because, 'he knew that war was inevitable and he thought that if there was only a small Jewish state, the Jews might have gained by conquest what they wanted.'[60]

It was obvious to Arabs, Jews and British that once a Zionist state was established, it would engage in territorial expansion. It was equally clear that the extension of Zionist influence would necessitate the removal of large numbers of Arabs. The Palestinian historian George Antonius wrote, 'no room can be made in Palestine for a second nation except by dislodging or exterminating the nation in possession'.[61] Some Zionists believed that the Palestinians could be persuaded to relocate to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Trans-Jordan and other Arab states.

But many Zionists had serious doubts as to whether the Palestinians could be removed by negotiation. In 1937, Ben-Gurion had written to his son that when the Jewish state was created, 'We will expel the Arabs and take their places.' [62] The Zionist leader boasted, 'our army will be among the world's outstanding' and would be used to intimidate the Palestiniansinto fleeing. Ben-Gurion left no doubt that if the Palestinians did not succumb to threats, they would be dealt with firmly.'Then we have force at our disposal,' he wrote. Ben-Gurion accepted the Jewish state created by the UN resolution since he believed that eventually it could be turned into a sizeable nation that would be largely free of Arabs. With the outbreak of war, the opportunity for Ben-Gurion and his associates to expand their state and make it goyim rein would come sooner than they expected.


1. CZA Executive Proceedings, 12 June 1938.
2. CZA Executive Proceedings, 12 June 1938.
3. Jewish Chronicle (London), 13 August 1937.
4. PRO:FO 371/20808.
5. MEC: names Interviews, box 1, file 9.
6. BD, vol. IV, p. 299.
7. CZA Minutes of the Population Transfer Committee, 22November 1937.
8. CZA Arab Transfer Sub-Committee, 5 December 1937.
9. CZA Arab Transfer Sub-Committee, I December 1937.
10. CZA Executive Proceedings, 12 June 1938.
11. Theodore Herzl, The Complete Diaries 1, p. 88.
12. Amos Elon, Herzl, p. 58.
13. Michael Selzer, The Aryanization of the Jewish State, p. 37.
14. Shlomo Avineri, The Making of Modern Zionism, p. 153.
15. Theodore Herzl, p. 88.
16. Avineri, p. 123.
17. Moshe Menuhin, The Decadence of Judaism, p. 52.
18. Esco Foundation for Palestine, Palestine: A Study of J ewish, Arab and British Policies, vol. 1, p. 107.
19. PRO:CAB 24124.
20. Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel, p. 164.
21. Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism, p. 213.
22. Redcliffe N. Salaman, Palestine Reclaimed, pp. 175-6.
23. Joseph Schechtman, The Jabotinsky Story.- Fighter and Prophet, p. 324.
24. Avineri, p. 180.
25. William Ziff, The Rape of Palestine, p. 373.
26. Vincent Sheean, Personal History, p. 358.
27. PRO:CO 733/163.
28. Cmd. 3530, p. 36.
29. GB-PD Commons, vol. 248, col. 751.
30. David Ben-Gurion, My Talks With Arab Leaders, p. 16. See alsoSachar,p.182.
31. Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement, p. 380.
32. Schechtman, p. 217.
33. Mahatma Gandhi, My Non-Violence, p. 70.
34. Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 419.
35. WD 11, p. 181.
36. Schechtman, p. 324.37. WP:B2, p. 372.
38. Chaim Weizmann, p. 535.
39. WP:B2, p. 428.40. WP:B2, p. 441.
41. FRUS:1943 IV, p. 776.
42. WP:B2, p. 507.
43. PRO:FO 371/3541.
44. MEC: Philby Papers, box 10.
45. Manchester Guardian, 24 April 1944.
46. Palestine Post, I I May 1944.
47. John Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote and the Creation ofIsrael.
48. Cmd. 6808, P. 20.
49. Richard Crossman, Palestine Mission, p. 132.
50. Robert John, Palestine Diary 11, p. 42.
51. Frederick Morgan, Peace and War, p. 245.
52. Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, p. 267.
53. Bernard L. Montgomery, The Memoirs of Field-@farshalMontgomery, p. 419.
54. PRO:FO 371/61878.
55. John,p.201.
56. NA 501BB Pal/12-947.
57. John, p. 206.
58. PRO:FO 371/20816.
59. CZA Executive Proceedings, 7 June 1938.
60. Richard Meinertzhagen, Middle East Diary, p. 191.
61. George Antonius, The Arab Awakening, p. 412.
62. A heavily censored version of this letter was included in a collection of Ben-Gurion's correspondence published in 1968. The uncensored version has recently become available. Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinians, i). 189.

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World Jewish Congress: Billionaires, Oligarchs, Global Influencers for Israel

Interview with anti-Zionist veteran Ahmed Rami of Radio Islam - On ISIS, "Neo-Nazis", Syria, Judaism, Islam, Russia...

Britain under Jewish occupation!

Jewish World Power
West Europe    East Europe
Americas          Asia
Middle East       Africa
      U.N.              E.U.


The Internet and Israeli-Jewish infiltration/manipulations

Books - Important collection of titles

The Judaization of China

Israel: Jewish Supremacy in Action - By David Duke

The Power of Jews in France

Jew Goldstone appointed by UN to investigate War Crimes in Gaza

When Jews rule...
The best book on Jewish Power

The Israel Lobby - From the book

Jews and Crime - The archive

Sayanim - Israel's and Mossad's Jewish helpers abroad

Listen to Louis Farrakhan's Speech - A must hear!

The Israeli Nuclear Threat

The "Six Million" Myth

"Jewish History" - a bookreview

Putin and the Jews of Russia

Israel's attack on US warship USS Liberty - Massacre in the Mediterranean

Jewish "Religion" - What is it?

Medias in the hands of racists

Strauss-Kahn - IMF chief and member of Israel lobby group

Down with Zio-Apartheid
Stop Jewish Apartheid!

The Jews behind Islamophobia

Israel controls U.S. Presidents
Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton...

The Victories of Revisionism
By Professor Robert Faurisson

The Jewish hand behind Internet The Jews behind Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, MySpace, eBay...

"Jews, who want to be decent human beings, have to renounce being Jewish"

Jewish War Against Iran

Jewish Manipulation of World Leaders

Al Jazeera English under Jewish infiltration

The Founding Myths of Modern Israel
Garaudy's "The Founding Myths
of Israeli Politics"

Jewish hate against Christians
By Prof. Israel Shahak

Introduction to Revisionist
- By Ernst Zündel

Karl Marx: The Jewish Question

Reel Bad Arabs - Revealing the racist Jewish Hollywood propaganda

"Anti-Semitism" - What is it?

Videos - Important collection 

The Jews Banished 47 Times in 1000 Years - Why?

Zionist strategies - Plotting invasions, formenting civil wars, interreligious strife, stoking racial hatreds and race war

The International Jew
By Henry Ford

Pravda interviews Ahmed Rami

The Founding Myths of Modern Israel
Shahak's "Jewish History,
Jewish Religion"

The Jewish plan to destroy the Arab countries - From the World Zionist Organization

Judaism and Zionism inseparable

Revealing photos of the Jews 

Horrors of ISIS Created by Zionist Supremacy - By David Duke

Racist Jewish Fundamentalism

The Freedom Fighters:
   Hezbollah - Lebanon
   Nation of Islam - U.S.A.

Jewish Influence in America
- Government, Media, Finance...

"Jews" from Khazaria stealing the land of Palestine

The U.S. cost of supporting Israel

Turkey, Ataturk and the Jews

Talmud unmasked
The truth about the Talmud

Israel and the Ongoing Holocaust in Congo

Jews DO control the media - a Jew brags! - Revealing Jewish article

Abbas - The Traitor

Protocols of Zion - The whole book!

Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
Encyclopedia of the
Palestine Problem

The "Holocaust" - 120 Questions and Answers

Quotes - On Jewish Power / Zionism

Caricatures / Cartoons 

Activism! - Join the Fight!