What I learned from Dr. Ilan Pappe about Zionism
By Eileen Fleming
On March 10, 1948, in Tel Aviv, eleven men had a meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.
Dr. Ilan Pappe is Israeli born and a graduate of Hebrew University and Oxford who was teaching at Haifa University speaking in Jerusalem when I met him on Nov. 8, 2006, on the seventh day of Sabeel’s 6th International Conference; The Forgotten Faithful.
Dr. Pappe spoke to over 330 International ecumenical Christians in the Ramallah Cultural Palace on the topic the “Dynamics of Forgetting” and because of the “fierce urgency of now” [Rev. MLK, Jr.] the world is beginning to remember that once upon a time there was a Red House, where a most diabolical plan was hatched.
Dr. Pappe began:
The Red House in Tel Aviv is gone now. It was a typical building in Tel Aviv that had all the characteristics of Mediterranean homes but with the local Palestinian architecture of the ‘20’s. Today a USA Sheraton Hotel stands in its place.
The Red House was the home of the Hagganah; a Jewish underground organization but before 1948 it was the home of a socialist movement, from which it received its name…
Haganah is Hebrew for “The Defense” and was a Jewish paramilitary organization formed in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948.
The Haganah began as a small group of Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did the group have more than 100 members until after the Arab riots of 1920 and 1921. The Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, whom the League of Nations had given the Mandate of Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront the Arabs about attacks on the Palestinian Jews, and thus created the Haganah to protect their farmers and settlements. The initial role of the Haganah was to guard the Jewish Kibbutzim and farms, and to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs.
In the period between 1920 and 1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah “units” were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim.
Following the Arab 1929 Hebron massacre that led to the ethnic cleansing by the British authorities of all Jews from the city of Hebron, the Haganah’s role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities.
It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment.
It went from being an untrained militia to a capable army.
The British did not officially recognize the Haganah, but the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Auxiliary Forces and Special Night Squads.
By 1931, the most right-wing elements of Haganah branched off and formed Irgun Tsva’i-Leumi (the National Military Organization), better known as “Irgun” (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced “HaEtsel”).
The members were discontented with the policy of restraint when faced with British and Arab pressure and were “terrorists”.
Irgun later split in 1940, and their off-shoot became known as the “Lehi” (Hebrew acronym of Lochamei Herut Israel, standing for Freedom Fighters of Israel, and also known by the British as the “Stern Gang” after its leader, Abraham Stern. Because the British severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, in 1939 the Haganah created the Palmach – the Haganah’s strike force, which also organized illegal Jewish immigration of over 100,000 Jews to Palestine.
In 1944, in response to the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, by members of the Jewish Lehi underground, the Haganah worked with the British to round up, interrogate, and, in some cases, deport Irgun members. This action was called the Saison (or hunting season), and seriously demoralized the Irgun and reduced its activities.
But, the Saison could not stop the Irgun, Haganah and the Stern Group from working together.
The three groups had different functions, which served to move the British out of Palestine and to make Palestine a Jewish state rather than create a Jewish home in Palestine.
Menachem Begin, an Irgun commander, stated in a 1944 meeting:
“In fact, there is a division of roles; one organization advocates individual terrorism (the Lehi), the other conducts sporadic military operations (the Irgun) and there is a third organization which prepares itself to throw its final weight in the decisive war.”
Dr. Pappe explained:
On March 10, 1948, eleven men had a fateful meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion.
The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine.
No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting.
A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.
The New York Times followed Israeli troops and reported the truth of the expulsion and separation of men and women, and of the many massacres.
The world was well informed in 1948, but a year later not a trace was reported in the USA press or books. It was as if nothing ever happened.
From March to October 1948 the USA State Department stated what was happening was a crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
When ever one ethnic group expels another group they should be treated as War Criminals and the victims should be allowed to return.
This is never mentioned in the USA about Palestine.
Israel is so successful in their ethnic cleansing because the world doesn’t care!
The ethnic cleansing continues via the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and because of the denial of the truth by the USA media.
To claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is bullshit!
The Six Day War of 1967 escalated the ethnic cleansing and today in Jerusalem every Palestinian who fails to pay taxes, or has a minor infraction will loose their citizenship.
In 1948 the mechanism of denial and ethnic cleansing as an IDEOLOGY, not a policy but a formula began.
When Zionism began in the 19th century it was meant to be a safe haven for Jews and to help redefine Judaism as a national movement, not just a religion.
Nothing wrong with either of those goals!
But by the late 19th Century it was decided the only way these goals could be achieved was by ridding the indigenous population and it became an evil ideology.
Israeli Jewish life will never be simple, good, or worth living while this ideology of domination, exclusiveness and superiority is allowed to continue.
The mind set today is that unless Israel is an exclusive Jewish State, Palestinians will continue to be obstacles.
However, there has always been a small vocal minority challenging this.
The only thing that can save Palestinians is for the world to say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH!”
The way to challenge and change the ethnic cleansing is to pursue true democracy and the use of sanctions and divestment, for money talks.
In 1947, with the termination of the British Mandate and rising violence and terrorism between Jews and Palestinians, the UN called for a Jewish-Arab partition of Palestine.
Israel proclaimed it’s independence in May 1948 with a promise:
One the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.
Britain withdrew from the land and war erupted.
The well equipped Israeli forces created a triumph for the Jews and birthed the ongoing disaster for Palestinians and the world…….
EXCERPTED from THIRD INTIFADA: Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory Chapter 3: This, That and The Wall
Eileen Fleming has been to both sides of The Wall in Israel Palestine 8 times since 2005.
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Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" who founded WeAreWideAwake.org in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in Palestine Israel.
In 2012, Eileen ran for US House of Representatives District 5, in Fl.
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