Israel’s 60th Birthday


In Diaspora: Travel, Reflections, and a mind on Justice. by Dave
September 3, 2009, 12:29 pm
Filed under: 1948, Israel, Palestine | Tags: , , ,

In Diaspora is a touching account of the return home to Palestine of a Palestinian-America woman.  As a sample of her work I’ve included her post on her visit to her grandparents village, Umm el Zeinat, from which her family was uprooted in 1948.

As planned, yesterday we returned to my ancestral village, Umm el Zeinat, near Daliyat al Karmel, on Mount Karmel, in Haifa.  Of course when I say “return” this is much greater than my brother and me.  This return is about my family, about an oppression that they, along with all the people of Umm el Zeinat and the people of the other 500 destroyed villages of Palestine had to endure.  What we undertook is the greatest act of resistance against the Zionist movement.  Three generations later we remember, and though not under our own conditions, we return to a village from which they hoped to erase our traces.

On our way into the village we met a man and his wife, picking cactus fruit with their four children.  My uncle pulled over to ask then how well they knew the village.  As it turns out they are from the Fahmawi family of Umm el Zeinat.  We told them we were returning and they offered to guide us through the village.  Of course all that is left of the village is rubble from demolished homes, overgrown shrubbery, and trees– both indigenous and those planted by the state in an attempt to make it seem as though no one ever lived there.

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The Murder of Count Folke Bernadotte by Dave
September 15, 2008, 8:45 pm
Filed under: 1948, Israel, UN | Tags: , , , ,

Press release from the Scottish Friends of Palestine:

Scottish Friends of Palestine remembers and commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the murder of Count Folke Bernadotte
Folke BernadotteSixty years ago on the 16th September 1948, UN appointed mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, completed the report which outlined his proposals for the resolution of the Palestine question. This report offered hope to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees created by the decision of the United Nations to partition the homeland of the Palestinian people between the indigenous Palestinian people and the Jewish colonial settlers who had arrived over the past three decades.

Within 24 hours, the UN mediator was dead, murdered by the terrorist Stern Gang. Directly implicated in the murder was Yitzhak Shamir, former prime minister of Israel. Also involved was the head of the Zionist Irgun terrorist group, Menachem Begin, another former prime minister of Israel.

On this day, 60 years ago, the hopes of the Palestinian people were dashed. With the guilty escaping any form of justice, the time had arrived for the spoils of Israel’s so-called War of Independence to be subsumed within Israeli society using the laws of the victor, not laws of justice. At a time when all other colonial movements were crumbling, the Zionist colonial movement became entrenched – with full acquiesence and support of the world powers of the day.


Israel ‘committing memorycide’ by Dave
June 2, 2008, 11:44 am
Filed under: 1948, Ethnic Cleansing, History, Ilan Pappe, Israel, Israel's 60th Anniversary

Ilan Pappe on Al Jazeera.

As part of Al Jazeera’s coverage of the anniversary of the creation of Israel and the Palestinian ‘Nakba’, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe reflects upon the events of 1948 and how they led to 60 years of division between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Between February, 1948 and December,1948 the Israeli army systematically occupied the Palestinian villages and towns, expelled by force the population and in most cases also destroyed the houses, looted their belongings and took over their material and cultural possessions. This was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

During the ethnic cleansing, wherever there was resistance by the population the result was a massacre. We have more than 30 cases of such massacres where a few thousand Palestinians were massacred by the Israeli forces throughout the operation of the ethnic cleansing.

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Now Sixty Years of Dispossession by Dave
May 15, 2008, 7:04 pm
Filed under: 1948, Israel's 60th Anniversary, Nakba | Tags:

The following was written by Edward Said on the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel.

In the United States, celebrations of Israel’s fifty years as a state have tried to project an image of the country that went out of fashion since the Palestinian Intifada (1987-92): a pioneering state, full of hope and promise for the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, a haven of enlightened liberalism in a sea of Arab fanaticism and reaction. On 15 April, for instance, CBS broadcast a two hour prime-time program from Hollywood hosted by Michael Douglas and Kevin Costner, featuring movie stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathy Bates (who recited passages from Golda Meir minus, of course, her most celebrated remark that there were no Palestinians) and Winona Ryder.


Edwar SaidIn the United States, celebrations of Israel’s fifty years as a state have tried to project an image of the country that went out of fashion since the Palestinian Intifada (1987-92): a pioneering state, full of hope and promise for the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, a haven of enlightened liberalism in a sea of Arab fanaticism and reaction. On 15 April, for instance, CBS broadcast a two hour prime-time program from Hollywood hosted by Michael Douglas and Kevin Costner, featuring movie stars such as Arnol Schwarzenegger, Kathy Bates (who recited passages from Golda Meir minus, of course, her most celebrated remark that there were no Palestinians) and Winona Ryder. None of these luminaries are particularly known for their Middle Eastern expertise or enthusiasm, although all of them in one way or another praised Israel’s greatness and enduring achievements. There was even time for a cameo appearance by President Bill Clinton, who provided perhaps the least edifying, most atavistic note of the evening by complimenting Israel, “a small oasis,” for “making a once barren desert bloom,” and for ” building a thriving democracy in hostile terrain.”

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Birth of the Nakba by Dave

What’s the BBC’s ‘Birthday’ present to Israel? A stream of propaganda following a story thats Israeli driven. Not content with 3 other, Israeli directed, Storyville documentaries (watch here), a birthday radio show (featuring 4 Israelis with one token Israeli Arab and zero Palestinians) and birthday articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc) the BBC has gone a step further and commissioned this 60 minute film. By Jeremy Bowan, it details the founding of the State of Israel. To be fair to the BBC, the events surrounding the founding of the State of Israel are immensely interesting and have had important repercussions in the world at large. However it’s instructive that this documentary is called ‘The Birth of Israel’ and not for example ‘The Nakba’ – we get an idea of the focus from the start. In fact we might ask where all the Nakba articles (1?), audio and films are? Is it sufficient that it just happens to get a small mention in amongst all this ‘birthday’ nonsense?

Although this film is good in many places, covering the massacre of Deir Yassin for example, overall it fails to place the responsibility of the conflict firmly in the hands of the Israelis and Europeans. It fails to present the Palestinians as the victims of Zionist colonialism which was approved of by the Europeans because of guilt from the Holocaust and because 60 years ago the idea of colonialism, ‘civilised’ Europeans settling land that native ‘barbarians’ are wasting, was still acceptable. Time and again Israelis under interview blame the conflict on the Palestinians for not accepting the 1947 UN partition plan, where the UN carved up the land of Palestine and gave much of it to the colonialists. In the 21st century we should by now understand that the UN had no right to give away another mans home, the Zionists were incorrect in thinking they could colonise another peoples country and that resistance to this dispossession was legitimate. What nation would accept its land being given away to immigrants by the UN? Especially with such a bad deal: Israelis owning 10% of the land but getting 50% while only accounting for only 33% of the total population.

Counting the number of Israelis interviewed we find there were 11 with 10 Palestinians representatives. The number of times they appeared differs more: Israelis appearing 30 times and Palestinians 22. In a 60 minute film this approximately translates to about 8 minutes (15%) more air time. Personally I don’t believe balance is about giving both sides equal time – I follow Robert Fisks example of giving more time to the victims no matter who they are. In the ‘birth’ of Israel the victims were the Palestinian natives: 700,000 of whom were ethnically cleansed and many men, women and children were brutally massacred. This crime has continued as although under international law refugees have a Right of Return this has been denied. And Palestinians that remain in Israel and the Occupied Territories live in Apartheid conditions. Therefore its significant that they are not given priority.

The other big issue I have with the film is its failure to convey the true nature of a Two State solution. Israeli colonialism has continued with the illegal gaining of territory through military force in 1967. It is by now clear the continued Israeli rejection of peace for expansion and settlement of the Occupied Territories has led to a situation where a Two State solution is now unworkable. Only a One State solution where Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights and share the land will provide any meaningful resolution to the regions problems. The idea of a predominatly Jewish State is non-inclusive and racist, it can only be maintained through further ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

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The Promised Land? by Dave
May 13, 2008, 1:03 pm
Filed under: 1948, Documentary, History, Israel, Israel's 60th Birthday, Nakba, Palestine, Video | Tags:

The following is an excellent find by Idrees of The Fanonite.

A decent documentary from the best television news channel out there — Al Jazeera International. However, it is mostly an Israeli perspective featuring Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Uri Avnery, Shulamit Aloni et al.


(thanks Shahbaz)

A special series examining the origins, violent creation, and modern-day reality of the state of Israel through the stories of individual Israelis.

Episode two, Conflict, looks at how the still small Jewish population succeeded in defeating a far larger Palestinian population and asks if a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing was employed.



Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering by Dave
May 5, 2008, 1:14 pm
Filed under: 1948, 2008, Israel's 60th Anniversary, Palestine | Tags:

The following from Global Research:

On May 14, Israelis will commemorate the 60th anniversary of their “War of Independence” and founding of the Jewish State. It also marks 60 years of Palestinian Nakba suffering. The web site www.alnakba.org recounts the history:

— from the late Ottoman empire period; to

— the birth of Zionism; to

— the early Jewish colonization of Palestine; to

— the 1917 Balfour Declaration support for a “Jewish national home in Palestine;” to

— the simultaneous British betrayal of the indigenous Arabs; to

— the British occupation; to

— its delayed promised end; to

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