Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Getting rid of the Arabs" 
"Getting rid of the Arabs of Gaza was only one facet of much broader goals. During the 1948 expulsions, Israeli government Arabists predicted that the refugees would either assimilate elsewhere or “would be crushed” and “die,” while “most of them would turn into human dust and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries.” Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s view for the “Arabs of the Land of Israel” who remained after the expulsion of 1948 was that they “have only one function left to them — to run away.” Though vigorously denied for many years, the causes of the refugee flight are no longer seriously in question. Few would question the conclusions of the most prominent Israeli historian of the topic, Benny Morris. In his words, “Above all, let me reiterate, the refugee problem was caused by attacks by Jewish forces on Arab villages and towns and by the inhabitants’ fear of such attacks, compounded by expulsions, atrocities, and rumors of atrocities — and by the crucial Israeli cabinet decision in June 1948 to bar a refugee return,” leaving the Palestinians “crushed, with some 700,000 driven into exile and another 150,000 left under Israeli rule.” Morris is critical of Israeli atrocities, in part because they were too limited. Ben-Gurion’s great error, Morris observes, perhaps a “fatal mistake,” was not to have “cleansed the whole country — the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River.” Recently declassified cabinet records indicate that Ben-Gurion may have agreed that it was a serious error."
Noam Chomsky- Violence and Dignity: Reflections on the Middle East
2013 Edward Said Lecture, Friends House, London, March 18, 2013

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