Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Anthony Eden & Suez

The Suez crisis of 1956 was the consequence of collusion between Britain, France and Israel. The invasion of Egypt was; to facilitate regime change, remove a “dictator”, the installation of a pro-Western government, the protection of oil supplies to Europe and pre-emptive self-defense. The aggressive parties attempted to circumnavigate the international rule of law by deception and misinterpretation. It divided the country, caused international uproar and enormous pressure to manipulate the BBC was exerted. It relegated Britain to be forever aligned with US foreign policy. The similarities with the 2003 invasion of Iraq are striking.











This paper will explore collusion and conspiracy in the Suez crisis of 1956, and draw comparisons with the 2003 invasion of Iraq; a contentious subject that received extensive coverage in the media but especially in the light of recently released documents from the Public Records Office. It was the seminal point in the British psyche for loss of Empire, diminution of British influence and isolation of Eden’s government by the Americans; justifiably angry at being betrayed and deceived. It was pivotal in defining geo-political alliances of the time.
In 1952, General Mohammed Neguib and Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser achieved a bloodless coup in persuading King Farouk I to abdicate. The Egyptian revolutions’ outcome was Neguib as Commander-in-Chief, Prime Minister and President of the Republic and Nasser as Interior Minister. April 1954 saw Nasser sworn in as Prime Minister and within a year, President; the first native Egyptian to lead his country in 2,500 years.
“The Suez Canal Base, at the pivot of Europe, Asia and Africa, was the largest base in the world, through which supplies and troops were shipped to all theatres of the war.” (Lucas, p6)
This paper will investigate the role of the countries and politicians involved how it nearly destroyed the Anglo-American alliance and ended British supremacy in the Middle-East. The methods employed by all sides are Byzantine and Machiavellian with only Nasser and Eisenhower emerging with any shred of respect. Nasser’s aims were to expand arable land in Egypt and re-distribution of wealth through nationalisation. To achieve this, the Aswan High Dam required finance for construction and the Egyptian Army had to be modernised and re-equipped.


In choosing the sources, consideration was given to the thirty year rule and sources that utilised it, in order to facilitate reading and understanding to ensure a smooth flow of events to assist the reader in ascertaining the direction events were taking. The internet was avoided where possible other than to retrieve maps and letters that had been authenticated and pertinent to the project. Sources chosen were primary wherever possible and bias is to be found only in Khrushchev’s comments; made extensive use of cabinet papers, public records, US archives, UK national archives and The Jewish Virtual Library and declassified US records

On February 20th 1955, Eden (appendix 1) and Nasser met for the first and only time, to celebrate the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty but actually, Eden intended to encourage Nasser to join Britain in a military defence pact (appendix2). For Nasser, this was anathema, military co-operation with the West; autonomy was his goal. The differences between them were accentuated that evening at dinner. It would prove to be the catalyst for the Suez crisis. Eden invited Nasser to dinner at the British Embassy in Cairo. Nasser arrived in field uniform as lieutenant-colonel, Eden in full evening dress and addressing Nasser in classical Arabic learned at Oxford and spoke in Classical Arabic. His attitude was arrogant and colonial, belittling Nasser, “After dinner....[Eden] sat back on the sofa, when Nasser was speaking, with his eyes slightly averted and a look on his face which suggested that he was saying to himself,””What can this young officer tell me about international politics?”” Nasser commented afterwards,” What elegance! It was made to look as if we were beggars and they were princes!” His officers suspected that an attempt to portray them as inferior and impress Eden’s wife Clarissa. (Lucas pp40-41) “Nasser thought Eden behaved like a prince dealing with vagabonds.”
It was not the first time Eden attempted to impress Clarissa amongst foreign politicians. “...at the Summit meeting it was quite interesting. Eden had just married his second wife, who was much younger...Mr [sic] Eden, I think, was quite interested in keeping his impression of glamour as much to her as to the public. He was obviously taking sun baths-or a sun-lamp- every day, because during the whole conference he was a blooming, vigorous tan. And he was quite chagrined, I think, because he didn’t come out of the conference as the outstanding diplomat...” This was the view given by Roderic O’Connor of the US State Department present at the summit (Carlton pp377-3780). O’Connor continues describing how Eisenhower received all the attention from the Russians and how the British and French were sidelined,”...the Russians were knocking the British down and we were knocking the Russians down”. It was at this summit that Britain’s decline became evident to Eden and the British elite.
6th April 1955: Eden arrives at Buckingham Palace to be received by the Queen, the fourth monarch he had served as a Cabinet minister, finally achieving his life ambition.
Churchill commented, “The dream of his life”. (Carlton, p367)
Nasser, Egypt, Israel and Gaza
Several diplomats met in Paris in August 1952 for peace talks which were, “intimate” and “intense” although not yielding significant results, a number of foreign officials including British MP’s Crossman, Orbach and Banks, the Canadian Foreign Minister, Lester B. Pearson and the Israeli Prime Minister, Moshe Sharrett attended. Sharrett faced opposition from his Government not to give any concessions until peace was promised. Sharrett’s predecessor, David Ben-Gurion, appointed people, which shared his belief in strong measures against Arabs, maintaining contact with Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff and Pinhas Lavon, the Defence Minister. Ben-Gurion’s key strategy: disproportionate reprisals against Arab States. In November 1951 to November 1952, 39 Israelis died in border clashes and 394 Arabs in Israeli raids. This policy continued after his “retirement”. A special commando unit, force 101 was created for these purposes. Israeli military intelligence established a spy ring in Cairo without informing Sharrett. This ring committed terrorist atrocities, bombing British and American buildings to sabotage Anglo-Egyptian relations and arrested shortly afterwards. Two were executed in January 1955, one committed suicide. This crisis led to resignations: Colonel Benjamin Gibli, Head of Military Intelligence and Defence Minister Lavon. In 1955, Ben-Gurion succeeded Lavon and pressured Shallett. Ben-Gurion and the IDF wanted revenge for the spies’ deaths. Sharrett approved a raid into Gaza, Dayan convinced him only 9 or 10 Egyptians would be killed. Ben-Gurion and Dayan attacked with two platoons blowing up pumping stations, infrastructure, shelling barracks and ambushing reinforcements. 38 Egyptians were killed. (Lucas pp42-43)
Gaza became a watershed in Arab-Israeli relations. In March 1955, Ben-Gurion proposed occupying Gaza and cancelling Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreements. Each side sought re-armament but The Tripartite Declaration (appendix 3) had been signed on May 25 1950 by France, Britain and the USA. France, having lost Syria and Lebanon in WWII sought fresh grounds. The French started selling arms to Israel. Nasser, upon discovering this, requested arms ordered from Britain in 1949. Sir Anthony Nutting, Minister of State, objected because of Israeli concerns. The alternative for Nasser was to seek arms from Khrushchev. This led the Eisenhower administration to cancel American financial and technical support for the Aswan Dam. Nasser, enraged, nationalised the Suez Canal ((appendix 4). Eisenhower urged the British and French for restraint (Ambrose p431) (appendix 5)
Khrushchev was initially cautious, after Nasser seized power he waited to see how the coup would progress. He had his hands full with Poland and Hungary; after putting down “the mutiny” in Hungary, his representatives met with Nasser after China mediated on Nasser’s behalf. “Things changed during the intervening years. Our economy, our armed forces, and the weight of our influence in international affairs all increased mightily, and by 1956 we were able to step in and assist President Nasser and the Arab peoples. It wasn’t that we wanted to replace England as an exploiter of Egypt and other Arab countries. We weren’t motivated by self-centred, mercantile interests. Quite the contrary, we wanted only to help these people to cast off the yoke of their servile dependence on their colonial masters. Ours has been a noble mission in the near East”. Nasser’s representatives requested military aid to pressure England: “We agreed. We gave them weapons ranging from rifles to regular artillery, but, as I recall, we didn’t give them any planes at first. We did, however, give tanks and naval equipment. Nasser said he particularly needed torpedo boats. I think we gave them military aid on a commercial basis, but at a reduced price”. (Khrushchev pp431-433)

“Any military action against Egypt should be launched against some provocative or aggressive act by the Egyptians...The government might be compelled to take advantage of any provocative act by Egypt, even though it came at a time when the preparations for military operations were less well advanced than might have been desired”. Dissenting voices such as Labour MP’s Denis Healey and Douglas Jay gave a blunt piece of advice to Eden in the Times,” If the government seriously means to use military force over Suez other than in self-defence, or in pursuance of our International Charter they will do so in defiance of our international obligations and the UN Charter, they will do so in defiance of very large sections of opinion in this country”. (Lucas p165)
The result of a Gallup poll, 10th August 1956: 74% favoured the freezing of Egyptian assets in Britain, and 65% approved of military preparations but only 33% endorsed military action. (Appendix 6)
The role of the BBC at this time can also be compared to the one at the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It strove to keep impartiality but was being hectored and bullied by Eden’s government. The parallel, with the Blair’s relationship with the BBC, and the Eden’s is uncanny. Clarissa Eden was convinced of a “conspiracy” against her husband and wrote a memorandum to Press Secretary Clark complaining about the make-up portraying her husband with “Charlie Chaplin eyes”. (Lucas pp165-167)
The Eden government actually proposed that”...to consider by what means the Government...control over...broadcast to the Middle East and East Asia. The idea of a foreign office official be seconded to the BBC to oversee government propaganda was given serious consideration. (PRO, CAB 134/1215 (56) 9th meeting 25th July 1956 (Lucas pp 164-167)
The strategy, military logistics and finalisation of the planning for the invasion occurred at Sevres, on the outskirts of Paris. The protocol of agreement between France, Britain and Israel was signed by French Foreign Minister Christian Pineau, David Ben-Gurion for Israel and Patrick Dean for Britain. (Appendix 7) (See letters; Donald Logan)
On the 29th October 1956 four low flying Israeli Mustangs destroyed Egyptian communications infrastructure in the Sinai and 395 Israeli paratroopers were dropped in the Mitla pass (see maps appendix 8 )As agreed at Sevres, the Israelis slowed their advance, Eden kept up the pretence by feigning innocence in the House of Commons and stuck to the Sevres plan. The House was informed of the Anglo-French call for bilateral withdrawal 10 kilometres either side of the Canal and refusal would mean Anglo-French military action. The Israelis were still 50-100 miles away from the Canal at this stage. The treachery of Eden was becoming apparent to all. Walter Monckton had resigned already (letters appendix 9) and Hugh Gaitskill told Douglas Jay,” I shall never believe anything Eden says to me in public or private”. In the Commons, as leader of the Labour party, Gaitskill clashed with Eden over his refusal to ask the Security Council for immediate Israeli withdrawal. Eden cabled Eisenhower but not until 5.45 pm and the message did not reach Eisenhower until 8.30 pm London time. Eden blamed ciphering delays but the Americans suspected a “fait accompli.”Foster Dulles to Senator Knowland,” The evidence is that the Israelis were used as a decoy (for Britain and France)...He had solemn assurances they would not-though they were private.” Dulles told Eisenhower that the ultimatum “was as crude and brutal as anything he’d seen.” (Lucas pp260-262) Two days later the British bombed Cairo. The military campaign was on schedule and the Egyptian air force was annihilated. The Israelis were in control of Sinai and had established field headquarters at Mitla (see maps). The main Anglo-French force, consisting of a huge armada was sailing from Malta for Port Said. Propaganda leaflets were being dropped on Cairo as part of psychological warfare and everything proceeded according to the Sevres plan. (Carlton pp448-449) Nasser sank all the ships in the Canal as a response, effectively shutting it down.
Eisenhower: “The plot reeked of 19th Century colonialism of the worst sort; it reeked of bad planning; it reeked of bad faith and perfidy. It also violated the 1950 Tripartite Declaration. We cannot be bound by our traditional allowances but must instead face the question on how to make good our pledge [The Tripartite Declaration].” He wanted to tell the British, that the US would side with Egypt ...nothing justifies double-crossing us.” An embargo on oil sales to Britain came into effect. (Ambrose p440-442)

The invasion was an opportunity for Khrushchev and Bulganin. They took advantage with ruthless efficiency by crushing the Hungarian uprising as the Anglo-French task force approached Port Said. Three days later, 20,000 Hungarians and 3,000 Soviet troops were killed. The Hungarian uprising was over. A young diplomat, later to become Foreign Secretary (Lord Douglas Hurd) recalled,”...nursed in my mind a private hope that somehow, somewhere, deep in Whitehall, there was a master plan which would make everything right...Nutting was close to the Prime Minister, indeed his protégé. If there was a master plan he would have known it. Nutting had left, so there was no master plan, no aces, no trumps; just deception. Would deception now be followed by defeat?” Nutting had resigned on November 3rd (Hurd pp138 139)
Britain’s most sympathetic American ally, Secretary of State, Foster Dulles was admitted to hospital on November 3rd, 1956. The diagnosis was cancer of the colon. His replacement Herbert Hoover Jr had no sympathy for the British because of disputes over Saudi Arabian oil concessions, Iran and Buraimi. His views were shared by Assistant Secretary for Middle Eastern affairs, William Rountree and made public in a campaign speech by Vice-president Nixon, on the 2nd November: “In the past the nations of Asia and Africa have always felt we would, when the pressure was on, side with the policies of the British and French Governments in relation to the once colonial areas. For the first time in history we have shown independence of Anglo-French policies towards Asia and Africa.” (Lucas p28)
The Soviet’s response was to withdraw their ambassador from Israel and threaten the Western powers and Israel with nuclear Armageddon (see letters, Ben-Gurion/Bulganin.)
Lester B. Pearson was a seasoned diplomat, experiencing wartime postings in Washington and London and Canadian Minister for External Affairs at the time of the Suez crisis. He believed that Canada could be a neutral voice on the world stage but feared for perceived bias as the USA’s friendly neighbour. In response to the Soviet threat and Middle East stalemate, Pearson proposed a resolution: unilateral ceasefire and a UN peacekeeping force. The British were reluctant but when tabled, all 57 member nations voted for it. This was the first large international peacekeeping force. It consisted of 6,000 men from ten countries under the command of a Canadian General, E.L.M. Burns. It maintained peace until Egypt asked it to leave in 1967. Pearson emerged as a hero and won the Nobel Peace Prize and elected prime minister in 1963. (Appendix 8) (www.cbc.ca )

The Suez crisis became a debacle because Eden did not strike quickly and hard enough, to succeed he should have used paratroops and occupied Egypt by controlling Suez. If he had done this, he could have presented the Americans with a fait accompli which would have been accepted by them because it was their objective also; removal of Nasser and the installation of a pro-Western government The Americans did not want a socialist controlling the oil fields and its’ supply route; especially one buying arms from the Soviets and who had recognised Red China. Eden had an irrational belief in Britain’s influence by not recognising the new world order and acting unilaterally with France and Israel; that Britain did not need American endorsement. The venture failed politically and financially and Eden became ostracised by the Eisenhower Administration. To his dying day, Eden denied the existence of The Protocol of Sevres, thereby damaging his own credibility, honour and integrity. The price paid by his successors, Butler and Macmillan, was permanently playing second fiddle to the Americans, cemented at the Bermuda meeting between Macmillan (now Prime Minister) with Eisenhower in Bermuda, in March 1957. The British would follow American policy (American unilateral action) in the Middle East and concentrate on safeguarding oil supplies in the Persian Gulf. The man who encouraged Eden’s’ adventure, Macmillan, would erase all mention of Suez from his memoirs
The amount of material published on Suez is enormous and extensive but apart from Lucas, does not have the advantage of being supported by declassified and newly released documents subject to the thirty year rule. The findings suggest that if the same methods and motives were to be employed similarly today would lead to far more serious repercussions than the resignation of the minister responsible. It was badly planned and executed and established Israel as a nuclear power. In return for Israel assuming the mantle of the aggressor Ben-Gurion demanded and received French assistance, technical support and finance for building Israel’s nuclear reactor. It led to the Middle East becoming the most lucrative market for arms and instability which exists today.
The definitive book written about Suez (in my opinion) is that by Scott Lucas, Divided We Stand, because it is the only book so far to make use of the thirty year rule and had access to recently released archives. He also had the advantage of being an history lecturer at Birmingham University and utilised his students to the full in writing his book.
The most important lesson learned in researching this project was the existence of a paper trail leading all the way to the top. The reading of cabinet papers imparted a sense of history that was almost palpable and reading the comment given by a person I have actually met (Lord Douglas Hurd) was inspiring, (second paragraph page 8). The other significant lesson learned was from Dr. Khaled Hroub Director of the Cambridge Arab Media Project Department, Institute of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University. He taught me how to apply mathematics to project dissertations and the art of objectivity when writing of emotive issues and how to lead the reader into accepting a point of view. Some of our email exchanges are in the appendices.
If this project were to present itself again I would not choose this topic because of the limited word count. To truly do justice to this topic I would require 10,000 words. The title is Anthony Eden and Suez, this paper confined itself to that but for the sake of relativity, other characters were mentioned to give the reader a sense of history.

Ambrose, E. EISENHOWER Simon and Schuster London 2003
Carlton D. Anthony Eden ALLEN LANE London 1981
Hurd D, Lord Memoirs LITTLE BROWN London 2003
Lucas, Scott Divided We Stand. Hodder and Stoughton London 1991
Khrushchev, N. (translated by Talbott, S) KHRUSHCHEV REMEMBERS ANDRE DEUTSCH London 1971
Turner, J. MACMILLAN LONGMAN Harlow 1994
National Archives
Jewish Virtual Library

1) Anthony Eden thumbnail sketch

2) The Baghdad Pact

3) The Tri-Partite Declaration

4) Statement of Gamal Abdel Nasser; Nationalisation of the Suez Canal

5) Statement by Eisenhower on Middle East and Israeli mobilisation

6) Hansard

7) The Protocol of Sevres

8) Presence and Functions of UNEF

9) Letters

10) Maps

11) Selection of cartoons reflecting the impact of the Suez crisis

12) Selection of recollections of primary sources

Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, born on the 12th June 1897 at Windelstone Hall, Bishop Auckland in County Durham was the son of a baronet, Sir William Eden and Lady Sybil, nee Grey whose great-uncle was Lord Grey of The Great Reform Bill and received a classical education at Eton and Oxford. He entered parliament aged 23 as MP for Warwick and Leamington with a meteoric rise in politics elevating him to Foreign Secretary at the age of 38. He served as Foreign Secretary thrice, lastly in Winston Churchill’s cabinet. He was acknowledged as uncontested successor and Leader of the Conservative Party but constantly frustrated by Churchill clinging on to power and continually hinting that he would; much like Blair stringing Brown along.
Churchill’s delay in transferring power to Eden was a contentious issue; when Churchill was elected in October 1951, he hinted at handing over to Eden within a year, but Churchill’s attachment to power as international politician postponed his departure until April 1955. “Eden chafed under the wait. As the months passed, he developed a constant anxiety about the Premiership and impatience with the Prime Minister for staying on; for fear that some other aspirant might overtake him in the race for the succession.” (Lucas, p54)
It is strikingly familiar with the saga of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Two men, friends and colleagues for a very long period have an agreement and then one reneges and has to be prised out of office. In October 1955 Churchill, upon being informed that opinion favoured a change in leadership he responded with a very Blairite major Ministerial shuffle. Eden would have to wait.
Eden flew to the Middle-East, on his last major assignment as Foreign Secretary to gather support for the ill-thought out “Baghdad Pact”, an American initiative to for regional consensus of shared political, military, and economic ideals and agreements but doomed to failure because of ongoing tension and conflict in the area, especially the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the event, only Pakistan and Turkey signed in 1954. Iraq and Pakistan followed the year after. Nasser refused to sign up to this and without Egyptian participation the pact would not work. He viewed the pact with suspicion. Instead, an Anglo-Egyptian Treaty was signed.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

To gauge or assess the Hebrew Bible as an historical narrative that is true and accurate is problematic. A number of methodologies must be applied to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. The challenge of an academic consensus presents further complications. The presences of archaeological remnants that have been carbon-dated lend credence to some of the claims made regarding chronology. There are three historical schools of thought regarding the approach to historical reliability of the Hebrew Bible.

Biblical minimalism contends that contemporary archaeological material and the resulting evidence is of paramount importance. This approach is also known as The Copenhagen School and believes that all the stories and tales within the Bible are of an aetiological character. Biblical minimalism is a school of biblical exegesis that developed in the 1960’s to cope with constant contradictions that were recurring due to archaeological evidence and the Bible’s version of events that created a version of Israel that did not correspond with this
The biblical maximalist school believes that historical accounts of Exodus, Judges, and the United Monarchy, consisting of Kings Saul, David and Solomon are to be interpreted as accurate.
The non-historical method is taking the Bible as literal, meaning that archaeological evidence can be ignored.

The Hebrew Bible is a collection of several books, divided into three sections:
The Torah; which is made up of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
The Former Prophets, The Latter Prophets and the twelve Minor Prophets.
The first letters of these three sections form T, N, and K which the Jews have adopted Tanak as an alternative name for the Hebrew Bible. The Jews use Hebraic names for the books.

The other possible approaches to biblical history to determine authenticity are the history of theology, the relationship between God and believers, political history that tells of well known figures, prophets and kings. Narrative history, that together with archaeological can provides a narrative of events. Intellectual history that can catalogue definitive events that led to evolutionary development and new ways of thinking. Cultural and socio-cultural history that informs on the progress made in the political structure of the time, cultural evolution, population growth and transfer and the divisions of ethnicity and most importantly, material history that comprises of artifacts, tools, and other items that can be measured against progress for comparison. (Stanley pp27-30)
The danger of using the Hebrew Bible as an historical source is the controversial claims that can be made by quoting from it, especially Israel and her use of the Bible to lay claim to territory so she can occupy land illegally.
The illegally occupied West Bank is most at risk here because of the unusually large number of religious sites that focus the attention of Jews and Christians upon it. The Muslims also hold the West Bank in high regard and revere it for having Islam’s third holiest shrine. They also respect the same prophets that Christians and Jews do and honor the sites where miracles were performed.
The pitfalls of using the Hebrew Bible before Solomon’s time are many and accuracy being the main one because of an history of oral transmission. This would mean that mistakes would also be copied and a religious bias in favour of Judaism would prevail. However, the time of Jesus would be classed as reliable because of the number of multiple sources that recorded His life and miracles. (Blake, Dewney and Mitchell p39)

To gain a better understanding an insightful knowledge of Judaism would assist in this. Judaism is a 4,000-year-old religion and can be traced back to the time of Moses. According to historical tradition, the Torah was revealed to Moses as a guide to life and as a rulebook. Religious principles are determined by studying the Talmud that is an explanatory text that accompanies it. The Jews believe that they are the chosen people of God (Yahweh) and that would explain the huge bias in portraying them in a favorable light, “Thus, in the Hebrew Bible, whenever they fought against an enemy of Zion, Yahweh would fight on their side. In the first two centuries B.C.E. Jews waged war against the Canaanites who lived on the land that Jews believed God had intended for them, gradually capturing enough territory to establish the first kingdom of Israel…” (Ibid)
Jews preserved and perpetuated their traditions and beliefs in exile and kept their identity and religious convictions by adhering to religious law and practices. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls and the caves at Qumran vindicated their claims.
The Hebrew bible can be used as an historical source but an high level of caution must be used because of the bias that is heavily in favor of the Jews and the claims that Zionist propagate in their quest to occupy more land that is not theirs in the modern sense of applied law but use by employing historical biblical narrative.
The process that resulted in the final modern version of the Bible was the result of corroboration by countless scribes and translators over the years. “Even scholars who believe that the stories are based on historical records acknowledge that they were composed by an author or editor writing long after the event”. (Stanley p48)
The modern viewpoint that some contemporary scholars have arrived at is the difficulty of independent variation of biblical tradition, something they refer to as “non-biblical control evidence” (Provan & Longman p54) all the way from Genesis to Kings. They cast doubt on the historical reliability of Genesis to Joshua simply because there is no evidence and apply the same stringent criteria to Samuel. This casts aspersions on the narrative of Saul and David because there is no external verification and this hinders the application of a critical historiography. “It is indeed intriguing that biblical scholars are still working with the verification principle in mind over thirty years afterward…no one believes that historical judgments can be proved after the verification in the natural sciences (Ibid)
To believe in the veracity of the Bible, a minimalist approach is needed, as is blind faith. The alterative is to collect evidence and differentiate between “intentional” and “unintentional” evidence. The former is to be regarded with a higher degree of suspicion because of the propensity of the author to embellish and exaggerate details of battles and chronicles in their favor. Physical remains such as pottery, coins or legal agreements yield more.(Ramsey p4)

One of the earliest references to Israel is in the Merneptah stele of 1220BCE from Egypt that refers to a group called Israel (Ibid p14) Another method is to use common-sense and process of deduction by elimination. If the exodus of Jews from Egypt is taken as an example, Exodus 13:17 the author states “God did not lead the Hebrews out of Egypt by way of the land of the Philistines” This would be confirmation that the writing would have been from the time that Philistines existed in that part of the world. The Hebrew Bible and The Old Testament differ in many ways. The Hebrew Bible has three divisions, one of which, The Torah enjoys supremacy. In the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls no two are alike. The official Hebrew text is called Masoretic after the Masoretes who were known as traditionalists who embellished them in later years. The earliest that they date from is the ninth century, whilst the Old Testament in Greek (and New _ date from the fourth century CE. An example can be given by a Greek translation of the Torah. Seventy-two Jewish elders were commissioned by Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 BCE) for a translation and is the origin of the word Septuagint (Seventy, abbreviated as LXX) It did not follow the Masoretic text and later Greek translations followed a newer variation of authorized Hebrew and is evident in the well known fact that the book of Jeremiah is totally different from the original. The same can be said for the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered at Qumran; changes were made as they were copied. The Samaritans also had scriptures known as the Samaritan Pentateuch and shared the same Torah with the Judeans even though they had become estranged. The official Jewish text dates back over 2,000 years and it must be borne in mind that changes crept in over time. (Rogerson & Davies pp232-234)

The Bible has beautiful poetry, stories that are full of emotion but in the modern sense of the word it is not an accurate history of everything.. There are facts and events that it has missed out on including actual historical events. There is no in-depth account of the 400 years of captivity, “Here and there the Bible uses data gleaned from ancient texts or records…but only cites historical facts where they serve as grist for its many literary mills. The reason for this is simple. The Bible’s language is not an historical language. It is a language of high literature, of story, of sermon and of song. It is a tool of philosophy and moral instruction”.
Gerald H Blake, John C Dewdney, Jonathan Mitchell. The Cambridge Atlas of the Middle East. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 1987.
Iain Provan, V Philips, Long Tremper Longman III A Biblical History of Israel Westminster John Knox Press London 2003
George W Ramsey The Quest for the Historical Israel. Reconstructing Israeli’s Early History. SCM Press. London 1982
John Rogersen and Philip R Davis The Old Testament World. T&T Clark International. London. 2005.
Christopher D. Stanley. The Hebrew Bible. A Comparative Approach. Fortress Press. Minneapolis 2010
Thomas L Thompson. The Bible in History. How writers create a past. Jonathan Cape. London. 1999

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Essay: “To what extent did state-society relations change in recent years in Israel?”
The Israeli state is a democracy in region surrounded by autocratic and despotic rulers. Although it is a young state, its system of democracy and conflict resolution can be traced back to the Diaspora in exile living in central and Eastern Europe, Halakha. Anti-Semitism was rife and the founding of the state was a direct result of the sufferings and persecution of Jews that culminated in the Holocaust, or Shoah, as Israelis call it. Only one example of anti-Semitism will be used in this paper for practical reasons. An excerpt from Ha’ahdut 1912, “Modern anti-Semitism which the Jews have suffered from during this last century, in politically free countries as well, is largely a consequence of the abnormal economic positions that the Jews have occupied in the Diaspora…today, the Jewish people has many more shopkeepers, businessmen, teachers, doctors, etc….than the small and impoverished masses of Jewish workers is able to support. Thus our shopkeepers, businessmen, and members of the liberal professions are obliged to gain their livelihood at the expense of the hard toil of the non-Jewish workers
Birth of a state.
In 1948 the Jewish state was formed and the infrastructure of the state and its foundation for government was laid. In May 1948, the yishuv (Jews living in Palestine before the creation of the state of Israel) merged the National Council and Jewish Agency and added to this, Agudat Israel, Revisionists, Sephardim, and the Communists. This body became known as the Peoples Council and had 37 members and became the legislative body from which a smaller body, the Peoples Administration, became the Executive branch; the Cabinet of Israeli government. In this, only the Revisionists and Communists were excluded. The dominant party at the time was the Mapai, led by David Ben-Gurion. He wanted to form unity amongst the Jewish people and was inclined to permit pluralism and bring all elements of Jewish society under the umbrella of the state. To achieve this, Ben-Gurion reduced sectarianism in civic and public life. The Declaration of Independence in May 1948, at the Tel Aviv Museum Hall, ushered in a new state to the League of Nations. Shortly afterwards the Peoples Council in command held a meeting that turned into a debate. It proposed something that Israel is asking for in 2011 but had already claimed: A Jewish State. At 13.50 hours Meir Wilner had a clause inserted in section 9 of the Declaration, “…calling for the establishment of an independent Jewish state in Eretz Israel”. At the end of section 11 it says, “We hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel”.
The state
Israeli civil society consisted of the following in the 2004 census. 76.4 % Jews (of which 67.1% are Israeli born, 22.6% of European or American origin, 5.9% of African origin, 4.2% Asian born) and 23.6% that are mostly Arab. Population: 7.4 million (2008 census). There is no formal constitution but some functions are covered by the Declaration of Establishment (1948) and The Basic Laws of parliament (Knesset). Since May 2003, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset has been working on a draft constitution.
Israeli civic society has been in a state of flux along with its borders since the establishment of the state in 1948. Britain attempted to honour its commitment to establish a national home for the Jewish people and simultaneously adhering to the framework of the Balfour Declaration in order to protect the civil rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine. The realisation of the Zionist vision led to mass immigration to Israel, of Jews from Middle Eastern countries and Europe and a mass flight of Palestinian Arabs who either fled or were forced from their homes.
Relations, between state and society.
The importance of Israel for Jews, Christians and Muslims puts Israeli society under a global microscope. The tensions between Jews and Muslims create problems for the state. This relationship has a profound historical and theological history between Christian and Jew, whilst the Muslim parts of society view the Jew as an artificially transplanted entity in a dominant Muslim and Arab region. In Israeli society an example to reflect its divisions and relation to the state could be a military one, “the manpower that can be mobilised for security needs includes neither Israel’s Arab citizens nor many members of the orthodox sector”.
Judaism is the oldest of the three Abrahamaic faiths and evolved over a period of over 1,500 years and is in itself, a key part of the Old Testament. The name derives from the region of Judah, where the word Jew also originates. Jacob’s religious name Israel, became the ancestor of Bnai Yisrael , Sons of Israel. Originally a semi-nomadic race as was Abraham. In contemporary Israeli society, Judaism encompasses groups like ultra-orthodox Hasidim, Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism and the Reconstructionists. An ongoing argument that continued well into the 2,000’s by Israeli religious authorities and American Jewish leaders concerns the status of Conservative and Reform Jews that pits religious civil society against the Israeli state.
The problematic nature of religion and state in Israel is a product of pre-state developments, the Israeli political system, basic Zionist premises and contemporary religious activism, “The issue of religion and state in Israel is one of the most burning social issues in the country today. While Jewish ethnic conflict no longer constitutes a source for most social scientists, the tensions generated by conflicting positions on the basic nature of the state poses perhaps the greatest internal threat to Israel’s stability”.
The “Arab Spring,” (the demonstrations for free elections in the Arab world) that has profound and disturbing implications for Israel’s security; the expulsions of Israel’s ambassador from Turkey and Venezuela, the storming of Israel’s embassy in Cairo, the recall by Israel of their ambassador in Jordan and the growing rift between Israel and Turkey, the murder by Israel of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai are but a few examples of a new realpolitik emerging in the Middle East: a change in state-society relations. Perhaps the most difficult event for Israel to deal within parts of its society is the emergence of Hamas as the governing political party in Gaza.
“The ruling political class had no intention of absorbing Arabs into Israeli society where they would compete with Jewish immigrants for land, water, welfare and jobs”. The perceived rights of the Arabs were taken away by Israeli military institutions. The Arabs were excluded from being a fully fledged member of society and dependency set in. They became alienated. The sociological terminology, “…civil religion of Israeli national life-Independence Day, The Sabbath, school and work holidays on Jewish festivals, and so on-held little meaning for them”.
Hamas, until recently, was the only democratically elected government in the Arab World. The people of Gaza are in effect the victims of collective punishment for choosing Hamas over Fatah. The Palestinians became aware of the endemic corruption that is rife within Fatah.
In December 1988, Yasser Arafat stated, “…the PLO has accepted Israel’s’ right to exist, will participate…in international peace conferences on the basis of UN resolutions 242 and 338”. Arafat forfeited the Right to Return for the Palestinian refugees, lost credibility with millions of Palestinians but gained recognition from the US and its allies.
Presently, the PLO has an application lodged at the UN for statehood but something Arafat did not take into consideration was the US’s blind loyalty to Israel. He did not foresee that the US would use its veto to deny the Palestinians statehood.
Hamas was virtually unheard of outside the Middle East until 1992. Hamas kidnapped an Israel soldier, Sergeant-Major Nissim Toledano, an Israeli border policeman and executed him when their demands were not met. In retaliation, the Israelis forcibly deported 415 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members on December 18th 1992 to Marj Al-Zuhur (field of flowers) a bleak and desolate landscape. The deportees were the cream of their society. 17 university lecturers with doctorates, 11 doctors of medicine, 14 engineers, 36 businessmen, 5 journalists, 109 university students and 208 imams. This incident enabled them to mingle, network and rebuild Hamas
State-society relations have changed in recent times for Israel. It has its own internal indigenous activist groups that pitched their tents on Rothschild Boulevard to protest against the lack of social housing. The other Israeli/Jewish group that has upended the status quo are the so called settlers a, group of organised thieves that illegally occupy Palestinian land following their country’s example. When challenged by the Israeli police and evicted, they mount a campaign called “price-tagging” whereby they enter the area they have been evicted from and uproot ancient olive groves, smear excrement on the Qur’an and burn mosques in retaliation for being evicted.
“There were just a few hundred settlers in the West Bank when I became president and all my predecessors had categorised each settlement as an obstacle to peace…after I left office the Likud government expanded its settlement activity…I quote the key passages from Ronald Reagan in September 1982, ““The United States will not support the use of any additional land …settlement activity is in no way necessary and diminishes the confidence of the Arabs…”.
“Although President Clinton made strong efforts to promote peace…a massive increase in settlers occurred during his administration , mostly while Ehud Barak was prime minister…by 2001, there were 225,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza…the best offer to the Palestinians was by Clinton not Barak, to withdraw 20% of them leaving about 5% of the occupied land. The 5% figure is misleading. It only describes the actual footprints of the settlements. In addition there are other areas listed for expansion, roadways that join the settlements with each other and to Jerusalem, and “life arteries” that provide water, sewage, electricity and communications. These range in width from 500 metres to 4,000 metres and Palestinians cannot even use or cross many of these links. The honeycomb of settlements and their interconnecting arteries divide the entire West Bank into multiple fragments, often uninhabitable or even unreachable. There are about 100 military checkpoints completely surrounding Palestine and along the roads going into or between Palestinian communities”.
The status quo between Israel and its society is seeing the largest upheaval regarding this movement and its cause: A lack of social housing.
“The Religious Right’s role is prominent in opposing territorial compromise. The groups in Israeli society that belong to this are, Shas, United Torah Judaism,, National Union and Jewish Home. They exert considerable political influence and the religious right play an important role within the Likud”.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The key unresolved issues between the Israelis and Palestinians and the extent to which they impact on the peace process


There are many obstacles for a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. The ones chosen for this essay are deemed to be the most relevant and topical. To avoid repetition of extracts from older and more recent books real-time intelligence data will be used in an attempt to present the essay as using the most up-to-date sources and the conclusion will seek to prove that the two state solution has been consigned to the dustbin of history

Main obstacles

The right to return of the Palestinian refugees forced out by the Israelis.

The enforcement, of UN resolutions; 242 and 338.

The restoration of Palestine to its 1967 borders and Palestinian control of its own ports and borders.

The natural resources of the region, most importantly, water and gas.

The illegal building of settlements, both in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by the Jews.

The security of Israel and its right to live in peace without fear, without suicide bombings intifadas and rocket attacks and the kidnapping of its soldiers and attacks from Lebanon by the Hezbollah.

The inclusion of Hamas, in peace talks so that the Gaza Strip is represented and included; the lifting of the illegal blockade of Gaza.

The building of the so-called security wall, which has been condemned internationally, and is illegal for its encroachment into the West Bank.

Main Body.

How the refugees became refugees

Benny Morris has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of forced migration. In the beginning, Morris had only access to Israeli military archives that distorted his figures, giving him only a partial insight into the true figures of refugees and how they were forced from their homes. He falsely assumed that Palestinians had not been driven out before 15 May 1948. This led him to ignore the infecting of the water supply at Acre with typhoid, rape as a tool of war and various massacres.[1]

However, Morris redeemed himself when he was able to access newly released material from military archives. He made a comprehensive list of all the villages that were abandoned by the indigenous Palestinian population and numbered them. He divided the regions that the Palestinians were living into, the Jerusalem corridor, Negev, Hills of Ephraim, Mishmar, Ha’emek area, The Northern Coastal Plain, and Northern Negev approaches, Galilee Panhandle, Upper Galilee,Western Galilee, Lower Galilee, Jordan, Jezreel, and the Beit Shea Valleys.2

1Pappe, I (2006) The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine. One World Publications. Oxford. Preface xv


Morris lists over 350 villages that state that there were over 400 Palestinian villages that were destroyed and where forced evictions occurred.

Walid Khalidi states that there were over 400 villages that were destroyed and where forced evictions occurred. Khalidi used over 30 field researchers and spent six years proving this.3

300,00 more Palestinian refugees fled during the 1967 war, mainly to Jordan. The numbers of Palestinian refugees to date are over 4 million. These people assert that they have a moral right to return as well as a legal one under the auspices of the United Nation general assembly resolution 194, which was passed in 1948. It states that,” Palestinian refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest opportunity.”4

However, the 1948 exodus or Nakbah at that time suited the British, Americans and the Jews.5

“The panic flights of Arabs from Jewish occupied Palestine presented a serious problem but a way to a long term solution of great difficulty. The number of Arabs to be transferred from the Jewish state was 40 times greater than the number of Jews to be transferred from the Arab state. The difficulty of persuading the Arabs of Palestine to leave their homes has been overcome by Jewish terrorism and Arab panic.”

“Despite the suffering of the Arabs, security in the long run will be served best if the refugees remain in the Arab states and Arab Palestine instead of returning to Israel. Since the US has supported the establishment of a Jewish State, it should insist on a homogenous one. Return of the refugees would create a problem and constant temptation for uprisings and intervention by neighboring Arab states.”6

The Jews’ master architect of displacing Palestinians was Theodore Herzl. He states, “we must expropriate and spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries while denying it any employment in our own country. The process of expropriation and removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly.”7


The six-day war of 1967 may have had its origins in a water dispute because of Israeli plans to divert the River Jordan-Israel’s principal source of fresh water. After years of dispute and fighting Israel quadrupled its territory and gained control of double the resources of fresh water.

Israel claims that the 1967 war was forced upon it and it had no intention of occupation. However The Zionist delegation at the Peace Conference of 1919 said the Golan heights, the Jordan Valley ( now the West Bank ) as well as Lebanon’s River Litani was, “essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country. The West Bank’s mountain aquifer and the sea of Galilee give Israel 60% (a billion cubic meters per year). Now that the illegal settlements have made a patchwork of the West Bank, Israel takes 80% of the aquifers water leaving the Palestinians with 20%.8


The world’s biggest offshore gas field discovery in recent times discovered of the Northern coast of Israel was tested on Wednesday the 29th of December 2010 and revealed that reserves of natural gas of 450 billion cubic meters that can keep Israel self sufficient in gas for 90 years. The value is estimated at 95 billion dollars. However, the Hezbullah considers the fields as Lebanese resources. This will further hamper peace talks.8a


A live source, considered being the most expert authority on the Hamas has been consulted and interviewed for this paper.9 The following is a literal transcript.

“Whether we like it or not, Hamas is now integral part of the Palestinian leadership. After its victory in 2006 it has acquired political legitimacy that no one could deny. Any political process, be it within the Palestinian polity or between Israel and the Palestinians would have no real chance of sustainable success without involving Hamas, directly or indirectly. The Palestinian political landscape after Yasser Arafat’s death took a completely different turn. During his time, Arafat could impose upon the Palestinians a certain orientation using his historical leadership aura and charisma. Those days could be seen as,” led by logic of charismatic leadership.” Now we no longer have that. There is no charismatic and agreed upon Palestinian leader who could impose and promote solely his vision. With the triumph of Hamas the shift has moved to, “ the logic of consensus.” This means a Palestinian consensus on the common national agenda should be pursued and Hamas should be involved. If the Palestinians want to pursue peace or resistance it should be part of the agreed upon national agenda. In either case, Hamas’ role is vital.”

For this paper, as stated in the essay plan, two live sources will be used. The following is a verbatim interview, as above, by electronic means.10

“I personally think that the two-state solution is truly dead. Israel has killed it with help from the Palestinian leadership who have failed to define their concept of what appears to be negotiations about negotiations, leading to a state of conflict management rather than conflict solution.

The one state solution of which I have been an advocate of for over two decades is inching into view. I don’t think Israel is even minded to think about this and there are Palestinians who refuse it. It seems to me that the notion of a, “durable and just solution” is not on the horizon.

There are some Israelis who would like to revive, “The Jordanian option” but this seem to be an equally problematic option. The only solution in my view, a very difficult one indeed, is for the PA to dissolve itself because it has failed to achieve the goal of Palestinian statehood. The consequences of this would be to concentrate the minds of all concerned on the issue from a new perspective. I personally would argue for incorporating all of historical Palestine into Israel both geographically and demographically.”

A Jewish perspective as to the obstacles to peace11

An Israeli academic who spent several years studying in London (SOAS) blames Britain for a lack of negotiations. Ehud Rosen handed in a report to the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs and claims that Britain is at the epicenter of a “ deligitimisation movement” against Israel and that all boycott campaigns are orchestrated from here. Rosen studied for his PhD at SOAS. His wild claims are based on an allegation that the hard left in Britain has formed an alliance with International Islamist groups (a red green alliance) he further claims that the Stop The War movement, The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Socialist Workers Party and the Respect political party have joined up with branches of The Muslim Brotherhood to form a society that includes the Tunisian Rachid al- Ghannouchi, his daughter Soumaya, Anas al-Tikriti (leader of the Iraqi Islamist party, Azzam Tamimi from Jordan and the Palestinian Muhammad Sawalha. His report concludes that London had become,” The Mecca of delegitimization.”

Another Israeli Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezar, the Trade and Industry Minister claims that the world, led by the USA, may back unilateral declaration of Palestinian Statehood. Four Latin American states, including emerging economic superpower, Brazil have officially recognized a Palestinian state, inside the pre-1967 borders last month.

Israeli officials have claimed that the Palestinian Right To Return Centre is an illegal Hamas-affiliate planning, “violent activity” against The Jewish state.

The Centre asserts it is legitimate and is an “independent academic/media consultancy founded in and registered in the UK since 1966. It specializes in the research, analysis and issues pertaining to the dispersed Palestinians and their right to return.”

END 1680 words excluding title.

3 Ibid preface xv1

4 13/03/2006 Jimmy Carter, The Carter centre

5 PRO, Kew,London. BMEO to FO, 3rd August 1948, PRO FO 816\139

6 PRO Kew, London, Burdett (Jerusalem) to Secretary of State 5th February 1949 PRO FO 371-75420

7 The Complete Diaries of Theodore Herzl, Volume I, page 88

8 www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11101797

8a The Times, London Thursday, 30th December 2010

9 Dr. Khaled Hroub, Director, Cambridge Arab Media Project; Cambridge University

10 Professor Yasir Suleiman, FRSE His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Sa’id

Professor of Modern Arabic Studies; Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies

University of Cambridge

11The Jewish Chronicle, 31/12/2010 page 2

Friday, 7 August 2009

Fatah conference; Abbas and corruption

In the spring of 2006, a few months after Hamas were granted a mandate from the inhabitants of Gaza, Western donors halted direct funding to the Palestinian government. The consensus portrayed within the media at large is that Palestinian Authority staff and other officials received no salaries. This is true.

However,more money than ever before was distributed to the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas. It just passed through different bank accounts, through other conduits.Of the US$1.2 billion given to the PA, US$700 million went directly through the office of Abbas and the rest through various international aid agencies and other quangos. This money did not benefit the Palestinians, their living conditions worsened and the prospect of an emerging viable independent state, economic development and a just peace with the Israeli's grows ever more remote.

Mahmud Abbas was born in Safad, northern Palestine in 1935. In 1948 he left for Syria as a refugee and gained a BA in law from Damascus and a Ph.D from the Oriental School in Moscow on the connection between the Zionist movement and the German National Socialists. He was a civil servant in Qatar in the 1960's and began to organise Palestinian activist groups and was a founding member of al-Fatah. He has been a member of the Palestine National Council since 1968 and is a member of the PLO executive committee. He collaborated with various Jewish and pacifist movements in the 1970's and worked with Matiyahu Peled that resulted in "the principles of peace" based on a two state solution in January 1977. He has headed the PLO department for national and international relations since 1980 and was elected chairman of the portfolio on the Occupied Territories in 1988. He headed the Palestinian team at the secret Oslo talks and signed the Declaration of Principles on Palestinian Self-Rule that launched the Palestinian-Israeli peace process on September 13th 1993. He has headed the PLO negotiating team since 1994 and signed the interim agreement in September 1995. In October 1995 he jointly with Yossi Beilin, drafted the Framework for the Conclusion of a Final Status Agreement Between Israel and the PLO. With Uri Savir he headed the Israeli-Palestinian National Authority final status talks in May 1996. In March 2003 he became de-facto Prime Minister and became alienated from ordinary Palestinians Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade. In September 2003 he was replaced by Ahmed Qurei and is not considered to be a charismatic leader but widely believed to be one of the most corrupt individuals in the PNA. Soon after the PNA was established in Gaza construction began on a luxurious US1.5 million villa funded by unknown sources. He is widely mistrusted by Palestinians for his collobaration with senior Israeli figures for various peace plans that surrender fundamental Palestinian rights that maintain the Occupation in all but name.

He is the most divisive figure in Middle -East politics which is why the 20th al-Fatah conference is in disarray today the 7th August 2009.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Forced migration and Nakba denial

The Israeli's are extremely sensitive about Holocaust denial, and rightly so. It was a crime of incomprehensible magnitude that only the most vile and inhuman minds could envisage, plan and execute. Having said that, one must expect that they would be amenable and understanding, about how the Palestinian people feel about the tragic events of 1948. The methods utilised by the Israeli's in that year are akin to ethnic cleansing. Very few towns and villages were abandoned by the Arabs voluntarily, only upon Arab orders, issued to avoid a massacre, did that take place. The other factor that acted as a catalyst, was the influence of a nearby town's fall. This would be immediately taken advantage of by the Haganah of that period by a whispering campaign instigating a psychological campaign i.e. "...the Haganah/IDF are coming to rape your daughters..." etc. The other villages abandoned by the Arabs would occur because of the fear of being caught up in the fighting by defenceless villagers. However, the majority of towns and villages were by expulsion via the IDF and the Haganah, military assaults by the following main method:

An armed column of Jewish forces would arrive at the targeted village and surround it on three sides, leaving a fourth side open. The three surrounded sides by the Jews would begin to advance, forcing the inhabitants to flee through the unguarded side.
Whichever reasons are accepted and embraced by whomever, the facts remain. It suited the British,"...The panic flights of Arabs from the Jewish occupied areas of Palestine has presented a very serious immediate problem but may possibly point the way to a long term solution of one of the greatest difficulties in the way of a satisfactory implementation of partition, namely the existence in the Jewish state of an Arab community very nearly equal in numbers to the Jewish one...Previous examinations of this problem have always led to the rejection of transference of populations as a solution...for the reason that the number of Arabs to be transferred from the Jewish state was 40 times greater than the number of Jews to be transferred from the Arab state...Now that the initial difficulty of persuading the Arabs of Palestine to leave their homes has been overcome by Jewish terrorism and Arab panic..." The preceding quote is from an analysis sent in a report to the British Foreign Office by the London Middle East Intelligence centre, based in Cairo. It is publicly accessible from the Public Record Office, Kew, London, BMEO to FO, 3 August 1948, PRO FO 816\139.

The Americans took a similar view,"...Despite the attendant suffering...it is felt security in the long run will be served best if the refugees remain in the Arab states and Arab Palestine instead of returning to Israel. Since the US has supported the establishment of a Jewish State, it should insist on a homogeneous one which [sic] will have the best chance of stability. Return of the refugees would create a continuing "minority problem" and form a constant temptation both for uprisings and intervention by neighbouring Arab states." The Americans got it wrong as usual. Several wars occurred because of their ignorance, again, the whole document can be obtained from the PRO, Kew, London; Burdett (Jerusalem) to Secretary of State, 5 February 1949, PRO FO 371-75420.

The Jews, through their master architect of displacing the Palestinians, viewed it thus,"...We must expropriate...spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country...both the process of expropriation and removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly." The whole rationale behind this can be read in , The Complete Diaries of Theodore Hertzl, I, page 88.

In yesterday's New York Times, the comment page (editorial) was given over to the editor of Haaretz, a national Israeli newspaper. Highly unusual, but when taken into consideration, the amount of mass media in Jewish hands and that of their supporters, not surprising. He lamented that President Obama will not come to Israel and talk to the Israeli people. Hardly surprising that the risk of assassination is the highest in Israel for President Obama, after all, Israel cannot even protect it's own prime ministers from assassination.

In conclusion, a law must be passed in all the Arab countries, making it a criminal offence to deny the Nakba and international pressure made to bear upon Israel, to allow the Palestinians, the right to mourn 1948, through the marking of el-Nakba.

Acknowledgements and courtesies to Professor Benny Morris
Cambridge University Press, CAMBRIDGE, 2004

Bulldozing, Arafat, el-Nakba and forced migration

The furore surrounding Farouk Kaddoumi and the subsequent expulsion of al-Jazeera from the Occupied West Bank has caused controversy in the media. The heading of this posting has not been chosen lightly; there are unfortunately, a lot of unanswered questions. The most important one being, who would gain by the death of Yasser Arafat? Qui Bono ?
In the immortal words of the legendary Professor Ilan Pappe,...”the Oslo agreement , accorded the Palestinian people, a lot of salata (honours) but without sulta (authority).” The late 1980’s saw the appearance of Islamic movements in Palestine and Israel. The main entities were Shuahada al-Aqsa (the Martyrs of al-Aqsa) who were closely aligned with the Fatah movement and the Battalions of Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the preacher affiliated to the Hamas. Hamas and Islamic Jihad took root in the Occupied territories and in southern Lebanon. Political Islam was a fairly new term in those days, replacing Islamic Fundamentalism but explaining the same phenomenon. In general, the term is a scholarly attempt to assess the impact of religion on politics in the Arab world and beyond. Like all the other Islamists in the late 20th century, those in Palestine and Israel were anti-American and opposed to American brokered peace deals. It was the failure of the PLO that drove the people into the arms of political Islam. The Oslo accords were not for the benefit of the Palestinian people, more for the self-aggrandizement of Clinton who is still under the delusion that he offered a golden opportunity to Arafat.
The Israeli army uses yellow Caterpillar D9 bulldozers. They are ubiquitous in the Occupied Territories but the one that arrived in the city centre of Ramallah in early April 2002 caused quite a stir. This particular one aroused interest because it was heading directly for the Muqata compound, Arafat’s headquarters, after the Oslo accords. This particular D9 Caterpillar arrived at Arafat’s headquarters in tandem with an armed excavator, a gargantuan, behemoth of a bulldozer. This one was equipped with a customized augur, similar to a massive corkscrew that exposes the foundations of a building and demolishes it within minutes. After the demolition, Arafat was confined to a small corner of the remnants of the building and besieged for two years.
His health deteriorated during this time, probably due to food poisoning. His food would be handled by the numerous Israeli checkpoints adjacent and handled disrespectfully for want of better words. It was during this period that various Palestinian sources believe that their leader was poisoned by the Israelis. In October 2004, he was airlifted to France and hospitalised. He died in the beginning of November from what his doctors called “a mysterious disease.” He was buried on the 12th of November 2004, aged 75. Directly after his death, with the support of the Israelis, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was appointed leader. Abbas lacked depth and understanding and did not have the experience that Arafat did. This enabled the Israelis to successfully splinter the solidarity of the Palestinian people and their movement for freedom and basic human rights. Why has the cause of death not been declared and the results of the autopsy made public?

Courtesy and acknowledgements to professor Ilan Pappe
Pappe, I. Cambridge University Press,
second edition Cambridge 2006