By Rifat Audeh
"The old will die and the young will forget." — David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, commenting on the dispossessed Palestinian people kicked out of their homes by Israel.
Well, it is one of those peak times of the year again, when one must respond to the unnatural spin of the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd. This time, the occasion is Israel’s 60th anniversary, or what is known in Palestinian circles as the Nakba or the ‘catastrophe’.
Over 60 years ago, Zionist terror groups launched a series of terror attacks, that included the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and the murder of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, and which culminated in massacres and the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, creating the largest refugee population in the world today.
In November 1947, Jews represented only one third of the population in Palestine and owned only 6% of the land. Yet the UN partition plan granted the Jewish state a staggering 55% of the total land area. Well, you do the math. Naturally the Arabs weren’t happy with this.
Even so, war didn’t break out with Arab armies entering Palestine the day after Israel’s founding on May 14, 1948, but actually much sooner. Israeli plans for war began immediately after the UN partition plan, in December 1947, in what was known as Plan Gimmel.
By early March 1948, the Jews were pursuing Plan Dalet, with continuing military attacks, and by May 15, 1948, Israel had already conquered significant areas outside its own UN-defined state.
It is definitely worth noting that when Ben-Gurion declared the creation of the state of Israel, he refused to define its borders, and it has no defined borders till this day. He explicitly stated "We have set up a dynamic state bent upon expansion." [Ben-Gurion’s Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, translated by M. Nuroch]
After uprooting the Palestinians from their homeland- as detailed in Ilan Pappe’s book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" – Israeli violations have never ceased. There’s an abundance of human rights reports from Amnesty International and other organizations that document the barbaric actions of the illegal Israeli occupation. The latest example of this is the inhuman siege on Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians, resulting in the death of hundreds of innocents.
Racist policies and practices even permeate laws applicable to Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. Political parties have been disqualified when calling for complete equality for Jews and Arabs, under the pretext that this challenges the "Jewish character of the state." To clarify this, such discrimination is akin to negating a call for equality between whites and blacks, because this may endanger the "white nature of the country."
Zionist leaders have admitted their role in this conflict. Former Israeli Chief of Military Intelligence Yehoshofat Harkabi stated "I would say the original source of this conflict lies with Israel, with the Jews – and you can quote me." Ben-Gurion himself said "Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country." Despite all of this, the PLO has recognized Israel and offered peace, as did the rest of the Arab nations in the Beirut Summit of 2002. Yet every peace initiative has been rebuffed by Israel, with continued expansion of illegal settlements and more violations of UN resolutions than the rest of the entire world combined.
Yet today, and regardless of all the calamities that have befallen them, the Palestinian people are alive and well. The young have not forgotten, and their attachment to the land of Palestine flows in their veins.
-Rifat Audeh is a Palestinian-Canadian activist, and former member of the Palestine Solidarity Movement’s Process Committee. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.