Tuesday, May 15, 2012

15-May-12: Their history, our history

64 years ago [Image Source]
It's May 15. On this day in 1948, the leadership of the Yishuv, the Jewish presence in Palestine, declared itself independent and announced the establishment of the State of Israel.

This year's anniversary celebrations in Israel have already been completed. Jews throughout the world, including here in Israel, mark the day according to the Hebrew lunar calendar: the 5th day of the month of Iyar which this year was April 26 and which was marked with great joy.

The Arab residents in the new state, as well as the Arab armies of all the surrounding countries (and some that were further away than that) had already begun waging a cruel and disproportionate war against the 600,000 Jews of Palestine during the months before the proclamation of Israel's independence.

A blog posting by Robert Werdine, "The Forgotten War" published a few days ago in the Times of Israel, will provide some surprises for people misled by the refashioned history of that period that has become the standard - but wrong - narrative. He reminds us of how bad things were for Palestine's Jews from November 29, 1947 when the United Nations voted to partition British Mandatory Palestine into a state for the Jews and yet another Arab state - to add to the two dozen already created during the twentieth century - for the Arabs.

From then until the official start of the War of Israel's Independence in May 1948, Yassir Arafat's kinsman Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, along with the Arab High Committee that he controlled, and together with all the nations of the Arab League, waged full-scale war against Jewish Palestine. For this purpose, they had the armies they had set up inside Palestine. Werdine enumerates them as
"the Arab Liberation Army for the League, the Arab Legion from Jordan, the Muslim Brothers from Egypt, and the Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas (“Army of the Holy War”) for the Mufti and the Palestinian AHC". 
They were engaged in a deliberate, well-publicized ideological and thoroughly military battle to destroy the Jewish settlements, to choke the highways and cut them off, and to hold the capital city Jerusalem hostage and besiege it and its thousands of Jewish residents. This they did for months.

There was no Arab plan to create an Arab state in the wake of the British Mandate of Palestine - none.

The goal that unified the Arab world was to destroy what the Jews had built and were building, and to do it not by blogging or petitions but by killing as many people as possible and expelling the rest (whatever that means). This is something the uninformed of 2012 need to know but do not.

That brings us to today, literally. This morning, our neighbours the Arab Palestinians of Gaza, have already managed to set the tone for the anniversary of the day they call Nakba (as in "Nakba Never Ceased", a short op ed that captures the spirit of the Arab version of events.)
Families in Israeli communities right across southern Israel were wakened around 6:30 am today to the frightening wail of the Color Red (Hebrew: Tzeva Adom) incoming rocket warning. The rocket, yet another in the growing Gazan arsenal of many thousands, was fired from the northern part of the Gaza Strip and exploded in an open area of the Shaar Hanegev region close to the southern Israeli city of Sderot (population: 24,000). Fortunately no injuries or serious damage are reported but that was not, never was, the intention of the men who daily place their lives at risk by firing them. They seek to create dead Jews as has been the custom of their communities for several generations.
It's a tense day here

In the words of an Israel National News report, "Israel's security services are expecting the worst and hoping for the best on Tuesday. Along the northern border, the military said it will not allow a repeat of last year’s Syrian infiltration into the Golan Heights. Soldiers also have been deployed along the Egyptian and Lebanese borders to prevent disturbances."

They have their history, and it brings them to massive deployment of missiles inside villages and mosques, and a culture that glorifies death, martyrdom, hatred of the Jew and of Jewish achievement, along with a deep and historically unprecedented collective memory of an event they call The Disaster. But while the State of Israel grows, develops and seeks its place in the world, the disaster that resonates in their schools and books is self-inflicted, self-perpetuating and completely self-limiting. They have wasted their future in order to endlessly relive their past.

Daniel Mandel in an oped in the Washington Times entitled Perverse Palestinian Pride captures the uselessness of it:
The very fact that naqba commemorations are held today is therefore instructive in a way few realize: It informs us that Palestinians have not admitted or assimilated the fact - as the Germans and Japanese have done - that they became victims as a direct result of their efforts to be perpetrators...
Finally, Robert Werbine's final paragraph puts it eloquently:
I am an American, am not Jewish, and have no religious or ancestral connection to the state of Israel... I am drawn to this period of the war, in particular, not only because it was a momentous event, but because it is a great epic story... There would have been no refugee crisis if there had been no war, and there would have been no war if the surrounding Arab states had not rejected the partition. From the moment it passed the General Assembly the Arab states have literally organized their whole polity around denying any Jewish sovereign state whatever its size, and to delegitimizing and destroying it when it was established. The free, vibrant, sixty-four-year-old state that exists today is an eloquent testimonial to the failure of these efforts.

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