History Of Israel According To No One

July 16, 2021

History Of Israel According To No One
Response to QUORA
July 16, 2021

The following anti-Jewish biased response on QUORA was composed by an anonymous Arab individual.

A few comments on the article:

1. Although a so-called "pro-Palestinian" response, it appears to contain much history about the Zionist movement and Britain's interests in the Middle East. Britain's involvement with the Zionist cause has always been double nuanced. On the one hand, early 20th-century British romance with the Bible laid the foundation for its support for a Jewish "country" in its historical territory. On the other hand, the British desire to rid Europe of its Asian residents added to its Zionist support. Once the British colony of Palestine began to experience Arab violence, Britain sought to minimize further Jewish migration in spite of the fact that this happened at a time when Jews needed to most leave Europe, - the late 1930s and early 1940s.

2. The article fails to mention that the gentile inhabitants of Ottoman and later British Palestine were mostly newcomers from the surrounding Levant, seeking a better life in the newly regenerated Land created by the industry of the Jewish YESHUV [presence in Palestine]. It was Jews, not so-called native Arabs who cleaned the swamps of Galilee and forested the denuded plains and hills of Judea. Jews, not Arabs, built the new cities of the Holy Land. Jews in Israel have contributed to the wellbeing of the world by their technology. Non-Jewish inhabitants of the Land have contributed terrorism and death, both to Jews in the Land, and gentiles living all over the world.

3. The departing British gave the Arab population an opportunity to create an Arab state in the Land, backed up by a United Nations partition plan. The Arabs there threw away that opportunity in the hopes that neighboring Arab countries would invade and destroy the new Jewish state. In the subsequent invasion, British officers actively gave military assistance to Jordan in order to beat Israel out of existence.

4. History cannot be turned back. For 2000 years, European Christians have been telling their Asiatic Jewish inhabitants: "Go back to Palestine!" Now they are telling Jews: "Get out of Palestine!" To back where? To places where another Holocaust can take place? Dream on!


Was there a contradiction between Balfour's proposal to "establish a national home for the Jewish people" and the promise "that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine?

Answered by "No One" - lives in East Jerusalem, Palestine

Of course, there was. Let's go back a little bit and examine what happened:

By the end of World War I, European armies had occupied Palestine and a large portion of the Arab world. They were faced with the unsettling prospect of alien rule and the rapid decline of Ottoman control, which had been the only known system of government for more than twenty generations. It was during this period of turmoil , as one era finished and another began, against a grim scenery of misery, deterioration, and deprivation, that Palestinians did learn about the Balfour Declaration :

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Arthur James Balfour

If many foresighted Palestinians began to consider the Zionist movement as a threat prior to World War I, the Balfour Declaration added a new and frightening dimension. With its vague phrase endorsing "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," the declaration successfully committed Britain's assistance for Theodor Herzl's goals of Jewish statehood, sovereignty, and immigration control in all of Palestine.

Notably, Balfour made no reference of the vast Arab majority of the populace (approximately 94% at the time), except in a backhanded way as the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." They were defined in terms of what they were not, and most definitely not as a nation or a people‒the terms "Palestinian" and "Arab" are absent from the declaration's sixty-seven words. This great majority was promised only "civil and religious rights," not political or national rights. By contrast, Balfour bestowed national rights to what he referred to as "the Jewish people," who constituted a tiny minority in 1917, accounting for approximately 6% of the country's population.

Prior to acquiring British support, the Zionist movement was a colonizing enterprise seeking a great-power benefactor. After failing to find a sponsor in the Ottoman Empire, Wilhelmine Germany, and elsewhere, Theodor Herzl's successor Chaim Weizmann and his associates did succeed in gaining the support of the wartime British cabinet led by David Lloyd George. The Palestinians now encountered a far more formidable foe than ever before, with British troops advancing northward and occupying their country at the time, and troops serving a government committed to implanting a "national home" through unlimited immigration to cultivate a future Jewish majority.

Over the last century, the British government's motives and goals have been thoroughly investigated. Among its numerous motivations were a romantic, religiously inspired philo-Semitic compulsion to "return" the Hebrews to the land of the Bible, and an anti-Semitic desire to decrease Jewish immigration to Britain, attached to a belief that "world Jewry" possessed the ability to keep newly revolutionary Russia fighting and to draw the United States into the conflict. Apart from those impulses, Britain sought control of Palestine primarily for geopolitical strategic reasons that predated World War I, and were reinforced by wartime events. Regardless of the importance of the other intentions, this was the primary one: the British Empire was never driven by benevolence. Britain's strategic interests were perfectly served by sponsoring the Zionist project, just as they were served by a variety of regional wartime endeavors. Among them were commitments made in 1915 and 1916 promising independence to the Arabs led by Sharif Husayn of Mecca (embodied in the Husayn-McMahon correspondence) and a secret 1916 deal with France: the Sykes-Picot Agreement, in which the two colonial powers decided to partition the eastern Arab countries.

The Zionist movement's objectives were transparent: total sovereignty and control over Palestine. With Britain's unwavering support, these goals became suddenly attainable. Some prominent British politicians expressed support for Zionism in ways that went beyond the declaration's carefully phrased text. In 1922, at a dinner at Balfour's residence, three of the era's most renowned statesmen: Lloyd George, Balfour, and Secretary of State for the Colonies Winston Churchill, assured Weizmann that the concept "Jewish national home" , "always meant an eventual Jewish state." Lloyd George persuaded the Zionist leader that Britain would never permit a representative government in Palestine for this purpose. Neither did it.

For Zionists, their enterprise was now backed by an indispensable “iron wall” of British military might, in the words of Ze’ev Jabotinksy. For the inhabitants of Palestine, whose future it ultimately decided, Balfour’s careful, calibrated prose was in effect a gun pointed directly at their heads, a declaration of war by the British Empire on the indigenous population. The majority now faced the prospect of being outnumbered by unlimited Jewish immigration to a country then almost completely Arab in its population and culture. Whether intended this way or not, the declaration launched a full-blown colonial conflict, a century-long assault on the Palestinian people, aimed at fostering an exclusivist “national home” at their expense.

THE PALESTINIAN REACTION to the Balfour Declaration was late in coming, and initially was relatively muted. Word of the British pronouncement had spread in most other parts of the world immediately following its promulgation. In Palestine, however, local newspapers had been shuttered since the beginning of the war by both government censorship and a lack of newsprint, the result of a tight Allied naval blockade of Ottoman ports. After British troops occupied Jerusalem in December 1917, the military regime banned publication of news of the declaration. Indeed, the British authorities did not allow newspapers to reappear in Palestine for nearly two years. When reports of the Balfour Declaration finally reached Palestine, they trickled in slowly via word of mouth and then through copies of Egyptian newspapers that travelers brought from Cairo.

In December 1918, thirty-three exiled Palestinians (including al-‘Isa) who had just made their way from Anatolia to Damascus (where their access to news was not restricted) sent an advance letter of protest to the peace conference being convened in Versailles and to the British Foreign Office. They stressed that “this country is our country” and expressed their horror at the Zionist claim that “Palestine would be turned into a national home for them.”

Such prospects may have seemed remote to many Palestinians when the Balfour Declaration was issued, at a time when Jews constituted a tiny minority of the population. Nonetheless, some far-sighted individuals, Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi among them, had discerned the danger posed by Zionism early on. In 1914 ‘Isa al-‘Isa wrote, in an astute editorial in Filastin, of “a nation threatened with disappearance by the Zionist tide in this Palestinian land,… a nation which is threatened in its very being with expulsion from its homeland. Those who felt trepidation about the encroachment of the Zionist movement were alarmed by its ability to purchase large tracts of fertile land from which the indigenous peasants were removed and by its success in increasing Jewish immigration.

Indeed, between 1909 and 1914 some forty thousand Jewish immigrants had arrived (although some left soon afterwards) and eighteen new colonies (of a 1914 total of fifty-two) had been created by the Zionist movement on land it had bought mainly from absentee landlords. The relatively recent concentration of private land ownership greatly facilitated these land purchases. The impact on Palestinians was especially pronounced in agricultural communities in areas of intensive Zionist colonization: the coastal plain and the fertile Marj Ibn ‘Amer and Huleh valleys in the north. Many peasants in villages neighboring the new colonies had been deprived of their land as a result of the land sales. Some had also suffered in armed encounters with the first paramilitary units formed by the European Jewish settlers. Their trepidation was shared by Arab city dwellers in Haifa, Jaffa, and Jerusalem‒the main centers of Jewish population then and now‒who observed with mounting concern the stream of Jewish immigrants in the years before the war. After the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, the disastrous implications for the future of Palestine. It should be noted that as of 1948 Jews owned less than 7% of Palestine, after the 1948 and 1967 wars and the ethnic cleansing Palestinians , they took all of of Palestine.

In a confidential September 1919 memo (not publicly known until its publication over three decades later in a collection of documents on the interwar period), Balfour set out for the cabinet his analysis of the complications Britain had created for itself in the Middle East as a result of its conflicting pledges. On the multiple contradictory commitments of the Allies‒including those embodied in the Husayn-McMahon correspondence, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the Covenant of the League of Nations‒Balfour was scathing. After summarizing the incoherence of British policy in Syria and Mesopotamia, he bluntly assessed the situation in Palestine:

The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the “independent nation” of Palestine than in that of the “independent nation” of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country.… The four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.

In my opinion that is right. What I have never been able to understand is how it can be harmonised with the declaration, the Covenant, or the instructions to the Commission of Enquiry.

I do not think that Zionism will hurt the Arabs; but they will never say they want it. Whatever be the future of Palestine it is not now an “independent nation,” nor is it yet on the way to become one. Whatever deference should be paid to the views of those who live there, the Powers in their selection of a mandatory do not propose, as I understand the matter, to consult them. In short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.

In this brutally frank summary, Balfour set the high-minded “age-long traditions,” “present needs,” and “future hopes” embodied in Zionism against the mere “desires and prejudices” of the Arabs in Palestine, “who now inhabit that ancient land,” implying that its population was no more than transient. Echoing Herzl, Balfour airily claimed that Zionism would not hurt the Arabs, yet he had no qualms about recognizing the bad faith and deceit that characterized British and Allied policy in Palestine. But this is of no matter. The remainder of the memo is a bland set of proposals for how to surmount the obstacles created by this tangle of hypocrisy and contradictory commitments. The only two fixed points in Balfour’s summary are a concern for British imperial interests and a commitment to provide opportunities for the Zionist movement. His motivations were of a piece with those of most other senior British officials involved in crafting Palestine policy; none of them were as honest about the implications of their actions.

WHAT DID THESE contradictory British and Allied pledges, and a mandate system tailored to suit the needs of the Zionist project, produce for the Arabs of Palestine in the interwar years? The British treated the Palestinians with the same contemptuous condescension they lavished on other subject peoples from Hong Kong to Jamaica. Their officials monopolized the top offices in the Mandate government and excluded qualified Arabs; they censored the newspapers, banned political activity when it discomfited them, and generally ran as parsimonious an administration as was possible in light of their commitments. As in Egypt and India, they did little to advance education, since colonial conventional wisdom held that too much of it produced “natives” who did not know their proper place. Firsthand accounts of the period are replete with instances of the racist attitudes of colonial officials to those they considered their inferiors, even if they were dealing with knowledgeable professionals who spoke perfect English.

The experience in Palestine was dissimilar to that of most other colonized peoples in this era in that the Mandate brought an influx of foreign settlers whose mission it was to take over the country. During the crucial years from 1917 until 1939, Jewish immigration and the “close settlement by Jews on the land” enjoined by the Mandate proceeded apace. The colonies established by the Zionist movement up and down the coast of Palestine and in other fertile and strategic regions served to ensure control of a territorial springboard for the domination (and ultimately the conquest) of the country, once the demographic, economic, and military balance had shifted sufficiently in favor of the yishuv. In short order, the Jewish population tripled as a proportion of the total population, growing from a low of about 6 percent of the whole at the end of World War I to about 18 percent by 1926.

AFTER 1917, THE Palestinians found themselves in a triple bind, which may have been unique in the history of resistance to colonial-settler movements. Unlike most other peoples who fell under colonial rule, they not only had to contend with the colonial power in the metropole, in this case London, but also with a singular colonial-settler movement that, while beholden to Britain, was independent of it, had its own national mission, a seductive biblical justification, and an established international base and financing. According to the British official responsible for “Migration and Statistics,” the British government was not “the colonizing power here; the Jewish people are the colonizing power.” Making matters worse was that Britain did not rule Palestine outright; it did so as a mandatory power of the League of Nations. It was therefore bound not just by the Balfour Declaration but also by the international commitment embodied in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine.

Time and time again, expressions of deep Palestinian dissatisfaction, in the form of protests and disturbances, caused British administrators on the spot and in London to recommend modifications in policy. However, Palestine was not a crown colony or any other form of colonial possession where the British government was free to act as it pleased. If it appeared that Palestinian pressure might force Britain to violate the letter or the spirit of the Mandate, there was intensive lobbying in the League’s Permanent Mandates Commission in Geneva to remind it of its overarching obligations to the Zionists. Thanks to Britain’s faithfulness to these obligations, by the end of the 1930s it was too late to reverse the transformation of the country or to change the lopsided balance of forces that had developed between the two sides.

The great initial disadvantage under which the Palestinians labored was compounded by the Zionist organization’s massive capital investments, arduous labor, sophisticated legal maneuvers, intensive lobbying, effective propaganda, and covert and overt military means. The Jewish colonists’ armed units had developed semi-clandestinely, until the British allowed the Zionist movement to operate military formations openly in the face of the Arab revolt. At this point, the Jewish Agency’s collusion with the mandatory authorities reached its peak. There is a consensus among objective historians that this collusion, supported by the League of Nations, severely undermined any possibility of success for the Palestinians’ struggle for the representative institutions, self-determination, and independence they believed were their right.

When the British left Palestine in 1948, there was no need to create the apparatus of a Jewish state ab novo. That apparatus had in fact been functioning under the British aegis for decades. All that remained to make Herzl’s prescient dream a reality was for this existing para-state to flex its military muscle against the weakened Palestinians while obtaining formal sovereignty, which it did in May 1948. The fate of Palestine had thus been decided thirty years earlier, although the denouement did not come until the very end of the Mandate, when its indigenous Palestinian majority was finally dispossessed by force and where only Jews had the right to the land and its resources.

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