THAT EXPLETIVE DELETED STATE!
By Sy Schechtman
At a dinner party for some British aristocracy a few years ago small, postage stamp Israel was described as that shitty little state. To the somewhat shocked guests in attendance, although both neo Nazism and anti-Semitism in British upper society has always been a small flickering sentiment not completely quenched in some English affections, this small, dubious phrase, when leaked to the press, caused much comment, denial, and indignation about private comments not for public disclosure. It is fitting, though, for those admirers of that tiny yet feisty sole democratic state in the entire middle east, that *X*x/#X/xX!! –Israel—that almost unmentionable entity, that abomination to Allah, (along with that satanic United States) to celebrate the 60th year of the founding of that marvelous state. Arisen from the ashes of the Holocaust four or so years before, and meeting far from a cordial welcome by Arabs in the territory soon to be called Palestine and known and beloved from almost . time immemorial as Eretz Isroel, the refugee Jews fought against great odds the hostile Arabs and unfriendly occupying British, and founded this Jewish state in l948.
Numerically outnumbered in many early battles in the period between November 30,l947 and May 15 l949 the Jewish fighters ( the indigenous Yishuv) easily defeated the Arab enemies, who were poorly trained and equipped. Eventually, the local Arab population became disheartened and began leaving and/or fleeing the area, encouraged or urged or ordered out by both opposing sides. Certainly there was no organized Zionist plan to transfer masses of native Arabs. Well documented are the pleas of the mayor of Haifa and other adjacent sites for the Arabs not to leave and stay in their present homes. Indeed, the more radical Arab leaders insisted that they should leave and soon return in triumph with the Arab armies that were massing on the border and would soon push all the Jews into the sea.
Most probably about 700,000 did leave, either violently at the Israeli behest, or from fear of violence from their own inflamed Moslem leaders. If they stayed behind many of them were afraid of being deemed traitors and the rumors of Israeli army violence—such as did occur at Deir Yassim—gave added impetus to the urge to flee, thus literally flooding surrounding Arab territory with refugees, and no legitimate effort was ever made to repatriate them—or resettle them in the abundant vacant Arab land in the area. The nascent Jewish state, in contrast, over the ensuing years added over four million immigrants, a very disparate universal mix from everywhere who mostly had a fervent wish to somehow be in a Jewish environment, however one defines that beautiful blend of exuberant and creative discord that usually it is. They have made the desert bloom and Jaffa oranges are sold world wide, and if you exclude the enormous oil revenues of the petro rich Arabs teeny tiny Israels international trade, especially in high technology and medical products, outsells the entire totality of the Moslem world.(Over one billion or more strong!) Indeed, in world per capita Gross Domestic Product Israel ranked a very respectable 28th even though some part of the orthodox male population, for religious reasons, does no work productively.
Of course, they are somewhat frenetic in their attempts to do all the above positive things. In the Jewish lexicon please is rarely heard.
The problem of the refugees, however, has continued to grow and fester. The well known and respected revisionist Jewish historian, Benny Morris, who is somewhat anti Zionist, has claimed the Arab refugee number of 700,000 as a fact, but there are many who that is much too high. Now of course, the number of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is much higher, approaching 4 million, with a large preponderance of teen agers and children, since the birth rate of Palestinian Arabs is one of the highest in the world. (Most of these deliveries, too, with the expert care of Israeli maternity wards.!) Also, there has been an in migration of sorts of neighboring Arabs seeking employment in the burgeoning Israeli economy, at least for many years before Arab resentment led to the intifada and open hostility. Indeed, one of the major failures of diplomatic attempts to solve this human dilemma of population displacement was the Oslo Accord, a ten year phased withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces, with the Arabs in control of almost all West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, with Israel having only small security force remaining. This agreement,with President Clinton as prime impetus, was signed in l993.
At first, Israeli troop removal started as per plan. But the Israelis also never ceased building settlements beyond their old borders, which disturbed the Palestinians, although no mention of these extraterritorial settlements were in the agreements signed. This, however the Arabs felt, was a violation of the spirit of the Oslo accords. But, at the conclusion of the ten year period, when over 90% of the west bank and all of Gaza, was to be returned, Arafat evidently balked, bringing up the right of return of the displaced refugees, which had hardly been on the table for discussion at all.
thus the second intifada began, which the Arabs claim was a war for national
liberation, and the Israelis
deemed a resumption of terrorist tactics. Gradually whatever spirit of cordial
reconciliation existed was
dissolved in the bitter brew of
suspicion, distrust and hatred.
Even Benny Morris has lost
his dove like approach, now
blaming the Palestinians for the
collapse of the Oslo peace process
and the al Aqsa intifada
which started soon
after. And he went further
in his own personal, subjective changed position:
If Ben—Gurion[Israels first prime minister] had carried out a large expulsion and
cleansed the whole country---the
whole Land of Israel, as far as
the Jordan River---he would
have stabilized the State
of Israel for generations...if the
end of the story turns out to
be a gloomy one for the Jews, it will be because Ben-Gurion did not complete the transfer
Sixty years have gone by and the miracle that was Israel at its most unlikely inception still incites expletive denials and frustration among the mean spirited. And, as before, these small of heart and soul are not just a small chorus of nay sayers and doom and gloomsters. Anti Semitism is rising again in many places. And the word Jew—as the physical entity-- itself is an expletive to be deleted as a solution and balm to many shriveled souls. As it has been almost since time immemorial. But despite this the Jewish state has endured and prospered. Perhaps soon the neighboring climate will adjust finally to the reality of the Jewish presence. They will not be driven into the sea. Transcendant events may seemingly have to be involved, or the warp of history may somehow change the material calculus in Israels favor. And, also, there is always the atom bomb. Saddam Hussein did not have it, Iran is fervently trying to acquire it, and Israel no doubt has it.