Thursday, May 01, 2008


Yesterday, I referred to Peter Manning's recent rant in The Sydney Morning Herald where he claimed to rely on his distorted Palestinian Nakba narrative based on the writings of "a younger band of Israeli historians" including "Avi Shlaim, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev and others - who have argued that the period from December 1947 to May 1948 involved a series of massacres designed to terrorise the native population into abandoning their homes and fleeing to safety."

Today's Australian quotes a Benny Morris letter to The Irish Times, in which he sets the record straight:

"ISRAEL-HATERS are fond of citing my work in support of their arguments. Let me offer some corrections. In defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, (Palestinian Arabs) launched hostilities against the Jewish community in Palestine in the hope of aborting the emergence of the Jewish state and perhaps destroying that community. But they lost; and one of the results was the displacement of 700,000 of them from their homes.

"Most of Palestine's 700,000 "refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders).

"There was no Zionist 'plan' or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of 'ethnic cleansing'. Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948, was the master plan of the Haganah - the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces - to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state. And the invasion of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq duly occurred, on May 15.

"It is true that Plan D gave the regional commanders carte blanche to occupy and garrison or expel and destroy the Arab villages along and behind the front lines and the anticipated Arab armies' invasion routes. And it is also true that midway in the 1948 war the Israeli leaders decided to bar the return of the 'refugees' (those 'refugees' who had just assaulted the Jewish community), viewing them as a potential fifth column and threat to the Jewish state's existence.

"I for one cannot fault their fears or logic."

As for the use of Ilan Pappé by Manning as a reference, readers should be aware that he is a person who openly acknowledges that he is not objective and cares little about factual accuracy, readily admitting that ideology drives his historical writings and statements. At least Pappe openly admits this.

Although it is clear that there was no Zionist plan of evicting the Arab population, Manning disingenuously ignores the stated Arab plan to exterminate the Jews of the region by way of "a momentous massacre".

In the week leading up to the celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary, we can expect more of this nonsense dressed up as serious comment from the usual suspects. These people are present a danger to all those who seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians. They should be exposed at every opportunity.

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