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Israel should not keep its history behind lock and key

By Jonathan Cook | The National | August 17, 2010

History may be written by the victors, as Winston Churchill is said to have observed, but the opening up of archives can threaten a nation every bit as much as the unearthing of mass graves.

That danger explains a decision quietly taken last month by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to extend by an additional 20 years the country’s 50-year rule for the release of sensitive documents.

The new 70-year disclosure rule is the government’s response to Israeli journalists who have been seeking through Israel’s courts to gain access to documents that should already be declassified, especially those concerning the 1948 war, which established Israel, and the 1956 Suez crisis.

The state’s chief archivist says many of the documents “are not fit for public viewing” and raise doubts about Israel’s “adherence to international law”, while the government warns that greater transparency will “damage foreign relations”.

Quite what such phrases mean was illustrated by the findings of a recent investigation by an Israeli newspaper. Haaretz revisited the Six Day War of 1967, in which Israel seized not only the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, but also a significant corner of Syria known as the Golan Heights, which Israel still refuses to relinquish.

The consensus in Israel is that the country’s right to hold on to the Golan is even stronger than its right to the West Bank. According to polls, an overwhelming majority of Israelis refuse to concede their little bit of annexed Syria, even if doing so would secure peace with Damascus.

This intransigence is not surprising. For decades, Israelis have been taught a grand narrative in which, having repelled an attack by Syrian forces, Israel then magnanimously allowed the civilian population of the Golan to live under its rule. That, say Israelis, is why the inhabitants of four Druze villages are still present there. The rest chose to leave on the instructions of Damascus.

One influential journalist writing at the time even insinuated anti-Semitism on the part of the civilians who departed: “Everyone fled, to the last man, before the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] arrived, out of fear of the ‘savage conqueror’ … Fools, why did they have to flee?”

However, a very different picture emerges from Haaretz’s interviews with the participants. These insiders say that all but 6,000 of the Golan’s 130,000 civilians were either terrorised or physically forced out, some of them long after the fighting finished. An army document reveals a plan to clear the area of the Syrian population, with only the exception of the Golan Druze, so as not to upset relations with the loyal Druze community inside Israel.

The army’s post-war tasks included flushing out thousands of farmers hiding in caves and woods to send them over the new border. Homes were looted before the army set about destroying all traces of 200 villages so that there would be nowhere left for the former inhabitants to return to. The first Jewish settlers sent to till the fields recalled seeing the dispossessed owners watching from afar.

The Haaretz investigation offers an account of methodical and wholesale ethnic cleansing that sits uncomfortably not only with the traditional Israeli story of 1967 but with the Israeli public’s idea that their army is the “most moral in the world”. That may explain why several prominent, though unnamed, Israeli historians admitted to Haaretz that they had learnt of this “alternative narrative” but did nothing to investigate or publicise it.

What is so intriguing about the newspaper’s version of the Golan’s capture is the degree to which it echoes the revised accounts of the 1948 war that have been written by later generations of Israeli historians. Three decades ago – in a more complacent era – Israel made available less sensitive documents from that period.

The new material was explosive enough. It undermined Israel’s traditional narrative of 1948, in which the Palestinians were said to have left voluntarily on the orders of the Arab leaders and in the expectation that the combined Arab armies would snuff out the fledging Jewish state in a bloodbath.

Instead, the documents suggested that heavily armed Jewish forces had expelled and dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians before the Jewish state had even been declared and a single Arab soldier had entered Palestine.

One document in particular, Plan Dalet, demonstrated the army’s intention to expel the Palestinians from their homeland. Its existence explains the ethnic cleansing of more than 80 per cent of Palestinians in the war, followed by a military campaign to destroy hundreds of villages to ensure the refugees never returned.

Ethnic cleansing is the common theme of both these Israeli conquests. A deeper probe of the archives will almost certainly reveal in greater detail how and why these “cleansing” campaigns were carried out – which is precisely why Mr Netanyahu and others want the archives to remain locked.

But full disclosure of these myth-shattering documents may be the precondition for peace. Certainly, more of these revelations offer the best hope of shocking Israeli public opinion out of its self-righteous opposition to meaningful concessions, either to Syria or the Palestinians.

It is also a necessary first step in challenging Israel’s continuing attempts to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, as has occurred in the last few weeks against the Bedouin in both the Jordan Valley and the Negev, where villages are being razed and families forced to leave again.

Genuine peacemakers should be demanding that the doors to the archives be thrown open immediately. The motives of those who wish to keep them locked should be clear to all.

Jonathan Cook is The National’s correspondent in Nazareth. His latest book is Disappearing Palestine



August 17, 2010 - Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism

4 Comments

  1. No surprise here. I made a propasition on a different news site that if there is such a thing as a Good Jew then they should do something about zionism or face the consiquences of their silence. I recieved one reply stipulating that zionism had proved to be too powerful. That may be the case, however I have been told in the past that zionists are the minority. Maybe it’s the other way around. To some extent here again if there is such a thing as a good Jew maybe they should relinquish Israel to the zionists and let them suffer the condemnation.

    Comment by 76-water | August 17, 2010

  2. How Ironic, an older jew told me the story,How all the Arabs
    gather to attack the IsraeLIES in 1967.We should insist that
    they open those files, So that the narrow minded people can
    see fact from fiction.

    Comment by Peter | August 17, 2010

  3. You (Jews) belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for is a liar and the father of lies…. The reason you do not hear me is that you do not belong to God
    Jesus Christ, John, 8:44-47

    Our major vice of old, as of today, is parasitism.
    We are a people of vultures living on the labor and the good nature of the rest of the world. But, despite our faults, we would never have done so much damage to the world if it had not been for our genius for evil leadership. Granted our parasitism!
    Jewish writer Samuel Roth in his book, Jews Must Live, 1934

    We Jews have made the World War (WWI)!
    We, Jews, are nothing else than the world’s seducers,
    its incendiaries, its executioners! Our last revolution
    is not yet made! We, Jews, invented the
    myth of the “Chosen People.”
    Dr. Oscar Levy, prominent London Jew

    One cannot improve the character of the Jews by arguments. For them must be established special exclusive laws. Since the time of Moses the Jews were oppressors or usurers.
    All the talent of the Jews is concentrated on predatory acts.
    They have a creed which blesses their thievings and misdeeds.
    The jews out to be forbidden to make trade, as are forbidden the goldsmiths, who forge a lower kind of gold things, to continue their work. The Jews… are devouring France.
    Napoleon

    We need the Iceland solution, not a presidential election.

    Comment by Tom | October 28, 2015

  4. But they HAVE published their history:
    Jews were the FIRST “nazis” !!!
    The PALESTINIANS are the descendants of HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS.
    HOLOCAUST by the HEBREWS.
    The (Canaanites/Amorites/Philistines/Midianites) PALESTINIANS were in PALESTINE long before the (Hebrews/ Israelites/Jews) Israel was even thought of.
    These passages are the foundation of Israel’s “SELF written deed” to the land of Palestine.
    If they are not ALL true, then the entire book THEY WROTE, IS NOT TRUE.
    Why are land claims BASED ON GENOCIDE and WAR CRIME even considered?!

    Deuteronomy 7:16, 20:16 “And thou shalt consume all the peoples which the Lord thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them…thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.”

    KILL THE SICK and CRIPPLED
    Numbers c.5 v.2-4 (putting you “out of camp” in the desert is murder)
    KILL HOMOSEXUALS
    Leviticus c.20 v.13 well, really the whole chapter
    KILL ALL DISSIDENTS:
    Exodus c.32 v.27
    Numbers c.11 v.1-2
    Numbers c.16 all
    Numbers c.21 v.5-6
    Numbers v.26 v.10
    KILL anyone who engages in “DIVERSITY” or “INTEGRATION”
    Numbers v25 v.4-8
    Deuteronomy c.14 v.2
    DEHUMANIZE and then EXTERMINATE ALL NON-MEMBERS:
    Numbers c.21 v.03 Canaanites
    Numbers c.21 v.24 Amorites
    Numbers c.21 v.33-35 Bashan
    Numbers c.31 all Midianites
    Numbers c.32 v. more Amorites
    Deuteronomy c.2 v.34 People of Heshbon
    Deuteronomy c.3 v.6 really the whole chapter. threescore cities
    Joshua c.12 A list of victims of Israeli GENOCIDE
    Where are THEIR “holocaust” Memorials!
    OCCUPY YOUR VICTIM’S DWELLINGS/LAND
    Numbers c.21 v.25
    Numbers c.32 v.39
    Numbers c.33 v.53
    (just to name a FEW)
    GENOCIDE CODIFIED IN THEIR RELIGION
    Numbers c.33 v.31-34
    Deuteronomy c.7 v.2
    Deuteronomy c.12 v.28-30
    Deuteronomy c.20 v.11-16
    TERRORISM CODIFIED IN THEIR RELIGION
    Deuteronomy c.2 v.2
    Deuteronomy c.7 v.1
    LOOTING ART and WEALTH
    Exodus c.3 v.22
    Exodus c.11 v.2
    Exodus c.12 v.35-36
    Jews SELF-anointed “The CHOSEN People of GOD”
    Nazis SELF-anointed “The CHOSEN People of GENETICS”.
    TODAY Israel states that it is creating “A PURE Jewish State”
    YESTERDAY the Nazis were creating “A PURE German State”
    And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword . . . (Joshua 6:21)
    For modern day reinforcement of these “rules” research/google “the KINGS TORAH”

    Comment by Albert | October 28, 2015


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