‘Previously Unknown Massacres’: Why Is Israel Allowed to Own Palestinian History?

Toward Freedom

Palestinian refugees in 1948 / credit: hanini.org

Haaretz’s investigative report—‘Classified Docs Reveal Massacres of Palestinians in ’48—and What Israeli Leaders Knew’—is a must-read. It should be particularly read by any person who considers himself a ‘Zionist’ and also by people who, for whatever reason, support Israel, anywhere in the world.

“In the village of Al-Dawayima (…), troops of the 8th Brigade massacred about 100 people,” Haaretz reported, though the number of the Palestinian victims later grew to 120. One of the soldiers who witnessed that horrific event testified before a government committee in November 1948: “There was no battle and no resistance. The first conquerors killed 80 to 100 Arab men, women and children. The children were killed by smashing their skulls with sticks. There wasn’t a house without people killed in it.”

The Haaretz report of nearly 5,000 words was filled with such painful details, stories of Palestinian elders who could not flee the Zionist invasion and ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine (1947-48), who were lined up against various walls and massacred; of an older woman being shot point-blank with four bullets; of other elders who were crammed inside a home and shelled by a tank and hand grenades; of many Palestinian women raped, and other devastating stories.

Quite often, historians refer to the way that Palestine was ethnically cleansed from its native inhabitants by making this typical assertion regarding Palestinian refugees: “… those who fled or were expelled from their homes.” The reference to the word “fled” has been exploited by supporters of Israel, by making the claim that Palestinians left Palestine on their own accord.

It was also Haaretz that, in May 2013, reported on how Israel’s founding father and first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, had fabricated that very history to protect Israel’s image. Document number GL-18/17028, which was found in the Israeli military archive, demonstrated how the story of the fleeing Palestinians—supposedly at the behest of Arab governments—was invented by the Israelis themselves.

Sadly, as Haaretz’s latest revelations prove, Palestinians who chose to stay, due to their disability, age or illness were not spared, and were massacred in the most horrifying way imaginable.

But something else struck me about the report: the constant emphasis by delusional Israeli leaders, then, that those who carried out the numerous grisly murders were but a few and that they hardly represent the conduct of an entire army. Note that the ‘army’ in reference here are Zionist militias, some of whom operated under the title of ‘gang’.

Moreover, much emphasis was attached to the concept of ‘morality’, for example, “Israel’s moral foundations” which, according to those early ‘ethical Zionists’, were jeopardized by the misconduct of a few soldiers.

“In my opinion, all our moral foundations have been undermined and we need to look for ways to curb these instincts,” Haim-Mosh Shapira, then-Minister of Immigration and Health, was reported by Haaretz as saying during a meeting of the government committee.

Shapira, who represented the voice of reason and ethics in Israel at the time, was not contending with Israel’s right to be established on the ruins of colonized—and eventually destroyed —Palestine. He was not questioning the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians or the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands during the Nakba, either. Instead, he was referencing and protesting the excesses of violence which followed the Nakba, now that the future of Israel and the destruction of Palestine were assured.

This branch of ‘humanistic’ Zionism, that of selective and self-serving morality, continues to exist to this day. As odd as this may seem, the editorial line of Haaretz itself is the perfect manifestation of this supposed Zionist dichotomy.

Needless to say, very few Israelis, if any, have been held accountable for the crimes of the past. 73 years later, Palestinian victims continue to cry out for a justice that continues to be deferred.

One might find this conclusion a bit harsh. Zionist or not, one may protest that, at least, Haaretz has exposed these massacres and the culpability of the Israeli leadership. Such assumptions, however, are highly misleading.

Generation after generation of Palestinians, along with many Palestinian historians—and even some Israelis—have already known of most of these massacres. In its report, for example, Haaretz refers to “previously unknown massacres”, which include Reineh, Meron (Mirun) and Al-Burj. The assumption here is that these massacres were ‘unknown’—read unacknowledged by the Israelis themselves. Since Haaretz’s editorial line is driven by Israel’s own misconstrued historical narrative, the killings and destruction of these villages simply never happened—until an Israeli researcher acknowledged their existence.

Walid Khalidi, one of Palestine’s most authoritative historians, has been aware, along with many others, of these massacres for decades. In his seminal book, ‘All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948’, Khalidi speaks of Al-Burj, of which the only claim to existence is now “one crumbled house (…) on the hilltop.”

In reference to Meron (Mirun), the Palestinian historian  discusses what remains of the village in detail and precision: “While the Arab section of the village was demolished, several rooms and stone walls still stand. One of the walls has a rectangular door-like opening and another has an arched entrance”.

This is not the first time when an Israeli admission of guilt, though always conditional, has been considered the very validation of Palestinian victimization. In other words, every Palestinian claim of Israeli misconduct, though it may be verified or even filmed on camera, remains in question until an Israeli newspaper, politician or historian acknowledges its validity.

Our insistence on the centrality of the Palestinian narrative becomes more urgent than ever, because marginalizing Palestinian history is a form of denial of that history altogether—the denial of the bloody past and the equally violent present. From a Palestinian point of view, the fate of Al-Burj is no different than that of Jenin; Mirun is no different than that of Beit Hanoun and Deir Yassin is no different than that of Rafah—in fact, the whole of Gaza.

Reclaiming history is not an intellectual exercise; it is a necessity, yes, with intellectual and ethical repercussions, but political and legal, as well. Surely, Palestinians do not need to re-write their own history. It is already written. It is time that those who have paid far more attention to the Israeli narrative abandon such illusions and, for once, listen to Palestinian voices, because the truth of the victim is a wholly different story than that of the aggressor.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His forthcoming book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is ramzybaroud.net.

As Israel designates Palestinian human rights organisations ‘terrorist’, where is the international community?

gal-dem

Two Palestinian human rights workers speak out against Israel’s branding of their workplace as a “terrorist” organisation.

Img. Khadija Said

In late October, Israel designated six leading Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations as “terrorist” organisations – including our workplace. We are two Palestinian women who work for Addameer, a non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. This latest escalation in Israel’s use of its military and legislative powers to maintain control over Palestinians suppresses any form of dissent and severs our right to self-determination.

Two weeks later, the Israeli military

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Nakba Survivors Speak

Newsletter from PSC Soton

See newsletter from PSC Soton

Dear PSC Soton Subscriber

I hope you are keeping safe and well. And thank you for your concern over the plight of the Palestinians.

Just a bit about us. Palestine Solidarity Southampton campaigns for Justice for Palestine. We are part of the bigger national Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Everyone of all ethnicities and of all faiths or none is welcome to join us. We are not part of any political party.

As well as raising awareness of the horror of apartheid legislation and ongoing ethnic cleansing that the people of Palestinian are subject to, and have been for over 70 years, we raise funding to campaign against businesses that profit from oppression, against the government who facilitate the sale of arms to Israel, and against institutions like pension funds who invest in companies aiding and abetting Israel’s human rights abuses.

However, the cause of these problems, the illegal occuption of parts of Palestine by Israel, the ongoing enforced ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their homes and farms where they and their familes have lived for generations, and the apartheid legislation that denies them equal rights, these injustices all continue.

And so, we still need to support the people of Palestine.

Thank you for your support Andy on behalf of PSC Southampton

PSC SOTON SPONSORED WALK Brockenhurst to Lymington Sunday 20th June 2021 11.00am

If you would like to support Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the National and local Palestine Solidarity Compaign, we are organising our annual fundraising sponsored walk on Sunday 20th June. You can join us or just sponsor us, whatever is best for you.

Leaving from Brockenhurst Station (south side) at 11.00am, it goes through the woodland and meadow path and minor roads to Lymington, a route of 5 – 6 miles, taking in the two historic churches of Brockenhurst and Boldre. We will also meet at Southampton train station first as well at 10.15am so if you would like to come you could join us there if you like.

Please bring a packed lunch, drink and sensible footwear for possible mud near Brockenhurst. We walk whatever the weather so rainwear may be appropriate. We carry the flag of Palestine.

Red and Black Telly roundup.










The Gaza Centre for Human Rights has been targeted and destroyed by Israel

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

Palestine Solidarity Network media release, 18 May 2021

The offices of the Gaza Centre for Human Rights have been targeted and destroyed by a missile from an Israeli fighter jet.

New Zealander Julie Webb-Pullman has been working for the Centre for several years as an international expert on gathering evidence of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza. (Julie is currently waiting to return to Gaza after being delayed in New Zealand through Covid 19)

So far the Centre, under Julie’s guidance, has sent over 2000 claims of war crimes relating to Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014 and its targeting the Great March of Return protests in March 2018.

Earlier this year the International Criminal Court made the formal announcement that they are opening an investigation into allegations of grave Israeli breaches of International Humanitarian Law. Israel is furious and has tried to stop the investigation.

Now Israel has seized the opportunity to hit back with missiles from a Israeli fighter jet.

The Centre is making an appeal for funds to get back up and running and PSNA is co-ordinating fundraising here.

People can donate to:

Account name: PALESTINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK

Account number: 38-9015-0849542-02 (Please put GCHR in the reference)

This is a message from Julie describing the photo and the damage.

I would really appreciate it if you could also appeal for funds for Gaza Centre for Human Rights – our offices were directly targeted and destroyed a few days ago. We need to replace printers, photocopiers, furniture etc.

Our electronic backup files are safe, but all of the original documents have been destroyed.

Attached (above) is a picture of the destruction – our offices were on the third floor, the translators’ office is the one with the blue wall, my office is at the front. Was.

Like almost every building in Gaza, it is a mixed residential and office tower.

We expect the New Zealand media will report on this and the government will condemn outright this bombing of a human rights organisation.

John Minto

National Chair, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

johnminto@orcon.net.nz

Newsletter from PSC Soton

See newsletter from PSC Soton

Dear PSC Soton Subscriber

I hope you are keeping safe and well.   I am just emailing you, on behalf of the local group, as a very valued member of PSC Soton mailing list.  I am attempting to follow in Cathryn’s heroic footsteps as the new secretary of the Soton branch so she can concentrate more on activities which she does so well.

This new mailing list format is one that is also used and approved by the National PSC Campaign.  And we also have a brand new twitter account you can follow us at called, unsurprisingly enough, @PscSouthampton

Anyway, here is some info about some forthcoming online events, etc, you might find of interest.  We very much look forward to meeting people in person again once it is safe to do so.

Best wishes

Andy

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All

It has been a difficult year for campaigning and we have not been out on the streets as often as we would have liked. But on 12th December Southampton PSC will be out in Southampton in Solidarity with Palestine.  Please come and join us outside West Quay from 11am until 1pm. Tell the UK Government to Sanction Israel and to end trade with illegal settlements.

Stop Annexation. End Apartheid. Sanctions Now.

We will have placards, flags and a petition for people to sign. We will not be handing out leaflets. It would be helpful if you could email me if you plan to join us.

I hope you are staying safe and well.
Warm regards
Cathryn Spiller (Secretary Southampton PSC.)

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Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton – protest tomorrow.

Dear All

I hope you are well and not wilting in the heat. Thank you to everyone who supported Glyn, Jon and Sally on their Big Ride for Palestine. They raised £300 for the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the money will be targeted for children’s Play equipment in Gaza.

Stop Arming Israel Campaign -HSBC Bank Town Centre- 22nd August

Southampton PSC will be Campaigning outside HSBC Bank in the town centre, Above Bar Street on 22nd August from 10.30 am -12.30. Please come and add your voice. We will be asking people to sign a petition asking the UK Government to place a two way arms embargo on Israel.

According to the Campaign against the Arms Trade, between 2014-2018 the UK provided export licenses for the export of military equipment to Israel worth £364 million.

HSBC bank invests in and provides financial services to, companies such as BAE Systems and Raytheon that provide arms to Israel.HSBC also invests in Caterpillar, a company that provides armed bulldozers that Israel uses to destroy Palestinian homes.

Please come and get involved in this campaign.

We will have flags and placards. We will be respecting social distancing guidelines and we advise that you wear a face covering.

We look forward to seeing you.

Warm Regards Cathryn Spiller (Secretary Southampton PSC)

Remember to follow us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/southamptonpsc

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch

Dear All
One of our long standing Members/Group Officers, Jon Ellis, whom many of you will know, is entering the Big Ride for Palestine this year.Below is a message from him.
To sponsor Jon: Please make a payment to Acc:08269513 Sort:08/90/26

For Mr J D Ellis and Reference it Gaza. It will be sent to the Middle East Children’s Alliance.

Dear Friend of Palestine,

This year numerous small and local Rides for Palestine will be taking place around Britain during the week ending Sunday 2 August. The annual Big Ride covering 100 – 200 miles with hundreds of participants is not possible due to Covid 19 restrictions. Local rides will have a maximum of 6 riders in a group.

On Saturday 1 August I am leading a Hampshire / Dorset Ride from Lymington Quay to Poole Quay and back again, a round trip distance of about 44 miles.

44 miles is significant. It is the length of the militarized fence which imprisons the Palestinian people of Gaza, the site of hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of wounded.

Please join me for the Ride on 1 August if you are free and if you can cycle the distance. If planning to ride please seek sponsorship. If unable to ride with me please consider sponsoring me to complete the ride.

The route is substantially flat, including the Bournemouth and Poole seafronts, with small hills in Bournemouth itself and between Highcliff and Lymington. The weather forecast is good. There will be a ONE HOUR stop for lunch on Poole Quay, with short stops in Christchurch and Bournemouth for publicity.

The Ride will depart from Lymington Quay outside the Ship Inn at 10am, reaching Bournemouth pier at about 11.30am and Poole Quay at about 12.30pm.  We aim to return to Lymington by 4pm. The ride moves at the speed of the slowest, and goes whatever the weather. We ride with the Flag of Palestine.

The Ride will be measured and recorded on the sports website STRAVA.

You can reach Lymington by train with a bike via Brockenhurst  – half hourly service, bikes free.

Contact to ride or sponsor : Jon Ellis,   Mob.07775982908

lymfriendsofpalestine@gmail.com

For info about the national Big Ride for Palestine event go to :

https://www.thebigride4palestine.com/

Southampton Palestine Solidarity will be in Southampton outside West Quay on 22nd August from 10.30am to 12.30. Tell HSBC and the UK Government to STOP ARMING ISRAEL. Come and join us. More details will follow in a further email in about 10 days time.

Best wishes
Cathryn M Spiller (Secretary Southampton PSC)