Benny Morris’s untenable denial of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine

The Israeli historian Benny Morris has been very vocal of late in denying that Palestine was ethnically cleansed of Arabs in order for the “Jewish state” of Israel to be established. In a series of articles in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Morris has debated the question with several of his critics who contend that ethnic cleansing is precisely what occurred. Not so, argues Morris. So who’s right?

It’s worth noting at the outset that, while such a debate exists in the Israeli media, the US media remains, as ever, absolutely silent on the matter. Americans who get their information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only from the nightly news or papers like the New York Times and Washington Post would never even know that there is a discussion about it. Not only that, but they would have absolutely no familiarity at all with the idea that Palestine was ethnically cleansed of most of its Arab inhabitants in 1948. That this occurred (or even that this might have occurred) is entirely absent from the discussion; it is simply wiped from history altogether, in the narrative of the conflict propagated by the US media.

Even in those rare instances when the mainstream media outlets do refer to the expulsion and flight of Arabs from their villages, it is characterized as only as an unfortunate but unintended consequence of a war started by the neighboring Arab states to wipe the new state of Israel off the map—a narrative that is not merely over-simplified, but false.[1]

So was Palestine ethnically cleansed in 1948? The debate between Benny Morris and his interlocutors provides a unique occasion to clear up several myths and misconceptions about what actually happened during the 1948 war. An examination of the arguments Morris presents to deny its occurrence is highly instructive, and offers an opportunity to settle the matter once and for all—and, in doing so, to finally move the discussion about how to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians forward.

References

[1] Jeremy R. Hammond, Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Cross Village: Worldview Publications, 2016), 310–312, 316–319.

[2] Daniel Blatman, “Netanyahu, This Is What Ethnic Cleansing Really Looks Like,” Haaretz, October 3, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.745561.

[3] Benny Morris, “Israel Conducted No Ethnic Cleansing in 1948,” Haaretz, October 10, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.746676.

[4] Daniel Blatman, “Yes, Benny Morris, Israel Did Perpetrate Ethnic Cleansing in 1948,” Haaretz, October 14, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.747508.

[5] Steven Klein, “Does the ‘Father’ of the 1948 Ethnic Cleansing Narrative Really Want to Recant His Words?” Haaretz, October 19, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.748135.

[6] Ehud Ein-Gil, “Israel Did Do Ethnic Cleansing in 1948. My Father’s Words Prove It,” Haaretz, October 20, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.748220.

[7] Benny Morris, “‘Ethnic Cleansing’ and pro-Arab Propaganda,” Haaretz, October 23, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.748673.

[8] Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, 5 (see fn 26).

[9] Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), Kindle Edition, Locations 5726–5728.

[10] Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, 5.

[11] Ibid., 317.

[12] United Kingdom, Palestine Royal Commission Report (Peel Commission), July 1937, 389–391.

[13] Ibid., 248.

[14] Morris, 1948, 5717–5718.

[15] Ibid., 299–300.

[16] Ibid., 302–303.

[17] Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, 317.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Morris, 1948, 781–788.

[20] Ibid., 1127–1136.

[21] Ibid., 1547–1552.

[22] Ibid., 1556–1559.

[23] Ibid., 1559–1565.

[24] Ibid., 5591.

[25] Ibid., 313–315.

[26] United Kingdom, Disturbances in May, 1921 (Haycraft Commission), October, 1921, 54.

[27] Ibid., 57.

[28] Ibid., 150.

[29] Morris, 1948, 223–225, 251–253.

[30] Ibid., 256–257.

[31] Ibid., 5496–5499. The bracketed insertions are Morris’s.

[32] Ibid., 5500–5503.

[33] Jeremy R. Hammond, The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Raleigh: Lulu Press, 2009), 8.

[34] Peel Commission, 23.

[35] Peel Commission, 24.

[36] Peel Commission, 24.

[37] Peel Commission, 51.

[38] Peel Commission, 42.

[39] Peel Commission, 25.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Hammond, The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination, 14.

[42] Peel Commission, 29.

[43] Ibid., 28.

[44]http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp

[45] United Kingdom, Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development (Hope Simpson Report), October 1930, https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/E3ED8720F8707C9385256D19004F057C.

[46] Ibid., 55.

[47] Haycraft Commission, 55.

[48] Hope Simpson Report.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Hammond, The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination, 6–7.

[51] United Kingdom, Report of the Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August, 1929 (Shaw Commission), 119–120.

[52] United Kingdom and United States, Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry regarding the problems of European Jewry and Palestine (Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry), April 20, 1946, 30.

[53] Shaw Commission, 114.

[54] Ibid., 117–118.

[55] Ibid., 118–119.

[56] Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, 3–4. Morris notes that “the Jews had been given the best agricultural lands (the Coastal Plain and Jezreel and Jordan Valleys)” under UNSCOP’s plan. See Morris, 1948, 959–960.

[57] Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, 5.

[58] Morris, 1948, 1152–1153.

[59] Ibid., 1476–1477, 1508–1509, 1512–1513.

[60] Ibid., 1472–1473.

[61] Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006), Kindle Edition, Locations 1382–1387.

[62] Ibid., 1413–1418.

[63] Morris, 1948, 1515–1517.

[64] Pappé, 1429–1440.

[65] Morris, 1948, 1763.

[66] Walid Khalidi, “Plan Dalet: Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1, Special Issue: Palestine 1948, (Autumn, 1988); Appendix B, “Text of Plan Dalet (Plan D), 10 March 1948: General Section,” 29.

[67] Morris, 1948, 1783–1785, 1793–1794.

[68] Pappé, 1913–1916.

[69] Ibid., 220–221.

[70] Ibid., 1964–1970.

[71] Morris, 1948, 1408–1410, 1418–1423.

[72] Ibid., 1504–1508, 1533–1536

[73] Pappé, 1449–1450.

[74] Ibid., 1607–1609.

[75] Morris, 1948, 1534–1536.

[76] Ibid., 1539–1545.

[77] Ibid., 1797–1798.

[78] Ibid., 2055.

[79] Ibid., 2059–2064.

[80] Ibid., 2089–2092, 2096–2100.

[81] Ibid., 2100–2103.

[82] Ibid., 2111–2120.

[83] Ibid., 2126–2141, 2147–2151.

[84] Ibid., 1437–1438.

[85] Pappé, 1606–1623.

[86] Ibid., 1624–1639.

[87] Morris, 1948, 1852–1853.

[88] Ibid., 1960–1961.

[89] Ibid., 1964–1965.

[90] Ibid., 1962–1963.

[91] Ibid., 2265–2269.

[92] Ibid., 2291–2294.

[93] Ibid., 2297–2312.

[94] Ibid., 2314–2322.

[95] Ibid., 2322–2323.

[96] Ari Shavit, “Survival of the Fittest,” Interview with Benny Morris, Haaretz, January 8, 2004, http://www.haaretz.com/survival-of-the-fittest-1.61345 (part 1), http://www.haaretz.com/survival-of-the-fittest-cont-1.61341 (part 2).

[97] Morris, 1948, 1496–1497.

[98] Ibid., 1497–1500.

[99] Andrew Bell-Fialkoff, “A Brief History of Ethnic Cleansing,” Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1993-06-01/brief-history-ethnic-cleansing.

[100] US Department of State, Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: An Accounting, December 1999, http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/kosovoii/homepage.html.

[101] International Court of Justice, “Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro)”, Judgment of 26 February 2007, 83, http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/91/13685.pdf.

[102] Pappé, 405–406.


2017-11-14
About the author:

Jeremy R. Hammond is an award-winning independent political analyst and editor and publisher of Foreign Policy Journal. Described by Barron’s as “a writer of rare skill”, he is the author of Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2016), Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman: Austrian vs. Keynesian Economics in the Financial Crisis (2012), and The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict (2009). Find him on the web at JeremyRHammond.com.

Source: Foreign Policy Journal

2017-11-Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save 

RELATED POSTS
The Jewish Role In The Bolshevik Revolution And Russia’s Early Soviet Regime
In the night of July 16-17, 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police murdered Russia's last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their 14-year-old son, Tsarevich Alexis, and their four daughters. They were cut down in a hail of gunfire in a half-cellar room of the house in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountain region, where they were being held prisoner. The daughters were finished off with bayonets. To prevent a cult for the dead Tsar, the bodies were carted away to the countryside and hastily buried in a secret grave. Bolshevik authorities at first reported ...
READ MORE
Remember The Golan Heights?
During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee. Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads. At the same time, Israel was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase. Believing Israel was about to use nuclear weapons against Syria and Egypt, Moscow put huge pressure on both ...
READ MORE
Loss of land in Palestine under Israeli occupation
Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, Ph.D. in Constitutional and International Law, Associate Professor of Law of Birzeit University, West Bank, speaks of ways to consolidate the Palestine State, and definitely end Israeli crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories. Edu Montesanti: Dear Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, thank you so very much for granting this interview. How do you evaluate the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I’m looking at two-State and one-state” formulations, President Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with ...
READ MORE
Netanyahu Victory Lays Bare Israel As Racist, Colonial State
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is elating after his right-wing Likud Party secured a firm victory in the Israeli elections on March 17. It was a very close race against the Zionist Union Party, led by Isaac Herzog. Our next guest, Shir Hever, in an interview he did with us last month, predicted that Prime Minister Netanyahu would win in spite of many strikes against him at the time. So, defying election polls leading up to the election, Prime Minister Netanyahu has ...
READ MORE
The Harvesting Of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?
With the recent failed bid by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League at the UN security council, to try and end Israelis’ occupation of Palestinian land and to create a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, it seems an appropriate moment to review the situation for Palestinians since 1915. What is the background to the demonization and brutalization of Palestinians? Most of all, why is the international community was assisting properly and why has it not assisted the Palestinians in protecting or restoring their inalienable rights over decades? Why is their situation so brutally upside-down almost a century after ...
READ MORE
U.S. conceals thousands of airstrikes in Middle East
On February 5, Military Times published a report stating that Washington has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The investigation reveals that in Afghanistan in 2016 alone, the U.S. air force carried out at least 456 bombings. The open-source report published by the Air Force Command doesn’t include these figures. According to the Military Times, the information was obtained from “Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups” and it shows that much of what the Pentagon has disclosed may be misleading or simply ...
READ MORE
Zionism Is Racism
Hardly any knowledgeable person doubts that Zionist ideology is the purest form of racism. Zionism is Jewish disguised racism as a raison d’etat. Israel comes right after the U. S., as far as racism is concerned. That is why the U. S. donates to this racist regime $ 3.8 bn per year in order to keep this occupation regime going. Should anybody doubt the racism of the Israeli leadership, read the following article.[1] Racism among the Israeli leadership is legendary. It started out with the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, saying: “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it ...
READ MORE
Nazism In Israel
Israel treats Arabs the way Nazis treated Jews – a racist, fascist, white Jewish supremacist (the chosen people nonsense), Arab-hating society systematically ghettoizing and terrorizing people for praying to the wrong God. Palestinians are treated like subhumans, enduring virtually every type indignity and mistreatment under brutalizing militarized rule, civil justice denied. Institutionalized racism worse than South African apartheid denies them fundamental human and civil rights. De-Arabization is official Israeli policy. Occupation harshness facilitates slow-motion genocide. Millions suffer horrifically. Anyone resisting tyranny is eliminated – brutalized, imprisoned or murdered. Muhammad Allan is a Palestinian political prisoner – rearrested at Barzilai hospital before his release to ...
READ MORE
Syrian rebels get arms from Kosovo and Bosnia
The DEBKA website, close to Israeli military intelligence, knows well all the behind the curtain details of regional politics. A few days ago it reported about basically new turns of the way the events unfold in Syria. According to it, the Syrian extremists received a load of heavy weapons for the first time since the war started. The senders are the groups from Kosovo and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina linked to Al Qaeda. The package includes Kornet and Fagot anti-tank systems delivered by the Soviet Union to former Yugoslavia in the past. The weapons ended up in the ...
READ MORE
Back To The 1930s: Hitler, Da’esh And The West
Whilst Da’esh are constantly being compared to the Nazis, the real parallel – the West’s willingness to build up fascism in order to cripple Russia – is often forgotten. The recent debate in the British House of Commons on bombing Syria saw the comparisons coming thick and fast. “Daesh are the fascists of our time”, said Labour MP Dan Jarvis; “this is the fascist war of our generation” opined Sarah Wollaston; whilst Hillary Benn rounded off the debate by explaining that “we are faced by fascists” and “what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated”. The parallels are ...
READ MORE
Golan Heights And The Greater Israel Project
After the first ever cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights, Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech on April 17, 2016 that the territory “will remain under Israel’s sovereignty permanently.” This elicited admonitions from some of Israel’s greatest allies, the United States and Germany, and renewed attention on the issue. The Golan Heights were opportunistically occupied by Israel after its victory in the 1967 six-day-war. A United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has monitored the region since 1974, when Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement, and it has been considered an occupied territory of the UN and the ...
READ MORE
Zionist Israel Hides Its Crimes Behind Its Smears Of Truth-Tellers
Several years ago two very distinguished American scholars wrote a book, The Israel Lobby. The book made a very understated case that the Israel Lobby has far more power over the US government and media than is good for America or Israel, as it silences constructive critics who are Israel’s friends. The two scholars were demonized by the Israel Lobby as advocating the return of the Holocaust. The Israel Lobby presented itself as just a poor little weak thing unable to stand up to all the Nazis assailing Israel. Meanwhile the US Congress was unanimously passing outrageous resolutions handed to it by ...
READ MORE
Roots of Terror
I was sickened to hear and watch the events occurring in France. Part of that was for the immediate families, friends and neighbors of those so needlessly killed. Another part was the fear factor, not fear of terror or for myself but fear for how the powers that be would ratchet up the security control within their own societies by using their own biased racist fear factors in order to rationalize it to control their own populations. A wider perspective is the sick feeling of realizing that humanity in general is capable of producing such atrocities. The latter is where a ...
READ MORE
Historical & Other Maps
Administrative division of the Roman Empire about 395 A.D. Europe in the early Middle Ages: The Carolingian Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Arab Caliphate and the Slavs Europe in 526: The Germanic kingdoms and the Byzantine Empire Ethnographic map of Europe about 900 Europe, North Africa and the Near East at the time of the First Crusade The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania after the Kreve Union (1385) A time after the First Crusade German Central Europe about 1500 Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13-15th centuries The Balkans from 1815 to 1859: Political division between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy The Balkans in ...
READ MORE
Israel: An Innocent Victim Of Arab Imperialism?
For over 65 years, since the establishment of the State of Israel at the behest of the then American Zionist lobby, its successor has ensured that billions of US dollars in aid, grants, loans, guarantees, tax exemptions and ‘deals’ are funnelled to the Israeli Treasury Secretary in order to give the satellite state an unprecedented economic and military advantage over any other country in the Middle East or Europe. All paid for by an unwitting American tax payer. The total amount is sufficiently mind­-boggling that it is impossible to quantify. The current monies and ‘aid’ that flow openly from the US ...
READ MORE
Terrorist al-Nusra Front is blamed for massacre and abduction of Syrian civilians.
As explosions from detonated mines continued in the background a Syrian general confirmed in some detail an ugly truth: Washington and its close allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel backed the ISIS takeover and destruction of Palmyra. Most of the weapons ISIS used were from the US , with some ammunition from Israel . ISIS had US Hummers, spinning explosive projectiles and military rations from the US , Turkey and Saudi Arabia . That should not have been a surprise. US officials admitted in 2014 that their allies Turkey , the Saudis and Qatar were backing every single armed group in ...
READ MORE
Clinton: Destroy Syria for Israel
A newly-released Hilary Clinton email confirmed that the Obama administration has deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as the “best way to help Israel.” In an indication of her murderous and psychopathic nature, Clinton also wrote that it was the “right thing” to personally threaten Bashar Assad’s family with death. In the email, released by Wikileaks, then Secretary of State Clinton says that the “best way to help Israel” is to “use force” in Syria to overthrow the government. The document was one of many unclassified by the US Department of State under case number F-2014-20439, Doc No. C05794498, following the uproar ...
READ MORE
Study “Palestine, Israel And The Arab-Israeli Conflict. A Premier”, 2014
Study: Joel Beinin & Lisa Hajjar, "Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. A Premier", Published by the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP), February 2014, pp. 16
READ MORE
Ten Facts Everyone Needs To Know About Israel
1. Out of the 14.2 million Jewish people in the world, (in 2016), only a minority of 43% reside in Israel. 2. Whilst 75% of Israelis are Jewish, 21% are indigenous Arabs with restricted civil rights. 3. Israel has the highest birth rate in the developed world, with an average of 3 children per woman. 4. The Netanyahu government now receives more than US$6 billion every year from the US congress/ AIPAC lobby i.e. equating to $1000 annually for every Jewish Israeli, courtesy of the American taxpayer. 5. Israel has induced over 500,000 of its citizens to illegally settle in the Occupied Palestinian West ...
READ MORE
The emergence of “Balkan Jihad” and its progress in the region
Two Kosovo Albanian Muslim muhajedeens (with the passports of Republic of Kosovo) as members of ISIL in Syria in 2015 (Official ISIL’s video material) After the 9/11, a worldwide “War on terror” begun in order to disband and neutralize Islamic terrorist networks across the globe. The main focus of the largest anti-terrorist campaign in history is focused in the Middle East area, as well as in Afghanistan. The Balkan Peninsula is the European area where this campaign has also taken place, with numerous arrests and a continuous effort into riding the fundamentalist out of the area. The question arising though, is how ...
READ MORE
The Jewish Role In The Bolshevik Revolution And Russia’s Early Soviet Regime
Remember The Golan Heights?
Palestine: There’s no conflict, there’s an illegal occupation
Netanyahu Victory Lays Bare Israel As Racist, Colonial State
The Harvesting Of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?
U.S. conceals thousands of airstrikes in Middle East
Zionism Is Racism
Nazism In Israel
Syrian rebels get arms from Kosovo and Bosnia
Back To The 1930s: Hitler, Da’esh And The West
Golan Heights And The Greater Israel Project
Zionist Israel Hides Its Crimes Behind Its Smears Of Truth-Tellers
Roots of Terror
Historical & Other Maps
Israel: An Innocent Victim Of Arab Imperialism?
How The US Backed The ISIS Takeover And Destruction Of Palmyra
Clinton: Destroy Syria for Israel
Study “Palestine, Israel And The Arab-Israeli Conflict. A Premier”, 2014
Ten Facts Everyone Needs To Know About Israel
The emergence of “Balkan Jihad” and its progress in the region

Share

Subscribe, Share & Follow