Renaming the 1948 War against Palestine: Partition, Dispossession, and Fragmentation

Share

Hits: 991

Controlling the Discourse

Israel has been brilliant over the years in shaping and misdirecting the public discourse on the future of Palestine. Among its earliest achievement along these lines was the crucial propaganda victory by having the 1948 War known internationally as the ‘War of Independence.’ Such a designation erases the Palestinians from political consciousness, and distorts the deeper human and political consequences of the war. Language matters, especially in vital circumstances where there are winners and losers, a reality that applies above all to a war of displacement.

It took decades for the Palestinians to elevate their experience of the 1948 war to even the consciousness of those on an international level who supported the Palestinian national struggle for self-determination. Even now more than 50 years after the war, the ‘Nakba’ by which the 1948 war is known to Palestinians remains internationally obscure. The word signifies ‘catastrophe,’ which is associated principally with the dispossession of at least 700,000 non-Jewish residents of Palestine, what became the state of Israel after 1948, and subsequently, with the denial by Israel of any right of return for those Palestinians who abandoned their homes and villages out of fear or as a result of Israeli coercion. This double process of dispossession and erasure was reinforced powerfully by the bulldozing and utter destruction of 400-600 Palestinian villages in the new state of Israel.

Even those who have this revisionist awareness rarely convey a sense of the Nakba as a process, not just a calamitous event. For those Palestinians dispossessed of home, property, community, employment, and dignity, their life, that of their families, and that of subsequent generations has been generally ‘a living hell’ as a consequence of either enduring the misery and humiliation of long-term residence in refugee camps or experiencing the various vulnerabilities and rootlessness of involuntary and permanent exile. In other words, the tragedy of the Nakba began and did not end with the traumas of dispossession, but rather continued in the ordeals that followed, which must be considered as inseparable from the originating catastrophe.

The UN Partition Resolution

For many reflective Palestinians, the decades since 1948 have intensified the ordeal that followed from the struggle for control of territory and elemental rights that followed from GA Resolution 181 adopted by a vote of 33-13 (with ten abstentions, one absent), in November 29, 1947. The Israeli mastery of the public international discourse was expressed by dramatizing the Zionist acceptance (as represented by the Jewish Agency for Palestine) of the proposed partition of historic Palestine while the Palestinians, their Arab neighbors, as well as India and Pakistan, rejected it declaring above all that partition without the consent of the inhabitants of Palestine was a flagrant violation of the UN Charter promise of the right of self-determination, entailing peoples choosing their own political destiny.

This clash of attitudes was then interpreted in the West as demonstrating the reasonableness of the Zionist approach to the complexities associated with two contradictory claims of right regarding self-determination and territorial sovereignty. The Zionist/Israeli spin claimed a readiness to resolve the conflict by way of political compromise while contrasting and denigrating the Palestinian approach to the future of the country as exclusivist and rejectionist, even as genocidal, implying an alleged Arab resolve to throw Jews into the sea, a contention that naturally agitated an extremely sensitive post-Holocaust Western liberal political consciousness. A more objective rendering of the opposed viewpoints of the two sides supports a set of conclusions almost totally the opposite of what has been sold to the world by an Israeli narrative of the UN partition initiative and its aftermath that despite these contrary considerations remains dominant.

After an understandable initial Palestinian reflex to repel Jewish intruders intent on occupying and dividing their homeland of centuries, it has been the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who have been proposing a comprensive compromise and it is the Israelis who, by and large, subscribe to the view that the Jewish ‘promised land’ incorporates the West Bank and the unified city of Jerusalem, and any dilution of these goals would be a fundamental betrayal of the Zionist project to restore fully a mythic ‘biblical Israel’ in the form of a sovereign state. The more ideological Israelis, including Menachem Begin, (commander of the Zvai Leumi Irgun, 6th prime minister of Israel, 1977-83) were outspoken critics of partition in 1947, anticipating correctly that it would produce violence, and believing that Israel would only achieve its security and complete the Zionist Project by engaging in military operations with the object of territorial expansion. David Ben-Gurion, the master Zionist tactician and the first and foremost Israeli leader, shared Begin’s skepticism about partition, but favored it for pragmatic reasons as a step toward the fulfillment of the Zionist Project, but not the end of it. Partition was provisional, to be followed by seeking to complete the Zionist agenda, which is precisely what unfolded ever since 1947.

Partition was a familiar British colonial tactic that complemented their ‘divide and rule’ strategy of occupation was proposed for Palestine as early as 1937 in the report of the Peel Commission, but in view of the desire for Arab cooperation in World War II, the UK uncharacteristically backed away from their advocacy of partition for Palestine. In a later white paper the British declared partition to be ‘impractical’ as applied to Palestine, and somewhat surprisingly abstained from the vote on GA Res. 181.

Prolonging the Palestinian Ordeal

At least since the PLO decision in 1988 to accept Israel as a legitimate state and offer normalization of relations if Israel followed the prescriptive provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242, that is, withdrawing to the 1967 green line borders and agreeing on arrangements for an effective resolution of the refugee issue. The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 added regional inducements to the PLO offer of political compromise, and this too was met by Israeli silence and a lackluster response in the West. The Oslo diplomacy was a one-sided failure. It never produced proposals on the disputed issues in ways that contained any reasonable prospect of bringing the conflict to a sustainable end while allowing Israel valuable time to keep expanding their network of unlawful settlements, a form of creeping annexation that served, as well, to make the two-state mantra more and more of a cruel chimera, useful to pacify international public opinion that sought a sustainable peace for both peoples and an end to the conflict..

More objectively considered, these dual reactions to the partition solution can be deconstructed. The Zionist movement at every stage took what it could get, and then went about creating conditions on the ground and diplomatically for getting more, by expanding their political demands and expectations, or as sometimes observed, ‘shifting the goalposts.’ Reliance on such ‘salami tactics’ can be traced back at least as far as the Balfour Declaration when Zionists accepted the terminology of ’national home’ despite their aspirations from the outset to establish a Jewish state that disregarded Palestinian moral, legal, and political rights. Recent archival research has made it increasingly clear that the real Zionist goal all along was the imagined Israel of biblical tradition, ‘the promised land’ that deemed to encompass all of the city of Jerusalem, as well as the area known internationally as ‘the West Bank’ and in Israel as ‘Judea and Samaria.’

And with respect to the Palestinian response, initially ardently supported by the entire Arab world, as well as most countries with majority Muslim populations, rejection of the UN approach was based on the extent to which partition bisected Palestine without any process of consent by, or even consultation with, the majority resident population. It was an arrogant effort by the UN, then under Western control, to dictate a solution that was not sensitive to Palestinian concerns or in keeping with the spirit or letter of its own Charter. To treat Palestinian rejection of GA Res. 181 as indicative of anti-Semitism or even rejectionism is to accept an explanation of the disastrous legacy of partition that conforms to the Israeli narrative that misses the real dynamic at work that has kept the conflict alive all these decades. To this day Israel continues to create conditions that diminish Palestinian prospects while subtly depicting the Zionist Project as in reasonable pursuit of previously undisclosed ambitions with greater clarity.

This leads to the central question that also includes reasons why the Israelis did also not want partition, but felt correctly that its provisional and temporary acceptance was a way of gaining more political space both for maneuvering and for showing the world its reasonable face that included a commitment to peace. In contract, the Palestinians felt shut out and humiliated by the way the future of their society was treated by the UN and the West, and yet didn’t want to alienate the international community, especially Washington. This kind of attitude meant lending credence to the 1993 Oslo Framework of Principles, and acting as if the ‘peace process’ had something to do with ‘peace.’ This accommodationist mode of diplomacy practiced by the Palestinian Authority over the course of the last 25 years while Israel annexed and Judaized East Jerusalem and penetrated more and deeply into the West Bank created the impression in many circles, including Palestinian and others, that the Palestinian Authority was not nearly rejectionist enough, and either naively playing a losing hand or completely failing to understand the real Zionist game plan.

‘The Partition War’

To circle back to the contention that language is itself a site of struggle, it become desirable, even now, more than 70 years later, to call the 1948 War by a name that reveals more clearly its essential and flawed character, and this name is The Partition War. Only by such a linguistic move can we begin to understand the extent to which the international community, as embodied in the UN, was guilty of original sin with respect to the Palestinian people, and their natural rights, as well as their legal entitlements and reasonable political expectations. Endorsing the partition of Palestine was what I would describe as a ‘geopolitical crime.’


Originally published on 2018-03-24

About the author: Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Source: Global Justice in the 21st Century

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.

 
READ MORE!
The Human Rights Disaster in America
Antonio Zambrano-Montes, a 35-year-old Mexican national, was shot to death by police in Pasco, Washington last Tuesday as he was backing away from officers with his hands up. A video of the shooting clearly corroborates claims by Zambrano-Montes’s family that he was killed “execution-style.”Police claimed that Zambrano-Montes, who had lived in the city for ten years and worked as an orchard picker, may have been “armed with a rock” before he was shot multiple times. Protests erupted over the weekend, with more than a thousand demonstrating in Washington state on Saturday against the killing.The United States has invaded, bombed, and ...
READ MORE
The Criminal Roadmap Towards “Greater Israel”?
The concept of a “Greater Israel” according to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, is a Jewish State stretching “’From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.’Rabbi Fischmann, of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, stated to the UN Special Committee on 9th July 1947 that:The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon’”, wrote Michel Chossudovsky. (1)Thus “from the Nile to the Euphrates.” Herzl’s detailed thesis was written in 1904.Quoted in the same article is Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya on The Yinon Plan (1982) “ … a continuation of ...
READ MORE
Drama at the UN Security Council: Israel’s Illegal Settlements
“The United States has been sending a message that the settlements must stop privately and publicly for nearly five decades.”Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UNChristians following the Gregorian calendar are getting busy to celebrate Christmas, but the business of diplomacy continued in the United Nations.  In the Security Council, anticipation about a particular resolution was greater than usual.On Friday, interest was piqued by what the Obama administration’s representative, Samantha Power, would do about a particular resolution that had riled Israeli politicians, US president-elect Donald Trump, and various members of the US Congress.Resolution 2334, as worded, demanded that Israel “immediately ...
READ MORE
How to Combat Croatian Revisionists’ Culture of Lies
In early 1944, Mirjana Babunovic-Dimitrijevic, a 22-year-old middle-class woman living in Sarajevo, was arrested by the Ustasa police. After she was arrested along with her mother and aunt, they were all deported to the Jasenovac concentration camp, for refusing to convert to Catholicism. All three women died there in late 1944.These women were among more than 80,000 victims who perished at Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945. While we don’t know precisely how they died nor what happened during their short lives in the camp, two things are certain.First, their deaths were the direct result of deliberate political decisions. Second, they ...
READ MORE
The Kosovo War: “Humanitarian Intervention” or Undeclared War Against Yugoslavia?
The armed conflict between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Serbian forces started in 1992 with the KLA attacks on Serbian police officers, non-Albanians that lived in Kosovo and Albanians loyal to Serbia (Johnstone, 2002; Kozyris, 1999).  This low level conflict escalated in 1996 with the KLA attacking refugee camps as well as other civilians and policemen resulting in dozens of innocent deaths (Johnstone, 2002; Kozyris, 1999).  At this point of time and all up to late 1998, the KLA was regarded as a terrorist organisation (Gelbard, cited in Parenti, 2000:99; Jatras, 2002; Johnstone, 2002; Kepruner, 2003; Rubin, cited in ...
READ MORE
Ken Livingstone: Creation of Israel was a ‘Great Catastrophe’
In Arabic TV interview, Labour’s ex-London mayor blames Israel for IS attacks in Europe and mass expulsion of Jews from Arab world, again claims Hitler supported ZionismFormer London mayor Ken Livingstone on Wednesday called the creation of Israel “fundamentally wrong,” and “a great catastrophe.” The existence of the Jewish state in the Middle East, he said, could ultimately lead to nuclear war.“The creation of the state of Israel was fundamentally wrong, because there had been a Palestinian community there for 2,000 years,” Livingstone told an Arabic language TV station based in London, in a clip posted and translated by the ...
READ MORE
Kosovostan Albanian Monstrous Crimes
Serbian girl Jovana was only 11 years old when Albanian terrorists captured, beaten and detained her together with rest of the family. They were taken in a camp in the village of Klecka, Lipljan, along with her mother and grandmother. The camp was under direct rule and control of Fatmir Limaj (acquitted by the Hague cangaroo court) and Hashim Thaci. Hasim Taci used to visit the camp. One day little Jovana was taken by the Albanian KLA bandits, Luan and Bekim Mazrreku, who, before the eyes of her mother and grandmother raped the eleven years old girl. They tortured her, cutting her body ...
READ MORE
The Illyrians: Autochthonous Balkan People having Nothing Common with Modern Albanians
It is true that every story about the Balkan Peninsula begins with the ancient Illyrians.[1] Historians believe that these Indo-European people were one of the largest European populations to inhabit the western portion of the Balkans from the coasts of the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea to the Alps about 1000 B.C. Their eastern neighbours were also Indo-European peoples – the Thracians. The demarcation line between their settlements and their cultural and political influence was the Morava river in present-day Serbia (in Latin Margus, located in the Roman province of Moesia Superior) and the Vardar river in present-day FYR ...
READ MORE
The U.S. has Installed in 2014 a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine
This article first published in March 2014 at the very outset of the Ukraine crisis explains the nature of the Kiev proxy regime. we are dealing with a Neo-Nazi government supported by “Western democracy” and the “international community”.  According to the New York Times, “The United States and the European Union have embraced the revolution here as another flowering of democracy, a blow to authoritarianism and kleptocracy in the former Soviet space.” ( After Initial Triumph, Ukraine’s Leaders Face Battle for Credibility,  NYTimes.com, March 1, 2014, emphasis added). “Flowering Democracy, Revolution”?  The grim realities are otherwise. What is a stake is a ...
READ MORE
A Look at “Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam”
In Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (Metropolitan Books. New York. 2013), Turse writes that the US military’s official position, and the popular understanding in the US, is that leadership “has never condoned wanton killing or disregard for human life.” (2) On the rare occasions when atrocities are brought to light, they are blamed on low-level individuals and are said to be aberrations having nothing to do with official policy. The My Lai massacre, for example, was blamed on Lieutenant William Calley, who is said to have gone “crazy” (4,5) – although he and his unit ...
READ MORE
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
It is 70-years anniversary of the end of the WWII – the bloodiest and most horrible war ever fought in the human history. The war that caused creation of the UN in 1945 in order to protect the world from similar events in the future – a pan-global political-security organization of which first issued legal act was the UN Charter, which inspired the 1948 Geneva Conventions’ definition of genocide. The Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials were organized as “The Last Battles” for justice as the first ever global trials for the war criminals and mass murderers including and the top-hierarchy statesmen and ...
READ MORE
Poland and Lithuania are Escalating Events in Belarus as they did with Maidan
On August 9 [2020], presidential elections were held in Belarus with five candidates bidding to be head of state. According to the Central Election Commission, the incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, won in the first round with over 80% of the votes. Mass protests began in Belarus right after the announcement of the preliminary election results. People went to the streets, expressing their dissatisfaction with the results of the elections that they believe were unfair. Mass protests turned into riots and there were clashes between rioters and the police. Many people were detained and injured, and two protestors died.Representatives of the ...
READ MORE
The “Non-Citizens” of the Baltic States: Α European Scandal Nobody Speaks about!
The negotiations on Brexit are attracting a lot of attention. In particular, the possible erosion of the rights of around three million EU-27 citizens living in Britain is a major cause for concern.The European Parliament resolution adopted on 3 October states that “the withdrawal agreement must incorporate the full set of rights citizens currently enjoy, such that there is no material change in their position”.The main author of this text, Mr Guy Verhofstadt, the EP Brexit Coordinator, argues that such an approach – not to lower the level of citizens’ rights – is “the goal of democracy”. But why was ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: When the Spoils of War are Human Organs
Former President Bill Clinton continues to be feted around the world as a progressive champion of human rights. However, a European Union task force last week confirmed that the ruthless cabal he empowered by bombing Serbia in 1999 has committed atrocities that include murdering individuals to extract and sell their kidneys, livers and other body parts.Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from ...
READ MORE
Economic War Crimes: Dismantling Former Yugoslavia, Recolonizing Bosnia-Herzegovina
As heavily-armed US and NATO troops enforced the peace in Bosnia, the press and politicians alike portrayed Western intervention in the former Yugoslavia as a noble, if agonizingly belated, response to an outbreak of ethnic massacres and human rights violations. In the wake of the November 1995 Dayton peace accords, the West was eager to touch up its self-portrait as savior of the Southern Slavs and get on with “the work of rebuilding” the newly “sovereign states.” But following a pattern set early on, Western public opinion had been skillfully misled. The conventional wisdom exemplified by the writings of former US ...
READ MORE
Je Sius La Serbie 1999!
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
READ MORE
“Putinism” in American History
Many articles in the US press have speculated at length in an attempt to define a new ideology called “Putinism.” The pieces serve as an attempt to fit Putin into an outdated Cold War narrative, as if some new ideology in the Russian Federation is playing the role that Marxism-Leninism once played in the Soviet Union, though the current Russian constitution forbids this.The notable leaders of history are rarely ideologues. History judges people mainly by what they achieve, not what they write or say. As Chinese President Xi Jinping recently put it: “The worth of any plan is in its ...
READ MORE
Why the West cannot Stomach Russians
When it comes to Russia or the Soviet Union, reports and historical accounts do get blurry; in the West they do, and consequently in all of its ‘client states’.Fairytales get intermingled with reality, while fabrications are masterfully injected into sub consciousness of billions of people worldwide. Russia is an enormous country, in fact the largest country on Earth in terms of territory. It is scarcely inhabited. It is deep, and as a classic once wrote: “It is impossible to understand Russia with one’s brain. One could only believe in it.”The Western mind generally doesn’t like things unknown, spiritual and complex. ...
READ MORE
An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
If Pentagon chief James Mattis was seeking to reassure the world of American restraint in the North Korea crisis, he clumsily did the opposite. The US Defense Secretary was speaking after intense discussions with President Trump and other senior military officials in the White House Situation Room following the sixth nuclear test carried out by North Korea on Sunday.Mattis emerged from the meeting to say that any threat from North Korea to the United States and its allies would be met with an «overwhelming military response». He then added – with a weirdly presumed ethical tone – that the US «was not looking to ...
READ MORE
Stepan Bandera's monument in Buchach, Ukraine with the flag (right) of a neo-Nazi Ukrainian political organization
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged at the European political map in November ...
READ MORE
The Human Rights Disaster in America
The Criminal Roadmap Towards “Greater Israel”?
Drama at the UN Security Council: Israel’s Illegal Settlements
How to Combat Croatian Revisionists’ Culture of Lies
The Kosovo War: “Humanitarian Intervention” or Undeclared War Against Yugoslavia?
Ken Livingstone: Creation of Israel was a ‘Great Catastrophe’
Kosovostan Albanian Monstrous Crimes
The Illyrians: Autochthonous Balkan People having Nothing Common with Modern Albanians
The U.S. has Installed in 2014 a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine
A Look at “Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam”
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
Poland and Lithuania are Escalating Events in Belarus as they did with Maidan
The “Non-Citizens” of the Baltic States: Α European Scandal Nobody Speaks about!
Kosovo: When the Spoils of War are Human Organs
Economic War Crimes: Dismantling Former Yugoslavia, Recolonizing Bosnia-Herzegovina
Je Sius La Serbie 1999!
“Putinism” in American History
Why the West cannot Stomach Russians
An Isolated Tyrannical Regime – Not Pyongyang, It’s Washington
Poland and Ukraine: History of Break-Downs
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share