The Annapolis Conference: A Chance to Right an Historical Wrong?

News Abroad

Mr. Troy is Professor of History at McGill University, and the author, most recently, of Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady and Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s. He is a member of the advisory board of HNN.

The Annapolis Conference is scheduled for Tuesday November 27, two days before the 60th anniversary marking the passage of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. If historians were mystics, this cosmic coincidence would set hearts a-fluttering and computer screens flickering. The Southern novelist Thomas Wolfe, steeped in his own region’s tragic history, immortalized the phrase “You can’t go home again.” Historians agree, being in the business of tracking national tragedies and triumphs. But while mistakes are irrevocable, life is not unchangeable. Sixty years later, Palestinians can reject the most destructive mistake their grandparents and leaders ever made, and accept a Jewish State in parts of historic Palestine.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations endorsed a complicated compromise that challenged both Jews and Arabs – at the time, with the British ruling, the term “Palestinians” referred to both peoples. The Jews were thrilled to get a state but the plan divided the contested land between Palestine’s Jews and Arabs, based roughly on their settlement patterns. The proposed Jewish state’s map looked like Swiss cheese, scattered with difficult to defend settlements. The Jewish people’s national and spiritual center, Jerusalem, was cut out of this state and slated to be internationalized. Heartbroken, the Palestinian Jews’ leader David Ben Gurion nevertheless accepted “half a loaf,” reflecting mainstream Zionism’s pragmatic, solution-oriented character.

Unfortunately, most Arabs rejected the UN plan. The Arab League Secretary, Azzam Pasha, told Jewish mediators on Sept 16, 1947: “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood.” Pasha acknowledged the plan’s logic, but said, “Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try.” More brutally, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem called for Jihad, Holy War.

Heeding the Mufti, local Arabs launched a devastating campaign of truck bombs and ambushes, of shootings and stabbings. In the five months before the British left and the neighboring Arab armies invaded the new Jewish state in May 1948, local Arabs killed 1,256 Jewish men, women and children. Absurdly, these stark facts do not prevent anti-Zionist critics today from falsely blaming the Jews for rejecting the compromise.

Still, despite the slaughter, and despite the subsequent Arab invasion when Israel formally became a state in May, 1948, the Jewish state survived. The 1948 war resulted in a divided Jerusalem but somewhat more defensible boundaries. Now called Israelis, the Jews built a modern, Western-style democracy in their traditional homeland.

The outcome for the Palestinians was sadder. Instead of the “Independent Arab State” U.N. Resolution 181 endorsed, Palestine’s Arabs ended dependent on either their fellow Arabs or the Jews. The land the Arab armies captured was controlled by Jordan or Egypt, with no UN authorization. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs had left or fled their homes, hoping to return in victory. Hundreds of thousands stayed in Israel creating an Israeli Arab community that currently constitutes 20 percent of Israel’s population. Those who left their homes were kept in a perpetual state of statelessness – partially because of Arab political calculations to pressure Israel.

In an extraordinary Washington Post interview on September 30, 2007, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged what Israel’s supporters have long recognized. Abbas said of the 1947 partition plan, “we rejected this, so we lost.” The interviewer asked “You should have taken it?” He replied: “Yes, at that time, of course.”

This is the essential historical background to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s reasonable request that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Since David Ben-Gurion led the Jews toward compromise in 1947, Israel, though not perfect, has compromised repeatedly. Most notably, in 1979 Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula it captured legitimately from Egypt in 1967, in return for Egypt’s promise of recognition and peace. Fourteen years later, Israel tried to repeat that miracle with the Oslo Peace Process, offering Palestinians land in return for recognition and peace. Unfortunately, Oslo spawned Yasir Arafat’s terrorist kleptocracy next door to Israel’s democracy. The result: the deaths of over a thousand Israelis and thousands more Palestinians, when Arafat immorally led his people away from negotiations and back toward terror in September 2000, after rejecting another Israeli compromise at the Camp David meeting Bill Clinton hosted.

Palestinians have not only been ill-served by their rejectionist leaders, they have suffered from the extremism of their anti-Zionist friends as well. Israel would not need to demand recognition as a Jewish state – and it would not be so hard for Palestinians to concede this point – if the anti-Israel rhetoric was not so harsh, if Palestinian ideology respected Jewish claims, if Palestinian terror had not killed so many Israeli civilians, and if Israeli concessions to Palestinians had yielded peace not war. The clash between Jews and Palestinians is a clash of two nationalisms. Caricaturing Zionism as colonialism or racism denies Jews’ right to a homeland and denies the reality of Jewish nationalism. The Jews are a people tied to a particular land, connected to a particular language, united by a certain culture, but also embracing a particular religion – which, in fairness is a multi-dimensional identity that confuses many Jews and non-Jews.

Now, in Annapolis, the Palestinian people have an historic opportunity to right the historical wrong, to correct their sixty-year-old error. As always, the future of Middle East peace depends mostly on Arab readiness to stop fighting. Israelis also have responsibilities to reassure Palestinian moderates that true acceptance of the Israeli reality will be respected and rewarded. Six decades of war is long enough. Let us hope that the time has come for a millennial stretch of peace.

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Arnold Shcherban - 12/28/2007


In this particular case Omar beat you
fair and square with the words of the
Zionist leaders themselves.
But instead of admitting your logical defeat or, at the least, misconception as any intelligent and honest observer would do, you responded with a feeble argument that
the majority of the Jewish settlers did not know what their leaders do and think.
However, it is the same as to assert that the majority of Soviet people did not know what their leaders do and preach, while supporting them and often sacrificing lives for the
comminist cause or that the majority
of German populus did not know what Nazi leaders do and preach while sacrificing millions of their lives
on the altar of supernation/arian idea. The fact is, however, that the majority of jewish settlers
were not uneducated, ignorant folks,
on the contrary, they were mostly European - Ashkenazi Jews - well-educated and sophisticated (people of the world, as they say), especially in ideological and political matters (after all they came through a lot of those troubles in Europe), in comparison to, say, Palestian Arabs.
I'm not trying to play a role of suffi judge here, as far is overall topic of your debate is concerned, but that argument of yours stands no critique.

Elliott Aron Green - 12/9/2007

E, the palestinian Arabs already rejected the Jewish right of return to the Land of Israel --with deadly results for the Jews-- when they demanded in the 1930s that the British stop Jewish immigration to the land of Israel under British mandate. The British accepted this demand only all too eagerly when they issued the White Paper of 1939. This document severely limited Jewish immigration to the internationally designated Jewish National Home at a time when the Jews most needed a home. The Jews were restricted to 15,000 immigrants per year for the next five years. After that, Jewish immigration was to take place only with Arab approval. In fact, the 15,000 per year immig. quotas were NOT filled during the succeeding years, which were the Holocaust years. The White Paper policy --which also involved a ban on Jewish land purchase in most of the country-- was found to be in violation of the mandate given to the UK to foster development of the Jewish National Home. So when the UK govt wanted to violate international law to the detriment of the Jews, they had no qualms doing so.

The immigration restrictions were part of the British and Arab contributions to the Holocaust.

E. Simon - 12/8/2007

Might I point out, lest it require emphasizing, that the denial of one thing is only a confirmation of something else in the mind of one too feeble to envision anything more than two possible scenarios.

E. Simon - 12/8/2007

I can't see how a Palestinian can favor a hypothetical and historically unique "right of return" - (at least when it comes to how the Palestinians propose to implement it - i.e. by strongarming their way over any and all legitimate interests on behalf of the rights of another sovereign state when it comes to deciding its own immigration policy) - without acquiescing to a legitimization of the "rights" of Israeli Jews to settle all over the same homelands they claim on the West Bank, etc. At least, not if they weren't hypocrites of course. But most of us are well aware of the fatal shortcomings associated with the paucity of any inclination toward Palestinian/Arab introspection when it comes to considering such "minor matters" that, yet, define the issue in a nutshell.

Elliott Aron Green - 12/3/2007

wayne, you do enjoy your ignorance, don't you? In fact, bush has always been pro-Arab, like his Daddy. The outcomes of Annapolis were pro-Arab. Condi gave a pro-Arab, racist speech at Annapolis. Jim baker, Daddy's secretary of state, is notorious for saying "F--- the Jews, they don't vote for us anyhow."

As for the Arabs, they were pro-Nazi during WW2 and the Holocaust. The chief leader of the palestinian Arabs, Haj Amin el-Husseini, spent most of the war years in the Nazi-fascist domain in Europe, provided with a headquarters in a Berlin suburb by the Nazi govt. He urged the Germans to kill more Jews, and energetically played a role in preventing Jewish children from being released from the Nazi-satellite states of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania. Arabs in various countries, most notoriously Iraq, massacred Jews as their contribution to the Holocaust. Nowadays, the Arab press, radio and TV are full of Nazi-like agitation and lies against Jews. The Arabs are heirs of the Nazis in a very real sense, and Bush sympathizes with the Arabs.
Yet, wayne coyne has the insolence to shoot his mouth off in total ignorance of the facts, stating the opposite of the truth.

N. Friedman - 11/30/2007


You refer to migration to what is now Israel as being "Migration with the conscious and deliberate intent of colonization and usurpation."

But, the material you sited before shows that such is nonsense. The supposed "colonists" were kept in the dark. That is what your evidence shows. So, you are pinning terminology on people who had no idea that - even if you were correct - they were doing any such thing. They, rather, thought they were migrants finding a place of refuge where refuge was offered.

In any event, the term "colonization" is not pertinent and the circumstances are nothing akin to what occurred in Algeria, other than the fact that there was migration. In the case of Algeria, the migrants were doing the bidding of the French government, an outside party exploiting the situation. In the case of Jewish migration to what is now Israel, the migrants were making a home for themselves on land sparsely populated which International law had expressly set aside for them. You, somehow, have to come to grips with the fact that civilians were rather innocent, even by the evidence you cite.

Now, if you want to make an argument that what occurred was nonetheless inappropriate, that is your right. If you want to call it colonial, that is factually erroneous.

I might also note. Even if it is wrong, the speech you cited was made in 1938, which is not quite 70 years ago. It is of interest historically but it is, at this point, useless for what to do about today's problem, which concerns, for the most part, people not yet born. So, let us, to make you happy, say that everything that was done that led to Israel was wrong. While that is nonsense, I shall, to make you happy, assume that point so that we can get to your point.

Even assuming your point, those born in the country are legitimately there, just as anyone born in any country is legitimately there. You certainly cannot blame the children and the grandchildren for the sins of their ancestors. In the US, the children of illegal aliens are, if born in the US, citizens and that is the end of the matter.

Again, Omar, you are directing your concerns against civilians for the sins of politicians. And, again, that is assuming that they are sins, something I think is nonsense.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/30/2007

Mr Friedman
I would sum up your position as "In favour of migration ...
irrespective.” period.
What happened in Palestine is:
"Migration with the conscious and deliberate intent of colonization and usurpation."
That is no different from the French colons into Algeria or the white into South Africa of Apartheid except that in none of the above two cases was the dislocation and dispossession of the indigenous populations desired nor attempted as was, is, the case in Palestine!
You can go on defending colonization to your heart's content but remember that it was, is, universally condemned, rejected and repulsed!
I said it before and I repeat it now, Jews will eventually rue the day they allowed themselves to embark on this aggressive , colonialist cum racist project!
That gives me NO pleasure!

N. Friedman - 11/30/2007


What is claimed is that those who migrated did so in good faith. It is also claimed that they bought land and developed it. Those claims are, quite obviously, correct.

As for your statistics, I do not see how they are pertinent. What I see is you spouting rhetoric that comes from a propaganda website.

Perhaps, rather than spouting rhetoric that you fail, as you did with the quote by ben Gurion, to understand, you might decide to address what is clearly the case, whether you support the Israeli or the Arab side of the dispute.

Again: your quote clearly shows - if it is taken for what it says - that the leadership deceived those who would migrate to the region by downplaying any disputes.

As for the rest of what you claim, there is overwhelming evidence in the form of thousands of eyewitnesses who kept diaries of their visits to the area during the 19th Century. These diaries, including diaries of very famous writers and politicians, describe a land more blighted than any other land in the Muslim regions. I have no reason to doubt people like Mark Twain.

And, there are reports by the British, French, US government representatives and pretty much for every government that investigated which confirms that the land was blighted. So, I trust that your statistics are not inconsistent with that.

But again, Omar. Suppose that the land were Paradise itself. So what? Migration is the norm in human history. It was the norm in the Ottoman Empire. There is nothing wrong with people migrating and attempting to make a life.

Migration, in fact, is still the norm today. Consider the millions of Muslims who have migrated to Europe - Europeans not having been asked thus far whether they want any of the migrants and, at this point given that the migrants have brought the violence which pervades their homelands to Europe, more and more "natives" of Europe are becoming (just as more and more of Arabs in what is now Israel became) more and more resentful of the migrants.

To get to the gist of this: your position regarding Jewish migration to what is now Israel is no different than European objections - which grow daily - to the migration of Muslims to Europe. The one difference being that Jews had a lot more to offer, in terms of learning (e.g. in science), than those Muslims, at this point, have to offer Europeans and the Jews did not set out with a campaign of violence, as Muslims are doing in Europe.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/30/2007

Undisputable figures, including some by Jewish bodies prove that Israel at the time of its declaration as a state owned very little of Palestine land.
Apart from the little bequeathed to it from Jewish owners all lands presently under the domination of the Israeli state is usurped land from its legal owners mainly Palestinian Arabs.

Figures as at the end of 1944, based on a research work by Messrs. Weitz and Lifshitz on Jewish land in Palestine. Land in Jewish possession at the end of 1945 amounted to 1,778,000 dunums, thereof 1,603,000 dunums by purchase. Non-rural areas comprise towns, suburbs, built on areas in villages and industrial localities (Dead Sea Works, etc.).

The Jewish National Fund made a study of Jewish villages in Israel in 1949 and stated:(9)

Of the entire area of the State of Israel only about 300,000- 400,000 dunams - apart from the desolate rocky area of the southern Negev, at present quite unfit for cultivation - are State Domain which the Israel Government took over from the Mandatory regime. The J.N.F. and private Jewish owners possess under two million dunams. Almost all the rest belongs at law to Arab owners, many of whom have left the country. The fate of these Arabs will be settled when the terms of the peace treaties between Israel and her Arab neighbours are finally drawn up. The J.N.F., however, cannot wait until then to obtain the land it requires for its pressing needs. It is, therefore, acquiring part of the land abandoned by the Arab owners, through the Government of Israel, the sovereign authority in Israel.

Whatever the ultimate fate of the Arabs concerned, it is manifest that their legal right to their land and property in Israel, or to the monetary value of them, will not be waived, nor do the Jews wish to ignore them. Legal conquest of territory is a powerful factor in determining the frontiers and the sovereignty of a state. But conquest by force of arms cannot, in law or in ethics, abrogate the rights of the legal owner to his personal property. The J.N.F., therefore, will pay for the lands it takes over, at a fixed and fair price. The Government will receive the money and in due time will make compensation to the Arabs.

Under this arrangement the J.N.F. will acquire this year one million dunams of land for settlement. The forces of history have given the J.N.F. the opportunity - and the necessity - of acquiring in one year as much land as it acquired in the long period of 47 years of unremitting effort. That is an indication of the practical change which has come about as a result of Israel's independence.

Within the first 10 months of the establishment of Israel 51 new villages have been established on J.N.F. land. In all, 200 new villages will arise on the new area of one million dunams. Most of them will be in strategic areas. Besides providing the land, the J.N.F. is contributing 37 1/2% of the initial cost of settlement. These do not exhaust the tasks that face the J.N.F. It is also reclaiming the land, furthering the development of the country's water resources, and, wherever necessary, afforesting areas unfit for cultivation. In and around the cities it must provide land for housing, a vital necessity for the rapidly growing population. These, too, are enormous tasks, and if we do no more than mention them here, it is only because they do not fall directly within the scope of this review.


Jezreel Valley, Zebulun Valley, Jordan Valley
376,000 dunams




Judean Plain

Judean Hills



Area of other Jewish land in Israel: 900,000.

Grand total: 1,923,000 dunams.
Post Note:
For a more readable and comprehensive version, particularly of Tables , HNN format does not help, refer to:

The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question by Issa Nakhleh
Reference to tables numbers in the above posts are as in said source.


There were in Palestine in 1948 four mixed cities in which Arabs and Jews lived together, namely Jerusalem, Haifa, Safad and Tiberias. There were also eight Arab cities and large towns and 833 Arab small towns and villages. There were six Jewish cities or towns, 21 Jewish urban settlements and 266 Jewish rural settlements. Jewish statistics also showed that in 1947 there were 919 Arab towns and villages and 293 Jewish towns and villages.(19) Ninety percent of the Arabs who were living in small towns and cities resided in individual houses built of stone. Ten percent of the Arab city dwellers were living in apartment houses in buildings owned by Arab landlords. The Arabs in villages were living in individual houses built of stone. 80% of these village houses were modem houses and 20% were of inferior quality. The Government of Palestine conducted a census in 1931 of the population of Palestine in every town and village and the number of houses. As this was the last census, the Govemment gave estimates of the increase of the Arab and Jewish population. The increase of the Arab population was estimated at 30.71 per 1,000. On the basis of this estimate, we computerized the estimates in 1948 and the result was that the Arab population in Palestine in 1948 was 1,440,274 and the number of Arab houses or apartments was 360,068.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/30/2007

Zionist propaganda has often claimed that they came to a waste land and cultivated it.
Despite the scarcity of Palestine's renewable water resources, most of its cultivated land was rain irrigated, Palestine was, by Middle East standards including Greece and Turkey (with its abundant supply of running-river water) Palestine was intensely cultivated by its indigenous population: the Palestinian Arab people.
Once again British figures prove the fallacy of this claim of Jews coming in to cultivate a waste land.

The Survey of Palestine also provides details of the ownership by Arabs and Jews of the citrus groves; (the major agricultural product of Palesine.).
The Arabs owned 127,377 dunums of citrus groves. The Jews owned 120.897.(7)
Class 1 dunums
Class 2 dunums
Class 3 dunums
Total dunums
Shamouti orange

Valencia orange

Jewish-owned :
Class 1 dunums
Class 2 dunums
Class 3 dunums
Total dunums
Shamouti orange
Valencia orange


Once again , British figures, prove the fallacy of Zionist propaganda re who cultivated the land!

omar ibrahim baker - 11/30/2007

Zionist propganda often claims that Jews owned and cultivated a considerable proportion of Palestinian lands.
This fallacy is often coupled with another no less false claim that they "bought", whatever they owned pre conquest, from Arabs who willingly sold their lands.Some actually did before the colonialist intentions of Zionist emigration were unmistakably disclosed.
Then, pre disclosure of Zionist colonialist designs, Jews were dealt with by the Arabs as with any other confessional community: without any discrimination!
However the historical truth, as documented by the departing British administration is reflected by the figures published by it.

In A Survey of Palestine, Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the Information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, the Palestine Government attempted to provide general estimates. The Government stated:

"Palestine must be numbered among those countries which have not attempted to compile estimates of the national wealth. Nevertheless, certain basic information is available and presented below .... in the form of a series of tables in which the main categories of capital are enumerated and the shares of Jews, Arabs and others are indicated .... The estimates do not include any figures for urban land buildings and improvements, nor for public fixed assets.(1)

The Survey of Palestine gives the value of rural lands but states: "These values, although based on values actually ruling pre-war, are completely arbitrary and have been designed to reflect the share of the two groups of the population rather than the aggregate value of the land."(2)


The share of Arabs and Jews in land ownership in Palestine was, as of the 1st April, 1943, 24,670,455 dunums owned by Arabs and 1,514,247 dunums owned by Jews. (A dunum is 1,000 square meters. Four dunums equal one acre.) The following table shows the share of Jews and Arabs (including other non-Jews) in the ownership of land in Palestine as at 1 st April, 1943.(3)

Category of land (Fiscal Categories)
Arabs & other non-Jews

Arab+Non Jew: 76,662
Jew: 70, 111

141, 188


Rural built-on area
36,85 1
79, 181

1, 175,302

Cereal land (taxable)
5,503, 183
814, 102
6,3 17,285

Cereal land (not taxable)


Total area (in Dunums):
1,5 14,247
26, 184,702

Subcommittee 2 of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question stated in its report to the United Nations General Assembly the following:

"Closely connected with the distribution of population is the factor of land ownership in the proposed Jewish State. The bulk of the land in the Arab State, as well as in the proposed Jewish State, is owned and possessed by Arabs. This is clear from the following statistics furnished to the Sub-Committee by the United Kingdom representative, showing the respective percentages of Arab and Jewish ownership of land in the various sub-districts of Palestine.(4)

Percentage of Ownership
Arabs & Others

Arab+others: 68
Jew: 18





Hai fa

Less than 1

Less than 1

Tu l karrn

Less than 1


Less than 1




Less than 1

Note: The balance represents waste lands and lands under public ownership, consisting mainly of grazing lands attached to villages.

It will be seen that there is not a single sub-district in which the percentage of Jewish land ownership exceeds 39 percent, and that in nine of the sixteen sub-districts the percentage of Jewish ownership is less than 5 percent.(5)

The Survey of Palestine contained information about the years and number of dunums purchased by Jews from 1920-1945 as follows:(6)



Area owned before 1920 (estimated)






176, 124









62, 114


18, 146









1945 (estimated)


N. Friedman - 11/30/2007


In answer to your first point, see my earlier comment. The point was that there was a fight between Arabs and colonial powers which the Arab side twisted to blame civilians. Which is to say, even if everything you said were the case - which it is not -, Jews who migrated to the region acted in good faith and the Arab attack on them was and remains misplaced.

As for your second comment, I admitted no such thing. Read what I wrote. I rather noted that there was knowledge of the Arab view, not that such view was accepted as being reasonable. In fact, it was not thought to be reasonable.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/30/2007

Mr Friedman
Amazing , simply amazing, that the obvious message supported by undeniable pronouncements by Zionst leaders about all Zionists being fully aware that they were embarking on an aggressive , colonialist conquest of Palestine be twisted by you to suggest that "unknowing (Jewish)civilians" were targeted by the Palestinian Arab people defending their homeland!

However the VERY GOOD thing about this exchange is that you DO NOT DENY, and hence you confirm, that the Zionist leadership, at least, were fully aware of the nature and the goals of their intended conquest and the necessary means to achieve it:
the forced implantation and settlement of Jews in Palestine AGAINST the opposition of the overwhelming majority of its indigenous people (90% Arab at WWI) to be achieved through the dislocation, dispossession, disfranchisement and subjugation of that people , in his homeland, then supplanting them with emigrants chosen on a pure , unmitigated racial ie RACIST basis.

N. Friedman - 11/29/2007


My contention is quite different from your point, which, in fact, supports my point - the point I have been making repeatedly but which you, evidently, do not understand or do not want to understand.

Your contention is that the leadership of the Zionist movement thought there was a dispute. So what? What does that have to do with what average people thought? What about everyone else, Omar? That, frankly, is at the heart of what is wrong with the Arab position that thinks that Jewish civilians are appropriately targeted.

And, if there is blame here - which I certainly deny -, why blame civilians, who were not, by the very words of the material you posted, in the know but, in fact, were, according to your confused source, being actively deceived? Again, your post claims that there was a concerted effort to keep people in the dark. Again, the words you posted read: "'in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us.'" Ergo, you are blaming the wrong people, if there really were any real blame here.

My contention, in fact, is that Jews, including the leadership, who migrated to the region thought the land was rather minimally populated - which is certainly correct (and, by any estimate, the area's entire population back then was less than numerous cities in Israel today) - and that there was no real opposition to that migration - which, for a substantial period was correct as well.

You would also have it that ben Gurion was admitting that his side was in the wrong. That, Omar, is not an accurate assertion based on the material you quoted. It comes, rather, from taking a few words of a speech and ignoring other words in the same speech which, in fact, show rather plainly that he thought something quite different.

In fact, the quote comes from a speech by ben Gurion. It was a speech in which an effort was being made by him to show how the dispute was seen by the Arab side, not to explain his own understanding of the rights and wrong in that dispute and not to explain what his side was doing. Chomsky either misunderstood the import of ben Gurion's speech or intentionally does so. As also stated in the very same speech by ben Gurion:

This is an active resistance by the Palestinians to what they regard as a usurpation of their homeland by the Jews - that's why they fight.

Note: he is not saying that he thinks it is a usurpation of an Arab homeland. He is saying that such is what Arabs think. And, he never suggests that he agrees with their interpretation. In fact, he did not.

In fact, he goes out of his way - but Chomsky seems to overlook this little detail - to delineate the perspective he is presenting, namely, how the dispute looks from the Arab side.

What ben Gurion also said was:

We are facing not terror but a war. It is a national war declared upon us by the Arabs. Terror is one of the means of war.

He said all of this so that his audience would understand that, from the Arab point of view, a war had been declared and they, the Jewish side, were fighting for their homes and their rights - a war declared upon them.

So, his frank assessment, if you were actually to care about what he really said - not to quote out of context -, was to note that the Arabs think that it is their country and only their country and that, as a result, they have declared a war so that the terror campaign being faced at the time of the speech, June 7, 1938, was existential in nature (i.e. a war), not a dispute over this concern or that concern. Rather, it was a full blown war in which the Arab side had convinced itself that it was to be their country and had thus declared war.

It is always nice to post things, Omar. But, now you are posting where there are people who actually know something about the matter. Frankly, Chomsky's view is not consistent even with the material he quotes. And, frankly, what you quote does not support what you wrote but, rather, what I asserted.

Nice try, though.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/29/2007

Mr Friedman

But Ben Gurion, together with , at least, all the Zionist leadership, DID KNOW.

Ben Gurion's complete sentence was:
"in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us,' but he urged, 'let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.' The truth was that 'politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside'.."

It is truly amazing that you chose to truncate Ben Gurion's sentence where you did and therefrom draw you inane conclusion.

What kind of fools do you think you are addressing here at HNN ?

Do you think any reader would stop reading Ben Gurion where you did ?
Amazing what moral and intellectual bankrupty make an otherwise sensible person say or do!

Further more in this very same sentence, whose authencity you do NOT dispute, Ben Gurion clearly and unequivocally admitted: "The truth was that politically"
a-"we ( The Zionist Jews) are the aggressors "
b-" they ( the Palestinian Arabs)defend themselves."
c-"The country is theirs (The Palestinians') because they inhabit it"

As to Zionist minimizing of Arab opposition it, the minimization, was made in the Zionist appeal, address, to non Jews, the goyim; note "the abroad" in BG'S "in our political argument abroad".

That means also that Ben Gurion KNEW and admitted that the Zionist claims and appeals addressed to the goyim in Europe and mainly in the USA were based on lies ,fabrications
and the conscious , deliberate perversion of the truth.

N. Friedman - 11/29/2007


Your post refutes your contention. According to your Chomsky quote:

David Ben-Gurion,
eminently a realist, recognized its nature. In internal discussion, he noted that :
'in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us,'

In other words, what I contend is correct. The average person knew nothing about any Arab opposition.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/29/2007

In its attempt to negate the intrinsic colonialist designs and intentions that drove Jewish emigrants into Palestine
Zionist PR is replete with claims about the " innocence" of early Zionist leaders and settlers as to the actual conditions in Palestine, whether it was inhabited or not, and about the genuine desire of Jewish emigrants to move and settle "in peace."

Some go as far as claiming that they, in their innocence, expected to be welcomed and "accomodated" and were consequently surprised when they found out that they were resisted and unwelcomed as alien colonialists.

The intention being to create the presumed "fact " that Israel was conceived in innocence with unwary and unsuspecting settlers who had no aggressive intentions and were totally unaware that they were trespassing on others land and rights.

(Mr Friedman, either in ignorance ( which I doubt) or self deception or deception of others, repeats that myth , one way or another, whenever the genesis , or nature, of Israel is being discussed.)

Historical record, on the other hand is unambigious about this point.
Israel was conceived in the full knowledge of the Zionist movement and the Jewish community that it would be the outcome of an act of aggression and usurpation.

The early Zionist colonialists had no illusion about the nature of the mission they undertook. They knew perfectly well that:
-They were aliens.
-That the indigenous Arab Palestinian population will resist them
-That their goals were not the sort that could be achieved through agreement nor "accomodation"
-That they will have to resort to violence to attain their goals.

I affix hereunder extracts from two leading Zionists; Beb Gurion and Jabotinsky who were fully aware of the nature of their campaign and what is needed to achieve it.

” David Ben-Gurion,
eminently a realist, recognized its nature. In internal discussion, he noted that :
'in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us,' but he urged, 'let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.' The truth was that 'politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside'..
”. Noam Chomsky, "The Fateful Triangle."

was one of the earliest advocates of using force to curb Palestinian nationalism, which he eloquently articulated in his IRON WALL article that was published in Ha'aretz Daily in 1923. He stated:
".... Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an IRON WALL which they will be powerless to break down. ....a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers. Only then will extremist groups with their slogan 'No, never' lose their influence, and only then their influence be transferred to more moderate groups. And only then will the moderates offer suggestions for compromise. Then only will they begin bargaining withus on practical
matters, such as guarantees against PUSHING THEM OUT, and equality of civil, and national rights." 

"The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ..... There was no misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict. .... No Agreement was possible with the Palestinian Arab; they would accept Zionism only when they found themselves up against an 'iron wall,' when they realize they had no alternative but to accept Jewish settlement."
(America And The Founding Of Israel, p. 90)

There never were any illusions and Zionism emarked consciously and deliberately on an aggressive act of conquest , usurpation and colonialism.

Wayne Coyne - 11/27/2007

No one other than the blood soaked psychopath Cheney and his pet half-wit know who is invited/ why or what the agenda even is to this useless exercise. Mere foreplay to the real fuckfest planned for those brown skinned oil soaked ingrate Arabs.

With much anticipation I await the phony Texas homespun bullshit "I tried diplomacy before I nuked 'em" speech the gutless/ AWOL/ coke head Chimperor will give aboard the deck of (insert name of aircraft carrier here) dressed in his snug tiny penis flight suit after the burning carnage of Tehran is splashed across FOX News to the mass of cowardly retards who now inhabit this once proud nation.

Ah, what the hell, we're all gonna die for Exxon-Mobile and Israel with their make believe sky god anywho.

My only wish before I leave this planet is for our Republican-Nazi government and the racist Israeli's to just go away. Hopefully, to a very real hell promoted in their own fairy tale creations.

N. Friedman - 11/27/2007


With due respect to your understanding of law, you are mistaken.

Britain, as set forth in the Mandate, acted as sovereign for purposes of facilitating the creation of a Jewish national Home in Mandate Palestine. They, as required by International Law, permitted Jews to emigrate. So, you are simply in error on this point.

Arabs, by contrast, rejected the dictates of then existing International Law. That, frankly, is a fact.

Arabs, instead, wanted the European rule to end, which was certainly a reasonable goal. But, it was not reasonable to demand, in connection therewith, anything of civilians who had moved to the land in good faith, believing that such land had been set aside - as, in fact, it was set aside by International law - for creating a Jewish national home. So, Arabs attacked Jewish civilians who had done nothing wrong, being merely caught between a fight about who would rule the land which Arabs extended to cover who could live on the land.

In fact, the goal of Jews, until Arabs attacked them repeatedly, was to make a home with Arabs and the other groups who lived on the land - not in replacement of Arabs and such other groups -, having, by and large, realized fairly early on that there were others living there, albeit fairly small in number, and also realizing that Arabs, among other groups, like Jews, were migrating to the land and, like anyone else, had rights.

So, Jews adopted a more realistic, pragmatic approach that the Arab side refused, since the Arabs failed to distinguish civilians from sovereigns - something that continues to this day.

Arabs, largely under the tutelage of the terribly bigoted Nazi lover al-Husseini - the Nuissebiyyah clan, to its credit, had different ideas - took the view that only Arabs (as they came to define them, since, in fact, many of those called Arabs were not Arabs but, in fact, Muslim and Christian refugees who had been moved there or had otherwise found refuge there as the Ottoman Empire declined), not Jews, had a right to live on the land, notwithstanding International law that clearly said otherwise and notwithstanding the fact that the Jews who had come had no place else to go by the 1930's - a fact conveniently overlooked by the al-Hussein crowd who, so far as can be seen, supported genocide.

So, as with all things where people are entangled and at least one side refuses all efforts at compromise, fighting occurred.

Those who followed the al-Husseini view think, as lowbrow bigots typically do, that only they have rights and that civilians caught in a dispute not of their own creation should suffer.

The end result was a dispute that rages to this day, with the Arab side yet to understand the notion that the only solution, since the Jewish population has nowhere else, for the most part, to go and since they came - no matter what you want to say, given that International law backed what they did - in good faith. And, the Arab side rejects what they apply to themselves, since they came as conquerors, that they lost the land the way they gained it, namely, in a war. And note, Omar, if rights cannot be gained in conquest, how is it that Arabs claim to be legitimately in the region?

I might add: Jews deluded themselves into thinking that the Arab regions were more tolerant than the European regions. By the 19th Century, it was the Europeans who were improving their behavior while Arabs were coming more and more under the influence of barbarism, where they have remained to this day.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/27/2007

Mr Friedman
you state:
"So, Palestinian Arabs may not have liked that a large number of Jews wanted to make Israel their home and obtained permission from the then owner of the land to do so."

The then mandatory power, then Great Britain, was never the "owner" of the land as you should know...being a lawyer.
However your point is telling in that it strongly implies that the people inhabiting the, or a, land were/are merely "chattel" owned by the "owner" of that land and that their destiny is in the hands of the same "owner" !

So much for Zionist respect of human rights and uphold of democracy !

The Palestinian people refused permission and still does, and rightly so, to allow aliens whose proclaimed intentions were to have: "A Palestine as Jewish as France is French" as clearly enunciated by their then leader , the future first President of Israel, Chaim Weisman.

This statement of yours is also quite telling of Zionist mentality, methodology and psychology:
"If refused permission to partake in the ownership of something, anything, do so by ruse,deception ,
legalese contortions and perversions and by force...if you have it!"

You have only won the first round by that very methodology and mentality; however you better keep in mind that that was only the first round of many to come until that heinously criminal act of colonization and usurpation is rolled back, Palestine is liberated through deZionization and reverts to its native indigenous people .

Neither you nor I would, most propably, see that day but that day is coming as surely as daylight follows the darkness of night!

N. Friedman - 11/27/2007


No. In the US, Jews are accepted.

And, no, Omar. Humans are human. Everyone is entitled to have a place to call home.

So, Palestinian Arabs may not have liked that a large number of Jews wanted to make Israel their home and obtained permission from the then owner of the land to do so. Once that occurred, they had as much right to be on the land as anyone else.

And the attempt by Palestinian Arabs to ethnically cleanse the land was a bigoted action.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/27/2007

Mr Friedmam
"And, those who came were not viewed in Europe as Europeans, no matter how many times you say otherwise"


"no matter how long they dwelled in Europe, pretended they were nationals of the respective countries they dwelled in and made their lives and FORTUNES in ."

you should have added for completeness.
(That would equally apply to American Jews! Right?)

However and irrespective of where they came from all were ALIENS; be that Europe, the USA , China or Ethiopia!

That is the point and the historical truth: ALIENS to Palestine came in against the will of its inhabitants
, moved by their Zionist dogma, to colonize it and in the process dislocated, dispossessed , disfranchised and subjugated its indigenous native Arab Palestinian, but NOT its Jewish Palestinian,
people in his homeland !

omar ibrahim baker - 11/27/2007

Annapolis is being held at a stage , and in and under the auspices of a state, that can NOT possibly augur a positive outcome ; the peaceful resolution ofthe Palestinian/Israeli
and the wider Arab-Moslem/Israeli conflict.

***One party to the conflict , the Arab side, is at a stage of total weakness , powerlessness and hopelessness.
That is not only an invitation to the other party to squeese it dry, which it is likely to do, but is equally meaningful in that whatever that weakling is likely to accept will be minimal to the point of redicule .

*** Conversely the other party to the conflict, Israel, is at the apogee of its power and is expected to extract the maximum from the weakling facing it.

Any outcome would reflect this balance of power and as such would be total capitulation by the supine weakling to the will of the powerful .

Furthermore the auspices under which Annapolis is held and the state in which it is held, the USA, further detract from the possibility of any positive outcome.

The USA is the strategic ally of Israel that as empowered it to regional super power status , is Israel's main lifeline and bottomless source of suuport in all its aspects .

Hence any semblance of even handed ness which could conceivably lead to mediation is foreclosed.
If anything the USA, as it has been advocating through out, will be for total Arab capitulation.

Hence any outcome, if any which I doubt, from Annapolis could not possibly be equitable {just was the term used in 242)nor permanent and as such acceptable in the long, historical, run by the Arab/Moslem generations to come.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/27/2007

omar ibrahim baker - 11/26/2007

Mr Shcherban

In a way you are right!

Comments are redundant at this stage except, possibly, in a historical review where ceaseless attempts to justify the unjustifiable and malign a people are repeated in a manner that consciously holds back historical truth,as for Troy, and quite often distorts it !

The issue is now, more than ever before, truly beyond comment!

Of particular contemporary significance however is Levni's, "Israel's" foreign minister, recent prnouncements ,in the context of the Jewishness of the Jewish atate, re the fate of Palestinians who stayed put in their homeland .
She is, presently, looking for a way to ethnically cleanse them ; preferably with the help of the West , or at least without Western opposition.
Which is another indication of the intrinsic nature and latent ambitions of the Zionist movement/Israel and a portent of future developments!

If any thing, conditions will deteriorate further and Israel , aided and abetted by the USA and the EU, will further exploit the present temporary conditions of Arab/Moslem weakness and fragmentation to pave the way for the climatic confrontation that would embroil more than the region in a colossal cultural/confessional conflagration for which both sides will pay heavily.

The irony of this whole episode of alien incursion into the heartland of the Arab/Moslem world and the establishment of a RACIST Jewish state therein to ensure the security of the Jewish people is that, far from achieving that, it had enbroiled them in a cataclysmic conflict in which they are the guilty aggressor that has adopted its perennial enemy ,RACISM , to attain its goals!

N. Friedman - 11/26/2007


Surely you have some facts misstated in the article. Or, is this the only problem that Troy has not written on the topics you think important?

One can, of course, write a different view of things and emphasize different facts. That is anyone's right.

On the other hand, Jews did not come to dislocate anyone. You are simply repeating a lie.

Rather, a dispute occurred and Arabs attempted to drive off the Jewish population (i.e. ethnically cleanse them) on the pretext that such people were alien invaders - as if place of origin were somehow a legitimate ground to ethnically cleanse people. Consider Omar: you defend exactly what you claim Jews were supposed doing when the perpetrators are Arab. Consider Omar: that is the view expressed by what, in the US, are called nativist zenophobes.

Unfortunately for Arabs, they lost their war of annihilation and many of them were displaced. Some were, in fact, ethnically cleansed. Most, however, were not.

Most left of their own accord and for a variety of reasons including, for example, on the command of clerics who told them it was wrong to live under non-Muslim law - which, by the way, is a traditional Islamic view, as perhaps you know. That was the case most particularly in Jaffa. Some left to participate in the fighting to ethnically cleanse Jews. Some left to get out of the way of fighting and were promised war booty. Some were rich and merely moved to what they thought was a less hostile area.

And, those who came were not viewed in Europe as Europeans, no matter how many times you say otherwise. They were told by Europeans that they were Orientals.

In any event, so long as Arabs think they are always right - with no serious debate -, there can be no peace. Only moron hotheads who think that justice means only they have rights are heard and, thus, there is no diversity of views. There is only mindless violence, religious fanaticism, childish demands, etc., etc.

Now. it is true that the Israeli side has missed some chances to settle the dispute - assuming, to be politically correct, that the Arab side might have reciprocated (something that Omar, no doubt, would call a betrayal). But, chances missed by Israel pale in comparison to what the Arab side has done. Rather, the Arab side has mostly followed the all or nothing approach which, thus far, has achieved nothing.

Arnold Shcherban - 11/26/2007

Comments are redundant in this case.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/26/2007

Professor Troy's "heroic" attempt at an even handed chronicle of the conflict fails to withstand the slightest and most cursory analysis in its all too obvious Zionist slanted bias.

Note worthy is his :

-Reference to Palestine as the Jews' "tradional homeland" without any reference to the Arab majority that has settled the land for ,AT LEAST, the last 14 centuries
( they must have been squatters according to him!)

-His reference to the number of Jews killed by Palestinian Arabs in the short post declaration of the Partition of Palestine period without any mention of the Arabs killed by both the Zionist Jews ( who had a pratically standing army ) and by the British whol allowed them to have that army, the Haganah, while hanging any Arab caught with a rifle.

Equally telling is his failure :

-To mention , not even as a foot note, UN resolutions re the Palestinians' RIGHT of RETURN to their homeland
-That the Jews who were allocated 52% of the area of historical Palestine in the West supported Partition Plan were admitted , by the British, against the express will and relentless opposition of the Arab Palestinian people who constituted some 90 % of the then total population of Palestine
-That the British and the Jews colluded to DENY the Arab Palestinian people his RIGHT to Self Determination, post WWI.
-That the then declared ambitions of the Zionist movement, as formulated and worded by Weisman no less, was to have a "Palestine as Jewish as France is French"

(However now it is only too obvious to us that when it comes to Jew versus Arab in western annals : neither a popular majority of 90% and its DEMOCRACY implications nor the inalienable Right of Return to one's homeland and to Self Determination Determination hold any meaning nor sustain any claim.)

That is NOT past history!
That is very recent history ( 1918-1948)
That is the essential of the conflict :
-That aliens, mostly of Western,
European origin, were supported by the WEST to dislocate, ethnically cleanse, dispossess,disfranchise
and subjugate an indigenous people in his homeland and then to supplant them with aliens selected on an unmitigated racist basis.; and still are militarily,politically
and financially, mainly by the host at Annapolis; the USA!
In his presumed call for peace through moderation Professor Troy, a Professor of History, fails to have the most elementary credentials or credibility by neglecting these cardinal facts in, of all things, a historical review.
(The New York News (?), an AIPAC bulletin or the Jerusalem Post would have been more appropriate venues.)