7 Myths About Palestine
Oppression, tyranny and social and economic injustice work most effectively by spreading ignorance, lies and myths. These lies and myths, told on a daily basis, are meant to hide and justify the injustice by turning the truth on its head and making the victim the villain and villain the victim.
When it comes to the occupation of Palestine and ethnic cleansing of its people by Zionists, these cover the whole gambit from misleading and liberal sounding statements that try to hide their Zionist agenda to twisting and revising history to flat lies and innuendo to the absurd and ridiculous.
I’m going to discuss and dispel below some of these myths commonly believed:
1.Every people has their own country and so should the Jews have their own country. This is one of those innocent sounding statements that is nothing but justification of displacement of an entire people from their ancestral lands and driving them out into refugee camps to make room for Jewish settlers who go settle on those ethnically cleansed lands immediately becoming citizens, literally taking residence built on Palestinians’ demolished homes. The implication here is that there must be a country just for Jews, a “Jewish state”. The truth, however, is that just about every country in the world, from Lebanon to Libya, from Angola to Argentina and from Mexico to Morocco, has different nationalities and adherents of different religions living together in the same country with the same central government, without claiming the country to be exclusively for one or another ethnic group or race or religion. The US itself which is the biggest supporter of this unjust and racist endeavor is a good example of it. In Iran, for another example, there are Persians, Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Jews, Armenians, Afghans, etc., all living together in one country. Same is true in just about every country in every corner of the World. In Historic Palestine itself, people of different ethnicity and religion lived side by side for millennia, including Arabs, Jews, Armenians and others, until European Zionists moved to Palestine to create a “Jewish state” just for Jews which would be possible by massacring and deporting the indigenous people and stripping the rights of those who remained and making them literally second class citizens and preventing, to this day, the refugees from returning to their homes. Such ethnic cleansing, besides being inhuman and unjust, is not possible and so did not happen without massacres which began as soon as the first heavily armed Zionists arrived in Palestine and have continued to this day. Nor will it go down without resistance by the victims and their decedents which instigates and “justifies” even more massacres by the occupiers who make the absurd assertion and Obama repeats that “Israel has the right to defend itself”, just as Europeans kidnapping Africans to sell as slaves had “the right to defend” themselves against those who resisted and fought back.
2. Another false and fraudulent, albeit a reasonable sounding, assertion which tries to mask and offer the same old Zionist agenda is the fraud called “The two state solution” which is promoted by “kinder and gentler” and “liberal” Zionists. The only difference this ploy has with the more hawkish plan of the ruling right wingers of the occupation is that it offers to withdraw to pre-1967 borders and allow a Palestinian state to form on lands left outside those borders. They speak of occupation not to mean since 1948 which is when the settler apartheid state was formed on OCCUPIED land, but only those territories occupied since 1967. There is really no legal or moral line of demarcation between the occupation that took place in 1947-1948 when Palestinians were killed or deported to make room for Jews arriving from Europe and lands occupied since 1967. The attempt here is to make it sound like only those territories are occupied and Israel as a “Jewish state” is a legitimate state that existed naturally and historically, hoping the massacres and deportations that occurred since 1947-1948 which is how the settler state was established would be forgotten and forgiven. It also wants us to forget the millions of refugees still living in refugee camps in squalid conditions and forgo their right of return to their homes. We must understand that any scheme that denies the “right of return” of the refugees is not a solution and is the continuation and legitimation of the apartheid and segregation. A two-state solution offers to create a disjointed state for Palestinians in name only, a state without a uniform and attached territory and without an independent foreign trade or policy with all control still in the hands of Israel including the borders, the airspace and the water with full military control and domination. Such a state would be a prisoner and completely at the mercy of the occupation. The only just and lasting solution is to let refugees return to their homes and build a secular and democratic state by and for people of all ethnicities and religions including Jews without claiming special rights for any particular people.
3. Some say a single democratic country for both peoples will not be possible because these two peoples don’t get along and will always fight. That’s not true. People living in historic Palestine who lived there for thousands of years are no different from people of other parts of the world. Nothing suddenly made these two particular peoples incapable of living together. What changed was the creation of an apartheid settler state by European settlers and the ethnic cleansing it’s been committing and what’s needed is to undo that historic injustice by letting refugees go back to their homes.
4. A more absurd claim says that Arabs have many countries but Jews have only Israel. Let Palestinians who are Arabs go live in any of the other Arab countries and leave Palestine to Jews. All you need do to see the absurdity of this statement is try to apply it to, say, the Latino people who live in multitude of countries in Latin America and suggest, for example, that Argentinians are Latin and there are many Latin countries so they should vacate it and go live in other Latin American countries and leave Argentina for Jews.
5. Another ludicrous claim is that Palestine was “a land without people for a people without land”. So, I guess, the Palestinians who keep resisting arrived from another planet to fight them.
6. Believe it or not, I’ve even heard that there never was a Palestine. There was only Israel. Talk about turning things upside down!
7. Another ridiculous and crazy lie is that Palestinians sold their lands to Jews who arrived from Europe and offered them money in exchange for their lands, so it’s all fair and legitimate. Since some of those people who make this ridiculous claim may be believing this and claims like it out of sheer ignorance, I’m listing here just a few among many massacres that made the creation of the Zionist state possible. To keep the list brief, I only list those committed in 1947 and 1948. Massacres have continued non-stop throughout the years:
January 30-31, 1947 (Palestine) :
On the night of January 30-31, 1947, a mixed force composed of the First Battalion of Palmakh and the Carmelie brigade (estimated at approximately 150 to 200
Zionist terrorists) launched a raid against the two towns under the leadership of Hayim Afinu’am.
They focused their attack on the outskirts of Baldat al-Shaikh and Hawasa. Taking the outlying homes by surprise as their inhabitants slept, they pelted them with hand grenades, then went inside, firing their machine guns.
The terrorist attack led to the deaths of approximately sixty citizens inside their homes, most of them women, elderly and children.
The attack lasted for an hour, after which the Zionists withdrew at 2:00 a.m., having attacked a large number of noncombatant homes.
According to a report written by the leader of the terrorist operation, “the attacking units slipped into the town and began working on the houses. And due to
the fact that gunfire was directed inside the rooms, it was not possible to avoid injuring women and children.”
13 December 1947 (Palestine): men of the Arab village of Yehiday (near Petah Tekva, the first Zionist settlement to be established) met at the local coffee house when they saw a British Army patrol enter the village, they were reassured especially that Jewish terrorists had murdered 12 Palestinians the previous day.
The four cars stopped in front of the cafe house and out stepped men dressed in khaki uniforms and steel helmets. However, it soon became apparent that they had not come to protect the villagers.
With machine guns they sprayed bullets into the crowd gathered in the coffee house. Some of the invaders placed bombs next to Arab homes while other disguised terrorists tossed grenades at civilians. For a while it seemed as if the villagers would be annihilated but soon a real British patrol arrived to foil the well organized killing raid. The death toll of 7 Arab civilans could have been much higher.
Earlier the same day 6 Arabs were killed and 23 wounded when home made bombs were tossed at a crowd of Arabs standing near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. In Jaffa another bomb killed six more Arabs and injured 40.
18 December 1947 (Palestine) : Two carloads of Haganah terrorists drove through the village of Khisas (on the Lebanese Syrian border) firing machine guns and throwing grenades. 10 Arab civilians were killed in the raid.
19 December 1947 (Palestine): 5 Arab children were murdered when Jewish terrorists blew up the house of the village Mukhtar.
The SEMIRAMIS HOTEL MASSACRE:
5/7/1948 (Palestine): The Jewish Agency escalated their terror campaign against Palestinian Arabs.
They decided to perpetrate a wholesale massacre by bombing the Semiramis Hotel in the Katamon section of Jerusalem, in order to drive out the Palestinians from Jerusalem. The massacre of the Semiramis Hotel on January 5, 1948, was the direct responsibility of Jewish Agency leader David Ben-Gurion and Haganah leaders Moshe Sneh and Yisrael Galili. If this massacre had taken place in World War II, they would have been sentenced to death for their criminal responsibility along with the terrorists who placed the explosives.
A description of the massacre of the Semiramis Hotel from the United Nations Documents follows, as well as the Palestinian Police report on the crime sent to the Colonial Office in London:
January 5, 1948. Haganah terrorists made a most barbarous attack at one o’clock in the early morning of Monday…at the Semiramis Hotel in the Katamon section of Jerusalem, killing innocent people and wounding many. The Jewish Agency terrorist forces blasted the entrance to the hotel by a small bomb and then placed bombs in the basement of the building. As a result of the explosion the whole building collapsed with its residents. As the terrorists withdrew, they started shooting at the houses in the neighborhood. Those killed were: Subhi El-Taher, Moslem; Mary Masoud, Christian; Georgette Khoury, Christian; Abbas Awadin, Moslem; Nazira Lorenzo, Christian; Mary Lorenzo, Christian; Mohammed Saleh Ahmed, Moslem; Ashur Abed El Razik Juma, Moslem; Ismail Abed El Aziz, Moslem; Ambeer Lorenzo, Christian; Raof Lorenzo, Christian; Abu Suwan Christian family, seven members, husband, wife, and five children.
Besides those killed, 16 more were wounded, among them women and children. The following is a text of a cable by the High Commissioner for Palestine to the Colonial Office about the massacre:
The Massacre at Dair Yasin:
9/4/1948 (Palestine): The forces of the Zionist gangs Tsel, Irgun and Hagana, fitted out with the Zionist terrorist strategy of killing civilians in order to achieve their aspirations, began stealing into the village on the night of April 9, 1948. Their purpose was to uproot the Palestinian people from their land by coming upon the inhabitants of the village unawares, destroying their homes and burning them down on top of those inside,thereby making clear to the entire world to what depths of barbarism Zionist hadsunk. The attack began as the children were asleep in their mothers’ and fathers’arms. In the words of Menachim Begin as he described events, “the Arabs foughttenaciously in defense of their homes, their women and their children.”
The fighting proceeded from house to house, and whenever the Jews occupied a house, they would blow it up, then direct a call to the inhabitants to flee or face death. Believingthe threat, the people left in terror in hopes of saving their children and women. Butwhat should the Stern and Irgun gangs do but rush to mow down whoever fell withinrange of their weapons. Then, in a picture of barbarism the likes of which humanityhas rarely witnessed except on the part of the most depraved, the terrorists beganthrowing bombs inside the houses in order to bring them down on whoever was inside.
The orders they had received were for them to destroy every house. Behindthe explosives there marched the Stern and Irgun terrorists, who killed whoever theyfound alive. The explosions continued in the same barbaric fashion until theafternoon of April 10, 1948.7 Then they gathered together the civilians who were stillalive, stood them up beside the walls and in corners, then fired on them.
About twenty-five men were brought out of the houses, loaded onto a truck and led on a “victory tour” in the neighborhood of Judah Mahayina and Zakhroun Yousif. At theend of the tour, the men were brought to a stone quarry located between Tahawwu’atShawul and Dair Yasin, where they were shot in cold blood. Then the Etsel and Layhi“fighters” brought the women and the children who had managed to survive up to atruck and took them to the Mendelbaum Gate.
Finally, a Hagana unit came and dug a mass grave in which it buried 250 Arab corpses, most of them women, children and the elderly.
A woman who survived the massacre by the name of Halima Id describes whathappened to her sister. She says, “I saw a soldier grabbing my sister, Salihaal-Halabi, who was nine months pregnant. He pointed a machine gun at her neck,then emptied its contents into her body. Then he turned into a butcher, and grabbeda knife and ripped open her stomach to take out the slaughtered child with his iniquitous Nazi knife.”10 In another location in the village, Hanna Khalil, a girl at thetime, saw a man unsheathing a large knife and ripping open the body her neighborJamila Habash from head to toe.
Then he murdered their neighbor Fathi in the sameway at the entranceway to the house.11 A 40-year-old woman named Safiyadescribes how she was come upon by a man who suddenly opened up his trousers and pounced on her. “I began screaming and wailing. But the women around me were all meeting the same fate. After that they tore off our clothes so that they could fondle our breasts and our bodies with gestures too horrible to describe.”12 Some of the soldiers cut off women’s ears in order to get at a few small earrings.13
Once news of the massacre had gotten out, a delegation from the Red Cross tried to visit the village. However, they weren’t allowed to visit the site until a day after the time they had requested. Meanwhile the Zionists tried to cover up the evidence of their crime. They gathered up as much as they could of the victims’ dismembered corpses, threw them in the village well, then closed it up. And they tried to change the landmarks in the area so that the Red Cross representative wouldn’t be able to find his way there. However, he did find his way to the well, where he found 150 maimed corpses belonging to women, children and the elderly.
And in addition to the bodies which were found in the well, scores of others had been buried in mass graves while still others remained strewn over street corners and in the ruins of houses.
Afterwards, the head of the terrorist Hagana gang which had taken part in burying the Palestinian civilians wrote saying that his group had not undertaken a military operation against armed men, the reason being that they wanted to plant fear in the Arabs’ hearts. This was the reason they chose a peaceable, unarmed village, since in this way they could spread terror among the Arabs and force them to flee.
NASER AL-DIN MASSACRE:
13-14 April 1948 (Palestine) : a contingent of Lehi and Irgon entered this village (near Tiberias) entered the village on the night of 13 April dressed as Arab fighters. Upon their entrance to the village the people went out to greet them, the terrorists met them with fire, killing every single one of them. Only 40 people survived. All the houses of the village were raised to the ground.
THE TANTURA MASSACRE:
May 15, 1948 (Palestine): “From testimonies and information I got from Jewish and Arab witnesses and from soldiers who were there, at least 200 people from the village of Tantura were killed by Israeli troops… “From the numbers, this is definitely one of the biggest massacres,” Teddy Katz an Israeli historian said Tantura, near Haifa in northern Palestine, had 1,500 residents at the time.
It was later demolished to make way for a parking lot for a nearby beach and the Nahsholim kibbutz, or cooperative farm. Fawzi Tanji, now 73 and a refugee at a camp in the West Bank, is from Tantura he said:
I was 21 years old then.They took a group of 10 men,lined them up against the cemetery wall and killed them.Then they brought another group, killed them, threw away the bodies and so on, Tanji said.
I was waiting for my turn to die in cold blood as I saw the men drop in front of me. Katz said other Palestinians were killed inside their homes and in other parts of the village. At one point, he said, soldiers shot at anything that moved.
BEIT DARAS MASSACRE:
21 May 1948 (Palestine): after a number of failed attempts to occupy this village, the Zionists mobilized a large contingent and surrounded the village. The people of Beit Daras decided that women and children should leave. As women and children left the village they were met by the Zionist army who massacred them despite the fact that they could see they were women and children fleeing the fighting.
THE DAHMASH MOSQUE MASSACRE:
11 July 1948 (Palestine): after the Israeli 89th Commando Battalion lead by Moshe Dayan occupied Lydda, the Israelis told Arabs through loudspeakers that if they went into a certain mosque they would be safe. In retaliation for a hand grenade attack after the surrender that killed several Israeli soldiers, 80-100 Palestinians were massacred in the mosque, their bodies lay decomposing for 10 days in the mid-summer heat.
The mosque still stands abandoned today. This massacre spread fear and panic among the Arab population of Lydda and Ramle, who were then ordered to march out of these towns after they were stripped of all personal belonging by Israeli soldiers. Yetzak Rabin, Brigade Commander then says:
There was no way of avoiding the use of force and warning shots in order to make the inhabitants march ten to fifteen miles to the point where they met up with the legion-. Most of the 60,000 inhabitants of Lyda and Ramble came to refugee camps near Ramallah, around 350 lost their lives on the way through dehydration and son stroke. Many survived by drinking their own urine. The conditions in the refugee camps were to claim more lives.
On October 29, 1948, Palestine: the Israeli army brutally massacred about 100 women and children, precipitating a massive flight of people from that village on the western side of the Hebron mountains. Mr. Walid Khalidi, author of All That Remains, says that the Palestinian inhabitants at Dawayma faced one of the larger Israel massacres, though today it is among the least well-known.
The following are excerpts of a description of the massacre published in the Israeli daily ‘Al ha Mishmar, quoted in All That Remains: The children they killed by breaking their heads with sticks. There was not a house without dead…one commander ordered a sapper to put two old women in a certain house…and to blow up the house with them. The sapper refused…the commander then ordered his men to put in the old women and the evil deed was done.
One soldier boasted that he had raped a woman and then shot her… A former mukhtar (head of a village) of Dawayma interviewed in 1984 by the Israeli daily Hadashot, also quoted by Mr. Khalidi, offered another description: The people fled, and everyone they saw in the houses, they shot and killed.
They also killed people in the streets. They came and blew up my house, in the presence of eye-witnesses…the moment that the tanks came and opened fire, I left the village immediately. At about half-past ten, two tanks passed the Darawish Mosque. About 75 old people were there, who had come early for Friday prayers.
They gathered in the mosque to pray. They were all killed.
About 35 families had been hiding in caves outside Dawayma, according to the mukhtar, and when the Israeli forces discovered them they were told to come out, line up, and begin walking. “And as they started to walk, they were shot by machine guns from two sides…we sent people there that night, who collected the bodies, put them into a cistern, and buried them,” the mukhtar told the Israeli daily.
Houla is located in southern Lebanon, only a few kilometers from the Israeli border. When Arab volunteers gathered to liberate Palestine from “Israeli” occupation, they established their headquarters in Houla, on hills overlooking Palestine.
The force was successful in fending off major attacks on Lebanese villages, but the fighters suddenly withdrew on October 26, 1948.” “Jewish militants attacked the town to avenge the residents’ support of Arab resistance forces.
On October 31, Jewish militants dressed in traditional Arab attire entered the border village. Residents gathered to cheer the men, thinking Arab volunteer fighters had returned. They were wrong. The militants rounded up 85 people and detained them in a number of houses, firing live ammunition at the civilians and killing all but three. That was not enough. Jewish militants blew up the houses with dead corpses inside. They confiscated property and livestock.
The three who survived the massacre, of whom one is still alive, and other town residents fled to Beirut. Following the armistice agreement between Lebanon and “Israel” in 1949, village residents returned to find their houses in rubbles and their farms burnt. Houla remains under Israeli occupation today, and has suffered the brunt of “Israeli” animosity towards Lebanon. Only 1,200 out of 12,000 people remain in the village.
The Houla massacre was one of a series of massacres committed by “Israel” against Lebanese civilians.
1948 (Lebanon) : After forcing the population together in the mosque of the village, the occupation forces ordered then to face the wall, then started shooting them from behind until the mosque was turned into bloodbath, 105 person were martyred.