British TV commemorates Israel independence with revisionist history. Misinformed or malevolent?

More about "The Big Lie" referenced previously. How can facts overcome misguided feelings? Here is a factual history of the Arab-Israeli conflict - to help undo the damage of this week's Channel Four's "Battle for the Holy Land" series. Melanie Phillips provides a concise history of Israel and the Disputed Territories (sometimes today referred to as "Palestine").

Channel Four promotion: "As the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War approaches, what prospects are there for peace, justice and coexistence in Israel and Palestine?"

"Jerusalem" C4 Sat 19 May 7.05pm. "Love Thy Neighbour" C4 Mon 21 May 8pm.
The history Conflicting experiences Prospects for peace Find out more

Melanie Phillips and Carol Gould challenge the intent of the broadcasters and the producers and help us understand the mis-truths (malevolences) which underlie their premises:

Ms. Phillips writes:

"The first core myth that Israel is the artificial creation of Holocaust guilt which displaced the rightful Arab owners of Palestine by European Jews. This is totally untrue. The Jewish nation ruled what later became known as Palestine for hundreds of years — almost two millennia before Islam was even invented in the seventh century and the Arabs invaded. And subsequently, during the long centuries of occupation, the Jews retained an unbroken presence in the land.

This recognition was fundamental to the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which committed the British to re-establishing the Jewish national home in Palestine. The British government’s 1922 White Paper on Palestine made the point that Jewish rights in Palestine were not a gift from anyone:

[I]n order that [Palestine’s Jewish] community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognised to rest upon ancient historic connection.

The fact is that there never was an independent state of Palestine. Judea was renamed Palestine when the Romans conquered it to erase its Jewish history. And the period of Arab rule was actually very short, lasting less than one century. During the following centuries Palestine was under protracted periods of Islamic rule, largely through the Turkish or Byzantine empire which was brought to an end when the Turks were defeated in the First World War. But from the time the Jews of Judea were conquered and exiled, apart from the Jews who remained in Palestine the non-Jews who lived there — who we are told were the ancestors of the Palestinian Arabs who were displaced in 1948 after 1000 years of rule — were actually descended from Latins, Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afghans Circassians, Bosnians, Sudanese, Algerians, Tartars, Danes, Russians, Nubians. Oh, and Arabs. The only nation for which Palestine was the historic national home was actually the Jews.

Even under the Mandate, the Arabs in Palestine did not regard themselves as a people seeking nationhood at all. Very few were there before the Jews arrived. The Palestine Royal Commission reported in 1913 that on the road from Gaza to the north, ‘no orange groves orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached Yabna [a Jewish village]… the western part towards the sea was almost a desert… The villages in this area were few and thinly populated’. Sherif Hussein, the guardian of holy places in Arabia, wrote: ‘The resources if the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants’.

Many Arabs moved to Palestine on the back of the prosperity brought by the returning Jews during the first half of the 20th century. Between 1922 and 1947, the Arab population in Palestine rose by 120 per cent. And they regarded themselves as mainly Syrian. In 1937, the Peel Commission found that the Palestinian Arabs and their kinsmen in Syria ‘clung to the principle that Palestine was part of Syria and should never have been cut off from it’.

The idea that the Jews kicked out the indigenous Arabs was also a myth. The
Jews bought most of the land from the Arabs —mainly absentee Arab landlords — as many Arab sources have testified, such as King Abdullah of Transjordan, who wrote that the Arabs were ‘as prodigal in selling their land as they are in useless wailing and weeping’.

The second great myth of injustice is that the Jews drove out the Arabs when Israel was created in 1948. But the evidence is that most of them fled because they were told to do so by the Arab world. Various Arab newspapers excoriated those who were abandoning their houses and businesses. Syria’s Primer Minister after 1948, Khaled al Azm, wrote in his memoirs: ‘Since 1948 it is we who demanded the return of the refugees. while it was we who made them leave…We brought disaster upon the refugees, by inviting them and bringing pressure to bear upon them to leave…We have rendered them dispossessed…’ The Economist, never a friend of Israel, reported that the most potent factors for the Arabs’ flight were ‘the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive urging the Arabs to quit…It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades’.

Only very recently a columnist in the Palestinian Authority’s official paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, acknowledged the same thing. The columnist, Mahmud Al-Habbash, wrote that in 1948, Palestinian Arabs left their homes willingly under the instruction of their own Arab leaders and their false promises of a prompt return. And if we’re talking refugees, there were more Jewish refugees from Arab lands than Arabs who fled Israel. Far from being a European imposition, half of Israel’s population came from the Arab world where an estimated 800,000 were forced out during that period alone, almost double the number of 472,000 Arabs who fled Palestine, according to figures from the UN Mediator on Palestine.

In 1946 the British politician Richard Crossman, who served on the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine, wrote in his book Palestine Mission: ‘Looking at the position of the Palestinian Arab, I have to admit that no western colonist in any other country had done so little harm, or disturbed so little the life of the indigenous people’.

The next great myth of injustice is that Israel has stopped the Palestinians from having their own state. We are about to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, from which come all the allegations of the illegal occupation of the disputed territories. We will celebrate the triumph, and indeed the miracle, of that war. But many of us don’t even fully appreciate that the Jewish presence in these territories is entirely legal and indeed just. That doesn’t mean it is desirable — but that’s a quite different matter.

The first thing to note about this myth is that the Jews have always accepted two states in Palestine. A Palestinian Arab state was on offer in 1937, 1948 and 2000, but the Arabs always refused it and chose to try to destroy Israel instead. It’s also important to realise that two states were indeed established. In1920, Britain was given a mandate by the League of Nations to establish a Jewish national home within Palestine. At that time, Palestine included what is now Jordan. One year later Winston Churchill gave almost 80 per cent of Palestine away to King Abdullah to form what is now Jordan. Jordan is, in fact, east Palestine. So when the Palestinian Arabs say they are being expected to accept a tiny fraction of what is rightfully their, this is a deep distortion of history.

It was the Jews who were forced to accept a tiny fraction of what was rightfully theirs. The Palestinians were given their state. The problem is that they never wanted the Jews to have theirs.

Moreover, Article 25 of the Mandate emphasised that it extended both west and east of the Jordan River: ‘in the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine.’ In other words, the ‘occupied territories’ actually form part of the original land of Palestine within which the British were enjoined to establish the Jewish national home. And rightly so — after all places like Hebron are part of our ancient and sacred history. These territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza were indeed illegally occupied — but by Jordan and Egypt, between 1948 and 1967. To repeat: I am not suggesting that Israel should retain Judea and Samaria. Indeed, I think it should not. But it is very important to point out that the Jews are entitled to them, according to both law and history, and that the great injustice was done to us.

It is claimed that the Israeli ‘occupation’ is illegal. But it is not. It is legal, not least because Jewish rights there do not derive from Israel’s capture of the territories in 1967. They derive from the Mandate.

This secured Jewish rights to a homeland and to ‘close settlement’ in Palestine. In doing so, it did not distinguish between Judea and Samaria and the rest of western Palestine. Nothing since that time has abrogated those terms for territories that have not yet come under the sovereignty of any state.
Those rights did not expire upon the demise of the League of Nations or the creation of the United Nations. Article 80 of the UN, Charter expressly preserves such ‘rights of peoples’ as existed under League mandates.

Eugene V Rostow, who as undersecretary of state during the Johnson administration helped draft the famous UN Security Council Resolution 242 after the 1967 war, has written that Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip constitute portions of the Palestine Mandate trust territory that have not yet been allocated to a sovereign.

Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School, concludes that the Mandate remains in force for those regions. Similarly, contrary to the refrain of various United Nations resolutions, the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention does not render Jewish settlement in these territories unlawful because these territories have never been lawfully part of a sovereign state.

Resolution 242 itself, which states the general principles on which ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ should be established, leaves the issue of territorial rights open for resolution by agreement among the parties. By stressing the importance of security, highlighting the right of all states to live ‘within secure and recognized boundaries’ and refraining from calling for withdrawal from all the newly acquired territories, Resolution 242 envisions that peace talks will produce borders different from the 1949 armistice lines. If the Security Council had intended that Israel withdraw its forces to a definite line, it could have said so.

We are told repeatedly that Israel is behaving illegally and that it must observe international law. So we should insist that the legal demarcations of the (British) Mandate which have never been rescinded should be recognised and upheld. It is not enough for us to say that Israel was attacked in 1967 and won a famous victory, because it is its behaviour since then that has been called into question. So to defend Israel, we must remind people of this history and this law. We have allowed the running to be made by people who misrepresent both.

There are those who believe that making such facts better known is a waste of time because the vilification of Israel is a prejudice which is not susceptible to reason. Call me an incorrigible optimist (!) but I beg to differ. Much of this madness is based on profound ignorance, which in turn has been fed by an equally profound evil. It is perfectly possible for decent people to be misled into believing indecent things. Only when people are taught the truth will the big lie finally be nailed."

(Editor's note") Now that broadcasted (damning) damage has been done, how much retraction or re-correction programming will the Ch 4 and other broadcasters produce and air to replace the innacurate, anti-Israel/Semitic attitudes already generated from these airings? How effective will that 'campaign' be in reversing mis-perceptions?

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