Sunday, July 22, 2007

Israel’s Primal Myth: A Barrier to Peace

Read Barry Lando's full essay at TruthDig here
"The myth goes like this: In 1948, when the Arabs attacked the newly declared state of Israel, the Arab population fled by the hundreds of thousands. They left not because of attacks by Israeli soldiers but because of the calls of their own Arab leaders, who guaranteed them a speedy return once the Arab armies had triumphed over the upstart Jewish state. Indeed, they fled despite the attempts of many Israelis—as was movingly portrayed in the film “Exodus”—to convince their Palestinian neighbors to remain. Why should such treacherous people have the right to return? Not to mention the fact that their return by the millions would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state."
"But since the early 1990s a new generation of Israeli historians and investigative journalists—drawing on formerly classified documents as well as recollections of Israeli leaders of the War of Independence—has demolished the traditional Israeli position. According to their research, the Palestinians fled their villages not in response to a call from Arab leaders but because of a concerted campaign of terror—including massacres and rape—perpetrated by military units of the newly declared Israeli state. "

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