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Date: Sun, 5 Jul 98 12:51:18 CDT
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Palestine Information Bulletin July 1 1998
Article: 38401
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.23058.19980706061537@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** mideast.gulf: 163.0 **/
** Topic: Palestine Information Bulletin **
** Written 5:03 AM Jul 4, 1998 by ihr@eng.gla.ac.uk in cdp:mideast.gulf **

The Continuing Catastrophe

Scottish Friends of Palestine,
Palestine Information Bulletin, 1 July 1998

1st July 1998 Information concerning sources can be obtained from Scottish Friends of Palestine

At the start of July Yosef Weitz of the Jewish National Fund was reported to have suspended his campaign of destruction of Palestinian villages. This resulted from opposition in the Israeli Cabinet from members of Mapam, and others, which effectively terminated the activities of this first, unofficial and self-appointed Transfer Committee.

It was the month when the contradiction between destroying Arab villages and the need to preserve them in order to accommodate incoming Zionist settlers started to make itself evident. In Haifa and Jaffa, with the remaining Arab residents concentrated into ghetto areas, the largest concentrations of empty Arab houses were to be found. It was proposed that 2 000 new immigrant families would go to Haifa, with 1 000 families going to Jaffa.

Further contradictions and ironies arose when it came to the looting of the harvest of abandoned Palestinian fields. Some settlements avoided payment to the government for the produce they were stealing from the fields. Kibbutz Maayan Zvi received a letter from the Committee for Abandoned Property I heard with bewilderment and sorrow that [your] members . . are stealing vegetables in the eastern fields of Tantura. Dont your members have a more honourable way to spend their time these days?6

[July] 1948

During this month, outright expulsion of the Palestinian people from their land and villages moved up a gear despite,as Israeli historian, Benny Morris, insisted there was no Cabinet or IDF [Israeli Defence Force] General Staff-level decision to expel the Arab population. It became clear that from July onward, there was a growing readiness in the IDF units to do just that.1

July 1

The Arab League continued to study the peace proposals of Count Bernadotte with the need to recognise the existence of a Jewish State promising to be a major stumbling block for any acceptance of the proposals. Of the Zionist reaction, there was no sign.

The Count indicated that if either side should turn the plan down he would consider that his mission had ended and return the mandate to the United Nations.

At a press conference King Abdullah indicated that the seriousness of the situation to the Arab States was not merely due to the Jews but also to the world wide supporters of the Jews.2

July 2

Both the Arab League and the Provisional Government of the State of Israel announced their rejection of Bernadottes proposals for Palestine. In the case of Israel, the main stumbling blocks were immigration and Jerusalem.

The mediator was told that there was a six month limit from May 21 on his efforts at mediation.

Meanwhile there was the odd comment or two, in the media, with regard to events within Palestine. Outside Haifa, Balfour Forest (named after Lord Balfour, whose name was firmly attached to events leading to the disspossession of the Palestinian people) on the slopes of the Nazareth hills was set ablaze by soldiers of the Arab Liberation Army. Roads in the Jezreel Valley were raked by mortar bombs.

In an effort to restrict the movement of Zionist dissidents, particularly those of the Irgun, it was reported that Israeli representatives in several European capitals had been told to use discretion in issuing entry permits.

With 93 military observers in Palestine, 31 each from the US, France and Belgium, disquiet was expressed at the manner in which they, and the Americans in particular, were carrying out their duties at Bab al Wad and at other points in Palestine by the Arabs. This, together with the earlier theft of two tanks and the illegal landing of nearly 1 000 Irgun terrorists made the extension of the truce very unlikely.

July 4

It was reported that the Irgun was massing its forces in Jerusalem, allegedly avoiding detection by arriving in small groups. They were operating openly without fear of arrest. Only a few ring-leaders remained detained, with many previously arrested being released. It was clear that the government was trying to avoid opening a further breach with the terrorists with negotiations going on to allow their re-entry into the army.

There were Zionist complaints that the Arab forces in Jerusalem had breached the truce. This was countered by a communique from the Transjordan Defence Ministry accusing the Zionist forces of several breaches. An advance on an Arab Legion sentry post had been forced to retreat under heavy covering fire from Hadassah Hospital. It resulted in a number of exchanges between the opposing forces until midnight.

Details of Bernadottes plan emerged. Suggested was a union between Israel and an enlarged Transjordan. Emphasis was given to the reallocation of the Palestine territories allotted to Arab and Zionist Jew. This would remove some of the jig-saw aspects of the original partition plan, by creating two homogenous blocks. The current status quo with the Zionists in control of Western Galilee (and Jaffa) and the Arabs holding the Negev would prevail. Equal rights would be given in Haifa. It was argued that with the truce being of great benefit to the Zionists, and Bernadottes proposals offering them all they had demanded in the past, there was no valid need for the Zionists to demur.

It was confirmed that the proposals would not, unlike the original partition plan, be imposed upon the parties. There would have to be mutual acceptance.

Out of the lime-light, the process of ensuring that any returning Palestinian family would have no home to which they could return, continued apace.

Within the Cabinet of the provisional government of Israel, agricultural minister Zisling raised the issue of the destruction of villages in the Jezreel Valley, on the orders of the army.

Meanwhile, seemingly light years away and giving no hint of being aware of the inhumanity being perpetrated against the Palestinian people, the World Jewish Congress, meeting at Montreux, expressed the sentiment that the State of Israel might occupy a position in the Middle East analagous to that of Switzerland in Europe.

July 5

An extension to the 4 week truce was proposed by Count Bernadotte. He also suggested that Jerusalem, Haifa, its port, refineries and terminals should be demilitarised. with armed guards from those countries already providing observers being stationed in the demilitarised areas.

An Israeli communique accused the Egyptians of violating the truce by sniping and shelling the isolated Zionist colony of Kfar Darom in southern Palestine.

Jewish leaders of the 1 700 strong Jewish community in the town of Safad - from which the 10 000 Palestinian Arab residents had fled in May reiterated an earlier plea. If Jewish Zionist settlers were not brought to Safad, then it were best that the Arab houses. . .be destroyed and blown up lest the Arabs have somewhere to return to.3

The provisional government of Israel replied to Count Bernadottes of 27th June demanding that Israel recognise the rights of Palestinian to return to their homes and regain possession of their property. The reply was in the negative, dismissing a number of the mediators suggestions and suggesting that e reconsider his whole approach to the problem.4

Even when promises had been given that refugees could return, these were eventually ignored. One such case was in the surrender agreement with Jaffa where it was agreed that those who wanted to come back could do so - as long as their presence did not present a

security risk. A letter written on behalf of Ben Gurion said . . the prime minister is opposed to the return of the Arab inhabitants to their places so long as the war continues . .5

July 6

With two days remaining of the truce, Count Bernadotte began 48 hours of intensified effort to bring Arab and Zionist Jew together, with some form of limited agreement. The Israeli provisional government published its rejection of the Counts proposals stating that they would resist with all force imposition of Arab rule over Jerusalem.

The UN Palestine Truce Commission suffered its first casualty. A French officer was killed and another injured when their jeep hit a land mine near Nazareth.

The IDF General-Staff issued an order that outwith the actual time of combat, it was forbidden to destroy, burn or demolish Arab towns and villages and expel their inhabitants unless permission or explicit instruction was given.

It was a humane looking instruction on paper and brought about a suspension of the activities of Yosef Weitz and his Transfer Committee. The reality was to prove to be different in that the Israeli army continued to demolish villages, apparently with Ben Gurions tacit approval.

July 7

It was reported that Arab leaders were convinced that Count Bernadottes advisers were all partisans of partition and the Zionist state. They would therefore resist diplomatic efforts to persuade them to accept a further cease fire.

Five Britons, officials of the British-owned Jerusalem Electric Corporation, were kidnapped by armed Zionists in Jerusalem. They were taken to an internment camp somewhere in the city.

The Times correspondent filed a report which included an item on the Jewish defence army parading in Jerusalem with its armour and other artifacts of war on full display. Members of the truce commission and the consular corps attended a ceremony where the flag of Jerusalem was handed over to the Jerusalem district commander.

A reader could be excused for wondering if The Times had lost its objectivity or sense of reality. After all, it was only modern or West Jerusalem that was under Zionist occupation. A glance at the end of the article explained this rewriting of reality. It included the one word Censored. Already the outside world was being presented with a sanitised, Zionist view of events.

The Givati Brigade were issued with their operational orders. The 1st Battalion was to take Tall as Safi area, in the south of Palestine, and to expel the refugees encamped in the area with the excuse added to expel the refugees encamped in the area with the excuse added to prevent enemy infiltration from the east.7