1948-2008

Commemorating 60 Years Since The Nakba

expressing his agreement with the plan put forward.” z From the Files of 1948 . 1948 in the Foreign Office. one by a majority of eight and the other by the remaining three members. the Palestinians had made no preparation to govern themselves... or the Mufti would return and try to make himself ruler of Arab Palestine. On November 29. z From the Files of 1948 . . 1947. Tawfiq Abul Huda (left) and Gen. On January 5. announcing in the House of Commons that “we have decided that we are unable to accept schemes put forward either by the Arabs or the Jews. the rest would form the Palestinian State. and an army to assume power upon termination of the mandate. 1947. nor did they have the means of creating an army... and injuring many more. British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin received the Prime Minister of Trans-Jordan. Abul Huda forecast that one of two things would happen: either the Jews would ignore the UN Partition Plan and seize the whole of Palestine up to the River Jordan.. A History of Modern Palestine. The majority report advocated the partition of Palestine into two states with an economic union. The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was formed of eleven UN members to determine the fate of Palestine. or to impose ourselves a solution of our own. the Committee presented two different recommendations to the General Assembly. The Trans-Jordan government accordingly proposed to send the Arab Legion across the Jordan when the mandate ended and to occupy that part of Palestine awarded to the Arabs which was contiguous with the frontier of Trans-Jordan. 2007 z From the Files of 1948 . 1948.Avi Shlaim. a police force. reached the conclusion that the only course now open to us is to submit the problem to the judgment of the United Nations. z From the Files of 1948 . On February 18th. 1988 . John Glubb (Glubb Pasha) on February 7. British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin (left) announced the submission of the Palestine problem to the UN. Cambridge University Press. the Western Galilee and the Negev.Ilan Pappe.. killing 20 civilians. “It seems the obvious thing to do” responded Ernest Bevin.. The minority report proposed a single federal state in Palestine founded upon democratic principles.. with the designated Jewish area comprising most of the coastal area. including the Spanish Consul Viscount de Taipa. the Haganah blew up the Palestinian-owned Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem. Abul Huda observed that while the Jews had prepared a government. . Collusion Across the Jordan. therefore. If the situation was left as it was. We have.

Palestinian irregulars blew up buildings on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. how do I sleep While the spectrum of torture is in my eyes? I purify the world with your name And if your love did not tire me out.. but went even further than the United States and supported the strong already existing Jewish forces with arms and men. living within my innermost soul. Will I ever see you again? My memory of you is fresh day and night. And nowhere can we witness the incalculable force of the raison d’état as we do in Stalin’s Palestine policy. But the most important Soviet contribution to the establishment of the Jewish State came in the form of a massive supply of heavy arms. Jaffa! my eyes shed blood after the tears have dried. that ancient doctrine long ago discovered by Machiavelli but still held in esteem and at work with the chanceries of the great powers.z From the Files of 1948 .. The escaping streams are calling me.. And on the horizon appears the dye. Mahmud Al-Hut z From the Files of 1948 . Beloved Palestine! How do I live Away from your plains and mounds? The feet of mountains that are dyed with blood Are calling me. and planes through Czechoslovakia…” .. The caravans of days pass and talk about The conspiracy of enemies and friends. The weeping shores are calling me And my weeping echoes in the ears of time. On February 22nd. Journal of Palestine Studies. . We Will Return Abdelkarim Al-Karmi (Abu Salma) Beloved Palestine. Your orphan cities are calling me And your villages and domes.Ibrahim Ibrahim. 1971-72 z From the Files of 1948 . . tanks... derision for that life is one’s only response. Stalin (left) acted as a mid-wife in the act of creation of Israel. He not only supported the partition plan at the United Nations. The largest single consignments to Palestine of specially trained illegal Jewish immigrants were released from Soviet controlled Black Sea ports during 1947-48. I would’ve kept my feelings a secret. What ails my heart? Wherever I go it sadly cries: Alas my homeland! Whatever opulence in life one gains. which contradicted the whole Marxist and Bolshevik view of Zionism. “The making of the Jewish State”. Like Truman. z From the Files of 1948 “The Zionists understood how to conform to the raison d’état... killing 57 Jewish civilians and injuring 100... They are becoming foreign in their land.

. and saw all the leaders. On December 18th. gave him a foretaste of what he was to find everywhere. of a compromise solution. z From the Files of 1948 . and ignorance which was little less crass. itself affiliated to a political aggrandizer.. The ‘partition’ of Palestine proposed by UNSCOP was no such thing. Zionist in substance. chose to befog the issue by calling this transaction a ‘compromise’. ‘compromise’ implies mutual concession. He visited in succession Damascus. The very idea of partition was abhorrent to the Arabs of Palestine and it was against it that they had fought their bitter. for us there is only the concept of the Arab world” . Palestine is My Country. F. Also.” . with whom he was well acquainted. and seeing Musa’s expression of incredulity he went on ‘Yes. Arab League Secretary-General Abdel Rahman Azzem Pasha rejected the UNSCOP proposals..G. The proposed plan may be logical. and Zionist in most details.’ the Syrian President assured him... You may perhaps achieve something by force of arms… [The UN] speaks of the Middle East. desperate and costly fight in the years 1937-39.Walid Khalidi quoted in Avi Shlaim. 1988 z From the Files of 1948 . Furlonge. a tinsmith…’ Elsewhere Musa found equal complacency. You will achieve nothing with talk of compromise and peace.. we fortunately found a very clever fellow. to the protagonists. it was made locally. It was Zionist in inspiration. Collusion Across the Jordan. But whereas in 1937 partition had been recommended by the royal commission of an imperial power it was now the ostensibly disinterested verdict of an impartial international body. “In February 1948 Musa Alami (left) visited Arab capitals in order to discover how much help the brethren were really likely to give.Avi Shlaim. This endowed the concept with the attributes of objectivity and even- handedness – in short. 1969 .” . but the fate of nations is not decided by rational reasoning. What were the Zionists conceding? You can only really concede what you possess. saying “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood. ‘I am happy to tell you. in Damascus. Collusion Across the Jordan. For us there is no such concept. Cairo and Amman. Nations never give up. “The name of the plan was the old one of partition. however grudgingly. But a compromise by definition is an arrangement acceptable. and I can tell you in confidence that we even have an atomic bomb’. Baghdad. His first stop. 1988 z From the Files of 1948 . Zionist in principle. ‘that our Army and its equipment are of the highest order and well able to deal with a few Jews. 1947. What possessions in Palestine were the Zionists conceding? None at all… It surely goes against the grain of human nature to expect the party that would suffer this reversal to enter into the transaction just because some third party.

Unlike Haifa. attacked in force. The Wound of Dispossession. and soon thereafter the scattering of the city’s military defenders.000 Arabs remained.. were ‘as they still are. which delivered them to Gaza or Beirut or Egypt or. Some of the fleeing civilians walked inland. the Jewish army. In addition to that. the precipitate flight of Jaffa’s leaders. “Walid Khalidi (left) condemns the Zionists and their Western sponsors for the indifference shown to the horrifying fate of German and Polish Jews.” .. the protégés of their Anglo-American sponsors and the emanations of their power.’ Any immigration of the Jewish communities to the West would negate the very raison d’être of the Zionist ideology.000 of Haifa’s original 70. Palestine and Palestine only was the ‘Promised Land. however. the knowledge by Jaffa’s inhabitants of the massacre two weeks earlier at the village of Deir Yassin. most took flight in boats.. but but by the time Haifa fell and the Irgun opened a major offensive against Jaffa on April 25.000-60. in overcrowded conditions and rough seas. homes empty.. however.000. “The exodus from Haifa began in December 1947 when fighting led to a general breakdown of the city’s leadership and services. 2001 . This has been clear to the Zionists from the days of Herzl…” z From the Files of 1948 . the vast majority of the city’s inhabitants – some 50. The city’s remaining Arab civilian population began to flee in fear. and when early on April 21 British troops began a premature withdrawal. by a force made up of the Irgun and the Stern Gang. as in that of official Zionist leadership’. capsized and delivered them to an early death. largely the middle and upper classes. By early May. because they..000 Arabs. to induce a mass exodus of civilians similar to Haifa’s: three days of heavy mortar bombardment by Irgun. They were demoralized. His condemnation is surely justifiable on humane and moral grounds. the Zionists could not afford the renunciation of their ‘tacit agreement’ with their masters. as terrified residents clogged ports and roads. But Haifans were already in headlong flight. with a population of approximately 70.. leaving belongings behind. and panicked by the killing less than two weeks earlier of 250 civilians at the village of Deir Yassin. they could not alienate their sponsors. In point of fact.Kathleen Christison. two Jewish terrorist groups. essentially defenseless. had left. and by January fully one-third of Haifa’s 70. a small Arab enclave to be surrounded by the Jewish state and immediately adjacent to the largest Jewish city. The exodus continued for a week. agricultural land untended. On the evening of April 22. the Haganah. Some 15. resources and will’.. only 3. ‘…an accusing finger should be pointed as much in the direction of Western immigration legislation.000-4. was an all- Arab city and also unlike Haifa. z From the Files of 1948 .000 – were still there.” z From the Files of 1948 . “The city of Jaffa fell to Jewish forces within days of Haifa’s surrender.000 Palestinians are believed to have left Haifa on April 22. Several factors soon combined. what remained of the city’s Arab leadership formally surrendered and urged Arab evacuation in order not to be seen to be acquiescing in Jewish rule. This is so. near Jerusalem. the Zionists were consistent and true to themselves. Fighting continued sporadically into April. Fighting and major disruptions of urban services began early here too.. had been designated in the UN Partition Plan as part of the Arab state. Jaffa. Tel Aviv.

he was killed on April 8th. and was buried at the Al-Aqsa Mosque the next day. Strong lobbying by the Jewish community in the US averted this change of policy. but it indicated the feebleness of the UN’s commitment to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.. z From the Files of 1948 .. in our country and Syria and the Lebanon. Collusion Across the Jordan. Alleluia.” (Ilan Pappe. Hearts and eyes once sang: ‘Lord of Glory’.. inherited his father’s dedication to the Palestinian cause and was an eminent politician until his death in 2001. Abdul Qader’s son. 2004) z From the Files of 1948 . returning to Palestine in secret ten years later to lead the Palestinian fighters.. Truman kept the State Department and the British totally in the dark… For the Zionists. Jenin.000 in Palestine.. the United States withdrew its endorsement for the partition plan on the grounds that it could only be implemented by force. the president informed Chaim Weizmann in the greatest secrecy that he would President Truman (L) with Chaim Weizmman recognize a Jewish State if they went at the White House on May 25 1948 ahead and declared it. Purgatory of sorrows. Abdel Qader Husseini (left) was the capable and charismatic commander of Jihad al-Muqaddas. They began with an insignificant community of 60. 1948 during the battle of Qastel near Jerusalem. “Look what they have done in only 27 years.000 of them in Iraq and they hold the commerce of the country in their hands. in the wind in exile. A member of Jerusalem’s influential Husseini family. It is the same in Egypt… “ Transjordanian PM Samir al-Rifai.. the major irregular Palestinian force resisting the Zionists in the 1948 War. . 1988) “On March 19th. z From the Files of 1948 . In a severe blow to the Palestinian leadership. A Palestinian Psalm Samih Al-Qassim From this wounded land.000 in 1920 and now are 700. in Iraq and Egypt. Old Jerusalem. There are 150.. and proposed instead that Palestine be put under the trusteeship of the UN for five years before a review aimed at a permanent settlement. he was a key figure in the 1936 Arab Revolt and was exiled by the British in 1938.. A History of Modern Palestine. Give them another 25 years and they will be all over the Middle East. “No outsider… played a more lamentable or duplicitous role in the Palestinian situation than President Truman. the implications of this message were unmistakeable…” (Avi Shlaim. O World! From Gaza. For while the US State Department was making every effort to avert war in Palestine by means of a cease-fire and a temporary postponement of Jewish statehood. Faisal Husseini. We’ve been tired too long Send us back! Alleluia. and have mobilized their money and influence to obtain a state from the UNO. telling British correspondents that the Arab z From the Files of 1948 . Under the sun. 1948. The orphaned birds call you. Alleluia.

And I… was seized with great fear and even expressed the apprehension and suspicion that behind [the decision to enter Palestine] lies a foreign intrigue and for this reason I opposed it very firmly....Hajj Amin quoted in Avi Shlaim. Yet they also hoped that Abdallah would succeed in taking over certain territories important to Britain’s imperial interests. This situation increased friction between Qawuqji’s ALA and the AHC’s Forces of Sacred Struggle. The British ruled out the first alternative as non-viable but quite a few officials preferred the second one… From their point of view. was strongly opposed not only to the 1947 Partition Plan. The rivalry between the mufti and the Arab League intensified when the league refused to provide loans and funds for the AHC and seized control of the recruitment and training of ALA volunteers. 1988 . he and his military colleagues were critical of the largely irregular local Palestinian units – the mufti’s Army of Sacred Struggle… The Palestinian fighters refused to accept the ruling of the Arab League and recognize Qawuqji as their commander in chief. Collusion Across the Jordan. Hajj Amin Al-Husseini. “Fawzi al-Qawuqji saw himself as the representative of the Arab League with no obligations to the Arab Higher Council. the High Commander of Arab Forces in Palestine b) Partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state with considerable terrirorial modifications in favour of the Arabs. The Birth of Israel. regarding the King’s alternatives. On the contrary. The majority of the Arab states did not express their agreement to the despatch of their forces into Palestine but persistent foreign pressure on some of the Arabs in responsible positions at that time was so great that it overcame all resistance. the Grand Mufti of Palestine and President in absentia of the Arab Higher Committee... c) Partition of Palestine and annexation of its Arab part according to the UN division lines.Simha Flapan. but to external Arab military involvement in the War of 1948: “The previously agreed Arab plan… determined that Arab League troops entering Palestine the Palestinians can be relied on in the fight for Palestine and that the Arab states would supply them with arms and money… but that the regular Arab armies would not enter Palestine. amendment of the partition lines in favour of the Arabs could serve a double purpose. The rivalry climaxed in Qawuqji’s rejection of an appeal from Abdel Qader Husseini to come to his aid in the decisive battle with the Haganah near Jerusalem in 1948.” z From the Files of 1948 . Abdallah’s order of priorities was as follows: a) Control of Palestine. King Abdallah is declared given to the Jews.” . At a meeting of Arab leaders held in Cairo under the with a certain autonomy patronage of King Farouk. z From the Files of 1948 . it came to weighing desirability versus attainability.” .. “It would seem that Abdallah and the British Foreign Office were thinking along similar lines when. 1988 z From the Files of 1948 . They shared Abdallah’s view that hopefully it would prevent the Arab states from accusing him of treason and collaboration with the UN and the Jews. They preferred their own popular Abdel Qader Husseini.

. z From the Files of 1948 ..) . one-third of the Palestinian population had already been evicted. with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight.. 5708. Deir Yassin was a small Palestinian village near Jerusalem which had made and scrupulously abided by a non-aggression agreement with the Haganah. “Yigal Allon asked Ben- Gurion what was to be done with the civilian population. In the second phase. appeared for the first time. z From the Files of 1948 . Collusion Across the Jordan. until the establishment of the elected. who had fled Palestine by January 1948. “More than any other single event.was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz- Israel the Jewish State. the Irgun and the Stern Gang launched an attack on the village and massacred over 245 Palestinians. such as the British Army. the 6th Iyar..” “Driving out” is a term with a harsh ring. The British were officially responsible for law and order during the early phases of the removal of the indigenous population. “The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people .” -Yitzhak Rabin. By the time the British left in the beginning of May. established participants. The end of the Mandate also signalled the end of the first phase in the 1948 War. which was akin to a civil war situation. a depopulation that was assisted by a first wave of around 70. 1948.. disappeared. There was no way of avoiding the use of force and warning shots in order to make the inhabitants march the ten or fifteen miles to the point where they met up with the Arab Legion. z From the Files of 1948 .. On April 9th.the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe . which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the community of nations… WE DECLARE that.” (Avi Shlaim. and lasted for six months from December 1947 to May 1948.000 Palestinians belonging to the social and economic elite of the country.. the eve of Sabbath. it was responsible for breaking the spirit of the civilian population and setting in motion the mass exodus of Arabs from Palestine. such as Arab regular armies. and new ones. The population of Lydda did not leave willingly. 1988. this was one of the most difficult actions we undertook.. regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than z From the Files of 1948 . Psychologically. Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture of “Drive them out. This departure of the urban elite explains in part why the expulsion policy was so effective in that first phase of the war in and around the mixed Arab-Jewish towns as well as in western Jerusalem.

. two months after the death of his superior Abdel Qader al-Husseini – a double blow to the Palestinian leadership which severely damaged Palestinian morale. A warning was issued to the British prior to the explosion. in violation… of the covenant of the League of Nations. a bomb planted by the Irgun under the orders of future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin destroyed the southern wing used by the British and killed over 90 people. z From the Files of 1948 . “During the last 25 years.. Hassan Salameh (left) had been a leader of the 1936 Palestinian Revolt and was the second in command of the Palestinian Jihad al-Muqaddas guerrilla force during the 1948 war. 1948. but it went unheeded. The Balfour Declaration on which this policy was based was a vague and one-sided encouragement made by Great Britain to alien Jews in the absence and complete ignorance of the Arab owners of the country… The creation of an alien Jewish state in Palestine would mean a running sore that would undoubtedly become a permanent source of trouble in the Middle East..” Jamal Al-Husseini (left) of the Arab Higher Committee addressing the London Roundtable Conference. 1946.. z From the Files of 1948 . From Diary of a Palestinian Wound. During the British Mandate. An autocratic administration was set up with the primary aim of assisting the Jews in their invasion of Palestine. 1947 . z From the Files of 1948 . z From the Files of 1948 . part of Jerusalem’s prestigious King David Hotel was used as a military headquarters by the British authorities. January 29... He was killed in the battle of Ras al-Ain on June 2. Mahmoud Darwish My homeland is not a travelling bag.. Palestine has been denied the right to self-government. On July 22.. nor am I a passing traveller. It is I who am the lover and the land is my beloved.

. In other words. 2001 z From the Files of 1948 . no Palestinian village immediately west of Jerusalem remained in existence. Israeli leaders quickly settled Jewish immigrants in these areas. Ramallah and Nablus. no Palestinians remained in either the once predominantly Arab sections of Jerusalem or the former mixed neighborhoods in the center of the city. Indeed. John Glubb. as amply demonstrated by their unwillingness to support the mufti’s belligerent strategies. 2001 “Lt-Gen. The Wound of Dispossession. all formerly Arab neighborhoods of West Jerusalem. the towns were regarded by Israeli leaders as an obstacle to control of the Tel Aviv- Jerusalem corridor and as a potential staging base for Transjordan’s Arab Legion and a threat to Tel Aviv. had been repopulated by Jews. in the summer of 1949.’” . the villages. By the time Israel was a year old. Rather. If we appoint military governors and then the Jews take them.. z From the Files of 1948 . neither of the Arab sides intended to engage in a life- and-death struggle with the Jews of Palestine.Kathleen Christison.. though they opposed its territorial dimensions and designs. for all their bloodcurdling propaganda. 1998 . the [Transjordanian] Prime Minister answered: ‘We decided that we cannot hold Lydda and Ramle. Although within the territory designated by the partition plan for the Arab state..000.’ The feeling was reciprocated by the mufti.Kathleen Christison. on the first day of the invasion the government appointed military governors to Hebron. In addition. had been leveled and their inhabitants dispersed.. as well as the sites of depopulated Arab villages. “The battle for Jerusalem and its environs was the hardest fought of the war. whom numerous resources were later to hold responsible for the loss of the towns. Abdallah declared that ‘the mufti must be removed from the picture soon. the commander of the Arab Legion.000-70. it will look worse. lay two miles apart on the main route between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 1988 z From the Files of 1948 . “[The Arab nations] formulated their attitudes and policies towards the Palestinians and the Zionists not only on the basis of ideology and the substance of the conflict but also from the pont of view of its potential impact on the clash between the Hashemites and their adversaries. including Deir Yassin.Simha Flapan. King Abdallah and Palestine. The Birth of Israel. obviating any possibility that the Palestinian natives could ever return.” .” .. Upon Glubb’s enquiry why no such appointments were made for Ramle and Lydda that were also squarely within the territory of the UN-designated Arab state. as his most dangerous enemy. “The twin towns of Lydda and Ramla. not the Jews. The Wound of Dispossession. Speaking… about his only real contender for power in the region. the ‘Palestinian problem’ was merely one of the battlefields on which contradictory trends in the Arab world were fought out. Israeli forces launched a dual attack on the towns on July 9. and at any price. and the months-long battle was devastating to the Palestinians. Indeed. By July when a cease-fire was imposed. King Abdallah (left) regarded the mufti. …claimed that the Transjordanian government decided on 15 May 1948 to relinquish them… Furthermore. swollen by refugees from Jaffa and other nearby towns.Joseph Nevo. with a population between them of probably 50. The issue was not the creation and existence of the Jewish state – both Arab camps were ready to come to terms with with this new reality on certain conditions. Jerusalem. the issue was again political control.” .

The intention behind it was to change the course of history by signaling to the outside world that the Israeli people would not allow any foreigners to dictate their borders and to compel the Israeli government to display greater resolution in asserting Israel’s rights. however. Collusion Across the Jordan. King Faruq (left) decided to enter the 1948 War against the advice of his prime minister..L... From Diary of a Palestinian Wound. Rogan and A. he submitted his first progress report to the UN recommending that Jerusalem be put under UN control with a maximum of local autonomy for the Arab and Jewish communities. Yitzhak Shamir. z From the Files of 1948 . In September. one of the chief architects of the assassination.. -E. and the major political parties. and that the UN should affirm “the right of the Arab refugees to return to their homes at the earliest possible date”. the army.. “Egypt’s decision to intervene in the Palestine War was influenced by political and tactical considerations. The outside world. Despite the skepticism of the members of parliament and their questioning of the wisdom of intervention. In June 1948 UN mediator in Palestine Count Bernadotte (left) sent a letter to the Israeli FM stating his belief that it was impossible to isolate Jerusalem from its Arab environment in any partition scheme and that the city had never been a part of the Jewish State. “The day after Bernadotte issued his report [to the UN]. This was a classic case of how an ambivalent leadership was forced to take action because of internal dynamics. remained at large… [and eventually went on to become Prime Minister of Israel]. 1988 z From the Files of 1948 . all who shall die at the Gate of Day have embraced me. Shlaim.Avi Shlaim. like the king. there are tears in my throat and there is fire in my eyes: I am free. All who have died. 2001 z From the Files of 1948 . Mahmoud Darwish Sister. Public opinion played a decisive role in influencing Egypt’s foreign policy. have made of me a weapon. and the failure of the provisional government to apprehend the suspects dealt a blow to its authority and credibility abroad. The War for Palestine.” . four Stern Gang terrorists ambushed his car in Jerusalem and murdered him... was shocked by this brutal manifestation of Zionist fanaticism. It was a senseless and totally superfluous act of political violence. they. No more shall I protest at the Sultan’s Gate. It was rejected by both the Arab League and Israel. . were influenced by public sentiment and the logic of inter-Arab politics and supported Faruq’s decision to enter the war.

both went on to become Prime Ministers of Israel. President Shukri Kuwatli of Syria.Ilan Pappe. The two groups joined forces in the murder of 245 civilian residents of the village of Deir Yassin. Arab leaders at Der’a.. the lira. “In August.” . Two well-known terrorist attacks were the bombing of the King David Hotel and the assassination of UN mediator Count Bernadotte. replaced the existing currency. Both were designated terrorist organizations prior to the war due to their responsibility for numerous acts of violence against non-military targets. A History of Modern Palestine. but the majority of their operations were against Palestinians. z From the Files of 1948 . the Israeli government began to lay claim to the spoils left behind by the British. Palestinian Exodus z From the Files of 1948 .. They took over many bank accounts. have failed to gain access to any of the money accumulated during thirty years of British taxation in Palestine. to this day.. Syria: Abdul Ilah of Iraq. z From the Files of 1948 . The Irgun and Lehi or “Stern Gang” were two elements of the Jewish forces which would eventually be merged with the new “Israel Defense Forces” after the 1948 war. the Israeli coin. and it was the British government that completed the total dispossession of the Palestinians from any share in the ex-Mandate’s wealth by handing over those remaining accounts to the Jewish state in the early 1950s. Their respective commanders. President Bechara Al-Khoury of Lebanon and King Abdullah of Jordan. 2003 . In the same month. an event which had a profound effect on the Palestinian people.. z From the Files of 1948 .. The Palestinians.. Some of the governmental accounts were of course kept in London. Menachem Begin of the Irgun and Yitzhak Shamir of the Lehi. both public and private...

no intelligence. There was no reconnaissance. and a dialogue was opened in Cape Town between several prominent Jews and leading Nationalists. 2. Gamal Abdel Nasser (left) reflects on Egypt’s entry into the conflict in 1948: “This could not be a serious war. I listened to an officer relate how electrically operated towers rose above the surface of the ground to fire at our men in all directions. In his Memoirs of the First Palestine War.” Nasser credits his experience with the unprepared and fragmented Arab forces in the 1948 war as the origin of his drive for Pan-Arabism. destitute except for day-long memories of a home that yesterday. only yesterday. There was no concentration of forces. Vol. only a few days before the May 26 election. Not only did the Afrikaans press support Zionist opposition to British policies in Palestine. where he established the Al-Ummah Arab Bank. which especially influenced Nationalist attitudes. In various localities Nationalist politicians began to seek openly the favour of influential Jews. No. was mine. which was set up during the First Palestinian National Council in September 1948 in Gaza and which declared an independent Palestinian State in all of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital. no accumulation of ammunition or equipment. He was appointed representative of the All-Palestine Government to the Arab League and subsequently moved to Cairo. and homelessness has worn me out. Tawfiq Sayigh (1932-71). or rather a state of war and no-war. 1973 z From the Files of 1948 .. z From the Files of 1948 .Translated and annoted by Walid Khalidi.. no plans... …It was the creation of the state of Israel on May 14. z From the Files of 1948 . . z From the Files of 1948 . II.. and except for evening dreams of my dwelling there again. ..1..” . Our forces had clearly been taken by surprise by the resistance put up by the Dangour settlement about which they had had no information whatsoever. I dragged myself from place to place. My feet are torn. There was to be advance without victory and retreat without defeat. 1948. The second feature that struck me was the fantastic myth woven round the military strength of the enemy. Park seats have left their marks on my ribs. III.. Vol.. The only conclusion that could be drawn was that this was a political war. Policemen followed me with their suspicious looks. 1973. Ahmad Hilmi Abdul Baqi (1878-1963. No. after which the towers disappeared (still electrically) into the ground again. Yet we were actually on the battlefield. but it compared the determination of the Afrikaners to break the Union’s British ties with the Zionist undertaking. “As the 1948 general election [in South Africa] approached there had been growing signs indicating a switch in traditionally anti-Semitic South African Nationalist thought towards South African Jewry. which since 1939 had moved away from endorsing Jewish statehood against the wishes of the Arab majority. before accepting his appointment as District Military Governor under Hashemite rule in the West Bank by King Abdullah of Jordan. left) was the first Prime Minster of the All-Palestine Government..Smuts and Weizmann in Journal of Palestine Studies. Journal of Palestine Studies.

from the tents..Commander of Transjordan’s Armed Forces.. “It is ironical to think that the Jews for 2.. Every twenty of them have a pound of flour And promises of a relief gifts and parcels.. Who were thrown into the mazes of years But they defied and stood Disrobed and united And went to light. have engaged our people to prevent them from enjoying that right – we. In hardship and yearning. corresponding to October 1. citizens will enjoy their liberties and their rights. placed for the first time in a position to persecute others. they suddenly announce that military conquest is the true basis for settlement between nations. Proclamation of Independence I Palestine Arab Higher Committee. Lt. by Syria and Transjordan to the east.). and by Egypt to the south. proclaim on this day. by the Mediterranean to the west. z From the Files of 1948 . 1367 (A. October 1.” . z From the Files of 1948 . The revolution of return in the world of darkness. members of the Palestinian National Council.. Was made by hunger. It is a story of a people who were misled. meeting in the city of Gaza. A story that lived in the dreams of people. John Glubb (left) . In doing so. the full independence of the whole of Palestine as bounded by Syria and Lebanon to the north. A story that comes out of the world of tents.H. 1948 Acting on the basis of the natural and historic right of the Arab people of Palestine to freedom and independence – a right for which they have shed the noblest blood and for which they have fought against the imperialistic forces which. The Story Kamal Nasir (1961) I will tell you a story. the 28th of the Dhi al-Qi’da. May God bear witness to what we say.. It is the story of the suffering group Who stood for ten years in hunger In tears and agony. and this State will advance in a fraternal spirit side by side with its sister Arab States in order to build up Arab glory and to serve human civilization.-Gen.000 years have claimed that armed might conveys no right… Everywhere [they] denounced their persecutors and looked forward to an age when justice will replace armed power. and will resolve to maintain and defend its independence. z From the Files of 1948 . In this State. But now.. and decorated by the dark nights. and my country is a handfull of refugees. In my country. 1948. as well as the establishment of a free and democratic sovereign State. together with Zionism.. they will be inspired by the spirit of the nation and its glorious history.

but now vast countries have become too small for us. All this territory… was indefensible and easily taken by Syrian troops… Other than its two small operations to grab villages across the Jordan River. would stay inside Palestine. the Syrian Army remained largely inactive during the 1948 war. it was demarcated not with Palestine’s defense but its water in mind. wandering under every star! Mahmud Al-Hut . its forces were able to occupy a thin strip of Palestinian land within the first two months of the war. including a 10-meter wide strip of beach along its northwestern shore. Shlaim. Quwwatli pursued a cautious policy in Palestine. Rogan and A.” E.000. 2003 z From the Files of 1948 . Despite Syria’s initial losses.. When the 1923 border of Palestine was drawn by the British. Glubb Pasha estimated the number of Syrian troops in Palestine did not exceed 3. z From the Files of 1948 . keeping that stream entirely within Palestine. z From the Files of 1948 . the Jordan’s largest tributary. O lost paradise! for us you were never too small. Palestine also received a thin salient of land stretching east between the Syrian and Jordanian border along the Yarmouk River.From Lake Tiberias north to Lake Hula the boundary was drawn between 50 and 400 meters east of the Jordan River.. The small number of troops that [President Quwwatli] deployed speaks for his limited goals..L. War for Palestine. The boundary was drawn so that all of Lake Tiberias.... Woe unto your people who were torn asunder. King Abdullah on a visit to Jerusalem in 1948. “The Syrian army played a very limited role in the Palestine war.

and Carmichael. “destined to play a milder Lenin to Herzl’s Marx [and] to be the greatest architect of the Jewish State”. The congress expresses its non-confidence in the Arab Higher Council and calls to elect a new Committee. Palestine and Transjordan will be united to create the ‘Arab Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’. Palestinian representatives will be co-opted into the Transjordanian parliament. J. z From the Files of 1948 . Die. “When an [Arab] peasant said to an official of the Israel Lands Administration: ‘How can you deny my ownership? This land is my property. Chaim Weizmann.Abu Isam (Hanna Naqqarah) in Al-Ittihad z From the Files of 1948 . and I have a title-deed to it.’ the official answered ‘We have a more important title-deed.W.. z From the Files of 1948 .... I inherited it from my fathers and grandfathers. Weizmann “sparkled… with masterful dexterity he interwove the story of his own early years with the broad narrative of the Jewish people’s past and destiny… [and] completely captivated those present”. 2... Viscount Samuel. Mayor of Hebron and head of the General Palestinian Congress Sheikh Ali Ja’bari formally invites Abdullah of Jordan to accept the throne of Palestine . Tell me just the once so I may be capable of dying and departure . 1962 z From the Files of 1948 .1 appeared before UNSCOP to advocate partition as the only solution which combined finality. 4. so that I may mourn you. with Abdallah as its King.... 1948.’ “When a peasant said to another official: ‘What is this you are offering me? Only 200 pounds per dunum?’ The official replied: ‘It is not your land. M. Chaim Weizmann. 1957 2 Weisgal.. The Gaza government does not represent the Arabs of Palestine. In “a series of private conversations and luncheons” with UNSCOP members at his home. John.’ You are only ‘watchmen. 3.000 years and we are paying you your wages! But the land is ours!’” . 5.. The congress also asks the King to promptly execute these resolutions. or be my wife so that I may know what betrayal looks like just the once.’ You have ‘looked after’ our land for 2. The congress empowers Abdallah to solve the Palestine problem in any way he considers proper. 2 1 Bowle. We are paying you your wages as a ‘watchman. We have a title-deed from Dan [in the North of Israel] to Eilat [In the South]. it is ours. 17 Psalms. A Biography. On November 8th. Mahmoud Darwish Why don’t you wash your hands of me so that I may stop dying again and again? .. equality and justice. Resolutions of the Congress of Jericho 1.

the original striking force of the Haganah. They drew the face of my executioner. A History of Modern Palestine. Ben Gurion set about the systematic liquidation of the military organizations which were a relic from the years of Jewish struggle for independence in Palestine. He forced the two organizations. because he saw no need for the existence of military command of outside the general command of the regular Israeli armed forces.Alan Taylor.” . one of the major considerations behind his decision to attack the Egyptians in the Negev in the late stages of the 1948 war was. Mahmoud Darwish .. As in Europe. My heart glowed with sunny torches. Ben Gurion (left) portrays with remarkable clarity the sense of uncertainty and lack of bearing which pervaded the Arab world at the time. Lechi (Stern) and Etzel (Irgun) to abandon their independent identities.. “The determined steps by Ben Gurion to assert the central authority of the Israeli Army are very striking. He did not even hesitate to dissolve the Palmach command. I hurled defeat to obscurity And plunged my hands In rays of light.. “In January 1949. He admits that ‘we were victorious because the Arabs were weak and were subjected to unusual circumstances’. They wrote my number on the walls. but believed they could link the refugees’ settlement in Arabic countries with a kind of Marshall Plan for the Middle East..Ilan Pappe. Dear homeland. his certainty that the other Arab states would not enter the battle. the UN established a single body to deal with the Palestinian refugee problem. he says. requiring their members to enlist individually in the regular army. They shut me in a dark cell. This was the brainchild of American entrepreneurs who were not interested directly in the political dimension of the refugee problem.... z From the Files of 1948 . 2004 z From the Files of 1948 . “Heresy Disguised in Sacred Vestments”. The face was soon dispersed With luminous braids. The walls transformed to green pastures..” .. Journal of Palestine Studies 1971-72) z From the Files of 1948 .. I carved your map with my teeth upon the walls And wrote the song of fleeting night. the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). the idea was to promote better standards of living as the best means for containing Soviet expansion.