History of Palestine Part V
1948 Israel is created. War
From November 1947 until the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, the Zionist forces conquered a number of areas which, according to the plan of division, were to fall on the Palestinian state. The most notorious action was the massacre in the village of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, conducted by Irgun forces led by Israel’s later prime minister, Menahem Begin. 254 of the village’s 400 inhabitants – among these 35 pregnant women – were killed in the best of ways. For the Palestinians, this incident stands as a symbol of the terrorist nature of Zionism. In his memoirs, Begin wrote later that when he subsequently captured Jaffa, the people fled in panic and shouted: “Deir Yassin, Deir Yassin”. About 400,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from Palestine during this period.
The Arab countries, through the Arab League, declared that they would go to war if a Jewish state was proclaimed. On May 15 – the day after David Ben Gurion declared the State of Israel established – the Arabs went on strike. However, it was poorly coordinated and prepared, and the Zionists held the position.
According to ITYPEAUTO, the UN established a ceasefire on May 29. On July 8, however, the fighting broke out again. Then the Israelites had 60,000 men under arms against the 40,000 of the Arabs. In the ensuing fighting, the Zionists expanded their territory considerably.
In September 1948, the Arab Higher Committee appointed a Palestinian government headquartered in Gaza, held by Egyptian forces at this time. The government was immediately recognized by all the Arab states except Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – who had occupied the West Bank – instead proclaimed himself king of Palestine.
From May 1948 to May 1949, another 400,000 Palestinians were driven out of the country. In 1948, there were 650,000 Jews and 1.3 million Arabs in Palestine. When the armistice lines were drawn in 1949, there were approx. 160,000 non-Jews left in the Zionist state. These lines remained the borders of the State of Israel until the June War in 1967. The areas of Palestine that the Zionists did not occupy – ca. 20% – during this period was part of Egypt (Gaza) and Jordan (West Bank).
Egypt continued to regard Gaza as Palestinian territory while Jordan incorporated the West Bank into the kingdom. Only in 1973 did Jordan give up its claim on the West Bank in favor of the PLO.
For the Palestinians, these events meant that during the year and a half – November 1947 to May 1949 – they lost their entire land and that more than half of the population was exiled. This was not just a humanitarian, but also a national disaster, and many years had to pass before the Palestinian people were again able to mobilize a broad popular resistance struggle against the occupying power.
As a result of the wars of 1948 and 1967, about 4 million Palestinians now live in exile – most in Jordan and the other countries around Palestine. 385 Palestinian villages have been wiped out, 145 in Galilee alone. But there are still around 3 million Palestinians living in the country, distributed among 700,000 in the State of Israel, 1,500,000 in the West Bank (under Israeli military administration since 1967) and 800,000 in Gaza.
In all areas with a Palestinian population concentration, resistance struggles are currently being adapted to local conditions. One of the main problems of the State of Israel in the long term is that the Palestinian population has one of the highest birth rates in the world, while on average the Jewish population is near a European level. In Galilee, the non-Jewish population already constitutes a majority. The Zionist regime has the choice of subjugating this population or expelling it out of the country. But the Jewish population also has another option: to reject the current Zionist regime and establish a democratic state with the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization
After the disaster that struck the Palestinian people in 1947-49, it took many years for a new resistance movement to resume the struggle for the national and democratic rights of the people. The starting point for this new organization was extremely difficult. The people were scattered in many countries and lived in refugee camps at the mercy of foreign regimes. The refugees had lost everything they owned and had no resources for resistance. Politically they were strictly monitored. The reactionary Arab regimes feared the Palestinian refugee camps as possible hot spots for radical movements.