How Did It Start?

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(photo: U.N.)

So how the hell did it all start?

By Uri Avnery / Antiwar.com
February 18, 2017


In 1908, a group of Arab members of the Turkish parliament . . . had a brilliant idea: why not approach the Zionists and offer them an alliance against the Turks? . . . This was a historic moment, one of those moments when history holds its breath. A totally new vista opened up: an alliance between Arabs and Jews! A joint liberation movement!


So how the hell did it all start?

Last week I tried to describe the 1948 war, starting from the shooting at a Jewish bus on the morrow of the UN partition resolution. Some readers dispute the timing. They insist that the war started on May 15, on the morrow of the founding of the State of Israel, when the armies of the neighboring Arab states entered the country.

I have seen this many times. Every serious debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raises the question: “When did it start?” Each side has its own date, proving that the other side started it.

The Arabs started it, the Zionists assert. The conflict started with the “invasion” of the Arab armies. (“Invasion” in quotation marks, since they entered the territories allotted by the UN to the Palestinian Arab state, though their declared aim was to crush the new Jewish state right at the beginning.)

The Jews started it, the Arabs assert. They began to drive the Arab population out, leading to the Naqba (“disaster”).

The Arabs started it, reply the Zionists. Why did we have to evict the Arab population? It was because you shot at our villages after the UN resolution of November 29, 1947.

The Jews started it, retort the Arabs. It all started with that atrocious resolution. The UN, consisting at the time mainly of Western and Communist states, gave a country that did not belong to them to the Jews, who did not belong to it.

Yes, say the Jews, but it really started with the White Paper issued by the British in May, 1939, which in effect closed the doors of Palestine to the Jews just when the Nazis were planning the Holocaust.

We had no choice, interject the British. In 1936 the Arabs started a revolt in which Jews and our soldiers were killed all over the country.

[Read the full article here . . . ]

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