A New York Times article published Tuesday about the history of Jerusalem maintains, “It is perhaps fitting that President Trump appears to have chosen this week to announce that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
The writers, Sewell Chan, Irit Pazner Garshowitz, Mona Boshnaq and Gaia Tripoli, base this outlook on the fact that in “December 1917 – 100 years ago this month – the British general Edmund Allenby seized control of Jerusalem from its Ottoman Turkish defenders.”
President Donald Trump likely knows little to nothing of this history. He was not thinking about the past century, but about continuing his disruptive track record and enmity toward Muslims.
The authors then make clear their own tenuous grasp of the region’s history.
They write: “The Arabs rejected the partition plan, and a day after Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948, the Arab countries attacked the new state. They were defeated. Amid violence by militias and mobs on both sides, huge numbers of Jews and Arabs were displaced.”
This is a gross whitewashing of history, clearly aimed at erasing from the record Israel’s well-documented and systematic ethnic cleansing of the majority Palestinian population whose presence on the land stood in the way of the Zionist goal of creating a “Jewish state.”
In fact, in the months before Israel’s “independence” was declared on 15 May, and before any Arab armies had intervened, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was already well under way.
The Zionist leadership finalized its “Plan Dalet” to expel Palestinians in March 1948. Palestinians from the cities of Haifa and Jaffa, and dozens of villages, had already been expelled before 15 May. The notorious massacre by Zionist forces in the village of Deir Yassin took place on 9 April, and by early May it is estimated that up to 250,000 Palestinians had already fled or been forced from their homes.
By the end of Israel’s so-called “War of Independence,” some 750,000 Palestinians out of 1.2 million had been displaced and more than 500 cities, towns and villages had been destroyed or depopulated.
Accurately reporting this chronology would make it impossible to sustain Israeli myths about 1948, or to obscure events, as The New York Times does, as mere violence by “both sides.”
The authors then falsify the history of the 1967 occupation of Palestinian territory.
They write: “No event has shaped the modern contest over Jerusalem as much as the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, in which Israel not only defeated invading Arab armies but also seized control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria.”
Yet it was Israel which launched the first strike against Egypt in 1967. Those “invading Arab armies” did not strike first, but entered the conflict only once Israel initiated it.
Another 400,000 Palestinians were displaced from the West Bank in 1967.
The New York Times itself reported Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s own 1982 confession on the matter. The newspaper cites him as saying: “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
Moshe Dayan, Israel’s defense minister at the time, also admitted years later – as The New York Times also reported – that Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights was preceded by deliberate Israeli provocations motivated by a desire to conquer the land for settlement.
Tuesday’s article, however, adheres to widespread propaganda about what transpired in 1948 and 1967. The newspaper’s fact checkers should do better.
Democrats could also do better in battling Trump’s Jerusalem policy. Most, however, are silent.
Two exceptions are senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California.
Yet The Weekly Standard reports that senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Ben Cardin of Maryland support Trump’s provocative anti-Palestinian announcement.
Schumer and Cardin in early January supported a resolution sponsored by Marco Rubio, their Republican colleague from Florida, objecting to UN Security Council resolution 2334 which reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Rubio’s resolution stated that “the United Nations is not the appropriate venue and should not be a forum used for seeking unilateral action, recognition or dictating parameters for a two-state solution, including the status of Jerusalem.”
Schumer and Cardin are apparently far more comfortable with the most anti-Muslim and perhaps anti-Palestinian American president in history taking “unilateral action” as he is doing this week with Jerusalem.
The somnambulant “resistance” in Congress is largely standing aside as most have long since decided not to emphasize equal rights and freedom for Palestinians.
They are far more comfortable at AIPAC, the powerful Israel lobby group which enthusiastically cheered Trump’s March 2016 call to move the US embassy, than in engaging human rights advocates on how to end Israel’s denial of rights to millions of Palestinians.
AIPAC on Tuesday tweeted its support for the president’s announcement:
The organization also re-tweeted support from Republicans and Democrats alike: