4. Prologue to “The Origin                     of the Palestine-Israel Conflict”**

Image: If you dstroy our houses you will not destroy our souls


Prologue to “The Origin of
The Palestine-Israel Conflict” 
Jews for Justice in the
Middle East


As the periodic bloodshed continues
in the Middle East, the search for an
equitable solution must come to grips
with the root cause of the conflict.

The conventional wisdom is that, even
if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians
are irrational “terrorists” who have no
point of view worth listening to. Our
position, however, is that the
Palestinians have a real grievance: their
homeland for over a thousand years
was taken, without their consent and
mostly by force, during the creation
of the state of Israel. And all subsequent
crimes, on both sides, inevitably follow
from this original injustice.

The standard Israeli position is that they
showed up in Palestine to reclaim their
ancestral homeland in the late 19th
century. Jews bought land and started
building up the Jewish community
there. They were met with increasingly
violent opposition from the Palestinian
Arabs, presumably stemming from the
Arabs' inherent anti-Semitism. The 
Israelis were then forced to defend
themselves and, in one form or another,
this same situation continues up
to today. 

The problem with this explanation is
that it is simply not true
, as the
documentary evidence in this web site
will show. What really happened was
that the Zionist movement, from the
beginning, looked forward to a
practically complete dispossession
of the indigenous Arab population
so that Israel could be a wholly Jewish
state, or as much as was possible.
Land bought by the Jewish National
Fund was held in the name of the
Jewish people and could never be
sold or even leased back to Arabs
(a situation which continues to
the present).

The Arab community, as it became
increasingly aware of the Zionists'
intentions, strenuously opposed
further Jewish immigration and
land buying because it posed a
real and imminent danger to the
very existence of Arab society in
Palestine. Because of this opposition,
the entire Zionist project never
could have been realized without
the military backing of the British.
The vast majority of the population
of Palestine, by the way, had been
Arabic since the seventh century
A.D. (Over 1200 years).

Letter to Michael Levin on behalf of  Ariel Sharon

In short, Zionism was based on a faulty,
colonialist world view that the rights of
the indigenous inhabitants didn’t matter
The Arabs’ opposition to Zionism wasn’t
based on anti-Semitism but rather on a
totally reasonable fear of the
dispossession of their people. 

Part of the struggle for self
determination by Palestinians, has been
to tell the truth about Palestinians as
victims of Zionism. For too long their
history has been denied and this denial
has only served to further oppress and
deliberately dehumanise Palestinians in
Israel, inside the occupied territories,
and outside in their Diaspora. Some
progress has been made. Westerners
now realize that Palestinians, as a people,
do exist. And they have come to
acknowledge that during the creation of
the state of Israel thousands of
Palestinians were killed and over 700,000
were driven or frightened from their
homes and lands on which they had
lived for centuries.

One further point: being Jewish
ourselves, the position we present
here is critical of Zionism but is in
no way anti-Semitic
. We do not believe
that the Jews acted worse than any other
group might have acted in their
situation. The Zionists, who were a
distinct minority of the Jewish people
until after WWII, had an

understandable desire to establish a
place where Jews could be masters of 
their own fate, given the bleak history
of Jewish oppression. Especially as the
danger to European Jewry crystallised
in the late 1930’s and after, the actions
of the Zionists were propelled by
real desperation. 

But so were the actions of the Arabs.
The mythic “land without people for a
people without land” was already home
to 700,000 Palestinians in 1919
. This
is the root of the problem, as we
shall see.

~Prologue to “The Origin of the
Palestine-Israel Conflict” by Jews
for Justice in the Middle East  
[Highlighting and images added
for this website by ML; the text
was not written by ML]

To read the full essay