A Commentary on Tikkun

July 22, 2017 | Autor: בנימין הגלילי | Categoría: Middle East Studies, Israel/Palestine, Middle East
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Brandon Payne Kabalo Course 16-2-2016 13-April-2015 Teveth on Morris: A Commentary on Tikkun In an article entitled "Charging Israel With Original Sin" in the September 1989 issue of Commentary, Shabtai Teveth responds to Benny Morris' Tikkun article "The New Historiography: Israel Confronts Its Past" and to Morris' book The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949, both from 1988. "The New Historiography" provides an overview of four works published in 1987–1988, Shlaim's Collusion Across the Jordan, Flapan's The Birth of Israel, Pappe's Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1948–51, and his own The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949. I would like to look at Morris and Teveth's responses to two of Flapan's four myths of the old history and at three other points about which Teveth critiques Morris. Morris agrees with these points as a reasonable enumeration of the problems of the old history while denying the validity of Flapan’s research methodology and classifying his work as more polemic than proper history. Morris points specifically to Flapan's "selective and erroneous use of documents" – a charge that is mirrored in Teveth's criticism of Morris. Morris' use of documents: Myth 1 - voluntary flight Teveth's main critique of Morris' use of documents is related to the "myth" that Palestinians fled their homes either voluntarily or at the request or order of their leaders. Morris claims that British and Israeli transcripts of Jordanian radio broadcasts do not show a clear call to flee. Therefore according to Morris Arabs fled because of "Jewish atrocities [which were] far more widespread than the old historians have indicated." It is one of the jobs of the new historians and new history, according to Morris, to tell the truth about the expulsions. Teveth makes an appeal to the argumentum ad ignorantiam, that since Jordanian archives are not open to researchers, one cannot prove the nonexistence of such directive[s]. He further notes Ben-Gurion's October 11, 1961 Knesset statement, "We have explicit documents testifying that they left Palestine following instructions by the Arab leaders." These documents are, according to Teveth, Tene intelligence reports which include instructions from "the AHC, the NC's, officers of Jordan's Arab Legion, and the commanders of the ALA" to abandon (or evacuate noncombatants from) villages. According to Teveth Morris knew about these Tene reports and quotes from them in other instances, but ignores them in this case. Morris' short-sightedness For Teveth, the flight of the first 75,000 Arabs during the Civil War period – the middle and upper class including all but one member of the AHC, set a powerful example for the refugees that followed. There is no question that this first wave wasn't expelled, but fled voluntarily. Morris is accused of ignoring this group because it doesn't fit with his thesis. The context which Teveth accuses Morris of ignoring is four-fold: the invasion by five armies with the avowed aim of pushing the Jews into the sea, the call for a second round, the plight of the DP's in Europe and the de facto population exchange with the arrival of Jews from Arab lands. Myth 2 – David and Goliath For Morris, the IDF benefited from its superior command and control and its short lines of communication, supply and reinforcement. Morris emphasizes the size of the IDF on the day of the

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invasion – 35,000 troops vs. the 25-30,000 invaders. While the Arab armies stayed at the same size, IDF conscription led to a force of 65,000 in July and 80-90,000 in December. Teveth instead emphasizes artillery, especially during the first three weeks of fighting in order to depict the Arab side as stronger. He compares the IDF's five 65mm French mountain guns with their opponent's 75mm guns – thirteen belonging to the ALA, twelve to eighteen to the Syrians, and the Iraqi army's twenty-four to thirty-six British 25-pounders. Which Original Sin? What exactly is the original sin that, according to Teveth, Morris has charged Israel with? Interestingly enough, the two disagree on this point. Teveth writes, “it is the denial to the Palestinian Arabs of a country and a national identity,” he then adds a second sin, “Israel, by preventing the return of Palestinian Arabs who fled or were expelled in 1948, is therefore to blame for creating the refugee problem.” I would like to include a longer quote from Morris to show his position. If the Arab contention is true-that the yishuv had always intended "transfer" and that in 1948 it systematically and forcibly expelled the Arab population from the areas that became the Jewish statethen Israel is a robber state . . . . and the Palestinians are more or less innocent victims. If, on the other hand, the Israeli propaganda line is accepted-that the Palestinians fled "voluntarily" or at the behest of their own and other Arab leaders-then Israel is free of original sin. As I have set out in great detail in The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Hence the sin for Morris is not systematic and forcible expulsion of four fifths of the Arabs from the 1947 Partition Plan Jewish State, it is something less grievous than that. In regard to the first point Morris agrees with Shlaim that Golda Meir met with King Abdullah, they agreed to divide Palestine between them and leave no independent Palestinian Arab state. For Teveth, the understanding with Jordan was an acknowledgement of redlines and did not reach the level of collusion. If the five armies had not invaded, the UN could have imposed a cease-fire and negotiations during the Civil War. Teveth clears Israel of this charge, it was Jordan and not Israel that denied the Palestian Arabs a country. Expulsion vs. Population Exchange The Peel Commission report of 1937 – the basis for the 1947 UN Partition Plan, introduced the idea of population transfer. The transfer envisioned was not, as might be wrongly assumed, simply intraPalestine; i.e. Jewish population centers such as the Etzion Block, which lay within the proposed Arab state, would be emptied and an equal number of Arabs would leave the proposed Jewish state. Rather, the transfer was to be between some of the 500,000 Arabs in the proposed Jewish state and the Jews of Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen . . . . The 1937 Zionist Congress debated this population transfer proposal by the British Government. Teveth criticizes Morris for using this to imply that in the late 1930s the “transfer” being discussed was the systematic and forcible expulsion that the PLO still claims occurred.

Works Cited   "The  New  Historiography:  Israel  Confronts  Its  Past",  Morris,  Benny.  Tikkun;  Vol.  3  No.  6,   November/December  1988;     "Charging  Israel  With  Original  Sin",  Teveth,  Shabtai.  Commentary;  Sep  1,  1989;    

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