by Yancey Ames
Yitzhak Epstein, visiting Palestine in 1907, admonished his fellow Zionists that “our country” (meaning Arab Palestine) was not empty and that they should disabuse themselves of the notion that Palestine was a deserted place. He told them quite candidly that Palestine had been inhabited “for centuries by another race” which had “absolutely no thought of departing the land.” He further added that there was not “a cultivable parcel of acreage” left in Palestine, as “all arable land was being already worked by the Arabs.”
Remember, these words were written in 1907 by a Jew who had done an on-site inspection. How can these words be reconciled with the Zionist narrative that Palestine was am empty land before the coming of the Zionists? They can’t, obviously.
There are literally dozens of similar statements by early Zionist scouts of Arab Palestine, 1880-1914. The Zionist Asher Ginsberg sadly commented that the incoming Zionists never took the slightest account of the Arabs of Palestine, except as an obstacle to be overcome. Theodore Herzl himself proposed that the penniless Arab population be expelled across the border at the first opportunity.
None of these observations can be reconciled with the Zionist fiction of “a land without a people for a people without a land.” The Zionists moving to Palestine after the Balfour Declaration of 1917 were at great pains to pretend that they were not going to dispossess the Arabs. They spoke in mellow, lying words about how they only wanted a “national home,” not a national state, while privately admitting that “national home” was merely a circumlocution for the real thing.
Sir Herbert Samuel, the English Jew who was the first British High Commissioner of Palestine, proclaimed that the Jews, having been victims of persecution for centuries, were not about to dispossess nor expropriate the Arabs.
These Jews lied, but some were more honest. Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote two famous essays in a Russian language Paris newspaper in the early 1920s. These essays, entitled “The Iron Wall” and “The Iron Law,” proclaimed that Zionism was “a colonizing adventure and that it stood or fell on the question of armed force.” It was important to “read Hebrew but it is more important to shoot.”
Jabotinsky went on to say that the Arabs of Palestine were not savages but were deeply attached to their land and they would never voluntarily leave it. They would do so when all hope was lost to them. Thus, they must be confronted with an “iron wall of bayonets.” Agreement with the Arabs in the future was possible only if there was no agreement with them now.
Here we have the ugly truth about Zionism in Palestine.
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