Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


’60 Minutes’ vs. Israel On Palestinian Christians

Ambassador Oren tried to discourage ‘hatchet job’

Print Email
Ambassador Oren on 60 Minutes last night.(60 Minutes)

Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast a segment reporting that the Israeli occupation has led to the evaporation of Jerusalem’s and the West Bank’s Palestinian Christian communities. Reporter Bob Simon confronted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren with the fact that Oren had contacted the head of CBS News to try get the story spiked, and Oren’s reponse was, “Well, there’s a first time for everything.”

I thought Oren came off lamely, almost deliberately so, as though he feared appearing impotent less than he did all-powerful. I don’t see why the Israeli ambassador should be embarrassed about fighting stories that make Israel look bad; I’m sure U.S. diplomats around the world do it all the time. It’s past time we stopped calling run-of-the-mill government public-relations efforts by its Hebrew name, hasbara, and automatically assuming it is clumsy, sinister, or both (it sometimes is, but it isn’t by definition). Instead of dissembling, I wish Oren had responded to the effect of, “You’re damn right I called your boss, because your story sounds like it’s going to be B.S.”

Because here’s the thing: the story is kind of B.S. At one point, Simon notes the obstacles that West Bank checkpoints impose on Palestinian Christians, as though this were something Christians were specifically targeted for or uniquely suffer from. He thinks he is taking an original angle on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he is really just rehashing it and unfairly narrowing it in such a way that ignorant viewers may get that incorrect impression. (By confusing what the conflict is really about, this report actually does the cause of Palestinian rights a disservice. Its divide-and-conquer mindset arguably comes from the British Empire’s playbook.) While the show was menschy enough to air influential Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit calmly explaining what was wrong with the segment’s premise—namely, “Israel is not persecuting Christians as Christians. The Christians in the Holy Land suffer from Israeli policies that are a result of the overall tragic situation”—it might have actually taken Shavit’s words to heart.

It’s not that 60 Minutes should be focusing on every Arab Christian community other than the Palestinians’ during the Arab Spring, when the Christian minorities in nearby countries (most notably Egypt) have suffered tremendously, as Oren himself noted in a recent op-ed. It’s a “newsmagazine,” not a newspaper, with a mandate to include not all the news that’s fit to print but merely the stories they think will be most compelling to their viewers. Similarly, of course the reporter is going to melodramatically visit the home in Bethlehem that’s surrounded on three sides by the security wall and that also sells Christian tchotchkes on the ground floor. It’s television! For a further guide, consult Paddy Chayefsky’s Network.

But the segment goes too far in its singleminded blaming of Israel and the occupation for the stream of Christians skipping town. From the segment, you would think Islamist parties like, say, Hamas play a negligible role in contemporary Palestinian politics. One senses that 60 Minutes felt they had an ironic human-interest story on their hands, which could be gussied up with footage of Christians celebrating Easter at the very spot where Jesus was resurrected. “Hatchet job,” the word Oren apparently used with the CBS News chief, is a little much, but he was correct to sense that the segment would be problematic without having the benefit of having seen the segment first: it lacks any sort of newspeg, and therefore was bound to create one and hang Israel from it. (An interesting story, for example, is how some Christians have lately identified with the Palestinian cause, but a different magazine of Jewish life and culture beat them to that.)

And the segment positively crosses a journalistic line when it attempts, in classic 60 Minutes fashion, to both report the story and be the story. “For Israel, there could be serious economic consequences,” Simon “reports.” “According to Israeli government figures, tourism is a multi-billion dollar business there. Most tourists are Christian. Many of them are American.” The late, great Mike Wallace was the master of this maneuver, of discussing the consequences of what he had just revealed in real time. The difference is that when Wallace did it, he had the goods; Simon’s smoking gun is the importance of tourism to Israel, “many,” and “most.” Weak.

Here’s the segment:

Related: Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians [WSJ]
Christians for Palestine [Tablet Magazine]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

greywolf852 says:

When one is being interviewed, it’s easy to see which way the interviewer is trying to steer the interview. Journalists, espectially TV journalists are often like defense lawyers who cut off a witness when they get the catch-phrase or buzzword that they want and don’t let the witness finish their sentence.

For years Israeli papers have been talking about the strong-arm tactics usaed by Palestinian Muslims to “persuade” Christians to leave the Holy Land, but the mainstream media has chosen to ignore those facts.

60 Minutes used to be an honest and genuine in-depth investigative journalistic organ, but apparently has also surrendered to the sloppy journalism, poor fact-finding and downright falsification that the MSM has resorted to in order to sell its agenda. How sad.

    I totally agree with greywolf. I have watched Sixty Minutes for years, and this is not the first anti Israel program they have aired. This one made me sick to my stomach. It was obvious that Simon had the same effect on Oren.
    Batya Casper

      yevka says:

       Oren’s hasbara damage control is so transparent that it is tragic and
      laughable. Nobody is buying Oren’s argument. You should be sick to your stomach.

    The Wall Street Journal also published four letters rebutting Oren’s article. Geographic definitions were the least of the concerns expressed by Rev. Robert O. Smith of Chicago, who wrote: “The biggest problem with Mr. Oren’s analysis, however, is that it stands in sharp disagreement with the perspectives shared by those he presumably wants to protect. Mr. Oren seeks to speak for Palestinian Christians before he has spoken with them.”
    And Oren’s piece did, in fact, anger these Christian Palestinians. Eighty prominent Christian Palestinians signed a letter sent to the ambassador last week in response to his article, accusing the ambassador of manipulating the facts.
    “Your attempt to blame the difficult reality that Palestinian Christians face on Palestinian Muslims is a shameful manipulation of the facts intended to mask the damage that Israel has done to our community,” they said in the letter. “The exaggerated growth of the Christian population in Israel that Mr. Oren claims is due primarily to the immigration of Russian Christians whom Israel was unable to distinguish from the Jewish immigrants pouring into the country after the fall of the Soviet Union.”
    One of the letter’s signatories is Rifat Qassis, the coordinator of Kairos Palestine, an umbrella organization of Palestinian Christians of various denominations that was founded in 2009 to explain, primarily to fellow Christians, what Israel’s occupation is all about. Speaking in measured tones, Qassis, who lives in the West Bank town of Beit Sahur, told me: “Oren is trying to reap propaganda dividends from what is occurring in the Arab world, whereas the context in which we Christian Palestinians live is completely different. There are problems in this region, and I don’t want to downplay them, but Oren is trying to erase the occupation as the main cause of Palestinian suffering.”
    In 2006, Qassis conducted a survey of Christians who live in the occupied Palestinian territories, and, he says, the vast majority said their desire to emigrate was linked to the lack of security and stability they feel under Israeli rule. Less than 1 percent spoke about being afraid of Muslims.
    Kairos Palestine also sent a letter to The Wall Street Journal that blamed Israeli policy for driving away Christians, but it was not published. “In the case of Bethlehem, for instance, it is in fact the rampant construction of Israeli settlements, the chokehold imposed by the separation wall and the Israeli government’s confiscation of Palestinian land that has driven many Christians to leave,” the letter states. “At present, a mere 13 percent of Bethlehem-area land is left to its Palestinian inhabitants

tzatz says:

Try speaking with Raymond Ibrahim @ Gatestone Institute… he’s telling it like it is about Christians in the Arab/Muslim  Middle East.  The Christians in the Disputed Territories have a political agenda … they will continue to live under the Arab/Muslims in the future … THEREFORE … they know what they have to say and how to keep solidarity with their Arab/Muslim neighbours! 

The only Christian community that is FREE and growing and continues to prosper in the Middle East … lives in the Jewish State of Israel.  That should be the story! 

The reality is so highly politicized due to the ongoing and unrelenting Arab/Muslim assault on the demonization/marginalization of the Jewish State in the MSM.  Bob Simon has been hoodwinked … and if not … is another patsy in the hands of those who would gladly end the Jewish State’s existence … IF THEY COULD.   Sorry Bob Simon … being a ‘sha shtill’ Jew doesn’t cut it … we need to advocate for our own needs being met in ‘this man’s world’!

    Christians and Muslims have been living side by side for 1400 years in the Holy Land for 1400. Don’t you find it funny that it took the migration of European Jews to see the flight of Christians in that part of the world. Since 1948 where 80000 Palestinian Christians were ethnically cleansed to the present day where the settlers have squeezed out any economic opportunities from their occuption that has forced Christians to find other places to live. To blame Muslims is the oldest scapegoat in the world. Whats so funny is that Jews have been scapegoated for centuries and now they are using the same tactic on the Muslims. It would be hilarious if  it would not be so sad.

      tzatz says:

      There were 750,000 JEWS in the Arab/Muslim ME before 1948 … they are virtually
      absent from those lands today.  

      But as to the Christians in the ME … Egypt has promulgated a ‘pogrom’ against
      the Coptic Christians in this last year … where the POLICE ran over
      peaceful demonstrators who had come out to protest the sacking/burning of a
      church at the hands of Sunni thugs. 
      It was reported that over 100,000 LEFT Egypt almost immediately after Mubarak’s
      comment … ” …would be hilarious if  it would not be so sad.”


      and after the war in Iraq … Christians have left the country in their
      thousands … they are ‘in transit’ to other countries at this point … they are
      NOT going back … they were and are the victims of both Shia & Sunni hatred. 


      consider both Jews and Christians as dhimmis … that is, 2nd class
      citizens … always at the mercy of the disposition of the local leaders …
      who could put the ‘clampdown’ on them or treat them as merely dhimmis. 


      The Jews
      have nothing to do with the treatment and the exit of Christians from the
      Palestinian territories.  Don’t you
      recall that terrorists who had been cornered … used the HOLY Church of the
      Sepulchre in Bethlehem as their ‘refuge’ for weeks … firing from within
      and causing both damage and desecration … the thugs didn’t believe in the
      holiness of its space … can you imagine if Christians had used the Dome of the
      Rock for a similar purpose?  Can


      The ONLY
      Christian community that remains free and growing is within the Jewish State.


      in the Palestinian territories cannot express their opinions freely … they’re
      afraid of speaking out against their Muslim neighbours … this is called
      INTIMIDATION … it’s what Muslims do with the minorities within their own


      You can’t
      defend the Arab/Muslims as defenders of the minorities within … there is no ‘rule
      of law’ where respect for all races/creeds is sacrosanct … there is NO SUCH
      POLICY in any Arab/Muslim State. 
      NONE.  Only the State of
      Israel respects all religions under its authority … Bahais, Muslims, Druze,
      Christians, and Jews … NO OTHER ARAB/MUSLIM STATE CAN SAY THAT. 


      tzatz says:

      Do the demographics … Freddy

      At one time there were MOSTLY Christians in the Middle East!  They were offered 3 options:

      Remain Dhimmis – 2nd Class
      Be Killed

      Guess what MOST converted … some remained Dhimmis and some were killed!

      The onslaught continues … that’s why Christians are leaving Iraq … Syria … Lebanon … the PA … and Egypt …

      Open your eyes or is that Burka covering them Freddy?

Boychic says:

Well done. Oren was attempting to be a cautious diplomat, but he was dead right in his willingness to confront the baloney that sixty minutes was pushing. It always hurts when a member of the tribe takes a position that is hurtful, counter productive and wrong headed. Simon was typical of those Jews who wish to be “impartial.” It’s called “currying favor.” The writer hit it on the head. 

    brynababy says:

    This is only one of many times Bob Simon (and 60 Minutes with other reporters) has done a piece on Israel that is unrelentingly negative and biased against Israel.  And this is a man who was once held hostage by Arab terrorists (I hope I’m recollecting correctly.).

      Sure you were buddy and I was once president of America

        brynababy says:

         Los Angeles Times Home→Collections→Reporters
        A ‘Most Searing Experience’ : Television: Bob Simon relives his 40 days as Iraq’s hostage during the Gulf War in new book.
        May 11, 1992|JANE HALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

        brynababy says:

        YOU ARE HERE: Los Angeles Times Home→Collections→Reporters
        A ‘Most Searing Experience’ : Television: Bob Simon relives his 40 days as Iraq’s hostage during the Gulf War in new book.
        May 11, 1992|JANE HALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

    Ever notice that not one of the Zionist or Israeli firsters have disputed what was said in detail. Has Israel gone out to Christians communities to ask their opinion? YOUR only recoarse is to bad mouth the messanger. I hope this program makes Americans understand the nature of Israel of a country that was created for jewish priviledge only. If your not Jewish in Isarel your left with the status of a third level citizen. No amount of Hasbara from the peanut gallery can change that. It is what it is.

    Jews deface christian churches all the time in Jerusalem with their graffiti all the time. Yes all I have to refer you to is a man called Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian, whose family was forced out by Zionist forces in 1948 and who later went on to kill Robert Kennedy who was doing what most poliicans do here in Ameria, pander to the Israeli crowd with a promise if elected president to give Israel 50 free jet fighters. Notice he killed Kennedy for his support of Israel and not Muslims for he did not blame Muslims for his tribes plight. Come on how stupid can you be……….80000 Palestinian Christians were ethnically cleansed by Zionist in 1948. For people like you to deny history is a big mistake. Takes away from your creditabilty

      tzatz says:

      Give it a rest Freddy … you’re swimming against the tide!  Haven’t you noticed that Americans, that is, ALL AMERICANS … back Israel over the so-called Palestinians by a huge margin? 

      What you’re upset against is that the Jewish People have a sovereign state?  Is that your beef?  Is it about Maher?  Let me know. 

      Your comment about Israel-firster implies a larger/deeper disturbance … hmm … what’s that about?  Because since the 1970’s America and American leadership (Presidents & Congress) have been ISRAEL-FIRSTERS … having taken the Israeli position over the Arab/Muslim position.  Although there have been disputes between the 2 allies … America has always defended the right of Israel to defend itself … and America has aided in the development of the ONLY liberal democratic state in the Arab/Muslim ME …

      Now that the Arab Spring has revealed the ‘thuggery’  … ‘Islamist leanings’ … ‘dictatorships’ … of the Arab/Muslim World … the defending of Israel is much clearer in the minds of Americans!  How can one defend the debauched societies of the Arab/Muslims?  Who have gone out of their way to disparage … America and American values?  Witness the arrest and hostage taking of Americans in Egypt attempting to promote a civil society! 

      Americans know what’s going on … Arab Christians … especially those held ‘hostage’ living in the ME … cannot speak FREELY of their worries.  The Palestinian Arab/Muslims ESPECIALLY feel the need to use the Arab/Israeli Conflict to self-aggrandize themselves with their fellow Arabs!  Their fear is that when the Israelis leave the territories there will be a ‘price’ to pay if they spoke out and told the TRUTH … that is, speaking against the Arab?Muslims! 

      Ask the Syrian Christians … they’ll tell you the fear they have about whom they should back at this time.  For now … they’ve backed Assad … knowing that its best to back the perceived ‘strong horse’ … but should Assad fall … look for the Christians to be switching sides and/or leaving in LARGE NUMBERS in order to flee the backlash! 

      You don’t get it Freddy … how come? 

SteveSiporin says:

If Oren “came off lamely,” the reason has little to do with him and is rather simple:  60 minutes was doing the editing, and they clearly had an agenda.  Oren was the only interviewee whose assertions were challenged.  And he was the only interviewee truly asserting that Christians were leaving because of Islamic terror.  Does that sound like balanced coverage?  Everything the “other side” said was taken at face value and not challenged.  That the Arab Coca-cola magnate’s extreme assertions were not challenged shows just how biased this story was.  Simon was ingratiating with the one side and agressive with the other—which was Oren.  The editors shaped the message by editing him “lame.”  Which he most decidedly is not.

    Well when Israel has part of its historical record the ethnic cleansing of 80000 Palestinians in 1948, its pretty hard to put the blame on Muslims. Many Palestinian Christians are mayors of towns and cities in the West Bank including the mayor of Ramallah, who happens to be a Palestinian Christian lady, Janet Mikhail. This is no blood libel folks, Israel is the cause of the plight of those Christians in question. If you doubt it then I recommend you talk to the Palestinian christian community in Michigan, they will tell you the same thing.

amisraelchai says:

Used to be Novak’s yearly columns around Easter on the bad treatment of Christians in Israel. Nowadays its the NYT and CBS . Are things now getting any better or worse ? Methinks these things dont change :  “victims” are always good news. Used to be the Jews. Now it is the Christians who are being thrown to the Lions of Judea in the midst of the Middle East circus ! Thank God we are no longer filling that role. Now there is a Jewish State..a Jewish Army that is successful in the field of battle.. Technological innovations made in Israel that save lives and help people have more fulfilling lives … a scholarly, articulate ambassador who wont take any guff from the likes of Bob Simon, Lesley Stahl and some in the cable media. What was it they say about sticks, stones and words? 

    Well you keep this up with the Christians in the holy land and your last ally, America, a country with a Christian majority, might turn their back on you, even with your so called technological innovations.

      tzatz says:

       That’s your wish … ask Santa for it come Xmas time Freddy.

      But I understand Christians … Evangelical Christians believe that Jews are in the Holy Land by right … they believe that Israel is the only place that makes Christians safe in the Arab/Muslim ME …

      They understand that the access to their religious institutions has only been unimpaired since Israel has united Jerusalem …

      Having a sleepless night worrying about Christians in the Holy Land is a waste of time … the IDF is doing the worrying … they’re in good hands!

        Jews deface christian churches all the time in Jerusalem with their graffiti all the time. Yes all I have to refer you to is a man called Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian, whose family was forced out by Zionist forces in 1948 and who later went on to kill Robert Kennedy who was doing what most poliicans do here in Ameria, pander to the Israeli crowd with a promise if elected president to give Israel 50 free jet fighters. Notice he killed Kennedy for his support of Israel and not Muslims for he did not blame Muslims for his tribes plight. Come on how stupid can you be……….80000 Palestinian Christians were ethnically cleansed by Zionist in 1948. For people like you to deny history is a big mistake. Takes away from your creditabilty

        Oh please don’t conflate what is happening with Christains in Muslims countries to whats happen to Christains in the West Bank. Thats the trouble with you zionist like you tzatz . You always love to bring up the displacement of Jews from Muslim countries as if they changes the subject. Sorry if these white European jews never displaced 750000 Palestinians in the first  place there would be no ethnic cleansing of Jews. See how much trouble you zionist caused by your little enterprise. Yes Israel and its policy is responsible for the plight of the Palestinians Christians. To prove my point I will invite you to Michigan to talk to those very same Palestinian Christians and you can ask them to your hearts delight about the reason they left the Holy Land. My bet your to afraid of the reception you would get and again it would ruin your fictional narrative.

brynababy says:

There are some excellent comments here taking Mr. Simon to task, and including relevant facts that Simon neglected to mention or even search for.  What I want to know is, did anyone write to Simon at 60 Minutes to express these warranted concerns?

yevka says:

Simon reported an honest and candid picture of the occupation and its impact on non-Jews and I applaud him for his candor and honesty. Oren complained to Simon and attacked his report before even seeing it which nakedly demonstrates how Israel is immediately on the defensive at the first hint of criticism. Last month it was Peter Bienart and Gunter Grass, and this month it was Bob Simon. Who will ridiculously get rapped on the knuckles next? Israel has really not been looking good in its reactions and does not answer but evades questions asked of its spokesmen, and instead turns around in sputtering fits of fierce indignation as if to say how dare you?

Khunianb says:

The comments are interesting as they ignore the content of the piece.  The restrictions on movement and the occupation are because the people are Palestinian but these restrictions and the occupation were identified by the Christians interviewed as reasons for the declining population.

In fact, since the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Christians have not been excluded from the racist, zionist policies.

Attempts by Oren to evoke Antisemitism are disingenuous – the issue is one of human rights and the actions of the State of Israel to deny these rights to the Palestinians.

Not something that readers of  Tablet want to even consider or try to understand having been brainwashed since childhood with Zionist lies. 

    Ethnic cleansing of Palestine. . .  Oh wait a sec, right, I forgot that in 1948, the Armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded the nascent state of Israel, and whatever territory they held at the end of the war was cleansed of its Jewish population – Including Jerusalem. 

    Got it. 

    As for Christians being excluded from Zionist policy, I would ask you to point out in Israel’s government where there is a policy for ‘Christians’. 

      Khunianb says:

      Read Ilan Pappe’s book which uses plenty of quotes from Ben Gurion’s diary and documents from Hagana and Irgun and IDF.

      Ethnic Cleansing began in earnest in late 1947 and Arab armies played very little roles after May 1948.

      Read the facts and not the lies that you are taught.

      Ben Gurion clearly calls for cleansing (tihur) and only spared Druze who fought for the Zionists.

        When the Arab League conquered Jerusalem in 1948, the Christian population was 25,000.  By 1967, when Israel liberated the city, the Christian population had been eviscerated to half that number.

        The numbers don’t lie.

        Ilan Pappe is an admitted fraud, and you have no idea what you are talking about.

          yevka says:

          Israel “liberated” the city? do tell.

          No Ilan Pappe is so someone that does not go along with the big lie about ethnic cleansing. He said it happen to the Palestinians along with the other Israeli historians, where is your historians to disprove the many that have confirmed the action?

        Ilan Pappe? 

        I’m sorry, I thought you were out to have a serious discussion.  Comedy hour is after work. 

          Whats not so funny is that my country still enables the racist Israel to this day. Its a shamed that we get the crap when Israel does it dirty work.

          Again with the ‘racist Israel’.  And yet, you live where? 

          The United States?  Where Travyon was just gunned down in cold blood?  What an honor it must have been for him to live here.

          Honestly, I prefer to save my shame for actions that I have a say in and can control.  And since I am an American citizen, the fact that wearing a ‘hoodie’ appears to be a capital crime, is more shameful than some empty comment by you about Israel and ‘Hasbara’. 

          Meanwhile, there are plenty of other real racist regimes out there that receive US support.  Pray tell, do you have an issue with the US support for Saudi Arabia?  Pakistan?  Jordan?  Egypt? 

          Or do you just save up your bile for Jews?

          We don’t have check points to keep people from going to see their holy sites the last time I looked. Yes Jews in Israel are racist buggers, they are even racist against their  own non european Jews, don’t want them to attend the same schools as their kids. I hear you jews over there love to spit on Christians when they visit the holy land. Did the talmud say its ok to abuse non jews? Sorry but again your doing what Apartheid South Africa use to do, deflect. They use to point to other parts of Africa to say their behavior is worst than their policy toward their black. Israel and their hasbarist have been doing this for decades and I see you continue the tradition sparky.

          Holy sites?  You care to point to any in particular Fred?

          I don’t know about holy sites, but I do know about going into museums, and concert halls and sports stadiums.  All have checkpoints.

          So too with the bridges and tunnels around New York City. 
          I won’t even begin to get into the details of the TSA for anyone deciding to travel by air. 

          Check points at holy sites in Israel?  Yeah, and that is an unfortunate necessity due to the ongoing violence. 

          Is there discrimination in Israel?  Sadly yes, but then again, I can point to equal if not greater levels of discrmination and violence in the US.  Go take a look at the FBI’s annual report on racial violence and then come back to me. 

          Same thing for the religious extremism.  I for one got to experience the love and joy spread by the Westboro Baptist Church a few years ago.  Tell me Mr. Cross, what does your holy book say about how to treat the Jews?

        yevka says:

         Also read Sami Hadawi’s book “Bitter Harvest a Modern History of Palestine.”

      The ethnic cleansing happen before those Arab armies came into the arena. In fact one of the reasons they came in was massacres like Deir Yassin. Again those Arab armies went into areas that were given to the Palestinains under resolution 181 where Isarel went in and gobbled it up for their own. Please I know the story how your racist Israel was created so don’t BS me with your hasbara nonsense and talking points.

        No they didn’t. 

        Armies don’t move overnight, plain and simple.  Invasions, even rudimentary ones, require planning, forethought, diplomacy, and logistics. 

        That the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, managed to invade in a coordinated manner on the day that the modern state of Israel was officially founded didn’t just materailize out of thin air like a Djin.  There were repeated calls by Arab leaders stating that they would invade Israel and destroy it utterly. 

        That, had nothing to do with the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.  Indeed, when the dust did settle, the Arab states claimed what territory they had taken for their own. 

        So much for 181.

        And so to for Deir Yassin, which was being used by the Palestinians to help strangle the Jewish position in Jerusalem. 

        Again, that you claim that Israel alone was born in sin (nice empty ‘racist state comment there’) shows again that you have little interest in comprehending the actual events and prefer to spout off hate-mongering comments. 

          “That the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, managed to invade in a coordinated manner”

          Not even remotely the case. Transjordan had specific orders from the British govt. not to invade the area allocated to the ‘Jewish’ state in 181. The same goes for Iraq since its army was under the Arab Legion. (This is cited in many places, one is ‘Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities’ by Simha Flapan).

          “And so to for Deir Yassin, which was being used by the Palestinians to help strangle the Jewish position in Jerusalem.”

          Not according to Morris in ‘Birth Revisited’

          “The notables of Deir Yassin on 20 January 1948 met with leaders of Jerusalem’s Jewish Giv‘at Shaul neighbourhood and agreed to mutual non-belligerency. Deir Yassin took upon itself to keep out bands of irregulars and if, nonetheless, some appeared, to inform Giv‘at Shaul of their presence ‘in daytime by hanging out laundry . . . (two white pieces with a black piece in the middle)’ and ‘at night Deir Yassin’s people will signal three dots with a flashlight . . . and place three . . . [lanterns?]’. Similarly, patrols from Giv‘at Shaul near Deir Yassin were to be armed with a mutually agreed password. Giv‘at Shaul was responsible for the safety of Deir Yassin’s vehicles passing through the neighbourhood” (p. 91)

          “Just before 28 January, ‘Abd al Qadir, at the head of a band of 400 armed men, encamped near Deir Yassin. Apparently they tried to recruit villagers. The village elders ‘were opposed’, and the band moved off to Beit Jala.179 Deir Yassin’s mukhtar was summoned by AHC representatives in Jerusalem to be questioned about the village’s relations with the Jews. The mukhtar said that ‘the village and the Jews lived in peace’.180 A fortnight later, on 13 February, an armed band entered Deir Yassin bent on attacking nearby Giv‘at Shaul. ‘The villagers opposed this and the gang’s reaction was to slaughter all the village’s sheep . . .’181 A month later, on 16 March, an AHC delegation composed of two men and (unusually) a woman visited the village and asked that it host a group of Iraqi and Syrian irregulars‘to guard the site’. The villagers refused and the delegation left empty handed.182 Deir Yassin’s notables registered a similar refusal on 4 April.183″ (p. 97)

          Of course the Irgun attacked the village anyway, with support from the Palmach: “On 9 April, 80 IZL and 40 LHI troopers, for part of the battle supported by Haganah machine-gunners from nearby Givat Shaul and two Palmah armouredcar squads,557 attacked and took Deir Yassin, which, as we have seen, had signed a non-belligerency pact with its Jewish neighbours and repeatedly had barred entry to foreign irregulars.” (p. 237)

          If there’s any historical research to contradict this, do tell.

          Really then why did you ethnically cleanse the Palestinains way before any Arab army came toward the areas that were given to the Palestinains in resolution 181?  Deir Yassin was not used to help strangle Jewish positions lol what a liar you are amigo. Zionist came in and slaughtered unarmed poeple. So says the International Red Cross. By the way was Count Folke Bernadotte going to strangle Jewish forces too? The  Stern gang murder the man of people, the same man that three years earlier saved 4000 jews from certain death in his good offices as head of the Swedish Red Cross by getting the Nazis to release them in 1945. His reward when he was United Nations envoy was to be murdered by zealot Jew Zionist like yourself. Israel……the country that bites the hand that feeds it. Oh thanks for Jonathan Pollard, the rat is still sitting in jail like a good zionist spy lol

    StanleyT says:

    And here we have a typical example of Palestinian inversion of the truth. As Jacob Blues points out in his reply, the only “ethnic cleansing” that took place in 1948 was of Jews – in the Old City of Jerusalem, East Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion bloc. Proof? There was not a single Jew left in East Jerusalem or the so-called “West Bank” between 1948 and 1967, and yet there were and are still millions of Arabs in pre-1967 Israel.

    And then he/she ends with “brainwashed since childhood with Zionist lies” when it is, in fact, Palestinians who have been lying (even the Palestinian identity is based on a lie) and brainwashing so many who are all too eager to stand up for the perceived “victim” and blame the Jews.

      Khunianb says:

      I am not a Palestinian – I am concerned about human rights and especially the total inability of American Zionists to recognize the evils that started with the formation of Israel and continue to this day.

      Israel is not exempt from the need to comply with Universal Rights but American Zionists give them cover to act disgustingly.

        No you’re not. 

        The idea that Israel was ‘born in sin’ is a BS argument spewed by Jew haters for the past few decades. 

          If the shoe fits Jacob then wear it. You can change the historical narrative that Israel was created on the backs of  the Palestinians. I don’t give two hoots if you think that is ” Jew hatred” or not. It happen and no amount of hasbara can change that.

          Ah, but the shoe not only doesn’t fit, it’s not even well made and in an ugly style.

          The reality is, Israel was created by Jews who came to a lightly populated outback of the Ottoman Empire to join their brothers and sisters who had been living on the land for hundreds of years. 

          That the Arab world was and is unable to reconcile with the idea that the Jews deserve to live in a free and independent state of their own, in their historic homeland, is their problem.  But it is certainly false that the Jews built Israel on the backs on the Palestinians. 

          Indeed, the Arab world has never had a problem with any of the other states created during the same time period  – notably Israel’s neighbors like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, not to mention Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen. 

          Borders were drawn, leaders were appointed and people dealt with it or moved, or worse, pushed out by force – which of course, is what has happened to the Jewish populations of these states as well as the rest of the Arab world – to the point that Israel today, has a Jewish population who’s majority came from Arab states. 

          Of course, you don’t give ‘two hoots’ about this, bigots usually don’t.  But whether you accept reality or hide under the covers of the Hasbara accusation, reality is what it is.  Keep your fingers in your ears all you want.  The rest of the world is happy to move on while you cower under your rock. 

          Lightly populated?? Well the census of 1855 that the turks performed showed that there was 350000 Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, and only 5000 Jews. By the way who created the Jaffe orange sparky? Sure was not those jews your talking about. In fact the French depended on Palestinian wheat grown by Arabs to starve off two wheat famines in 1831 and again in 1871. Please don’t fall for that silly zionist historical narrative about no people in the land when the European Zionist Jews showed up in the later part of the 19th century. I don’t do fiction amigo.

          tzatz says:

           Palestinian grown wheat?  From where … Sparky?  Where was this miracle wheat grown?  What part of ‘Palestine’?  Show me … like … prove it!

          When Mark Twain toured the Holy Land in the 1860’s … here’s a quote:

          “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over
          wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw
          a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere.
          Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless
          soil, had almost deserted the country.”

          BTW … the Turks didn’t give a population of Palestine since there has NEVER BEEN A PALESTINE!  The Turks divided the area into Sanjuks et al …  so your NUMBERS ARE WRONG! 

          Wake up … you can’t fool me.  Your interest in the Arab/Muslim agenda and/or Arab Christians is becoming something of an obsession.  What’s your REAL interest?  Let me know.  Yawn!

          Bayard Taylor who wrote of the Jezreel Valley in 1852 “.. one of the richest districts in the world”…”The soil is a dark-brown loam, and, without manure, produces annually superb crops of wheat and barley.” [17] Laurence Oliphant wrote in 1887, again of the Valley of Jezreel “..a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands … it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive”[18]
          Mason Martin, an American author who spent sixteen years as an analyst for the CIA, was critical of attempts to use Twain’s humorous writing as a literal description of Palestine at that time. She writes that “Twain’s descriptions are high in Israeli government press handouts that present a case for Israel’s redemption of a land that had previously been empty and barren. His gross characterizations of the land and the people in the time before mass Jewish immigration are also often used by US propagandists for Israel.”[19] For example she noted that Twain described the Samaritans of Nablus at length without mentioning the much larger Arab population at all.[20] The Arab population of Nablus at the time was about 20,000.[21]

          tzatz says:

          It’s irrelevant how many or the demographics prior to 1922 … the fact remains that after the Ottomans lost their territories … the League of Nations called for the creation of independent States throughout the ME … among those was the Mandate for Palestine!  The MISSION STATEMENT EMBEDDED in the Mandate was for the creation of a HOMELAND FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE … THAT’S INTERNATIONAL LAW.  Nothing can abrogate that MISSION STATEMENT … it came to fruition in November 1947 when the United Nations voted to create 2 states from the Mandate …  ONE ARAB AND ONE JEWISH …

          That’s the will of Planet Earth … it happened and it ain’t gonna unhappen! 

          Telling me what Ahad HaAm or Ruppin thought or said is meaningless … there’s 8 Million Israelis (1.2 Million Arab/Israelis) … they live in a 1st World liberal democracy … with the strongest military in the region … get used to it. 

          There will be a settlement but it MUST BE on terms amenable to the Israelis … as Netanyahu stated today … no Bantustan but a contiguous Arab/Muslim State … that’s what they’ll get but they need to ‘get to the table’ …

          During the ‘long seminar’, a meeting of Ben-Gurion with his chief advisors in January 1948, the departure point was that it was desirable to ‘transfer’ as many Arabs as possible out of Jewish territory, and the discussion focussed mainly on the implementation.[14]:63 The experience gained in a number of attacks in February 1948, notably those on Qisarya and Sa’sa’, was used in the development of a plan detailing how enemy population centers should be handled

          In 1852 the American writer Bayard Taylor traveled across the Jezreel Valley, which he described in his 1854 book The Lands of the Saracen; or, Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily and Spain as: “one of the richest districts in the world.”,[24] while Lawrence Oliphant, who visited Palestine in 1887, wrote that Palestine’s Valley of Esdraelon was “a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands; and it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive.”[25]

          According to Paul Masson, a French economic historian, “wheat shipments from the Palestinian port of Acre had helped to save southern France from famine on numerous occasions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

          Here is your demograhics for Palestine. As far as the Mark Twain quote he said the same thing in his book about Greece and at that time Greece had 800000 people. I would not take much from his quote because its limited in its scope. Zealot righwing zionist like take and run with the quote like its the truth. It was.

          After a visit to Palestine in 1891, Ahad Ha’am wrote:
          From abroad, we are accustomed to believe that Eretz Israel is presently almost totally desolate, an uncultivated desert, and that anyone wishing to buy land there can come and buy all he wants. But in truth it is not so. In the entire land, it is hard to find tillable land that is not already tilled; only sandy fields or stony hills, suitable at best for planting trees or vines and, even that after considerable work and expense in clearing and preparing them- only these remain unworked. … Many of our people who came to buy land have been in Eretz Israel for months, and have toured its length and width, without finding what they seek

          Yehoshua Porath believes that the notion of “large-scale immigration of Arabs from the neighboring countries” is a myth “proposed by Zionist writers”. He writes:
          As all the research by historian Fares Abdul Rahim and geographers of modern Palestine shows, the Arab population began to grow again in the middle of the nineteenth century. That growth resulted from a new factor: the demographic revolution. Until the 1850s there was no “natural” increase of the population, but this began to change when modern medical treatment was introduced and modern hospitals were established, both by the Ottoman authorities and by the foreign Christian missionaries. The number of births remained steady but infant mortality decreased. This was the main reason for Arab population growth. … No one would doubt that some migrant workers came to Palestine from Syria and Trans-Jordan and remained there. But one has to add to this that there were migrations in the opposite direction as well. For example, a tradition developed in Hebron to go to study and work in Cairo, with the result that a permanent community of Hebronites had been living in Cairo since the fifteenth century. Trans-Jordan exported unskilled casual labor to Palestine; but before 1948 its civil service attracted a good many educated Palestinian Arabs who did not find work in Palestine itself. Demographically speaking, however, neither movement of population was significant in comparison to the decisive factor of natural increase.[46]

          The overall assessment of several British reports was that the increase in the Arab population was primarily due to natural increase.[30][31] These included the Hope Simpson report (1930)[32], the Passfield White Paper (1930)[33] the Peel Commission report (1937)[34] and the Survey of Palestine (1945)[35]. The 1931 census of Palestine considered the question of illegal immigration since the previous census in 1922.[36] It estimated that unrecorded immigration during that period may have amounted to 9000 Jews and 4000 Arabs.[36] It also gave the fraction of persons living in Palestine in 1931 who were born outside Palestine: Muslims, 2%; Christians, 20%; Jews, 58%.[

          In 1920, the League of Nations’ Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine stated that there were hardly 700,000 people living in Palestine:
          There are now in the whole of Palestine hardly 700,000 people, a population much less than that of the province of Gallilee alone in the time of Christ. Of these 235,000 live in the larger towns, 465,000 in the smaller towns and villages. Four-fifths of the whole population are Moslems. A small proportion of these are Bedouin Arabs; the remainder, although they speak Arabic and are termed Arabs, are largely of mixed race. Some 77,000 of the population are Christians, in large majority belonging to the Orthodox Church, and speaking Arabic. The minority are members of the Latin or of the Uniate Greek Catholic Church, or–a small number–are Protestants. The Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000. Almost all have entered Palestine during the last 40 years. Prior to 1850 there were in the country only a handful of Jews. In the following 30 years a few hundreds came to Palestine. Most of them were animated by religious motives; they came to pray and to die in the Holy Land, and to be buried in its soil. After the persecutions in Russia forty years ago, the movement of the Jews to Palestine assumed larger proportions. Jewish agricultural colonies were founded. They developed the culture of oranges and gave importance to the Jaffa orange trade. They cultivated the vine, and manufactured and exported wine. They drained swamps. They planted eucalyptus trees. They practised, with modern methods, all the processes of agriculture. There are at the present time 64 of these settlements, large and small, with a population of some 15,000

          Yes, lightly populated.  355,000 is lightly populated for a region that size. 

          Sorry that you don’t do fantasy, but it appears you don’t work too well with reality either. 

           ” lightly populated outback of the Ottoman Empire”

          Remarks like this need to disappear off the face of the earth.  There is a legion of evidence in histories on the Zionist movement written by supporters, nevermind detractors, that indicate the early Zionist figures knew Palestine was inhabited.  In Dec. 1907, Arthur Ruppin submitted a memo to the WZO proposing to create Jewish autonomy through immigration that would create a Jewish majority and purchase of most of the land.  Obviously, there would be no need to create a Jewish majority if Palestine was sparsely inhabited.

          Etan Bloom, ‘Arthur Ruppin and the Production of the Modern Hebrew Culture’ p. 210  (This can be found online and should be read)

          “In the opening of his above-mentioned
          memorandum of December 1907, Ruppin declared that the idea of Jewish autonomy
          in Palestine – the practical meaning of the Basel Program – could become possible only under the
          following conditions:

          1. The creation of a Jewish majority in

          2. The purchase of most of the land;

          3. The unwavering ambition to achieve
          Jewish autonomy.

          Before going into a more detailed
          description of Ruppin’s plans, one can already see,

          from a glance at his main points, the scale
          of the operation he had in mind. At the time when Ruppin enumerated his
          aspirations, the number of Jews in Palestine was no more than 10% percent of
          the whole population (around 80,000 out of 700,000), and the Jews owned only
          1.5 % of the land (400 square km out of 29,000). The actual implication of
          Ruppin’s plan was that, in order to achieve a position of what he defined as
          “decisive worth” (Heb. erech machriaa) the Zionist movement had to buy 15,000
          square km of land and settle over 600,000 Jews on it (Eliav 1977, 128).”

          In 1928, Ruppin openly admitted in a letter the big problem of colonizing Palestine (Bloom 379):

          “Ruppin claimed that there were deep and
          manifest conflicts of interests between Arabs and Jews, conflicts which would
          worsen as the Zionists gained more control of the land: “Land is the essential
          condition for putting down economic roots in Palestine […] wherever we purchase
          land and settle people on it – its current workers [the Arabs] must of
          necessity be removed, whether they be owners or tenants […] in future it will
          be much harder to purchase land, because sparsely settled land is no longer
          available – what is left is land settled with considerable density” (ibid.). 283
          Ruppin to Kohn [30 May. 1928] in: (Bein 1968, III, 149-150).”

          Another example of Zionist history admitting the country was populated enough to be a problem for the Zionists:

          Isaiah Freidman, ‘Germany, Turkey and Zionism’, 122:

          The ‘politicals’, loyal to Herzl’s precepts, did not give in so easily. 
          Bodenheimer, their leading protagonist, was on firm ground when he
          pointed out the country was not an empty one; piecemeal and unsystematic colonization would inevitably strengthen the native non-Jewish
          inhabitants and would make their opposition to the Zionist project carry
          greater weight with the Turks.  Hence the answer as a massive
          immigration in the framework of inter-national agreements. 
          Bodenheimer’s critics replied that to wait for the charter was
          tantamount to deferring the matter to the Greek Calends.

          tzatz says:

          Most of the land was STATE LAND … like in every other ‘country’ on Planet Earth. 

          After the League of Nations in 1922 at San Remo granted Britain the Mandate for Palestine … with its Mission Statement … ‘to crate a Homeland for the Jewish People’ … the rest is history!  It was the Great Powers … Britain, France and America … who agreed!  The World Body … the League of Nations … who agreed!  This is/was an INTERNATIONALLY recognized Charter/Law!  It is part of International Law.  Israel in 1947 was legitimized by the UNITED NATIONS … it was declared a sovereign state on May 14, 1948 and recognized by the USA & the Soviet Union … hello? 

          Israel is not going to disappear.  You can huff and puff but it ain’t going nowhere!

          The overwhelming majority of land in Israel is STATE OWNED. 

          When there will be an end of conflict settlement with the PA … borders will be drawn and compensation paid to those that lost personal property … there will be no Right of Return …

          Talking of the Turks … is a moot point!  They lost title to their Ottoman possessions as of 1922 … 

           “Most of the land was STATE LAND … like in every other ‘country’ on Planet Earth.”

          Israel is not like every other country on Earth.  It’s the only country with most of its rightful inhabitants in permanent exile.  You demand the right to keep the Palestinian refugees outside their country and call Israel a normal state.  Can’t have both.

          “After the League of Nations in 1922 at San Remo granted Britain the
          Mandate for Palestine … with its Mission Statement … ‘to crate a
          Homeland for the Jewish People'”

          Have you ever read the Balfour Declaration?  There’s a certain part of it you might have ignored:  “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may
          prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish
          communities in Palestine.”  Compulsory transfer, which the British proposed in the Peel Commission, is not a civil right, it’s an assault on civil rights.

          Which part of the english words “lightly populated” didn’t you understand?

          Is English a second language for you?

      Well since Israeli historians like Tom Segev, Sternhell, Ilan Pappe, Flapan and many more concude there was ethnic cleansing by the European Jews in 1948. Now if you have someone that can dispute their conclussions go for it sparky, I am all eyes.

        tzatz says:

         Read Benny Morris … 2nd Edition … The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 … Here’s Morris discussing his findings:”Did Zionist leadership support the idea of
        transfer or expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs before the ’48 war?
        Traditionally, Zionist historians rejected the idea. They say there was
        no consensus, there was no support for transfer of the Arabs before ’48
        and therefore what happened in ’48 was completely haphazard, a function
        of what happened in the battlefields. And Arabs would say that this
        isn’t true, that the Zionists went into the war with a master plan to
        expel all the Arabs.  … But what emerges from the wider reading that I
        did during the last few years before producing this new version of the
        book is that the loose talk, the occasional discussions about the
        subject, never amounted to anything concrete.”The Jews are not in denial … we know what we did and how it was done.  War is an ugly thing … the war was thrust upon the Jewish People in May 1948 … and   …1% OF THE POPULATION DIED IN ORDER TO BECOME INDEPENDENT!  1% in America would mean 3.5 MILLION CASUALTIES!!!  There will never be a right of return … NEVER.

          Morris said there The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947—1949 (1988)
          In his first The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947—1949 (1988), Morris argues that the 700,000 Palestinians who fled their homes in 1947 left mostly due to Israeli military attacks; fear of impending attacks; and expulsions. He argues that there was no centralized expulsion policy as such, but expulsions were ordered by the Israeli high command as needed. This was a controversial position when Morris first wrote of it; the official position in Israel was that the Palestinians had left voluntarily, or under pressure from Palestinian or other Arab leaders. At the same time, Morris documents atrocities by the Israelis, including cases of rape and torture. The book shows a map of 228 empty Palestinian villages, and attempts to explain why the villagers left. In 41 villages, he writes, the inhabitants were expelled by the IDF; in another 90, residents fled because of attacks on other villages; and in sixwas ethnic cleansing in his first book,

          tzatz says:

          The cause of the refugees problem was instigated by the Arab/Muslim intransigence … first through the ‘civil war’ period between November 1947 – April 1948 and then beginning with the War of Independence May 1948

          The Arab/Muslims caused their own grief …

          •  The indigenous Arab/Muslims by starting the hostilities with women and children exposed to the conflict and its privations … sent these abroad and left the battlefield along with most of the ‘upper’ classes sat out the war in Beirut or Damascus or like the AHC in Cairo!

          •  The AHC called for the evacuation of the masses … since they did not want Jews to rule over Arab/Muslims

          •  In light of the evacuation the Israelis began to prey on the Arab/Muslims and their mindset … pushing them out of military zones that had been ‘liberated’ …

          Yes there were atrocities by both sides … except the results of Israeli atrocities were to scare the Arab/Muslim population into LEAVING … the Jews had NO WHERE TO GO … THEY DIDN’T LEAVE THEY STAYED AND FOUGHT AND WON THE WAR … they sacrificed 1% of their population in order to win that war …

          In American terms that would mean the sacrifice of 3.5 MILLION PEOPLE  in the WAR OF INDEPENDENCE! 

          That’s a staggering number …

          Did you just doubt there was even Palestinian wheat and now don’t even mention it. YOU also claimed there was hardly any Palestinian arabs in the area and used the now debunked Mark Twain quote. Amigo go get your meds son your skipping around like a top with no where to go. Again your creditabilty has just gone down to the gutter’s edge for you have not rebutted one statement that I have made about the presense of Palestinain Arabs in the 19th century when there was hardly any jews

          In the first round of conquest, the Zionist movement set its sights on “the way of transfer.”  For all the public rhetoric about wanting to “live with the Arabs in conditions of unity and mutual honor and together with them to turn the common homeland into a flourishing land” (Twelfth Zionist Congress, 1921), the Zionists from early on were in fact bent on expelling them.  “The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings,” Tom Segev reports.  “‘Disappearing’ the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence…. With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer – or its morality.” The key was to get the timing right.  Ben-Gurion, reflecting on the expulsion option in the late 1930s, wrote: “What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out – a whole world is lost.”

          Getting rid of the native inhabitants of Palestine has long been one of the tenets of Zionism. 1 It was clearly spelled out by Yosef Weitz, the head of the Transfer Committee and the chief of land-confiscation operations. As early as 1940, he proposed an ethnic cleansing plan: “The only solution is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be left.” 2

          Plan Dalet was designed to “occupy…expel” 3 the Palestinian people. It was David Ben-Gurion’s doctrine that the destruction of the Palestinian people and their cultural and physical landscape was the precondition for creating the state of Israel on its ruins. 4 The systematic elimination of the Palestinians in 1948 took the following forms

          Almost every one of the thirty-odd Zionist/Israeli military operations was accompanied by a massacre of civilians. There were at least thirty-five reported massacres, 6 half of which took place before any Arab regular soldier set foot in Palestine. The most notorious of these massacres is Deir Yassin, the largest is Dawayma, and the latest disclosed by an Israeli researcher, Teddy Katz, but known to Palestinians all along, is Tantoura.

          Shooting of civilians was not restricted to wartime. After the fighting ceased, some of the refugees tried to return home to rescue civilians left behind, to retrieve some belongings or to attend to crops or cattle. These returnees were shot on the spot as “infiltrators.” The UN truce observers reported hundreds of such cases. 7

          Plunder took place in the immediate aftermath of military assaults, especially in cities such as Haifa, Jaffa, Lydda, and Jerusalem. The looters included nearby kibbutzniks, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) brigade commanders and the high-ranking political figures of the ruling Mapai (Labor) party. 8 There followed a massive campaign of destruction, which lasted over fifteen years and in which 53 percent of the 418 villages surveyed were totally destroyed and 44.5 percent partially destroyed. 9 The clear aim of this destruction was to prevent the return of the refugees

          Soon after the state of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948 and following the protest of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, who witnessed, by June 1948, the expulsion of about 500,000 refugees, the Provisional Government of Israel stated that it could not allow any refugees to return before a peace treaty was signed, on the pretext that these refugees would be a “security threat.” Even after the fighting stopped, Israel refused to re-admit the refugees, and it maintains this position in the international arena to this day. It does so even though Israel’s admission to the UN in May 1949 was unique in that it is the only UN member whose admittance is “conditional” upon the return of refugees (Resolution 194) and withdrawal to the lines of the partition plan (Resolution 181

          Before, during and after the 1948 war, Israel/Zionists resorted to many pseudo-legal devices to organize and justify the confiscation of 18,700 square kilometres (92 percent of Israel) of Palestinian land, in addition to the property found in 530 depopulated towns and villages. The property was held by the Custodian of the Absentee (i.e., refugee) Property and transferred later to the Development Authority. All such land, as well as JNF holdings, is now administered by the Israel Land Administration (ILA). According to Israel, the “Absentee” is a Palestinian refugee not allowed by Israel to return. The term also applies to Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are not “Absent,” hence dubbed “Present Absentees”; much of their land has also been confiscated

          Immediately upon the invasion of Palestinian villages, Israel activated its program of sending Mossad agents to transport Jews in Arab countries to Israel. The immigrants were persuaded by a mixture of rosy promises, incentives, and, for the reluctant ones, various acts of coercion, including throwing grenades at their houses. 12 About 700,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in the period 1949-52. Many of them were unhappy about the discriminatory treatment they received at the hands of the ruling Ashkenazi. Their resentment is still strong today.

          All these actions were designed to prevent the return of refugees to their homes. While Israel was successful in preventing their return, the refugees remained adamant in their intention to return. They could often see their old homes across the barbed wire of the armistice line; indeed, most refugees still reside within a two-hour bus ride of their homes. After their expulsion during al Nakba of 1948, the problem for Israel thus became how to get rid of the refugees themselves, wherever they may be in exile

As you say most correctly, Bob Simon was trying to create a story, not report one. It has never been in Sixty Minute’s interest to portray Israel in a good light when reporting on the Arab/Israeli conflict. As you say, Sixty Minutes is a show. It has its own agenda. Provocation is Sixty Minutes’ tool. Simon’s portrayal of the poor Christians’ view from their window was absurd. Israel never wanted to build that wall. It was beyond expensive to do so. It built the wall out of its very real existential need to protect itself from suicide bombings. As Simon himself admits, that wall has reduced the amount of  suicide bombs by a whopping 90%. Someone has to live near it!! What was Simon suggesting, that Israel should continue enduring that extra 90% of killings so that the Christian family could enjoy a nicer view?
Israel and the Palestinians are at war, plain and simple. Israel has nothing against Arabs who want to coexist in peace – either Muslim or Christian. Is Simon suggesting racial profiling?
But that would not have been news for Simon’s program. Let us beware of  media shows that purport to be news.
Batya Casper,

    yevka says:

     It’s rather a daunting task to portray Israel in a “good light” when Israel is anything but moving forward in a good light. That’s hard to put together.

i think someone should have mentioned that sirhan sirhan was a palestinian christian who killed bobby kennedy after he made a public statement in support of israel

    yevka says:

     Sirhan Sirhan was motivated to assassinate Bobby Kennedy through his disgruntled and dispossessed  status as a displaced Palestinian refugee not by a “public statement in support of Israel.” What planet are you living on?

      He was talking about how Kennedy pandered to the Jewish community here in America by offering , if elected president, he would give Israel 50 free jet fighters, Sirhan was a Palestinian Christian, one of the 80000 christians, that were ethnically cleansed by your zionist friends. Sirhan hated the fact that those jet fighters would of killed his fellow Palestinians. His hatred of Israel is further proof that Palestinain Christians don’t hate Muslims for their plight, but Israel. Connect the dots sparky.

        yevka says:

         My Zionist friends? They aren’t my friends. I am a Jew but I am most certainly NOT a  Zionist in orientation or in my personal political convictions.

yevka says:

Some insightful and searching analysis by Mairav Zonzein of 972 Mag:

What a bunch of nonsense. It’s a “hatchetjob,” when Simon exposes something about Israel that you don’t like to hear or find disagreeable. Like Michael Oren, you just want censored or modified in some manner anything with which you disagree when it comes to Israel. Grow up. This is the US, where at least our citizens believe in freedom of expression, not management or modification when it comes to Israel

    yevka says:

     Israel’s instant unthinking and unreflective knee jerking responses to genuinely valid criticisms and disagreements with Israeli policies  are becoming ever more shrill and childish. This is only serving to isolate even more in the court of public opinion.

      tzatz says:

       Public opinion?  70% of Americans – The American Public – think Israel is right over the Arab/Muslims!

      Both you and Freddy are swimming AGAINST the tide of American thinking … American Policy … American leadership

      Criticism … is not the issue.  You can hold Israel to account for her policies … that’s never been an issue.  It’s the twisting of the issue to make it seem Israel is at fault for Christians leaving the PA & Gaza that’s UNTRUTHFUL.

      Why is the Arab/Christian population in ISRAEL the only Christian polity that’s growing in the Arab/Muslim ME?  How come they’re not walking with their feet and leaving Israel?  How come they’re growing and advancing in numbers? 

Well you can’t get around the fact that 80000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed by Zionist in 1948. For proof that Palestinian Christains blame Israel for their plight one only has to focus on one man, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian, whose family was effected by the displacement caused by zionist. He later went on to kill Robert Kennedy because like all Politicans here in Amercia he pandered to the Israeli crowd by promising Israel 50 free jet fighters. This promise sealed the fate for RFK. Don’t remember Sirhan Sirhan going after Muslims for revenge.

Amb. Michael Oren’s article, ‘Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians,’ presents Israel as a tolerant, dove-like, and peaceful democracy. This is belied by the facts.
I am one of those Palestinian Christians living inside Israel to whom Oren refers. At no time in my life have I ever felt the ‘respect and appreciation’ by the Jewish state, which Oren so glowingly references. Israel’s Christian minority is marginalized in much the same manner as its Muslim one or, at best, quietly tolerated. We suffer the same discrimination when we try to find a job, when we go to hospitals, when we apply for bank loans, and when we get on the bus — in the same way as Palestinian Muslims.
Israel’s fundamental basis is as a racist state built for Jews only, and the majority of the Jewish population doesn’t really care what religion we are if we’re not Jewish. In my daily dealings with the State, all I have felt is rudeness and overt contempt.
Oren’s statement that ‘The extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude’ is outright shocking to anyone familiar with even the basic history of how Israel was founded. I would like to remind him and others that this founding expelled thousands of Palestinian Christians from their homes in 1948 and displaced them, either forcing them to flee across the border or making them internal refugees. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that comprised the founding of Israel is, too, an injustice of historic magnitude. A man living in a glass home — or a home stolen from Palestinians — should think very carefully before tossing stones.

    tzatz says:

    If you’re living in Israel as a Arab/Israeli … then you are a free man

    You can choose where you want to live … inside or outside the country.   If you live within … then act accordingly … support your country and when you need to act to make changes internally …

    Did you serve in the IDF?  How do you support your state? 

    The fact is … you are FREE … which your Christian brethren in the Arab/Muslim states are not now nor have they EVER BEEN. 

      yevka says:

       Frederick, I agree with what you’re saying. More and more even still more people who are both Jews and Christians are taking action against the occupation which the US government is officially opposed to. Read this article and see what people are doing to protest the occupation and if you feel like minded in purpose then please participate. The occupation must stop.

My cousin’s husband, Maher, is from Iqrith, a village a few miles from mine in the Galilee. His family, and all of Iqrith’s inhabitants, were expelled from their village in 1948 and Iqrith was razed to the ground by Israeli forces on Christmas eve, 1950, in a special ‘Christmas gift’ to its people. The timing of this destruction leaves one to wonder at the intended message. Maher was born years after his family took shelter in Rama, a village nearby in the Galilee. Today, he struggles with finding a place to build a house to live in with his wife and children. Israeli policies that severely restrict the building zones in Arab towns and villages result in land shortages impeding the population’s natural expansion. Limiting land to residents of the same town or village means that internal Palestinian refugees face severe housing discrimination.
The return of people like Maher has been made impossible by Israel, which refuses to negotiate on the right of refugees to return to their homeland. If Oren is so concerned for Palestinian Christians, would he kindly give the green light for the return of Christian refugees from Iqrith, Bir’im, Tarshiha, Suhmata, Haifa, Jaffa, and tens of other Palestinian towns and villages that they were expelled from in 1948? The answer, I assure you, is no. Many of these refugees are living in refugee camps in nearby countries, where Israel and Oren are happy to leave them

    yevka says:

     I think this article by Professor Juan Cole confirms much of what you’re saying.

      yevka says:

       tzatz, you’re wrong displacing people by force of arms from the place of their inhabitation is  ethnic cleansing, you cannot euphemize what is an essential and indelible truth.

        tzatz says:

        The Arab/Muslims left for 3 reasons outlined above.  Benny Morris in his book … stated as much. 

        Juan Cole and Ilan Pappe are NOT to be quoted on the refugee issue. 


        The PA … Abbas … knows that … how come you don’t?  

          yevka says:

           Your beligerence is very unbecoming and you’re dismissive stubborness  reason many Jews have been and are feeling alienated from Israel. You’re not doing yourself or anybody else a favor.

          yevka says:

           You disparage any learned scholar that doesn’t fit in with your false narrative, what does that say about your credibility tzatz?

          tzatz says:

           Learned scholars?  Ilan Pappe?  You’ve got to be kidding.  He’s a Communist with an anti-Israel agenda!

          It’s you that needs to look at their motives … as to Jews who feel alienated from Israel?  That’s interesting … I don’t feel alienated and other Jews will need to speak for themselves.  Let the Jews speak for Jews … we don’t need you to speak for them!

          Regarding ‘force of arms’ … the time to settle that issue is OVER … 64 + years ago!  The Arab/Muslims don’t want to settle the so-called Arab refugee problem … they want to continue to use it AGAINST the Israelis.  BTW … it hasn’t/won’t work! 

          Stuff happens during war … but the Arab abandonement of their homes in Mandate Palestine was UNPRECEDENTED … British officers were aghast at the Arab/Muslims leaving their homes … read Benny Morris

          It’s a moot point … since the Arab/Muslims living in ‘camps’ will never return to their property inside the Jewish State. 


          yevka says:

           You’re just preoccupied with your own prejudices which principally speaking are not my problem. My eyes are open wide your eyes are closed firmly shut.

          tzatz says:

           I’m the judge as to whose eyes are wide open!  

          The facts are clear. 

          The Arab/Muslims will never have a right of return!  Next!

          yevka says:

           You’re the judge and guardian of your own self insulated fantasy.

    tzatz says:

    There has been no ethnic cleansing  … that’s a LIE.

    IN 1948 … the State of Israel was declared and 6 Arab/Muslim States attacked …
    the goal of the Arab/Muslims was/is the destruction of the Jewish State. 
    During the War of Independence (also known as the Naqba by Arab/Muslims)
    650,000 Arab/Muslims left what became the de jure borders of the Jewish State …
    they left for 3 reasons:  [a]  They couldn’t stay in the battlefield
    due to hunger, fear of women/children being victims [b] They were told to leave
    by the AHC [c]  The IDF made them leave due to military imperative … 
    They were not allowed to return once hostilities ended!  They will never
    be allowed to return! 

    At the same time … 750,000 Jews who lived within the Arab/Muslim World … in
    Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran et
    al   …  made their way OUT of one part of the Middle East and
    settled in the Jewish State of Israel. 

    Therefore a de facto POPULATION EXCHANGE OCCURRED. 

    While compensation needs to be addressed in any future final Peace Agreement …
    both Jews and Arab/Muslims will have claims to be settled for lost property …
    businesses … et al

    BTW … I’m told the Jews that left/were pushed out of the Arab/Muslim World left
    behind more valuable ‘stuff’  and therefore more compensation will be owed
    these Jews than to the Arab/Muslims who left/were pushed out of Israel.

    As far as Maher is concerned … there is NO RIGHT OF RETURN.  The Arabs had an opportunity to live in peace with the Jewish State but they failed to ‘come to the table’ in all the years after 1948 … to dialogue directly on an end of conflict peace agreement. 

    All Maher can expect is compensation for lost property …

Jews deface christian churches all the time in Jerusalem with their graffiti all the time. Yes all I have to refer you to is a man called Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian, whose family was forced out by Zionist forces in 1948 and who later went on to kill Robert Kennedy who was doing what most poliicans do here in Ameria, pander to the Israeli crowd with a promise if elected president to give Israel 50 free jet fighters. Notice he killed Kennedy for his support of Israel and not Muslims for he did not blame Muslims for his tribes plight. Come on how stupid can you be……….80000 Palestinian Christians were ethnically cleansed by Zionist in 1948. For people like you to deny history is a big mistake. Takes away from your creditabilty

    tzatz says:

    I lived in Israel for 2 years myself … whatever you’ve read in your ‘slanted’ version or ‘fractured fairytales’ version of history … is wrong.

    Simple and sweet … you’re a raving anti-Semite … your obsession with this topic to the point of mindless copying and pasting from anti-Israel websites is very telling … get some sleep … take a walk … and fuck off 

      yevka says:

      No I don’t think Frederich is wrong tzatz.  You’re unwillingness to recognize the wrongs of Israel is the real underlying problem.

    Here is an example of Jews defacing a bapist church in West Jerusalem. This happens all the time in Israel and it proves Jews can not live with non Jews in peace.

yevka says:

NY Times op-ed by Paul Krugman on Israel’s imperious heavy handed way of gagging critics of Israeli state policies, the occupation  and Peter Beinart’s book.

yevka says:

More from 972 Mag on Israel’s treatment of Christians:

During the ‘long seminar’, a meeting of Ben-Gurion with his chief advisors in January 1948, the departure point was that it was desirable to ‘transfer’ as many Arabs as possible out of Jewish territory, and the discussion focussed mainly on the implementation.[14]:63 The experience gained in a number of attacks in February 1948, notably those on Qisarya and Sa’sa’, was used in the development of a plan detailing how enemy population centers should be handled

Here is an example of Jews defacing a bapist church in West Jerusalem. This happens all the time in Israel and it proves Jews can not live with non Jews in peace.

tzatz:  “it came to fruition in November 1947 when the United Nations voted to
create 2 states from the Mandate …  ONE ARAB AND ONE JEWISH …”

To make this argument, you have to ignore that 181 expressly demanded everyone on either side of the partition boundary receive citizenship in whatever state they happened to reside in.  So the 450,000 Palestinians who were in the ‘Jewish’ side of the partition had to become Israeli citizens on the off-chance the partition was actually implemented, which of course, it wasn’t.

International law forbids compulsory transfer, c.f. article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:  “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within
the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any
country, including his own, and to return to his country.”  There is no legal document permitting any state to expel the people residing therein, or denying people who fled a conflict the right to return.

To put not too fine a point on it, 181 was an ill-conceived plan.  What it really accomplished was to signal the Yishuv that any result of armed conflict in their favor would be accepted by the major powers, since the partition resolution itself retroactively greenlighted their colonial-settlement in Palestine.

yevka says:

If you would like to thank 60 Minutes for the depth and courage of Bob Simon’s reporting please click this link and show your appreciation. Thanks.


JK Kanj says:

This is the real story of Palestinian Christians in the holy land. Christians in the West wake up and stop being fooled by Israel. Just like Jesus, the Christians who are the only continuing presence since Jesus are today being forced out of their Christian homes.

Christians in the West can ignore the truth, like those who ignored Jesus on the Cross! Today, we are the new crucified people and Israel is doing it with your support.

Hernan Tasies says:

Absurd, the actual Palestinian Christians are unequivocally telling us how it is and was for them under Zionist rule, and the hasbara brigade insists on the opposite. That’s why the Hasbara brigade has to extend historic ill-treament of Jews on behalf of Muslims beyond the Palestinian territories, to make it seem as if Palestinians are responsible for the actions of the Iraquis, Iranians, Yemenis, etc. It’s as if because I’m from Costa Rica, I am responsible for what Mexico or Guatemala does based on a shared language and religion. It’s a homogenization of a people for political aims. Because in Palestine proper, within the context of history, Christians and Muslims lived side by side for centuries and became fragmented with the Zio-European colonization of Palestine. The ethnic cleansing in 48′, was the ethnic cleasing of the Palestinian people, both Muslim and Christian. If they weren’t ethnically cleansed, why weren’t they allowed to return and claim their lands and homes (which they have the proper titles for, as opposed to entitlement based on the Old Testament)?


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

’60 Minutes’ vs. Israel On Palestinian Christians

Ambassador Oren tried to discourage ‘hatchet job’

More on Tablet:

Blum’s Day

By Yale University Press (Sponsored) — Sociologist Pierre Birnbaum says it’s time Léon Blum—French socialist, Zionist, wartime hero and Prime Minister—got his due