WHO WANTED TO OCCUPY THE LAND?
by Emanuel A. Winston
Middle East analyst & commentator
In 1947-48, leaders of the Arab countries pledged to push the Jews of the developing State of Israel into the sea and occupy the Land of Israel which had been partitioned by a U.N. Resolution in November 1947. The Arab leaders attempted to keep that pledge by occupying historic Judea and Samaria until the 1967 War but what they called "the West Bank" (of the Jordan River), large parts of Jerusalem, the areas called Gush Etzion - all formerly settled by Jews who were evicted or killed - plus the Sinai desert which was virtually empty.
There was one phase of their plans that I have not seen thoroughly explored by historians. That was the part where the Arab leaders called upon the local peasantry to abandon their villages on the pretext that it would clear the way for the advancing armies to attack the Jews. And so, out of a total population of 800,000 Arabs, 650,000 fled - despite calls from the Jews to stay and live together in peace.
This call to abandon the area is very peculiar since these villages would not impede the advancing Arab armies. In fact, hordes of people on the move would only clog the roads - not to mention the logistical problem of setting up temporary camps (which became permanent), feeding, providing fresh water, sanitary facilities, schools, etc.
Why did the Arabs want to clear the Land of Arabs who had mostly immigrated in from the surrounding Arab countries for better jobs and medical care provided by the Jews?
In retrospect, it appears that the intentions of the Arab countries were to lay claim to whatever land the advancing armies could conquer - each for themselves. They certainly expected to get it all - since their opposition was merely a 650,000 poorly armed, non-military Jewish population. With the local Arab population gone, the 7 invading armies had only to slaughter the Jews and claim their booty.
Incidentally, that booty of houses, factories, farms of the Jews was promised to the fleeing local Arabs when they returned after the Arab armies conquered the new Jewish State. They fled, feeling certain that they would return to not only their own homes but that all the properties of the Jews would also be theirs.
Of course, the Armies of the 7 Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) failed and the fleeing immigrant Arabs ended up in permanent refugee camps because the invading Arab countries refused to absorb their brethren into their own societies.
Although urged to abandon their homes, nevertheless, those who fled were kept on permanent display, in festering slums (called 'refugee camps') and used as cannon fodder for the next 53 years. They were treacherously tricked by the invading Arab countries - each of whom wanted to occupy a segment of the newly born Jewish State of Israel for their own people. The idea of supposed concern for what came to be known as the "Palestinian people" turned out to be a cruel and intended joke. What Arab leader ever showed concern for the lower classes of his own people, let alone a peasantry who squatted in Israel for better paying jobs and improved health care?
The historians have never paid much attention to the overall goals and motives of the 7 invading Arab armies. Before the partition vote by the U.N. in 1947, the area of Israel, including Jerusalem, did not have much attraction for the Muslim Arabs. After the partition vote, the Land of Israel suddenly became 'indispensable' for Islam.
Egypt claimed the Gaza Strip and Trans-Jordan attached to its kingdom 'the West Bank' (Judea and Samaria) as well as all of Jerusalem that they had 'conquered' during the 1948 War of Independence. But, these claims were only recognized by 2 countries in the world. Not insignificantly, between 1949 and 1967, when the Jordanian King ruled peacefully in Judea and Samaria, some 400,000 Arabs packed their belongings and left for other parts of the "Arab World".
So, the cleaning out of the Land of both Jews and Arabs became a high priority. In succeeding years the Arabs gambled away both land they had seized in the 1947-48 War and areas they consider part of their nations.
Now they want it back. Too bad. No other sovereign state has ever given away land won in a war from an aggressor - especially in a war of self-defense. Why should the Jewish State of Israel give anything to the Arabs who have only and always declared their intentions to take over ALL of the Jewish State of Israel as part of their plan of world domination for Islam?