إسرائيل لا تثق بجيشها البرّي: «حرب 73 ستكون نزهة»!

إسرائيل لا تثق بجيشها البرّي: «حرب 73 ستكون نزهة»!

غولان: وضع سلاح البر سيء جداً، وقائد ذراع البر لا يعمل (أ ف ب )

 علي حيدر

 السبت 9 شباط 2019

لم يعد الحديث عن عدم جاهزية سلاح البر في جيش العدو مجرد تقدير أو تحذير من لجان متخصصة أو من مفوض شكاوى الجنود. بل أتى من قلب المؤسسة العسكرية ومن قيادتها العليا. في وثيقة سرية قدمها نائب رئيس الأركان السابق اللواء يائير غولان، كان الأخير صريحاً إلى حد الإقرار بعدم ثقة القيادة العليا بالجيش البري، والتحذير مما ينتظر الجبهة الداخلية من سيناريوات لم تشهدها طوال تاريخها في كل الحروب التي خاضتها في مواجهة الجيوش العربية.

لم يعد بإمكان المؤسسة الإسرائيلية بكافة عناوينها، التغطية على هذه الحقيقة المؤلمة بالنسبة لكل إسرائيلي محتل، جندياً كان أو مستوطناً، خصوصاً أن من قدمها هو من القيادة العسكرية العليا، وكان أحد المرشحين لخلافة رئيس الأركان السابق غادي آيزنكوت في منصبه. ومما أضفى على الوثيقة المزيد من الصدقية أيضاً أنها لم تستند إلى تقديرات نظرية، بل إلى تجارب عملانية أيضاً، الأمر الذي رفع من مستوى الخطورة لدى قادة تل أبيب – حتى لو تمت التغطية على ذلك – خصوصاً أن هذا الواقع يمهد لمزيد من النكسات والهزائم التي ستكون مفاعيلها أشد خطورة على وجودها وأمنها.

أكد اللواء غولان أن انعدام الثقة بقدرات سلاح البر، والخوف من الخسائر، أديا إلى عدم تنفيذ اجتياح بري خلال العدوان على قطاع غزة في العام 2014، في ما سمي بـ«الجرف الصامد». وأشار إلى أن «انعدام الثقة بسلاح البر انتقل إلى الشبان، وألحق هذا الأمر ضرراً لا يمكن إصلاحه من حيث ثقة الضباط بأنفسهم وبقدرتهم على الانتصار». في المقابل، اعتبر رئيس معهد القدس للأبحاث الاستراتيجية، أفرايم عنبر، أن «الخشية هذه موجودة منذ سنوات طويلة وكما يبدو منذ أيام حرب لبنان الثانية» (حرب تموز 2006)، مشيراً إلى أنه «ليس عبثاً تم إهمال سلاح البر لمصلحة قدرات السايبر وسلاح الجو».

لكن المشكلة الكبرى بالنسبة لإسرائيل، تكمن في الخطورة الكبرى التي ستواجهها انطلاقاً من أن «الضربة التي ستوجه إلى الجبهة الداخلية ستكون (في الحرب المقبلة) أكبر مما تحتمله، وأن إخفاق حرب يوم الغفران (حرب تشرين العام 1973) سيكون «نزهة» قياساً بالضربة التي ستوجه إلى الجبهة الداخلية»، بحسب غولان. في المقابل، رأى قائد سلاح البر السابق اللواء غاي تسور، أنه «إذا نظرنا إلى المستقبل، وبموجب إدراكنا لطبيعة الحرب المقبلة في لبنان، فعلينا تعزيز ثقة صناع القرار بسلاح البر».

ويعود منشأ هذه الخطورة، بحسب منطق غولان، من أن «سلاح الجو لن يتمكن من وقف آلاف الصواريخ في الحرب المقبلة، وبالتالي سيكون من الضروري دخول القوات البرية إلى أراضي العدو ووقف إطلاق الصواريخ. وإلا فإن الجبهة الداخلية ستتلقى ضربات صاروخية سيكون من الصعب عليها تحملها»، «والوضع سيشكل صدمة للجمهور». يتلاقى هذا «التحذير» أيضاً مع ما سبق أن أقر به الرئيس السابق لأركان جيش العدو غادي آيزنكوت عشية رأس السنة العبرية في أيلول الماضي، بأن سلاح الجو غير قادر على الانتصار في الحرب، وأن «الانتصار سيأتي حصراً عبر عمل القوات البرية».

لكن المشكلة أن هناك قدراً من التسليم الضمني بأن سلاح البر في جيش العدو، عاجز عن تحقيق أي حسم عسكري، فضلاً عن الكلفة الباهظة التي سيتلقاها. ومن هنا تنبع عدم ثقة القيادة العليا به، وهو ما وصفه غولان في الوثيقة، بأنه «مفهوم كارثي» وأن «وضع سلاح البر سيء جداً، وقائد ذراع البر لا يعمل…». ويضيف أيضاً أن «مشكلة القيادة العليا للجيش الإسرائيلي تكمن في الوعي، وهذه القيادة فعلاً لا تعتمد على سلاح البر… وحتى الاستثمارات المالية الكبيرة في سلاح البر لن تفيد». وهكذا يتضح فعلياً أن إسرائيل عالقة بين «خيار جوي عقيم وغزو بري متعذر» 

(«الأخبار»، 10 أيلول 2018 ).

يادلين مشكّكاً: إلى أي مدى يمكن أن يصل الهجوم البري؟ إلى بيروت؟ شمال لبنان؟ العراق؟

كل ذلك توالى بعد محاولات المؤسستين العسكرية والسياسية التشكيك بتقارير مفوض شكاوى الجنود في الجيش اللواء يتسحاق بريك، الذي أكد عدم جاهزية الجيش للحرب. لكن انكشاف وثيقة غولان أطاح بكل هذه الجهود الدعائية.

في المقابل، تدرك تل أبيب خطورة الصورة التي تتشكل في وعي أعداء إسرائيل حول عدم جاهزية سلاح البر. وتدرك أيضاً القدرات الصاروخية الهائلة التي يمتلكها محور المقاومة، والقادر من خلالها على دك الجبهة الداخلية، وهو ما وفَّر ردعاً استراتيجياً في مقابل القوة النارية والتدميرية الهائلة لجيش العدو. وانعكاس كل ذلك على معادلات الردع المتبادل، وعلى المدى الذي يمكن أن يبلغه أعداء إسرائيل في حال نشوب أي مواجهة كبرى.

أياً كانت المساعي التي تبذلها القيادة الإسرائيلية لتبديل صورة جيشها بنظر جمهورها وبنظر أعدائها، فإنها من الناحية العملية لم تعد تثق بجيشها في مواجهة قوى المقاومة، وباتت أمام حقيقتين لخّصهما رئيس الاستخبارات العسكرية السابق، اللواء عاموس يادلين. الأولى عبّر عنها بالقول: «أنا لا أوافق على الادعاء أن العملية البرية ستوقف إطلاق الصواريخ. إلى أي مسافة ستصل العملية البرية؟ حتى بيروت؟ حتى شمال لبنان؟ إلى غرب العراق؟». وهو أراد بذلك الإشارة إلى أن هذا التمدد الإسرائيلي المفترض لن يوقف أيضاً دك الجبهة الداخلية بالصواريخ. والثانية، أن «ذراع البر في الجيش الإسرائيلي يمثّل شعب إسرائيل الذي لا يريد إرسال جنوده إلى هجوم بريّ في الحرب المقبلة». وهي الحقيقة الأكثر إيلاماً وحضوراً في وعي قادة تل أبيب على المستويين السياسي والأمني.

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Lords of the Land: Why Israel’s Victory Won’t Last

Astute News

If Benjamin Netanyahu ever needs rest and recuperation from the travails of being Israel’s longest serving prime minister, if there is a shed in which he can hide from any one ofthe five police investigations threatening him, this place of relative comfort must surely be “the pit”.

This is the name given to the bunker some floors beneath the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, which serves as the nerve centre of operations for the Israeli army. It is where prime ministers, defence ministers, the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet regularly descend when a military operation is afoot.

And it is from here that Netanyahu can survey his life’s work: Israel’s absolute and unchallenged control of all it surveys.

Lords of the land

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) can mount repeated attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, without having the population of Israel scurrying for the air…

View original post 3,270 more words

Netanyahu Misleads The Israelis About Cross-Border Tunnels And “Operation Northern Shield”: Is He Preparing An Electoral War on Lebanon?

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

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There is much talk in the Levant, in Syria and Lebanon, that Israel, and more precisely Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, is seriously contemplating a large-scale cross-border battle that could escalate into war to ensure his re-election. Notwithstanding his claims of a “tremendous success in “Operation Northern Shield” (ONS) launched last December, Netanyahu is sending the Israeli Army to look for other tunnels, away from the media spotlight.

The Prime Minister’s premature announcement of the success of the ONS shows that he has become the hostage of his own optimism, which he would like to invest in his forthcoming re-election. Netanyahu has managed to create serious panic among the Israeli population bordering Lebanon, and further inland, by confirming that Hezbollah possesses precision missiles capable of reaching any chosen target.

Meanwhile, the secret underground infrastructure between Lebanon and Israel is not entirely under Israeli control and could be decisive in any future war involving the use of infantry for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers or officers or attacking settlments. Hezbollah has modern excavation equipment and the tunnels will be essential for moving any war that Israel might start out of south Lebanon into territory controlled by Israel’s enemy.

According to well -informed sources, the chances are strong that Israel may start a large battle against Lebanon, potentially leading to war. These sources believe that “Netanyahu may opt to use guided missiles and air force bombing with the goal of limiting Hezbollah’s missile capability. In that case, infantry would not be required and the Israeli army would be limited to protecting its borders and ensuring that no infiltration is possible through underground cross-borders tunnels”.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu believes Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, is embarrassed by Israel’s tremendous success in dismantling its underground infrastructure, and he is confident that he has completely deprived Nasrallah of this important asset (the tunnels) over the last six weeks.

Israel discovered four tunnels so far; Hezbollah’s leader has not denied this. Nevertheless, Netanyahu is misleading the Israelis by claiming he has destroyed all tunnels. According to well-informed sources, the Israeli army is “sending trained dogs into the newly discovered cross-tunnels despite their great depth, with the aim of clearing them of explosives or attacking those working in these tunnels”.

There is nothing new in Israeli officials lying to their citizens. Sayyed Nasrallah said one of the tunnels is old and Moshe Ya’alon, the ex-Israeli Defence Minister, agreed: “We lied in order to preserve the security of the state. We did it to mislead the other side”. Nasrallah’s message has created division among the Israeli population, between those trusting their army (not their politicians) and others who trust Nasrallah.

Hezbollah considers the tunnels an essential asset in any forthcoming war against Israel. The Israeli army has been digging tunnels between one to fifty meters deep in a 10 to 13-kilometre wide area in an inland zone near Ayta al-Shaab and Kfarkila (Metula). There is a much a larger area of 107 km, extending to the Lebanese coast, which Israel has not excavated.

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Consider the Lebanese border city of Aita al-Shaab, where there are hills on both sides of the borders with a mountain on top of the border hundreds of meters high. Is Israel equipped to look for tunnels in this area? Today, Hezbollah may indeed have the use of silent compressors and excavation equipment capable of reducing construction time for tunnels from two years to only 4-6 months. The necessary engineering, planning and modern excavating equipment are not lacking, despite Netanyahu’s belief that Hezbollah is in serious financial difficulties and incapable of digging more costly tunnels.

In many locations, Israel controls the air with drones and the borders with high definition long-range thermal imagery multisensory radars and cameras, Pulsed Doppler, Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave and visible light intelligent imaging systems providing advanced warning. These systems detect and track personnel and all moving objects by their speed and direction. Tunnels bypass all these measures and allow forces to attack the enemy from the rear. The tunnels in the south of Lebanon are different from those in Gaza since the Lebanese topography is mainly composed of rocks.

All the sources I spoke to confirmed that “cross-border tunnels are important for surprising the enemy and smuggling troops behind enemy lines. That is the plan Sayyed Nasrallah spoke about when he threatened to occupy Galilee”. According to sources, “the tunnels are important but not the only way to cross the borders”.

“A small quantity of explosive is enough to bring down a 4-6-metre-wide cement wall across the Lebanese-Israeli borders to open a breach big enough for motorised troops, once the decision to cross to the other side has been taken”, said the sources. This scenario maybe plausible only if and when Israel takes the initiative to trigger a war and cross the Lebanese borders with its infantry. Since Israel violates the Lebanese sovereignty on a daily basis, it would not be surprising for Hezbollah to mimic Israel.

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The battle of tunnels is an unstoppable nightmare process for any army. Tunnels are constructed to be used only once. The “Galilee plan” aimed to force Israel to pull out of Arab occupied territory (the Golan Heights) or to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a withdrawal from Galilee (or any other village or city in Israel) in case of war and a Hezbollah advance into enemy territory. Sources do not rule out the deaths of hundreds of men on both sides should a war break out, were Hezbollah to decide to cross the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Israel is taking Hezbollah’s menace seriously: the “Gates of Fire” battalion was created to counter Hezbollah’s plans to conquer the narrow Galilee panhandle strip. In putting forth their intelligence assessment, Netanyahu and his ex-Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot offered Israeli settlers a zombie horror film scenario about Hezbollah plans to push “1000 to 2000 fighters who will carry out border shock attacks” into Galilee border communities. The two Israeli officials thus played into Sayyed Nasrallah’s hand, doing more psychological damage and putting more fear into the local Israeli communities than anyone else could have. Netanyahu aimed to magnify his “achievement” for electoral purposes. But he failed, mainly due to his premature announcement about the end of the tunnels issue, although his forces are well aware of the existence of many more tunnels.

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The sources evaluate Netanyahu’s attachment to power as very dangerous for Israel. “He and his team could very well opt for the option of a large battle or a war against Lebanon in order to be re-elected and avoid jail since he is accused of corruption. Netanyahu took over the Defence Ministry and, as a non-expert in military affairs, he needs to prove his skills by doing something against Lebanon. We say Lebanon because the Israeli Prime Minister understands that any future attack against Syria will have counter-productive serious consequences on his political future because Damascus and its allies will respond” and he knows it.

The sources recognise that Israel enjoys unprecedented US support. President Trump would apparently do anything to please and support Israel. US forces are already based in the country training and conducting manoeuvres for a possible future war scenario, and of course offering their immediate military support to Israel. The sources, on the other hand, are confident that “Iraqi security forces, allies of the “Axis of the “Resistance”, will not hesitate to be part of any future war on the Levant”.

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“If the US bluntly and overtly participates in any future war against Syria or Lebanon, US forces will be hostages and targets throughout Mesopotamia. The next war will not be similar to any previous one and will spare no one”, said the sources.

Hezbollah would rather avoid war. Sayyed Nasrallah has said “if Netanyahu is pleased to say he has managed to destroy all our missiles (but in fact only a few), then let him be. We won’t contradict him”.

Hezbollah doesn’t want to challenge the Israeli Prime Minister too strongly because it seeks to avoid provoking any future destructive war, which would implicate not only the south of Lebanon but also the suburbs of the capital. In the event of war, they won’t be drinking tea in Beirut, but as Israeli Major General Tamir Yadai put it, neither will they be drinking coffee in Tel Aviv.

Brave talk: israel (apartheid state) to Boost ‘Efforts’ in Syria After US Troops Pullout – Netanyahu

Israel to Boost ‘Efforts’ in Syria After US Troops Pullout – Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks follow US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all 2,000 American troops from Syria after declaring victory over Daesh.

Speaking at the fifth Israel-Greece-Cyprus summit held in the southern city of Beersheba, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to intensify efforts in Syria.

“We will continue to act in Syria to prevent Iran’s efforts to militarily entrench itself against us. We are not reducing our efforts, we will increase our efforts. I know that we do so with the full support and backing of the US”, Netanyahu said.

The prime minister said that he had been warned of the US troop withdrawal from Syria in advance during phone conversations with President Donald Trump on Monday and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Israel to Continue Combating Iran in Syria if US Forces Leave — Ambassador to UN

Shortly after his speech, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Dannon said that Tel Aviv had its “concerns” about Syria.

“We have our concerns about Syria, about the presence of Iranian troops in Syria and we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people regardless if you have American troops, Russian troops or any other nations. We will continue to follow our policy of not allowing the Iranians to build their bases next to our borders”, Dannon said.

Iran has yet to respond to the Israeli officials’ remarks, but it has repeatedly emphasised that its forces maintain an exclusively advisory presence in Syria, and denied any plans to establish a permanent military presence in the country.

READ MORE: #MattisOut: What is the Real Reason Behind Pentagon Chief’s Resignation?

On Wednesday, President Trump took to Twitter to declare victory over Daesh* in Syria amid media reports that he was planning to pull American troops out of the war-torn country.

He then announced the decision to withdraw forces, tweeting that the move “was no surprise”:

In a series of follow-up tweets POTUS reiterated that he had on multiple occasions said that US troops should leave and let “others” take care of Syria:

Since 2014, the US-led coalition has been conducting its operations in Syria, without either a UN mandate, or authorisation of the country’s authorities. Damascus has consistently dismissed Washington’s military presence in the country as illegal.

*Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

5 times israel (apartheid state) lied that it ‘had no choice’ and then started a war

5 times Israel lied that it `had no choice` and then started a war

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© Agence France-Presse/Pedro Ugarte

Israel has no other option but to launch a “war” against Hamas, the Israeli defense minister has recently claimed, calling it the last resort. Modern history shows, however, that Israel has resorted to force quite frequently.

Wars are only conducted when there is no choice, and now there is no choice,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Israeli Parliament on Tuesday. But it looks like Israel believed many times that it severely lacked options throughout the last two decades, as it has launched more than half a dozen major military operations since the beginning of the 21st century.

Largest incursion into West Bank since the Six-Day War

In 2002, a suicide bombing carried out by the Hamas militant group over the course of the Second Intifada, which resulted in the deaths of 30 Israelis, provoked an IDF operation called Defensive Shield. It’s the largest one in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

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© Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters
Rubble after Israeli tanks and bulldozers destroyed houses during the raid in Rafah refugee camp South of Gaza Strip May 9, 2002.

Between March and May 2002, tens of thousands of Israeli troops invaded the six largest cities of the West Bank and imposed strict curfews and restrictions on locals as well as foreigners working in the area.

The Israeli measures resulted in a partial ban on humanitarian aid and medical personnel entering the West Bank. Thirty Israelis and almost 500 Palestinians were killed, while 7,000 Palestinians were detained, according to the UN.

2004 invasions of Gaza

In 2004, the Israeli forces conducted two major operations in Gaza. The first, called Operation Rainbow, was carried out in May and was in response to Palestinian attacks in which 11 IDF soldiers were killed. Israel invaded Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, razed around 300 homes and expanded the buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt in what it called a push to destroy Palestinian smuggling tunnels. Almost 60 Palestinians, including 11 minors, were killed in less than two weeks of the military campaign, according to Human Rights Watch.

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© Reuters
Palestinian carry a disabled boy from the rubble of his family house after the Israeli troops withdrawal from the Jabalya refugee camp northern Gaza Strip September 11, 2004.

Four months later, Israel invaded Gaza again after two children were killed as a Palestinian-launched rocket hit the Israeli town of Sderot. The Israeli operation, called Days of Penitence, targeted northern Gaza to prevent further rocket launches and claimed 129 Palestinian lives, including between 50 and 87 militants, and one Israeli soldier, according to the Israeli media.

2006 Lebanon War

In 2006, a cross-border raid by the Hezbollah militants has led to a 34-day war between Israel and its neighbor, Lebanon. Hezbollah launched rocket strikes against Israeli border towns and ambushed a military patrol, killing three soldiers. Two more were abducted, as militants sought to exchange them for Lebanese prisoners held by Israel. Tel Aviv responded with air strikes and artillery fire, targeting Hezbollah positions and Lebanese civilian infrastructure alike.

Israel imposed an air and naval blockade and invaded southern Lebanon. The conflict led to the deaths of more than 1,100 Lebanese people and 165 Israelis, including soldiers. It also displaced about a million Lebanese and over 300,000 Israelis.

Operation Cast Lead

In December 2008, Israel once again invaded Gaza with the stated goal of stopping indiscriminate rocket fire into Israeli territory. The Palestinian Hamas group said at the time that the rocket launches were a response to Israel’s violation of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire reached six months earlier.

During the operation, called Cast Lead, the IDF struck the densely populated cities of Gaza, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. The military campaign, which lasted until January 18, 2009, claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians, according to Palestinian sources. An Israeli NGO put the number of civilian deaths at 759, while the IDF put it at 295.

The operation became known as the Gaza War, and is sometimes even referred to as the Gaza Massacre. Israel lost 10 soldiers and three civilians during the campaign.

Operation Protective Edge

The latest large-scale IDF military campaign in Gaza – Operation Protective Edge – took place in 2014. It was carried out in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by alleged members of Hamas’ military wing.

After Israel conducted an operation to arrest Hamas military leaders, Hamas responded with rocket attacks. The Israeli airstrikes and ground campaign to put an end to Palestinian rocket attacks resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, the vast majority of them Gazans. During the 51-day assault, over 2,100 Palestinians were killed, with another 10,000 injured. The Israeli actions provoked worldwide protests and were slammed by human rights groups over the disproportionate use of force.

Israel lost 66 of its soldiers and five civilians from Hamas rocket fire. Another 469 IDF soldiers and 261 Israeli civilians were injured.

Even though Israel has not conducted any major military operations against Palestinians since 2014, its violent crackdown on Palestinian protesters in Gaza continues to take its toll. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed, including medics and journalists, and more than 22,000 injured since border protests – the Great March of Return – began in March.

 

How a Map of Palestine Drove the American Neo-colonial Elite Mad

By Juan Cole
Source

I mirrored a map of modern Palestinian history that has the virtue of showing graphically what has happened to the Palestinians politically and territorially in the past century.

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Andrew Sullivan then mirrored the map from my site, which set off a lot of thunder and noise among anti-Palestinian writers like Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, but shed very little light. (PS, the map as a hard copy mapcard is available from Sabeel.)

The map is useful and accurate. It begins by showing the British Mandate of Palestine as of the mid-1920s. The British conquered the Ottoman districts that came to be the Mandate during World War I (the Ottoman sultan threw in with Austria and Germany against Britain, France and Russia, mainly out of fear of Russia).

But because of the rise of the League of Nations and the influence of President Woodrow Wilson’s ideas about self-determination, Britain and France could not decently simply make their new, previously Ottoman territories into mere colonies. The League of Nations awarded them “Mandates.” Britain got Palestine, France got Syria (which it made into Syria and Lebanon), Britain got Iraq.

The League of Nations Covenant spelled out what a Class A Mandate (i.e. territory that had been Ottoman) was:

“Article 22. Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory [i.e., a Western power] until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.”

That is, the purpose of the later British Mandate of Palestine, of the French Mandate of Syria, of the British Mandate of Iraq, was to ‘render administrative advice and assistance” to these peoples in preparation for their becoming independent states, an achievement that they were recognized as not far from attaining. The Covenant was written before the actual Mandates were established, but Palestine was a Class A Mandate and so the language of the Covenant was applicable to it. The territory that formed the British Mandate of Iraq was the same territory that became independent Iraq, and the same could have been expected of the British Mandate of Palestine. (Even class B Mandates like Togo have become nation-states, but the poor Palestinians are just stateless prisoners in colonial cantons).

The first map thus shows what the League of Nations imagined would become the state of Palestine. The economist published an odd assertion that the Negev Desert was ’empty’ and should not have been shown in the first map. But it wasn’t and isn’t empty; Palestinian Bedouin live there, and they and the desert were recognized by the League of Nations as belonging to the Mandate of Palestine, a state-in-training. The Mandate of Palestine also had a charge to allow for the establishment of a ‘homeland’ in Palestine for Jews (because of the 1917 Balfour Declaration), but nobody among League of Nations officialdom at that time imagined it would be a whole and competing territorial state. There was no prospect of more than a few tens of thousands of Jews settling in Palestine, as of the mid-1920s. (They are shown in white on the first map, refuting those who mysteriously complained that the maps alternated between showing sovereignty and showing population). As late as the 1939 British White Paper, British officials imagined that the Mandate would emerge as an independent Palestinian state within 10 years.

In 1851, there had been 327,000 Palestinians (yes, the word ‘Filistin’ was current then) and other non-Jews, and only 13,000 Jews. In 1925, after decades of determined Jewish immigration, there were a little over 100,000 Jews, and there were 765,000 mostly Palestinian non-Jews in the British Mandate of Palestine. For historical demography of this area, see Justin McCarthy’s painstaking calculations; it is not true, as sometimes is claimed, that we cannot know anything about population figures in this region. See also his journal article, reprinted at this site. The Palestinian population grew because of rapid population growth, not in-migration, which was minor. The common allegation that Jerusalem had a Jewish majority at some point in the 19th century is meaningless. Jerusalem was a small town in 1851, and many pious or indigent elderly Jews from Eastern Europe and elsewhere retired there because of charities that would support them. In 1851, Jews were only about 4% of the population of the territory that became the British Mandate of Palestine some 70 years later. And, there had been few adherents of Judaism, just a few thousand, from the time most Jews in Palestine adopted Christianity and Islam in the first millennium CE all the way until the 20th century. In the British Mandate of Palestine, the district of Jerusalem was largely Palestinian.

The rise of the Nazis in the 1930s impelled massive Jewish emigration to Palestine, so by 1940 there were over 400,000 Jews there amid over a million Palestinians.

The second map shows the United Nations partition plan of 1947, which awarded Jews (who only then owned about 6% of Palestinian land) a substantial state alongside a much reduced Palestine. Although apologists for the Zionist movement say that the Zionists accepted this partition plan and the Arabs rejected it, that is not entirely true. Zionist leader David Ben Gurion noted in his diary when Israel was established that when the US had been formed, no document set out its territorial extent, implying that the same was true of Israel. We know that Ben Gurion was an Israeli expansionist who fully intended to annex more land to Israel, and by 1956 he attempted to add the Sinai and would have liked southern Lebanon. So the Zionist “acceptance” of the UN partition plan did not mean very much beyond a happiness that their initial starting point was much better than their actual land ownership had given them any right to expect.

The third map shows the status quo after the Israeli-Palestinian civil war of 1947-1948. It is not true that the entire Arab League attacked the Jewish community in Palestine or later Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. As Avi Shlaim has shown, Jordan had made an understanding with the Zionist leadership that it would grab the West Bank, and its troops did not mount a campaign in the territory awarded to Israel by the UN. Egypt grabbed Gaza and then tried to grab the Negev Desert, with a few thousand badly trained and equipped troops, but was defeated by the nascent Israeli army. Few other Arab states sent any significant number of troops. The total number of troops on the Arab side actually on the ground was about equal to those of the Zionist forces, and the Zionists had more esprit de corps and better weaponry.

[The nascent Israeli military deliberately pursued a policy of ethnically cleansing non-combatant Palestinians from Israeli-held territory, expelling about 720,000 of them in 1947-48, then locking them outside, bereft of their homes and farms and penniless.

Map6_RefugeesRoutes.gif

The final map shows the situation today, which springs from the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank in 1967 and then the decision of the Israelis to colonize the West Bank intensively (a process that is illegal in the law of war concerning occupied populations).

There is nothing inaccurate about the maps at all, historically. Goldberg maintained that the Palestinians’ ‘original sin’ was rejecting the 1947 UN partition plan. But since Ben Gurion and other expansionists went on to grab more territory later in history, it is not clear that the Palestinians could have avoided being occupied even if they had given away willingly so much of their country in 1947. The first original sin was the contradictory and feckless pledge by the British to sponsor Jewish immigration into their Mandate in Palestine, which they wickedly and fantastically promised would never inconvenience the Palestinians in any way. It was the same kind of original sin as the French policy of sponsoring a million colons in French Algeria, or the French attempt to create a Christian-dominated Lebanon where the Christians would be privileged by French policy. The second original sin was the refusal of the United States to allow Jews to immigrate in the 1930s and early 1940s, which forced them to go to Palestine to escape the monstrous, mass-murdering Nazis.

The map attracted so much ire and controversy not because it is inaccurate but because it clearly shows what has been done to the Palestinians, which the League of Nations had recognized as not far from achieving statehood in its Covenant. Their statehood and their territory has been taken from them, and they have been left stateless, without citizenship and therefore without basic civil and human rights. The map makes it easy to see this process. The map had to be stigmatized and made taboo. But even if that marginalization of an image could be accomplished, the squalid reality of Palestinian statelessness would remain, and the children of Gaza would still be being malnourished by the deliberate Israeli policy of blockading civilians. The map just points to a powerful reality; banishing the map does not change that reality.

Goldberg, according to Spencer Ackerman, says that he will stop replying to Andrew Sullivan, for which Ackerman is grateful, since, he implies, Goldberg is a propagandistic hack who loves to promote wars on flimsy pretenses. Matthew Yglesias also has some fun at Goldberg’s expense. [Otherwise, like most other major US institutions, our press is corrupt on this issue.]

People like Goldberg never tell us what they expect to happen to the Palestinians in the near and medium future. They don’t seem to understand that the status quo is untenable. They are like militant ostriches, hiding their heads in the sand while lashing out with their hind talons at anyone who stares clear-eyed at the problem, characterizing us as bigots. As if that old calumny has any purchase for anyone who knows something serious about the actual views of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or . . . Avigdor Lieberman, more bigoted persons than whom would be difficult to find…

October Liberation 2018

DAMASCUS, (ST)_ On the 45th   Anniversary of October Liberation War, the Syria Times is honored to publish the historic speech of the late President Hafez Al-Assad on this occasion:

Brotherly citizens,

Our brave soldiers and army officers,

Our great people,

I salute each and every one of you. I address in you, today, the true Arabian spirit, the spirit of courage and heroism, the spirit of sacrifice and giving.

I address in you, your love to the homeland, and your faith in the cause you have decided to defend. For more than a week, the enemy has been mobilizing  and premeditating its forces, thinking it will deal a treacherous blow to us. But we were vigilant enough to monitor its movements and cantonments, and to repel its new potential aggression.  We did not allow the enemy to take us by surprise. So, our armed forces respond appropriately  to it  . Our brothers in Egypt did  not allow  the aggression  to take them by surprise. The great army of Egypt rushed to defend the dignity of Egypt and the dignity of the Arab Nation. Greetings to our army and  to our people, and a tribute to the army of Egypt and the great Arab people of Egypt.

I must at these  crucial moments pay  another tribute  from the heart to the  brave military forces ,  who came to our  country from our  Arab brotherly country of Morocco to take part in the  battle of pride and dignity and to sacrifice their blood generously ,  shoulder to shoulder with their brothers in Syria and Egypt . Thereby, they embody the unity of the nation, the common destiny and the  sanctity of the goal.

Today , we are fighting the battle of honor and pride, in defense of our precious land, for our glorious history , and of the heritage of our forefathers. We fight  the  battle, equipped  with faith in God and in ourselves; and with the solid  and compelling determination  that victory will be on our side.

 Israel is stubborn  and is  hit  by vanity,  and arrogance filled the heads of its officials. They continued their crime  and aggression. Their hearts  are filled with black hatred  against our people and against humanity. They are fret with thirst for bloodshed. Their footsteps disregard the principles and ideals of humanitarian principles and sublime morals and the international laws and resolutions.

Such persons are, the same, like their predecessors, among  the advocates of war,  do not confine themselves  to a limit, nor get deterred , unless they are deterred  by people who believe in their own  right, and fight for their freedom and own  existence.

 While we do our duty to defend our land and the honor of our nation, we are ready to make every sacrifice and accept all challenges in order to win the right and win principles, so that  just peace would prevail.

Brotherly citizens,

Adversity is the touchstone for the nature of peoples, and a test for their authenticity. The more severe the crisis is, the more the pure  metal revealed and the entrenched originality confirmed .

You are the sons of a nation, which has been known throughout history for stances of manhood and pride, of heroism and redemption.  You are the sons of the nation that had carried the message of light and faith into all the corners of the earth, and  the  entire world was a witness to its  highest traits and noblest morals.

You are the  descendants of Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, Ali, God bless them.  You are the  grandchildren  of Khalid, Abu Obeida, and Amre, and Saad, and Salah al-Din.  The conscience of our nation calls on us, and the souls of our martyrs ignite us as to abide by the teachings  reflected in  Yarmouk, Qadisiya, Hittin, and  Ein Jallout. The  eyes and hearts  of the masses of our nation from  the Atlantic to the Gulf are now clinging   to our great steadfastness .These masses  are all hope and  confidence  that we are proceeding towards  ultimate victory.

Dear brave soldiers and army officers,

We are the rightful  owners and the owners of a just cause, and God grant victory to the one who is  rightful defending his right. You are defending today the honor of the Arab nation, preserving its  dignity and existence, and  rendering sacrifices , so that the future generations  are to live satisfied and secure.

 By accident , it  is the  will of the Almighty God that your Jihad  is in  one of the days of  the holy month, the month of Ramadan, the month of jihad. The month of the Battle of Badr, the month of victory. A bright chapter in the history of our armed forces  to be added   to the many chapters of  heroism and sacrifice, testified by the blood of our martyrs  throughout the history of our country and   Arab nation .

Our ancestors have won victory through faith , sacrifice and  through their racing  to win martyrdom in defense of our divine religion and the rightful message . Today, through your courage  and heroism , you have revived  these  spirits alongside the  glorious  Arab tradition.

Your weapon is  but a deposit  in your hands , that you have  to use properly. The honor of the Arab soldier is your responsibility  and the future of our peoples is in your hand,  for the sake of which you  have to fight relentlessly.

Our  people whose sons  survive great  enthusiasm stand, one line,  behind you, protecting your back lines , and supporting your struggle by all means .  The masses of our Arab nation stand  behind our people. This position by the Arab nation is dedicated by national duty  in this crucial phase.  Behind our people, there also many friends in the world who stand in support of our cause and struggle.

We are not amateurs of killing and destruction, but we are repulsing murder and destruction from ourselves.

We are not the aggressors and never were   aggressors; but we were and are still defending ourselves, repulsing the aggression.

We do not want death to anyone, but we repulse death off our people.

We love freedom and we want it for ourselves and for others. We are  struggling  today ,  so that our people will  enjoy  their freedom.

 We are advocates of peace, and  we work for peace for the sake of  our people and for all the peoples of the world. And we struggle  today in order to live in peace .

Proceed with God’s blessing, when Allah render you victory, no one would defeat you.

Peace be upon you

Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/Mohamad.Abdo.AlIbrahim

https://twitter.com/Golan67

http://www.presidentassad.net/

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