The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power

By Juan Cole

Reprint edn.

… As part of my original posting, 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.

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 ]

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 Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, more bigoted persons than whom would be difficult to find. Indeed, some of Israel’s current problems [2010] with Brazil come out of Lieberman’s visit there last summer; I was in Rio then and remember the distaste with which the multi-cultural, multi-racial Brazilians viewed Lieberman, whom some openly called a racist.

54 Responses

  1. Succinctly putting things into context is the single most enlightening contribution that can be made to understanding any complex issue. Especially when there is so much (intentional) smoke being deployed to confuse people as to the realities. You’ve done a few other posts like this and they’re your most influential.

    • wow what a great article.

      you should of talked more about the white papers and got into the shady origins of ww2

      kudos for actually mentioning the ottoman empire and the churchhill fiasco with palenstine

  2. What can the average U.S. citizen do to rectify the savagery visited on the Palestinian people by our corrupt and heartless
    government. The Palestinians are being murdered by Israeli soldiers using arms largely supplied by U.S. taxpayers.

    • It doesn’t detract from the monstrosity we are seeing, but in serving US interests, the fate of neither Israel nor the Palestinians really amounts to very much. Even the billions US taxpayers spend to underwrite Israel’s bad behavior isn’t all that much for such a rich country, as much of it is used to stimulate our own economy though the transfer of arms. Hence, congressmen don’t feel that bad about being manipulated by AIPAC et al. If that was all there was to it, it’d be a dirty, nasty shame, but not a whole lot more.

      The situation, however, has gotten way out of hand. Since 1991, the missions of American servicemen in the region have been unnecessarily and dangerously complicated by this conflict. When the situation gets so bad that the US ends up acting against its own best interests Israel really has gone too far. (the 2003 invasion of Iraq wasn’t due to Israel, but there’s a compelling case that it would not have happened without Israeli and domestic Israel-first influence).

    • The average U.S. citizen can demand that the President, and the entire congress, be impeached for committing and supporting war crimes ever since 1947. Non stop. If this is a democracy, this should put future candidates on notice that they, too, will be impeached if they continue to support the terrorist Israelis. This would have a chance only if the United States were a constitutional democracy. Unfortunately, it is not.

      • “The average U.S. citizen can demand that the President, and the entire congress, be impeached…”

        The average U.S. citizen can demand a lot of things that will never happen. Your suggestion, quoted above, would be a neat trick indeed, since it is the U.S. House of Representatives that passes the Articles of Impeachment by a majority vote. Are you really suggesting that a majority of the House members would vote to impeach the “entire Congress” which, of course, would include themselves?

        And that would just be for impeachment, which constitutes the formal allegations. Impeached officials must then be tried by the Senate, and it requires a two-thirds majority to convict. Do you expect them to convict themselves? You need to better understand the impeachment process before making such suggestions.

  3. The map is powerful. I recall the first time that I saw it was when Harpers published it, which I believe was right around 9/11. (I don’t recall whether just before or just after.) For me–and I suspect for some other Americans–much of its impact arises from the way it concisely, yet accurately, presents important information that has been ignored by the U.S. government and our big corporate media for most of the past 66 years.

    Perhaps things are changing, perhaps not. To me, the map is now a commonplace; its impact somewhat reduced by familiarity. From that standpoint it seems odd that it should elicit controversy. But from another standpoint, the reason for controversy is all too clear. Thanks for presenting it and the related background.

    I also greatly appreciated the post elsewhere on your site of the film and commentary from 1896. Previously, my clearest vision of 19th century Palestine was that provided by Mark Twain from his travels there, which I read as a youth. He observes that Mary, Mother of Jesus, would naturally have resembled the other brown-skinned residents of the region. It may have been a scandalous observation then. Evidently, for some people, there remains some potential for scandal when discussing the demographic history of the region.

  4. Israel military has dropped leaflets into North Gaza demanding that residents evacuate their homes prior to commencing military operations 0900GNT today.
    link to wtop.com

    About 100,000 live in the area and are terrified. Hundreds have fled.

    Is this an excuse to depopulate an area for settlement? If they evacuate as directed, will they ever get their homes back or be compensated in any way for whatever damage and theft of their property?

    • To where are the 100,000 to evacuate? They are not allowed to go to Egypt. They are not allowed to go to the Sinai desert, they are not allowed to go to Israel. They are not allowed to take aircraft from there. They are not allowed to go by boat.

      The Israelis are disgusting terrorists, ruled by sociopaths. Either the Palestinians will be exterminated, or Israel will suffer from collapse from corruption (political, economic, and moral) from within. But that will not help the Palestinians. They will be exterminated, and Israel will hasten the process, if it feels threatened, by exercising the nuclear Samson Option.

    • The IDF has “ordered” these residents to vacate due to impending military action.

      Back in 2006, a residents of a Shi’ite neighborhood in Beirut during the Second Lebanon War were directed to leave their homes as they would be bombed the next day. The next day the neighborhood was leveled by the Israel Air Force.

      This event was related to me by a Shi’ite who had his home demolished in that bombing.

      There was no military purpose for this bombing, only to inflict mass punishment on Shia Muslims since the Shi’ite Hezbollah militia was fighting the IDF in south Lebanon during that conflict. This conduct of Israel clearly violated Geneva Convention prohibitions.

      This current operation by the IDF in Gaza will do little to make any dent in the paramilitary capabilities of Hamas, but is primarily intended to hit “soft targets” such as civilians and civilian infrastructure so that Gaza civilians will dissociate themselves from Hamas and encourage Gazans to support political parties whose agenda is more Israel-friendly – such as Fatah.

  5. A picture is worth a thousand words – if only this map were up on billboards across the US and other Israel-right-or-wrong countries, the tide might turn. At least more people would know the truth.

  6. Patricia

    thanks shedding the light. Contributing this context has enlightened many to the complex situation of Palestine.

  7. The main reason the US mostly blocked Jewish immigration from Nazi German in the years before and during the Second WW was due to Zionist efforts to divert European Jews to Palestine.

    In particular, Rabbi and Zionist leader Stephen Wise testified before congress that the bill sponsored by Will Rogers Jr and Guy Gillette to allow a significant number of Jews to enter the US was seriously defective because it did not mention Palestine.

    • I wouldn’t be so sure that was the main reason – the US had a serious anti-Semitism problem at the time, led by mainstream heroes like Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg. Keeping Eastern European Jews out of the US was seen as absolutely necessary to preserving American identity as keeping Mexicans out is today.

      However, the sick irony today is that right-wing Christians now want Jews to emigrate to Palestine to slaughter Arabs, and stop voting Democratic in US elections. So now they’re very nice to the Israeli leadership.

      Basically, a Jew becomes acceptably “white” only when he joins the anti-immigrant GOP here, or goes over there to eliminate the “browns”.

      • Whatever their personal views, you are exaggerating the influence of Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg on the American political psyche, as you are distorting the motivations of the Christian Zionists.

    • This is an interesting factoid. I think I have heard it before. I have a question. Denial of Jews to America left many to be sent to Hitler’s death camps. This is the cause-effect criticism. However, if Zionists connived to get Jews to go to Palestine instead of somewhere else, and they were able to go Palestine, then how does the U.S. take blame for those who were sent to Hitler’s death camp?

      • The only concern of the Zionist movement for the Jews being slaughtered in Europe was fear that it might divert resources and attention from the effort to build a Jewish state in Palestine.

        This statement by David Ben Gurion is typical:

        “Ben Gurion who told a meeting of the Labor Zionist in December:

        If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.13″

  8. 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 Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, more bigoted persons than whom would be difficult to find.

    But if we look at Congress and the fawning corporate media nothing would be easier than to find equally bigoted lackeys.

  9. This is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the 20th century and it’s still going on and getting worse. And let’s not forget that the USA, with American taxpayers’ money, still stands solidly behind Israel and all it does.

    • This is not the greatest tragedy of the 20th Century; it was full of mega-genocides (over 1,000,000 dead). But this can still become the greatest tragedy of the 21st Century if we don’t change our biases.

    • By which I mean, the Israeli claim that it was a pre-emptive strike against an inevitable coordinated Arab invasion.

      • The Israeli claim is invalid and has no legal basis. Israel is the occupier of the territory and has a list of obligations to the non combattants that include no collective punishments, enabling them to live in peace, etc. And the Israelis have NEVER complied with their obligations as the occupying force.

        • If it’s neither enforced nor enforceable, how is anything, no matter how potent or florid the language, an “obligation?”

  10. Tell me the answer!
    Terrible as this is, I see no turning back. Israel is not going to evacuate some 600,000 or more occupants from “Samaria and Judea” or “Eretz Israel” (as they will call it); Moreover, nobody (not U.S., not Europe, nor anybody) will demand it.
    There is clearly not a 2 state solution.
    So how does this circle get squared? Palestinians will have to leave, die or accept pitiful circumstances of residing on a restricted and guarded reservation of some kind.

    • If we look at the situation from a basic game theory situation point of view, we have the following conditions:

      – A bounded area which can not get any larger (but could become smaller).

      – Group “A” that wants all the land.

      – Group “B” that wants all the land.

      With this situation there are ONLY three possible long term outcomes:

      – DIVIDE – The two groups divide the land in a fair and equatable manner. Neither side will get what they want, but will each get something.

      – SHARE – the two groups intermingle. Over time, mixed couples will pair bond creating a mixed culture.

      – GENOCIDE – one group successfully eliminates the other group.

      These are the ONLY long term solutions for Israel, not matter what the Israeli fantasies are.

      As you noted, the DIVIDE option is no longer possible unless Israeli leadership is willing to have a civil war where lots of settlers are killed. In fact, since the settlers make up a significant part of the IDF and have access to ALL the IDF weapons, it is unlikely that the Israelis leadership, even if it had the political will, would have the military power to forcibly remove the settlers, clearing enough land for Palestine to exist. Even though the settlers are only about 20% of the Israeli population, the majority is unwilling and unable to counter the settlers.

      As for the GENOCIDE option, if Israel tried it, the ME would explode, the US would be neutralized and Israel would eventually lose, everything.

      From what I can see, the SHARE option is the only somewhat viable option. Israel would have to give every human living west of the Jordan River citizenship and the courts would have to sort out who actually owns what with the settlers or the state having to pay out billions in compensation. Over time, as much as half the Jewish population would migrate back to Europe and the US, leaving the remaining Jewish Israelis as a large minority, but a minority. In other words, Israel would end up looking more like Palestine from the early 1900s than it does today and the global Jewish diaspora would just get larger and remain mostly outside Israel for many centuries.

      This is a tough nut to crack and I see no way Israel can “win” in any sense of the word “win” over the long term.

      Right now is the best time to negotiate because the situation is deteriorating and Israel will never get a better deal.(US turning elsewhere, Arabs getting more powerful, etc.).

      • This is interesting because it sounds like what happened in South Africa; the blacks won, but under the rules of global capitalism they weren’t allowed to win economic power. So the tiny white minority still has all the money, without the need of racist state terror. According to Naomi Klein, the neoliberal “advisors” got to Nelson Mandela when he had attained victory, and fooled him into compromising with the rich. Presumably any Palestinian leader who somehow won an agreement for a one-state solution would suffer the same fate.

    • @jay I think Israel will eventually have to choose between a one-state and two-state solution. And as the world wouldn’t tolerate an apartheid South Africa, likewise Israel. The US can run interference for only so long. Eventually Israel will come to its senses about the two-state solution. It will probably bring the Jews close to a civil war, but it will happen!

  11. Much of the area shown in the maps is unihabitable desert. The British held 75% of Palestine as crown land. When you consider that the entire area is about the size of New Jersey the situation comes into perspective compared to the history of north America for example.

  12. Not sure why this article is news or even controversial. Are Americans so uninformed about the Middle East (apparently the Bush Administration was) that they honestly don’t understand the Palestinian situation or Israel’s military “accretion” of Palestinian territory since the Balfour Declaration? Safe to say that since “Hamas” will not recognize the state of Israel the “accretions” are likely to continue until the green on the maps disappears.

    • How can the green Arabs “disappear?”

      What would happen to the millions of non-Jewish humans?

      This is the problem with the Israeli fantasy of a “greater Israel.”

      – Israel can not “transfer” them to someplace else because no one else will take millions of mostly poor humans, not even the USA (if you think the current “US border wars” are horrific, just multiple that by millions).

      – Israel can not kill the Arabs without causing massive war they will probably lose (the myth of the undefeated IDF is just a myth).

      – Israel can not keep them oppressed because oppressed people ALWAYS rebel after a while and that would lead to massive war, which Israel loses.

      Basically, Israel is in a no-win long term situation with an inability to emotionally, politically and militarily to deal with reality.

      • Israel’s come through each of the previous Intifadas intact. Short of the Arab region unifying it’s hard to credit the notion that Israel is concerned about the possibility of a new uprising by the Palestinians.

        They’ve done a competent job of keeping them divided. Arab-Israelis separate from the occupied Palestinians. Gaza and Westbank. Hamas and Fatah. Decades worth of spying, intimidation, bribery and blackmail to find pliable informants and quite possibly agents provocateur and saboteurs among the oppressed populace.

        No, war with the Palestinians is the last thing they have to worry about. Foreign perception about the war is another question; after each atrocity they lose goodwill abroad but their supporters become more energized and motivated.

        Given the implausibility of the other options, they seem to favour a policy of rendering the Palestinians irrelevant. Forcing them into enclaves and denying them access to the outside world and vice versa. For decades it was claimed their was no such thing as a Palestinian people, I expect that seems like a golden age to Netanyahu.

        • Since you seem to think the current situation can continue, how do you envision that happening in the real world?

          Eventually there will be no “moderate” Arab leaders, so Israel will have constant low level war where it will have to dedicate huge resources and raise taxes very high to keep the oppression in place.

          As that goes on, more and more of the “best and brightest” Israelis are going to realize they can live much, much better lives outside Israel. Just as the evangelical religions are bleeding members, Israel will have the same problem. and as the “best and brightest” leave, the tax revenue base decreases.

          I can see no way that Israel can sustain the current situation for very much longer.

        • I didn’t say the status quo was sustainable. I said they’re not worried about losing to an armed uprising. Short of the region uniting against Israel they aren’t going to lose militarily, and maybe not even then.

          In fact, without regular military clashes it’s difficult for them to sell the fiction about how they’re constantly under threat, so provoking attacks is part of their strategy.

  13. Great post Juan! I’m glad I make an annual donation.
    Just to add: Removing Arabs in some manner (land purchases, etc.) was at the heart of the Zionist project. Beginning in the 1930s Zionist leaders made preparations for a population transfer, setting up a special committee for the task. They addressed the question of whether the transfer would be forced or voluntary. In the words of Dr. Ruppin (head of the Zionists’ Land Settlement Department and the foremost land expert of the Jewish Agency), “I do not believe in the transfer of an individual. I believe in the transfer of entire villages.” link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

  14. It feels like I saw that map many years ago. It was shocking to see what I’d been reading about actually looked like on a map, which I suppose is why it’s so offensive to Israel’s apologists.

    But I don’t understand why it’s being denounced now when I’ve seen it, and used it, dozens of times in arguments about the occupation and the inherent ills. As opposed to any other time since it started to be seen.

    The current atrocities aren’t much worse than Cast Lead a few years ago. If anything they’re less atrocious having not come as a total surprise and allegedly motivated to punish for an incident that had happened months previously, nor conveniently timed to coincide with the time before the current US president took office.

    I suppose the attention Israel’s been getting for their more publicized than usual mass pogrom might have something to do with the sudden sensitivity to this map.

  15. The solution is let’s make Israel 51st and Westbank aka Palestine 52nd state of the Union. A Good Ideal? If it comes true? No more wars in the Middle East to Abas and Netanyuha as US Senators. Also 20 years from now Israel would be Califoianized and Westbank would be Southern Redneck style states. As for Jerusalem make it an international city in which neither Israeli nor Palestinian owns it.

  16. Little known is that following the Ottomans being relieved of power, the Palestinians had a leader from Ramallah, a Christian Arab named Fouad Shatara who led a convention of local regional political leaders who attempted to establish a Palestinian state to be created once the British Mandate was eventually dissolved.

    David Ben-Gurion however enlisted the support of the U.S., with certain Jewish allies in U.S. Congress, who used American foreign aid leverage among U.N. member states to get the U.N. General Assembly to pass its non-binding November 29th, 1947 Partition Plan resolution. Today every schoolchild in Israel is taught the roll-call vote that occurred as well as which nations voted for and against the resolution and has listened to the audio tape of that U.N. vote. November 29th is an Israeli holiday – Kaf’tet b’ November.

    • Unfortunately Israeli school children are not taught about the Nakba as well. Israeli cannot insist on Palestinian recognition of the right of Israeli to exist while failing to recognize the Nakba. It would be interesting to see statistics on how many U.S. school children are taught about the Nakba as well.

  17. Ryan Cromwell

    @migueldeicaza there is a plaque outside a Jersey business park where that map was created. Draw your own conclusions

  18. 1. The Christians of Lebanon were/are the indigenous inhabitants of central Lebanon, along with the Druze, with Sunni Muslim settlements in the coastal cities and the far north and Shi’ite Muslims in the south and the northeast. How on earth is their state in any way like the foreign settler regimes of Israel or French Algeria?
    2. Why is the United States singled out as being responsible for not accepting millions of Jewish immigrants in the 1930’s-1940’s? Why not Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand? Are foreigners entitled to entry to this country but to no other?

  19. Juan, thanks again for a clear and concise history. One point perhaps could be further developed and clarified later on. What happened in the first two centuries of the Common Era of the jewish population of the region? When Rome defeated Israel, what happened to the local population? You state in your post: “… 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.” This would imply that the local population of Israel, after the Roman-Judaic wars, converted to Christianity then for a majority to Islam. Is it the case? Another narrative is that the jewish population of Judea and Galilea was either killed in a genocide or moved into the Diaspora.

    Another way to ask the question is who are the Palestinians? Are they the jews of Jesus’ time who converted away from Judaism, or are they people who filled in the void left after a genocide of the jewish populations? Or is it a combination of both?

    Whatever the answer, it would have a minor impact on the current conflict. If the jJews were killed or removed by the Romans, that would not give any right to the modern jews to remove the Palestinians (the Italians I guess should be punished?). If Palestinians are converted Jews, however, there would be some irony in that the modern conflict would then be a fratricidal war between the descendants of those who converted and of those who did not.

    Genetic analysis seems to indicate that Jews and Palestinians populations are very close. But it does not say, that I am aware of, if the common ancestry was in Moses’ time or in the first millennium.

  20. These maps were posted on my facebook account by my English son-in-law in Amsterdam as linked from John Pilger’s film “The War You Don’t See”. I posted a comment in which I included a reference & link to an article on the Nakba and a reference & link to Informed Comment. My comment disappeared. I reposted the comment which has now disappeared. I am relatively new to Facebook and while I am relatively tech-savvy I’m quite sure my post was correctly entered. What type of censorship, if any, is present on Facebook?

  21. Facebook account holders can remove any comments they wish. It appears that your son-in-law, or whoever administers his page, may be removing your comments.

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