Long Hidden Truths
A succession of events over the past few weeks all point to the inescapable fact that almost 75 years of painstaking efforts by Israel to hide the truth about its origins and its current racially motivated apartheid regime are failing miserably. The world is finally waking up and Israel is losing ground faster than its ability to win new supporters or whitewash its past or ongoing crimes.
First, there was Tantura, a peaceful Palestinian village whose inhabitants were mostly exterminated by Israel’s Alexandroni Brigade on May 23, 1948. Like many other massacres committed against unarmed Palestinians over the years , the Tantura massacre is mostly remembered by survivors of the village, by ordinary Palestinians and by Palestinian historians. The simple attempt in 1998 by an Israeli graduate student, Theodore Katz, to shed light on this bloody event sparked a legal, media and academic war, forcing him to reverse his conclusions.
In a recent social media post, Israeli professor Ilan Pappe revealed why in 2007 he had to resign from his post at the University of Haifa. “One of my ‘crimes,'” Pappe wrote, “was to insist that there had been a massacre in the village of Tantura in 1948, as revealed by the student to the Masters, Teddy Katz.”
Now, some veterans of the Alexandroni Brigade have finally decided to confess to Tantura’s crimes.
“They silenced him. Do not say it, it could cause quite a scandal. I don’t want to talk about it, but it happened. These are the words of Moshe Diamant, a former member of the Alexandroni Brigade who, along with other veterans, revealed in Alon Schwarz’s documentary ‘Tantura’ the gory details and horrific crimes that transpired in the Palestinian village.
An officer “killed one Arab after another” with his pistol, said Micha Vitkon, a former soldier.
“They put them in a barrel and shot them in the barrel. I remember the blood in the barrel, ”explained another.
“I was a murderer. I took no prisoners,” admitted Amitzur Cohen.
Hundreds of Palestinians were killed at Tantura in cold blood. They were buried in mass graves, the largest of which is believed to be under a parking lot on Dor Beach, frequented daily by Israeli families.
The Tantura massacre and its aftermath are arguably the most egregious depiction of Israeli criminality. However, it’s not just Tantura’s story. The latter is a representation of something much bigger, of large-scale ethnic cleansing, forced evictions and massacres. Fortunately, a lot of truth is uncovered.
In 1951, the Israeli army launched a large-scale military operation that ethnically cleansed the Palestinian Bedouins of the Naqab. The tragic scenes of entire communities uprooted from their ancestral homes have been justified by Israel with the usual cliché that the terrible act was committed for “security reasons”.
In 1953, Israel passed the so-called Land Acquisition Law, which allowed the Israeli state to seize land from Palestinians who were driven from their homes. By then, Israel had illegally expropriated 247,000 dunums from the Naqab, of which 66,000 remained “unused”. The remaining land is currently the epicenter of an ongoing saga involving Palestinian Bedouin communities in Israel and the Israeli government, which falsely claims that the land is “essential” for Israel’s “development needs”.
Recently released documents, uncovered by extensive research conducted by Professor Gadi Algazi, indicate that the Israeli version of the truth in the Naqab is a complete fabrication. According to numerous documents discovered, Moshe Dayan, then head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command, was at the heart of an Israeli government and military scheme to evict the Bedouin population and “revoke their rights as landowners”, in accordance with conveniently created Israeli law, which allowed the government to “rent” the land as if it owned it.
“There was an organized transfer of Bedouin citizens from the northwestern Negev eastwards to arid areas, with the aim of seizing their lands. They carried out this operation using a mixture of threats, violence, corruption and fraud,” Algazi told Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The whole plan was organized in such a way as to facilitate the claim that the Palestinians had moved “voluntarily”, despite their legendary resistance and “the stubbornness with which they tried to hold on to their land, even at the cost of hunger and thirst, not to mention the threats and violence of the army”.
Furthermore, a recently published volume by the French historian, Vincent Lemire, has entirely rejected Israel’s official version of how the Moroccan neighborhoods of Jerusalem were demolished in June 1967. Although Palestinian and Arab historians have since argued Long as the destruction of the neighborhood – 135 homes, two mosques and more – was done on the orders of the Israeli government through the then-Jewish mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, Israel has long denied this version. According to the official Israeli account, the demolition of the neighborhood was carried out by “15 private Jewish contractors (who) destroyed the neighborhood to make way for the Western Wall”.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP), Lemire said that his book offers “definitive and written evidence on the pre-meditation, planning and coordination of this operation”, and which includes official meetings between Kollek, the commander of the Israeli army and other senior government officials.
The story continues; more heartbreaking revelations and a well-integrated version of the truth expose facts long hidden or denied. The days when Israel got away with these crimes seem to be behind us. One example is Amnesty International’s recent report, “Israeli Apartheid Against the Palestinians: A Look at Decades of Oppression and Domination”.
Amnesty’s 280 pages of damning evidence on Israel’s racism and apartheid did not shy away from linking Israel’s violent present to its equally bloody past. It did not borrow from Israel’s misleading language and self-serving division of Palestinians into disconnected communities, each with a different claim and different status. For Amnesty, as was the case with the Human Rights Watch report in April 2021, Israeli injustices against Palestinians must be recognized and duly condemned in their entirety.
“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining Jewish demographic hegemony…while minimizing the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights,” the report said. This could only happen through massacre, ethnic cleansing and genocide, from Tantura to the Naqab, to the Moroccan quarters, to Gaza and to Sheikh Jarrah.
Excerpt: “From Tantura to the Naqab: Israel’s long-hidden truths are
Courtesy of: Counterpunch.org