The Hundred Years' War - Rashid Khalidi - a MUST read- for those who Really Care!

Rashid Khalidi’s: “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017” is an incredible resource for learning (more) about[GM1]  the history of Palestine and Israel.   It is particularly valuable in helping understand – the logic – of October 7, 2023, though Professor Khalidi did not in any way predict anything faintly close to what has happened.

Khalidi is excellent at showing patterns of repeated important things related to:

1.    Great Britain – supporting what became Israel strongly from 1917 through 1947, and having significant influence thereafter, most visibly related to Jordan,

2.    U.S. – strong, strong – following and supporting Israel, particularly since 1967, and complicity and even “strategic” pushing aggressive Israeli action, particularly in Lebanon in the early 1980’s and beyond then,

3.    The totally false narrative of Arab nations’ leadership supporting the Palestinian People, with a few, limited exceptions,

4.    The ineptness of the PLO and Hamas in learning of U.S. priorities and even trying more than tokenly to influence U.S. policy related to Palestine, as well as their corruption and lack of cooperating both with each other and in support of the Palestinian cause effectively in general,

5.    The myths of:  David = Pre-1948 Jews and 1948 and on Israel vs. Goliath – the Arab nations and the Palestinian People

and much more.  He is a realist, with conviction, one who hopes for justice, and recognizes how it will take time and a lot of sustained work by supporters of Palestine.

Quotes are instructive:

(Yusuf Diya) He understood the motivation for Zionism, just as he deplored the persecution to which Jews were subject in Europe.  In light of this, he wrote, Zionism in principle was “natural, beautiful and just,”  and, “who could contest the rights of the Jews in Palestine?  My God, historically it is your country!”   …

However, the former mayor and deputy of Jerusalem went on to warn of the dangers he foresaw as a consequence of the implementation of the Zionist project for a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine.  The Zionist idea would sow dissension among Christians, Muslims, and Jews there.  It would imperil the status and security that Jews had always enjoyed throughout the Ottoman domains.  Coming to his main purpose, Yusuf Diya said soberly that whatever the merits of Judaism, the “brutal force of circumstances had to be taken into account.”  The most important of them were that “Palestine is an integral part of the Ottoman Empire, and more gravely, it is inhabited by others.   Palestine already had an indigenous population that would never accept being superseded. (p.4-5)

Significantly, the overwhelming Arab majority of the population (around 94 percent at that time) went unmentioned by Balfour, except in a backhanded way as the “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”  They were described in terms of what they were not, and certainly not as a nation or a people – the words “Palestinian” and “Arab”  do not appear in the sixty-seven words of the declaration. (p.24)

In this brutally frank summary, Balfour set the high-minded  “age-long traditions” “present needs,” and “future hopes” embodied in Zionism against the mere “desires and prejudices” of the Arabs in Palestine, “who now inhabit that ancient land,” implying that its population was no more than transient. (p.38)

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By the summer of 1949, the Palestinian polity had been devastated and most of its society uprooted.   Some 80 percent of the Arab population of the territory that at war’s end became the new state of Israel had been forced from their homes and lost their lands and property.  At least 720,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians were made refugees.  Thanks to this violent transformation, Israel controlled 78 percent of the territory of former Mandatory Palestine, and now ruled over the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who had been able to remain, barely one-fift of the prewar Arab Population.  (p.58)

By mid-1947, in a little over the year, the fund had managed to raise 176,000 Palestine pounds (over $700,000 at the time), an impressive sum given the relative poverty of the population. …

When against Sayigh’s advice, a member of the fund’s board, ‘Izzat Tannous, boasted to the press, about the sum, Sayigh and his colleagues learned the next day of a gift of a million Palestine pounds ($4 million) to the JNF by a rich Jewish widow from South Africa. (p.63)

In its first stage, from November 30, 1947, until the final withdrawal of British forces and the establishment of Israel on May 15, 1948, witnessed successive defeats by Zionist paramilitary groups including the Haganah and Irgun, of the poorly armed and organized Palestinians and the Arab volunteers who had come to help them.    … and the first half of May of the two largest Arab urban centers, Jaffa and Haifa, and of the Arab neighborhoods of West Jerusalem, as well as scores of Arab cities , towns and villages including Tiberias on April 18, Haifa on April 23, Safad on May 10, and Baisan on May 11.  Thus the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began well before the state of Israel was proclaimed on May 15, 1948.  (p.72) 

(note: related to King Abdullah of Jordan)

Both the king and the British opposed allowing the Palestinians to benefit from the 1947 partition or the war that followed, and neither wanted an independent state in Palestine. (p.77)

(Note: 1967)

I stopped momentarily to watch and realized that the people were soliciting contributions for Israel’s war effort.   It struck me that while my family and many others were preoccupied with the fate of Palestine, lots of New Yorkers were just as worried about the outcome for Israel.  They sincerely believed that the Jewish state was in danger of extinction, as did many Israelis, alarmed by the empty threats of certain Arab leaders.

President Lyndon B. Johnson new otherwise.   When Abba Eban, Israel’s foreign minister told Johnson at a meeting in Washington, D.C. on May 26 that Egypt was about to launch an attack, the president asked his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara to set the record straight.  Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter, McNamera said, “and it was our best judgment that an attack was not imminent.”  “All of our intelligence people are unanimous,” Johnson added, that if Egypt were to attack, “you will whip the hell out of them.”  As Washington knew, Israel’s military in 1967 was far superior to the militaries of all the Arab states combined, as it was in every other contest between them. (p.96-7)

Among Arab public opinion, however, the  invasion of Lebanon and siege of Beirut, whose gripping televised images were widely broadcast, provoked great shock and anger.  Yet nowhere was there enough popular pressure on any of the repressive and undemocratic Arab governments to force an end to Israel’s siege of an Arab capital or secure better terms for the PLO’s withdrawal. (p.151)

For the United States, its insistence on monopolizing Middle East diplomacy and its furtherance of Israel’s ambitions did not serve American interests as well.    This was glaringly attested to by subsequent events, which included the suicide bombings of the US Embassy in Beirut, the US Marine barracks, and of the French troops, who had returned to an ill-defined mission the city soon after the Sabra and Shatila massacres.  (p.166)

Just as THEY had a weak understanding of the reality inside the Occupied Territories and Israe, the PLO’s leaders had never grasped the full measure of the United States.   Even after 1982, they remained ill-informed about the country and its politics, with the exception of a few second-rank figures such as Nabil Sha’ath and Elias Shoufani, who had been educated in the United States but were unable to influence Arafat and his partners. 20  Some senior PLO leaders, such as Faruq al-Qaddumi (Abu Lutf), head of the Political Department (effectively foreign minister), attended sessions of the UN General Assembly in New every fall, but they were legally restricted to a trave radium of twenty-five miles from Columbus Circle.  In any case they mostly stayed in their luxury hotels for the duration of their visits.  (p.176-7)

… This capitulation to American conditions finally obtained for the PLO the long-sought opening with Washington, but it neither moved the Israelis to agree to deal with the organization nor lead to peace negotiations, at least not for three more years.

The reasons for this were simple.  Beyond the PLO’s other misassumptions about the United States, its leaders failed to grasph the lack of American concern, even its disdain, for their interests and aims (this incomprehension is hard to fathom in light of the painful betrayal of American promises to safeguard the refugee camps in Beirut in 1982).  (p.178)

He argued that given the course of Jewish history, especially in the twentieth century, the use of force only strengthened a preexisting and pervasive sense of victimhood among Israelis, while it unified Israeli society, reinforced the most militant tendencies in Zionism, and bolstered the support of external actors. 25

There were multiple reasons for the PLO’s bizarre decision to essentially support Iraq, a move that made the organization a pariah among the gulf states on which it depended for financial support and harmed it in innumerable other ways.  (p.182)

As well as dictating who could talk, the Shamir government determined what could be talked about.  (p.186)

The United States never made good on these commitments, failing to prevent an unending series of unilateral Israeli actions, from settlement expansion and the closure of Jerusalem to West Bankers and Gazans, to the erection of a massive new network of walls, security barriers and checkpoints. (p.187)

When they arrived in Madrid, none of the other members of the Palestinian delegation know of Gerald Ford’s 1975 explicit commitment to Rabin to avoid presenting any peace proposals of which Israel disapproved, and nor did I. 33  (note: Khalidi was an advisor to the Palestinian delegation) (p.187)

American negotiator Aaron David Miller later regretfully used the term “Israel’s lawyer” to describe his stance and that of many of his colleagues. 34 (p.189)

Baker pushed relentlessly for Palestinian participation in Madrid, in the teeth of stubborn opposition from Shamir.  (p.189)

As one senior State Department official said of him:  “Ross’s bad habit is pre-consultation with the Israelis.”40

In particular Israel was wedded to Begin’s vision, enunciated at Camp David in 1978, of autonomy for the people but not the land.  This was in keeping with the Israeli right’s view – indeed the core of the Zionist doctrine – that only one people, the Jewish people, had a legitimate right to exitence and sovereignty in the entirety of the land, which was called Eretz Israel, the land of Israel, not Palestine.  The Palestinians were at best, interlopers.   (p.192)

Six years later in October 1995, less than a month before he was assassinated, Rabin told the Knesset that any Palestinian “entity” to be created would be “less than a state. 47  (p.194)

These essentially reserved all powers over security, land, water, airspace, population registers, movement, settlements, and most other matters of importance for Israel.  (p.194)

This was a peculiar transaction, whereby a national liberation movement had obtained nominal recognition from its oppressors, without achieving liberation, by trading its own recognition of the state that had colonized its homeland and continued to occupy it.  This was a resounding, historic mistake, one with grave consequences for the Palestinian people. (p.198-9)

When we first saw the text of what had been agreed in Oslo, those of us with twenty-one months of experience in Madrid and Washington grasped immediately that the Palestinian negotiators had failed to understand what Israel meant by autonomy.  (p. 200)

It was clear to me that Arafat and Abu Mazin optimistically assumed that what their envoys had been unable to obtain for the Palestinians at Oslo they would manage to extract for Israel in subsequent negotiations. (p.202)

It carved both regions into an infamous patchwork of areas – A, B, and C – with over 60 percent of the territory, Area C, under complete, direct, and unfettered Israeli control. … Together, Areas A and B comprised 40 percent of the territory but housed some 87 percent of the Palestinian population. (p.202).

The PA has no sovereignty, no jurisdiction, and no authority except that allowed it by Israel, which even controls a major part of its revenues in the form of customs duties and some taxes. (p.204)

The key point was always security for Israel, for its occupation and settlers, while offloading the cost and liability of subjugating the Palestinian population. (p.205)

The system created in Oslo and Washington was not just Israel’s venture.  As in 1967 and 1982, Israel was joined by its indispensable sponsor, the United States.  The Oslo straightjacket could not have been imposed on the Palestinians without American connivance. (p.205)

The post-Oslo confinement was most constricting in the Gaza Strip.  In the decades following 1993, the strip was cut off from the rest of the world in stages, encircled by troops on and the Israeli navy by sea. 3  Entering and leaving required rarely issued permits and became possible on through massive fortified checkpoints resembling human cattle pens, while arbitrary Israeli closures  frequently interrupted the shipment of goods in and out of the strip.   (p.208)

In Jerusalem, the largest and most important urban center in Arab Palestine, barriers placed at the entrances to the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem prevented free movement between the city and the West Bank hinterland, on which it depended economically, culturally, and politically.  (p.208).

The myth of Oslo’s beneficence continued to preclude clear-eyed analysis, even after the eruption of violence in 2000. 6 (p.209)

Only the use of force could lead to the liberation of Palestine, Hamas argued, reasserting the claim to the entirety of Palestine, not just the areas occupied by Israel in 1967. 7 (p.209).

Barak’s unmodified proposal – which was never published. … was unacceptable to the Palestinians in several crucial respects.  These included permanent Israeli control of the Jordan River Valley and of Palestine’s airspace. And therefore of access to the outside world (which meant the projected Palestinian “state” would not be truly sovereign), Israel’s continued control over West Bank water resources, as well as its annexation of areas that would have divided the West Bank into several isolated blocs.  … (not re: Jerusalem) Israel demanded exclusive sovereignty, including over he entire Haram al- Sharif and most of the rest of the Old City, which was a central element in the breakdown of the talks. 9

Clinton thereafter proceeded to blame Arafat for the summit’s failure, although he had earlier pledged not to do so.  (p.211)

With Hamas in control of the Legislative Assembly, conflict between Fatah and Hamas escalated. (p.219)

With Hamas now in control of the Gaza Strip, Israel imposed a full- blown siege.  Good entering the strip were reduced to a bare minimum; regular exports were stopped completely; fuel supplies were cut; and leaving and entering Gaza was only rarely permitted.  Gaza was effectively turned into open-air prison, where by 2018 at least 53 percent of some two million Palestinians lived in a state of poverty, 24 and unemployment stood at an astonishing 52 percent, with much higher rates for youth and women. 25 (p.221)

However, none of the rockets had a warhead of the size or lethality of the over 49,000 tank and artillery shells fired by Israel in 2014. (p.226)

Despite the SLOW but steady shift in American public opinion regarding Palestine and Israel in recent years, there was little apparent change in the making of US policy, in new legislation.   One reason for this was the Republican Party’s control of the White House for all but eight years since 2000, of the Senate since 2010, of the House from 2014-2018, and of all branches of government between 2016 and 2018.  The party’s base, especially the Evangelicals – its core in many regions, older, whiter, and more likely to be conservative and male – fervently supported the most hawkish Israeli policies.  (p.228)

US presidents from Truman to Donald Trump have been reluctant to walk into the buzz saw of antagonism, and have thus by and large allowed Israel to dictate the pace of evens and even to determine US positions on issues relating to Palestine and the Palestinians.  (p.231)

It was an inequal fight: Mitchell verses the Israel lobby, Congress and Netanyahu, with Ross all the while drawing on support from the patrons to operate behind the ex-senator’s back.  (p.234)

There is still the possibility that Israel could attempt to reprise the expulsions of 1948 and 1967 and rid itself of some or all of the Palestinians who tenaciously remain in their homeland.  (p.239)

If elimination of the native population is not a likely outcome in Palestine, then what of dismantling the supremacy of the colonizer in order to make possible a true reconciliation?  (p.240)

It is a searing indictment of both Fatah and Hamas that in recent decades civil initiatives such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement and student activism have done more to further the Palestinian cause than anything of these two main factions has undertaken.   …

One key change that is needed involves acknowledging that the diplomatic strategy adopted by the PLO since the 1980s was fatally flawed .  The United States is not and cannot be a mediator, a broker or a neutral party.  It has long opposed Palestinian national aspirations and has formally committed itself to support the Israeli government’s positions on Palestine.  (p.251)

Rashid Khalidi’s incredible book educates anyone who has even a slightly open mind about how the governments of Great Britain, The United States, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia (and more) have pushed a Zionist Agenda from 1917 through the present.

Israel’s Jewish population live in fear – built up by their own government of this Terrorist Monstrosity that will kill all Jews – Worldwide, if not kept in check by – little, Israel.   The United States is the primary – guilty party – replacing the British – though the British remain influential to this day as well.

The Palestinian leadership of Fatah, the PLO, and Hamas – have not entered the consciousness of the outside world.   The reality of the massive military strength of Israel, as well as its nuclear weapons protecting it along with its Air Force and much more is masked in a basic belief – that The Palestinian People – aren’t fully human and Don’t Matter at All!

Joe Biden’s election came after this book was published!   If anything, the narrative has continued and even gotten worse!    “Israel – stop – killing Innocent Gazan’s!” – is outwardly said, as Israel then increases its Genocidal Assault, and Additional Weapons – are sent to directly support the Killing.   This is repeat of 1982 in Lebanon- which relates to the deceptions of 1967, which relate to the deceptions of 1947-1948-1949 – which relate to further deceptions going back to at least 1917.

Khalidi ably weaves in some of his own family members involvement – which generally was Warning Palestinians – setting off The Alarms – which were only heard by its “fire victims”.

I hope that many others will read this book and learn not only from Rashid Khalidi’s research, and knowledge, but also from his caring!    His caring – includes – the reality – that he grew up (as he stated in Peter Beinart’s January 19, 2024 interview – see:

As I finish the review I note the 15% of Democratic Primary voters in Michigan who voted for “undecided”- and could easily sway the vote in November – towards an UTTER DISASTER!

I won’t support this Genocide through voting for JB!  In California, where I live, my actions don’t matter, but…


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