To break the current trend of disinformation by the corporate international press, we must go back in time. In 1971, long before social media took over most of the reporting, the press was still more or less a ‘fourth estate’. Now advertising budgets and political censorship determine the content of your newspaper.
Scientific studies were not yet – as they are now – influenced by the urge to publish and by industrial interests, or worse, by computer programs. It was during that period that a “History of the Palestinian Situation” was published at the University of Liège (B) by the non-profit organization ‘Le Masque à Gaz’.
— Warning —
Those who contributed to the work of this “history” are aware of not being objective. Moreover, they don’t want to be. For them, practical objectivity does not exist. They know that, in the sense in which the word is generally understood, it is only a big mask, hiding hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty (in the best-case scenario).
We want to be honest. We may think that this is a great temerity: it is true that honesty is a much narrower door than “honest people” think, but it’s also true that the world onto which this door opens is richer than that of “objectivity”.
What our group attempted to produce, we wanted both:
– A modest instrument for approaching a vast and important reality, linked to all the problems of today;
– A weapon intended for those who share our opinion and can contribute to its expansion and improvement.
This is, we recognize, a very ambitious program for poor means. But how many much more powerful means are used for much poorer ends:
2. Some other well-maintained myths about the “Israeli-Arab” problem
Indeed, this problem is difficult to approach, because of certain myths intertwined with European culture and maintained on purpose, sometimes in an ignoble manner (you should see in this regard “the little book” for children entitled “Little David”, which notably shows a hideous Arab … “bad but not very courageous”, with a knife between his teeth, and attacking a school).
Assimilation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism or “he who is against Israel is against the Jews”.
It happens that certain people, in order to “open the eyes” of good people to anti-Zionism, qualify Jewish anti-Zionist intellectuals (historians, journalists, etc.) … as mentally ill. We heard a university professor use this term in Liège, during a conference). It seems necessary to establish a short glossary:
1. Jews: formerly derogatory term designating followers of an ancient religion.
2. Israelites: sons of Israel, a well-meaning euphemism for “Jew”.
3. Semites: ancient ethnic group, defined by a linguistic basis and conceived by “race” by racists, and in particular by the nazis.
4. Israelis: current inhabitants of the state of Israel.
a. “Idealist” Jews of the early 20th century, grouped into a movement; historical circumstances in general and colonialist capitalism in particular allowed this movement to create the state of Israel.
b. Currently, people who defend the state of Israel and ignore the problem of the Palestinian people; may be very well informed and then be dishonest, or poorly informed and then be ignorant. The usual attitude of well-informed Zionists is to cover up a genocide and glorify with myths like a Colossus with feet of clay.
The “anti-Zionism” = “anti-Semitism” reasoning is simple:
All Jews are Semites (we forget the Arabs, who are also) and therefore potentially Israeli (see already where this is leading us!).
The Europeans, and particularly the nazis, atrociously persecuted the Jews (we note that anti-Semitism is a tradition, both cause and consequence of the non-adaptation of the Jews.)
So, the Europeans must unconditionally support the descendants of the Jews recently persecuted and this because these persecuted Jews have earned the right to become true Semites again by becoming Israeli.
This reasoning, in our opinion, is not enough to justify the definitive expulsion of the Palestinians.
The “Israeli miracle” or ancient Palestine, desert populated by nomads.
Israel has experienced significant economic development, exploited as a “miracle” by European progressives. This evolution is logical and understandable, by:
– The particular form of colonization (see chapter ‘specificity of Jewish colonization’)
– The rapid influx of “executives” and technicians of European origin
– The influx of capital from the international Zionist movement and economic support from capitalist countries. (Note that this economic support goes hand in hand with constant political support)
We cannot justify by progress, even if it is real, the dispossession of an entire people. This myth of the “miracle” presents particularities of vocabulary: the word “desert” (transformed into a garden) and the word “nomad”; these two words are still full of an erroneous meaning: the only desert that has ever existed in Palestine is the Negev. And the Negev is still a desert.
The word “nomad” is tainted with a sociological prejudice.
The “good rights” of the Jews or the promised land
We have incorporated into the history a quote on the “refusal of integration” (see chapter 2, ‘Zionism’).
The fact is that the Zionists of the heroic times were poorly integrated. It is therefore normal and human that they dreamed of the land promised by the bible.
But it is better to avoid the realization of certain dreams!
The “promised land” is only valid in the bible and in religion, and has nothing to do with any reality. It is considered the land of the (distant) ancestors of current Jews. But it is possible that these ancestors are illusory (see chapter 1 “Overview of Palestine”).
It is also quite possible that the expelled Palestinians were closer to the ancient sons of Israel than the immigrant Jews, at least from a sociological point of view.
The myth of the “Israeli miracle” is therefore the expression of a belated nationalism, and this at a time when internationalism is emerging. In this regard, it is useful to read the quote from Lenin inserted in chapter 2, “Zionism”. No nationalism justifies a covert genocide.
Chapter 1: Overview of Palestine
– Its history before the 20th century
– State of the country at the beginning of the 20th century
Chapter 2: Zionism
Chapter 3: Beginnings of the Zionist settlement in Palestine
– The interests of Great Britain
– The Balfour Declaration
– Originality of Jewish colonization
Chapter 4: The British mandate in Palestine (1920-1948)
– English politics during the mandate
– The Palestinian revolution of 1936-1939
– The white paper
Appendix: “The waltz of commissions”
– The Second World War
– The partition of Palestine
Chapter 5: The war of 1948
Chapter 6: Post-war and the Suez Crisis
Chapter 7: From the Suez War to the Six-Day War
Appendix: “Israel and Imperialism”
Chapter 8: Quick Timeline
Chapter 9: Bibliography
Chapter 1: Overview of Palestine
Its history before the 20th century
Palestine, like Mesopotamia, is a fertile region close to the sea. Since prehistoric times, it has been one of these privileged places, ‘centers’ of civilization. (It is in Palestine, in Jericho, that we find the first known evidence of agriculture and livestock breeding, around 6,500 BC). [Note: Based on the Tanakh – Jewish scriptures – creation is considered to have taken place 3761 years before Christ]
Its history, like that of Mesopotamia, is an uninterrupted series of invasions. Indeed, the south of the Arabian Gulf, an arid region with rare rivers, can be considered from the earliest times as a “reservoir of populations”. The nomadic populations who live there are attracted by the richer regions, Palestine (eastern Mediterranean) and Mesopotamia (Persian Gulf): one after the other, they infiltrate there, invade them, take power there, settle there and assimilate there until the new invasion.
So did the Canaanites and the Hebrews. In addition, powerful peoples (Egyptians, Assyrians, Romans) coveted these regions.
From 2500 to 1000 BC.: Canaanites, Philistines and Hebrew tribes
2500: the region is known as the ‘Land of the Canaanites’ (this people, originally from Arabia, settled there).
1850: Hebrew tribes, originating from the Arabian plateau, attempt to establish themselves in Palestine, but are driven out by the Canaanites. They are going to Egypt.
1300: A tribe of “Sea Peoples” named Philistines (hence the Arabic name Phalestine) settle there.
1290: The Hebrew tribes return from Egypt and enter the region. They will stopover for 40 years in the desert of Sinai, for fear of the Canaanite power.
1050: The Hebrews advance into the country and occupy the city of Jericho.
From 1000 to 586 BC.: The kingdoms of Judah and Israel
From 1000 to 926: David and Solomon
1000 BC J.C.: David, who defeated the Canaanites, is crowned king. He occupied Jerusalem and made it the capital of the Hebrew kingdom. It was a period of prosperity, especially under the reign of Solomon.
926: After the death of Solomon, the kingdom is divided into two: the kingdom of Judea in the south (Jerusalem) and the kingdom of Israel in the north (Samaria).
From 926 to 586: the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Period of unrest: struggles between the two states, each itself experiencing internal difficulties. In addition, the two states are threatened by both Egypt and Assyria which compete.
722: destruction of the kingdom of Israel (capture of Samaria) by the Assyrian Sargon II; deportation of elites (intellectual and manual) and mixing of remaining Israelis with newcomers.
586: destruction of the kingdom of Judah (capture of Jerusalem) by Nebuchadnezzar II: new deportation of Jews from the two ancient kingdoms to Babylon. Jews, more or less numerous depending on the time, after the destruction of the kingdoms, continued to live in Palestine without being organized in the form of a state. Their successive attempts at political autonomy will fail. Thus, the political domination of the Hebrews over Palestine lasted a total of four centuries: from 1000 to 586 BC.
From 586 to 539 BC.: Assyrian domination.
From 539 to 332 BC.: Persian domination.
539: Fall of Babylon. The Persians occupy Palestine. Under Persian domination, the tribe of Judea returned from Babylon to Jerusalem. Jewish religious practices are restored and evolving. There are many religious disputes.
From 332 to 63 BC.: domination of the Seleucids.
332: Conquest of Alexander the Great. Religious quarrels between Jews continue. It follows that attempts to return to political autonomy fail.
From 63 BC B.C. to 636 AD: Roman and Byzantine domination.
70: Titus completely destroys Jerusalem.
135: A Jewish cleric, Barkoka, rebels against the Romans. Emperor Hadrian once again destroyed Jerusalem and carried out massacres. Since this event, Jews no longer made an attempt to appear in Palestine in national or political form until the 20th century.
N.B. Following Hadrian’s massacres, Jewish emigration, which had already been significant for a long time, increased.
It heads towards Arabia (North and especially South) and the Mediterranean basin (Southern Europe and North Africa) to extend to many countries (diaspora).
A stream of emigration reaches the Don Valley in Russia. These emigrants succeeded in converting part of the population to Judaism.
In 740, King Bolan embraced the Jewish religion, followed by the kingdom’s nobility and people. (When Constantine I became Christian, Christianity became the state religion: it’s the same phenomenon).
During the dislocation of the kingdom of Bolan, converted Jews (namely emigrant Jews and natives converted to Judaism) dispersed throughout the countries of Eastern and then Western Europe.
Thus, even if we admit the very questionable notion of ‘race’, the European Israelites and the Israelis are not the direct descendants of the Semitic tribe which ruled Palestine for 4 centuries.
From 636 to 1542: the Arab empire.
636: The Arabs, formed into an empire, chase the Romans from Palestine and occupy the region. Previously, nomadic and isolated Arab tribes lived in Palestine. The Arab conquest of 636 caused the increase and sedentarization of the population. There is an influx of Arab tribes from Iraq, Arabia and Syria.
From 1542 to 1918: Turkish domination over all Arab countries. Turkish domination, lasting 4 centuries, deepens latent Arab decadence and leads to a socio-economic and cultural regression of the Arab world in general and of Palestine in particular.
This phenomenon makes the Arab world particularly vulnerable to French and British colonialism and the Zionist occupation of Palestine.
Situation of Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century.
Palestine is a country of approximately 27,000 km². Its final borders were fixed by a series of agreements and treaties spanning from 1906 to 1922.
Until 1914, Palestine remained a remote region of the Ottoman Empire, attached to the province of Syria, sparsely populated and with an economy based on fairly primitive natural agriculture. Industry is practically non-existent and commerce remains local.
The main characteristic of this agriculture is the existence of large estates administered by absentee owners, and cultivated by agricultural workers. These areas cover more than half of the arable land. There nevertheless remain a certain number of small-holder farmers.
Agricultural workers, attached to the land, were exploited by large landowners and Ottoman civil servants. Small owners are exploited by the village chief (sheikh), the governor, the moneylenders, the merchants.
The fellah, workers or small owners, subject to tax, are perpetually in debt (in 1930 we can observe usury rates of 30 to 200%). The only resource they have is very often the sale of their land. This explains the gradual dispossession of the fellah, who will increase the reserve of the unemployed.
The number of inhabitants: around 300,000 around 1880, around 689,000 around 1914. The Jewish community, which exists here as in other countries (Arab or not), is not homogeneous, it is dependent on charitable works (1868: 15% of the 13,000 Jews exercise a lucrative profession). It reached the number of 85,000 people in 1915 (35,000 Palestinian Jews were then part of Zionist organizations), but returned to 57,000 in 1918.
In conclusion, the situation in Palestine is such that at the beginning of the 20th century the country is the perfect prey for all types of colonialism.
Chapter 2: Zionism
The Jewish “people” have been “scattered” throughout the world for over 2,000 years; This is what we call the “diaspora”. However, it was only at the end of the 19th century that the idea of a Jewish state spread, an idea supported only by those of the “promised land”. The Zionist movement was born at the end of the 19th century.
Why only at this moment? Is it just a coincidence or should we look for deeper causes?
After feudalism: appearance of the bourgeoisie and the national state.
1789 is a pivotal date in history. It marks the end of the feudal period and the triumph of the social system that had been in the making for some time: capitalism.
Feudalism was characterized by a multitude of small economic communities, more or less independent, most often competing; the towns were very undeveloped and populated mainly by craftsmen working individually and traders.
Capitalism will profoundly change this state of affairs.
Thanks to technological progress (appearance of machines) and colonial conquests (appropriation of raw materials), industry develops rapidly, cities are populated by a proletariat, craftsmanship declines in favour of factories.
Power no longer belongs to the aristocrats of yesteryear, but to those who have the money and make it grow by exploiting the labour of the people. This new class is the bourgeoisie.
Another important character of this historical period is the gradual unification of feudal mini-states into national states. Indeed, nascent capitalism, faced with the need to sell the products it produces, needs a sufficiently large market. This is why the constitution of national states is much faster in regions where the bourgeoisie is strongest (France, England, United States, etc.).
N.B. It was only much later that we would witness the collapse of the national borders of capitalism, under the pressure of the large international monopolies, eager to expand their market to the dimensions of the planet.
In summary, in the 19th century, we therefore witnessed the formation, within the framework of national states, of a market benefiting the new bourgeois middle class. This is bourgeois nationalism.
Zionism – a bourgeoisie without a market.
In regions of Europe where the middle class was either relatively weak or embryonic, the formation of the modern national state lingered until the mid-20th century. So, in Italy, Germany and the Balkans. In these regions, bourgeois nationalist movements had to fight against feudal dispersion and political fragmentation and against the hegemony of the national bourgeoisies who had preceded them in the formation of their state.
Zionism is the result of these great historical changes which affected Europe.
It is a reaction to the traditional Jewish bourgeoisie against the European bourgeoisie (mainly from Eastern Europe) who are fighting over economic direction; the Jewish bourgeoisie is slowly being driven out of the economic sectors they occupy. In this sense, Zionism can be explained as the movement of the Jewish national bourgeoisie in search of its own market.
The struggle often took on the aspect of the most violent anti-Semitism among non-Jewish Europeans.
In 1829, the Tsarist government signed a trade agreement with France. In the Roman provinces of the empire (Moldova and Valachia), the active local bourgeoisie is always Jewish. The trade agreement, and the wealth it brings, promotes the development of a national Roman bourgeoisie. Thirty years later, the country is shaken by a first wave of anti-Semitism.
(Jallach El Azam, « Pour mieux comprendre le sionisme », revue Mawakef, Beirouth).
The “Jewish question” is therefore also an economic question, it is the competition between two bourgeoisies for the conquest of the markets.
Concerned about this situation, a certain number of Jewish intellectuals launched the idea of bringing together Jews from all over the world in a certain region (in Uganda, Argentina or Palestine).
The Jewish bourgeoisie would then have an exclusive market in proportion to its size. The famous Zionist slogan that we must “find a land without people to give it to a people without a land” should therefore rather be understood as the need to create a market tailor-made for a bourgeoisie without a market.
These desires for the creation of a national state came to fruition towards the end of the 19th century. They therefore coincide with the height of European colonialism, in search of raw materials, cheap labor and new markets.
Zionist colonialism is therefore timely, it is consistent with Europe’s external interests.
Above all, being Jewish
Zionism also had to fight against attempts and temptations to integrate Jews into Europe, hence the desired ambiguity and confusion between Jews and Zionists, between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
“Zionism is not just a general idea, nor a philosophical and religious concept, it is in its essence a struggle against integration.”
(Ben-Gurion, “Annual Gazette of the State of Israel,” 1952)
The trend that invites Jews to integrate into the societies in which they live was championed by Karl Marx in his Study of the Jewish Question, published in 1884.
Zionism was sharply condemned by Lenin as a colonialist project and as a sabotage of the solidarity that should prevail between Jewish workers and their European brothers.
(cf. Lenin’s problems with the Bund and the Paolé Sion, socialist parties that only accept Jews as members.)
Chapter 3: Beginnings of the Zionist settlement in Palestine
The first Jewish settlers
The development of the Russian national petty bourgeoisie, its takeover of control over the economy and its chauvinistic and systematically racist manifestations (pogroms organized by the state), drove the Jews at the end of the 19th century from the positions in rural life in which they had always were active and pushed them to leave the country.
As early as 1882, several Jewish agricultural colonies were founded in Palestine. The pioneers, mainly from Romania and Russia, ignored the most basic concepts of agriculture and quickly fell into debt.
That same year they have to seek help abroad. Baron E. de Rothschild (France) will be their benefactor. Certainly a benefactor, but also an informed capitalist: the colonies have to pay. The baron placed a board there that was responsible for the obedience of the colonists and to suppress resistance.
Little by little, the settlers will realize that fellah (Arab agricultural laborers) are a cheap labor force that works in their place. The settlers become ‘planters’. At that time, Jewish colonization became a colonization of the classical type.
Palestine: future Zionist state
In 1897 the Zionist movement expanded. It held its first conference in Basel, Switzerland. We first examine the Jewish settlement projects in Uganda and Argentina.
N.B. The Jews of Palestine show that they are fierce supporters of Jewish colonization in Uganda, and continue to rail against the cursed land of Zion, “land of graves and corpses.”
(Léemach, quoted by Koestler, “Analysis of a Miracle”, Paris, 1949).
Palestine is ultimately designated as the future Zionist state.
This choice is the combination of two motivations:
– One rational argument: the desire to place oneself under the protection of European imperialism (in this case English), the only one authorized at the time to control the world and its inhabitants. The other, irrational, the desire to return to the “promised land”.
In 1900, Baron de Rothschild transferred his colonies to the ‘Jewish Colonization Association’ (JCA), a private association whose aim was to support Jewish emigration around the world.
In 1901, the Jewish National Fund was founded, financed by individual contributions from thousands of Jewish households. The main purpose of this fund will be the purchase of land that will become “inalienable property of the Jewish people” and thus removed from land speculation.
Hertzel, founder of the Zionist movement, died in 1903. However, the Zionists’ dreams will survive because they are consistent with Britain’s imperialist projects in the Arab world.
Britain comes into play: its interests in the Middle East.
In 1904, Britain, fearing competition from German imperialism in the world, established the ‘Entente Cordiale’ with France (Lyautey-Kromer Pact), which it formed under Prime Minister Sir Henri Campbell-Bannerman in 1907, would expand to Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.
It was at that time that this English Prime Minister announced the establishment of a committee composed of leading university professors. It must analyse the causes of the fall of previous empires in history and make recommendations to prevent or at least postpone the fall of the British Empire.
After citing the reasons that determined the fall of empires and recalling Europe’s interests in the world, this report asks the decisive question:
Where could the danger come from that threatens the British Empire in particular and European imperialism in general?
The answer came quickly:
“The danger lies in the Mediterranean, the hinge between the West and the East, and the route from Great Britain to the colonies of the Far East, a route that passes through the Suez Canal. In fact, from Rabat in Morocco to Mersin in Turkey, there is indeed only one people who enjoy a common history, a common civilization, a common language: the Arab people. There lie all the possibilities of a possible national rebirth and the resources of a probable power.”
The report then asks: “What would be the situation if the aspirations of these people were effectively realized through unity and their efforts were channelled?
The answer is clear:
“The realization of these ambitions would be a decisive blow to the British Empire.”
To protect against a possible disaster, the commission recommends that the Great Powers keep this region in a dismembered state – (the French in North Africa, the English in Egypt and the Middle East, the Turks in the Middle East) – retarded and completely ignorant. She recommends fighting against any attempt at unification, whether intellectual, spiritual, or especially political and territorial.
The most effective way is to separate the African bloc and the Asian bloc by erecting a ‘powerful human barrier’ on the bridge that connects them, linked to Britain and hostile to the inhabitants of the region: this will be the role of Jewish colonization in Palestine.
British imperialist interests are completely consistent with those of Zionism.
N.B. On the interests of Great Britain in the Middle East, one can consult the articles by M. Rodinson and K. Mohieddine in “Les Temps Modernes”, 1967, no. 253 bis, and the brochure “Gauche authentique, Gauche aventurière” of the Lebanese Communist Party, Beirut.
The Balfour Declaration
In 1914, the First World War broke out.
The Zionists continued their pressure on Britain to achieve their common interest: the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Before the end of the war, English Zionist leader Herbert Samuel presented in a report to the British government the project of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine under English control. He proposed “to group 3 to 4 million European Jews there” and justified himself in these terms: “In this way we will have a new friendly state, bordering Egypt and the Suez Canal.”
Practical negotiations are started between England and the two Zionist leaders Rothschild and Weizman.
In November 1917, these contacts resulted in the statement by Balfour, then British Foreign Secretary:
Palestine for the Jews – Official sympathy
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of his Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet: …
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely, A. J. Balfour.
It is important to note that a year and a half before the Balfour Declaration, a treaty of alliance between Britain and Hussein Ben Ali, Sharif of Mecca, was signed, discussing the independence of the Arab countries, including Palestine.
N.B. Hussein Ben Ali is the father of Faisal, the future king of Iraq and of Abdullah, the future king of Jordan, by the grace of Great Britain.
In exchange for these promises of independence, the Arabs had to fight the Turks and the Germans.
“I have been instructed by the British Government to assure you that England has no intention of signing a peace treaty which does not mention, under essential conditions, the independence and unity of the Arab peoples, from Mersin to the north to the Indian Ocean to the south, eastward to the Red Sea, Sinai and the Mediterranean Sea in the west.”
(Letter from Mac Mahon, English High Commissioner in Cairo, to Hussein Ben Ali, December 13, 1915).
This political maneuver of agreement with the Arabs is understandable: England needs them to defeat the Turks in the Middle East.
“The Arab contribution was decisive in determining the Allies’ victory.”
However, the Arabs’ desire for independence damaged English colonial policies.
England obtains the mandate over Palestine
In August 1918, after Palestine had been liberated from the Turks, England, despite its promises to the Arabs, and to their great surprise, united the Palestinian territories under the control of the “Department for Occupied Lands”.
This military government immediately began implementing the Balfour Declaration: it authorized a Jewish mission, led by Weizman, to come from London to take part in building the country.
In January 1919, the Arabs at the Congress of Versailles demanded the implementation of the Hussein-Mac Mahon agreements.
Officially and for the first time, the Zionists announced the Balfour Pledge, recalling the full agreement of the Allies on this issue.
England claims that its promises to the Arabs made no mention of Palestine at all; they add that the importance of their interest in this region makes it impossible for them to keep such promises.
The American delegation proposes sending a commission of inquiry to Palestine with the aim of determining the true wishes of the Palestinian people in choosing their political regime.
This commission, the King-Crane Commission, stated in the full report of its investigations on August 28, 1919, after the declaration of Wilson’s principle of the free consent of nations to self-determination that:
“Given that this principle must be generalized and taking into account the wishes of the Palestinians, we are obliged to admit that the non-Jewish residents, i.e. 95% of the population, refuse the Balfour promise and Jewish immigration (we add: which has already begun – compare ‘originality of the Jewish colonization’) and that they are demanding their independence, that is, the departure of the English.”
“The fact that Jewish immigration is imposed on a people in such a psychological state and with such aspirations for freedom is nothing more than a contradiction of the Wilson Principle, which we have just stated.”
This report had no effect on Britain and no resonance with President Wilson himself.
On April 25, 1920, the Supreme Council of the Allies met in San Remo and decided, in accordance with Article 22 of the Charter of the League of Nations, to place Palestine under British mandate.
The text of the mandate refers to the Balfour Declaration and the Allies’ agreement to the creation of a national homeland for the Jews. The aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs, carelessly referred to as non-Jewish population groups, are being implemented in silence.
Originality of Jewish colonization: ‘Jewish product and Jewish work’
From 1900 to 1914, three forms of Jewish colonization can be distinguished in Palestine:
* The colonies of the I.C.A., as successor to those of Rothschild;
* Colonization planned by Zionist organizations;
* The orange groves of private Jewish capitalists.
In all three cases considerable expenditure is required: thus the installation of a family of settlers costs about a thousand pounds sterling. The Jewish settler from Europe has a high standard of living and cannot compete with the fellah for the production of vegetables and grains.
Jewish farmers very quickly (in search of profit) began to systematically exploit local labour. Jewish colonization at that time was a ‘classic’ colonization: exploitation by foreign settlers of a country’s local labour force.
The new factor will be the contradiction between established settlers and new Jewish immigrants looking for work. Especially in the period 1904-1905, the time of the second wave of Zionist colonization, the failure of the 1905 Russian Revolution drove many Jews into the arms of Zionism. The new immigrants are largely young Westerners, from the lower middle class, with a high standard of living, unskilled in agriculture (according to Van De Velde, 43% of them have completed university, technical studies, etc.).
These new immigrants will impose the motto: ‘Jewish work, Jewish product’.
What do these order words mean?
Jewish bosses, like all bosses, strive for maximum profit. They have an interest and inclination to employ Arab farmers rather than immigrants for three reasons:
* The Jewish farmer is less accustomed to climatic conditions and therefore less resistant;
* The fellah is more adept at cultivating the land than the Jewish petty bourgeois who comes from Europe;
* The Palestinian farmer, with a low standard of living, is satisfied with a lower salary than the Jewish immigrant.
The Jewish immigrant is not competitive in the labour market.
Employers’ preference for Palestinian farmers would therefore seriously slow down Jewish immigration, thereby damaging Zionist projects to transform Palestine into a settlement colony.
Zionist organizations therefore have an interest in systematically excluding Arab labour from the production circuit and pushing for the creation of a closed Jewish market: a market where the producer, the middleman and the main consumers are Jewish.
N.B. The application of the motto ‘Jewish work, Jewish product’ will not go smoothly: for example, established settlers organized a boycott of new immigrant Jewish workers in Petah Tikva in 1905.
The consequences of these keywords are:
* The exclusion of Arab labor from production will transform an increasing number of Palestinian peasants into sub-proletarians drawn to the cities. In fact, the Arab market does not have the same vitality as the Jewish market, because it is too subject to conservative feudalism. Its financial strength is in no way comparable to that of the Jews who benefit from significant assistance from Zionist organizations around the world. Its technical strength is inferior to that of Jewish immigrant intellectuals.
* The creation of the Jewish market will deprive the Arab masses (both the fellah deprived of their land and the Jewish sub-proletariat) of the ability to act effectively in all facets of the economy in the event of strikes and uprisings.
We will see the consequences of this phenomenon later (compare with the revolution of 36-39).
In short, the application of these operative words puts an end to the ‘classical’ colonization of Palestine.
Jewish colonization becomes settler occupation: the Palestinian people are expelled from their land and forced to fight from outside.
Te be continued …