Friday, January 12, 2018

Being Homeless in Gaza

I fell in love the title of Sarah Helm's piece in NYRB:- "Homeless in Gaza". (On Ms. Helm. She writes a lot on Gaza: here, here to talk to Hamas, and here, too )

At first, I thought it was about the 8000 Jews from Gush Qatif and northern Gaza, expelled from their homes for no good reason and no real improvement in the peace situation and certainly not the security situation.

Then...I realized I was wrong and that it was about Arab Gaza.

And then I read this:

Within a few years [after 1948] Israel had erased almost every Arab village in the former Gaza District. 

and thought, 'wait, politics and ideology aside, Gaza was in Egyptian hands then'.

It dawned on me that she had meant to infer that parts of the former British Mandate of Palestine that had been in the district of Gaza until 1948, a purely administrative demarcating of territory, and were now in Israel, like Ashkelon (Majdal) and Ashdod (Isdud), no longer had an Arab population.

Here's an Arab map:

But don't be fooled. The Gaza District in Mandate times stretched far to the east and north-east:

Of course, mentioning that the Arabs of Gaza, assisted by the Egyptian Army, in violation of the UN's decisions, had invaded Israel to eradicate it is not historically worthy. Or that there was a small Jewish community in Gaza city until murderous Arabs attacked Jews in the riots of 1929 and forced them out. Or that Kfar Darom, a kibbutz in the Gaza Strip had been overrun in 1948 and had to be abandoned, its residents not allowed to return. Or whatever additional terror there was that continued until 1967.

 Not only "homeless" is an issue. Revisioning history is, too:-

“The conflict began in 1948, not 1967. It cannot be solved without returning to the root cause,” said Abu Sitta, who fled the Gaza District as a child. And there is a Palestinian plan, he said, which is to win back ground in the narrative war by challenging Israel’s version of the 1948 war. A form of peaceful resistance, this campaign of retrieving the facts is already well underway, he said...

I searched her piece for the word "rockets". Not a mention.

As for "terror", there two. One , in passing, notes that Hamas is considered a terrorist organization (I don't think she does) and this:'
no evidence [was found] that the refugees [in 1948] had fled on orders from Arab leaders, but had done so mostly out of terror after hearing reports of massacres carried out by Israeli soldiers in villages such as Deir Yassin,
No "mortar" either.




Palestinian authorities say a Gaza fisherman died a day after Egyptian naval forces shot him off the coast.
The Interior Ministry said Saturday that Abdullah Zidan, 33, was in the Palestinian waters of the town of Rafah, which straddles the Gaza-Egypt border, when his boat came under fire.

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