Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We are tired of hearing anything from anyone associated with the U.N. The U.N. is a parasitic and criminal enterprise dominated by our mortal enemies

“We are tired of hearing anything from anyone associated with the U.N. The U.N. is a parasitic and criminal enterprise dominated by our mortal enemies. The U.N. cannot create states, it can only recommend and so can other nations only recommend and not create a state that never existed before in history.” Israel was reinstituted in its historical land and other Arab State were legally assigned their territory under International treaties and laws agreed to by the Allied powers after WW1 after the Ottoman Empire ceded its ownership to the Allied powers.

There is nothing to negotiate or talk about. Any Arab-Palestinian that does not want to live under Israel's government and obey the laws must transfer to Jordan or to the 75,000 sq, miles, the land the Arab countries confiscated from the million persecuted and expelled jewish families. Negotiations are over, there is nothing to negotiate, the Arabs who live in Israel must comply and adhere to the laws of Israel or leave the country permanently.

Judea and Samaria is Jewish territory - No annexation is required for Greater Israel territory..
Let me pose an interesting scenario. If you had a country and it was conquered by foreign powers over a period of time. After many years you have taken back you country and land in various defensive wars. Do you have to officially annex those territories. It was always your territory and by retaking control and possession of your territory it is again your original property and there is no need to annex it. The title to your property is valid today as it was many years before.
Annexation only applies when you are taking over territory that was never yours to begin with, just like some European countries annexed territories of other countries.

The failure to correctly argue against the false claim of ‘occupied’ has led to enormous damage being done to Israel. The word ‘occupied’ by itself tells a story that is very negative to Israel. It is a story that we have been trying to counter by the use of many words in long winded explanations, when and where the situation allows, and most people can’t be bothered to listen.
The Arabs understand the power of the word ‘occupied’ as witnessed by their immediate massive and unified response to the Australian Government’s announcement that they would not use the word ‘occupied’ because it was prejudicial when negotiations are ongoing.
I believe that it is not too late to succinctly argue the correct situation by using the word ‘liberated’ ie ‘liberated East Jerusalem’, and ‘liberated Territories’. These areas were not ‘occupied’ by Israel in 1967, Israel liberated them from Jordanian occupation. Jordan occupied these areas when it launched an unprovoked war against Israel on the day of its birth in 1948.
After more than four decades of propaganda stating the opposite, the correct version of the situation needs some explanation, and so a quick review of the history is in order.
On the 14 May 1948 with Britain’s Mandate over Palestine about to end at midnight, the Jews of Palestine declared that Israel would come into existence at one minute past midnight. Remember that Britain had been entrusted by the League of Nations to administer the Mandate which was for the purpose of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. The terms of the Mandate were never altered by the League of Nations nor by the United Nations after it assumed the responsibilities of the League of Nations. When Britain ended its administration of the Mandate and the Jews announced the subsequent formation of a Jewish State, the purpose of the Mandate was fulfilled.
Surrounding Palestine, were four Arab States with established borders. At dawn on 15 May, just hours after Israel came into existence, all the neighboring Arab States’ armies crossed their respective borders and launched unprovoked attacks on the new-born State. The Jordanian army crossed its border and occupied large parts of the newly created Israel including East Jerusalem. The fledgling Israel was not strong enough to expel the invaders and in 1949 armistice agreements were signed halting the ongoing fighting.
The expiry of the Mandate and the creation of Israel did not impact the borders of any neighbor, their borders did not change. When Jordan invaded Israel in an unprovoked attack at dawn on the 15th May, they captured and occupied territory that was not theirs. To whom did the territory belong? They belonged to the only State that existed beyond their borders at that time, Israel. Nearly a year after its unprovoked attack and invasion, an Armistice agreement with Jordan was reached. The cease fire lines were designated as the Armistice Demarcation Lines in the Armistice Agreement. “The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move.” (Article IV(2) of the Agreement).
The territory Jordan conquered remained under Jordanian control until 1967 when it again launched an unprovoked attack on Israel. This time however Israel was not only strong enough to repel the attack but it was strong enough to expel the Jordanians from all the territory they had previously conquered and thus Israel was able to liberate all the previously occupied territories including East Jerusalem.
These territories that Israel liberated from Jordanian occupation in 1967 are what the Arab nations, and after four and a half decades of propaganda, the whole world, calls ‘occupied territories’. They are in fact liberated territories.
East Jerusalem was not ‘occupied’ by Israel in 1967 any more than Paris was ‘occupied’ by the French and the allies in the 2nd world war. Both Paris and Jerusalem were liberated from enemy occupation. Israel liberated East Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation in the same way the allies liberated Paris from German occupation. Israel was not in control of East Jerusalem prior to 1967 because Jordan launched an unprovoked attack on Israel (with the stated aim of wiping Israel off the map) and at that stage was stronger than Israel.
‘Liberated’ is another story in a word, and it is the story of what actually happened, not a lie.
When in 1967 Israel ejected the Jordanians from the territories they had occupied for 19 years, both it and its supporters failed to continually refer to the newly liberated territories as ‘liberated’. This has aided the Arabs in setting the narrative agenda.
I suggest therefore that where appropriate whenever the words East Jerusalem and ‘Territories’ are used, we should use the adjective ‘liberated’ to describe them. With the use of this one little word, hopefully we can retell the story of what happened as it really happened. We can help correct the lies and deceptions of the false narrative.
We are trying to correct the record more than four and a half decades late, after more than four and a half decades of propaganda, but perhaps if enough people use the word ‘liberate’ often enough it will somewhat neutralize the current narrative. It is only a little thing but let us hope it is not too little too late.

Judea and Samaria – once and forever part of Israel, indivisible from the rest of the state

Judea and Samaria – once and forever part of Israel, indivisible from the rest of the state

The Arabs in Israel-Palestine always attacked the Jews - since the early 1900
Pre-State Israel: Arab Riots of the 1920's
It is time to stop it after 100 years of attacks by the Arabs.
At the end of World War I, discussions commenced on the future of the Middle East, including the disposition of Palestine.
April 19, 1920, the Allies, Britain, France, Italy and Greece, Japan and Belgium, convened in San Remo, Italy to discuss a peace treaty with Turkey.
The Allies decided to assign
Great Britain the mandate over Palestine on both sides of the Jordan River, and the responsibility for putting the Balfour Declaration into effect. Arab nationalists were unsure how best to react to British authority. The two preeminent Jerusalem clans, the el-Husseinis and the Nashashibis, battled for influence throughout the mandate, as they had for decades before. The former was very anti-British, whereas the latter favored a more conciliatory policy.
One of the el-Husseinis, Haj Amin, who emerged as the leading figure in Palestinian politics during the mandate period, first began to organize small groups of suicide groups, fedayeen (“one who sacrifices himself”), to terrorize Jews in 1919 in the hope of duplicating the success of Kemal in Turkey and drive the Jews out of Palestine, just as the Turkish nationalists were driving the Greeks from Turkey. The first large Arab riots took place in Jerusalem in the intermediary days of Passover, April 1920. The Jewish community had anticipated the Arab reaction to the Allies’ convention, and was ready to meet it. Jewish
affairs in Palestine were then being administered from Jerusalem by the Vaad Hatzirim (Council of Delegates), appointed by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) (which became the Jewish Agency in 1929). The Vaad Hatzirim charged Ze’ev (
Vladimir) Jabotinsky with the task of organizing Jewish self-defense. Jabotinsky was one of the founders of the Jewish battalions, which had served in the British Army during the First World War and had participated in the conquest of Palestine from the Turks. Acting under the auspices of the Vaad Hatzirim, Jabotinsky lead the Haganah (self-defense) organization in Jerusalem, which succeeded in repelling the Arab attack. Six Jews were killed and some 200 injured in Jerusalem in the course of the 1920 riots. In addition, two Americans, Jakov Tucker and Ze’ev Scharff, both WWI veterans, were killed resisting an Arab attack on the Jewish settlement of Tel Hai in March 1920. Had it not been for the preliminary organization of Jewish defense, the number of victims would have undoubtedly been much greater.
After the riots, the British arrested both Arabs and Jews.
Among those arrested was Jabotinsky, together with 19 of his associates, on a charge of illegal possession of weapons. Jabotinsky was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor and deportation from the country after completion of his sentence. When the sentence became known, the Vaad Hatzirim made plans for widespread protests, including mass demonstrations and a national fast.
Meanwhile, however, the mandate for
Palestine had been assigned to Great Britain, and the jubilation of the Yishuv outweighed the desire to protest against the harsh sentence imposed on Jabotinsky and his comrades.
With the arrival in Jerusalem of the first High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, British military government was superseded by a civilian administration. As a gesture toward the civilian population, the High Commissioner proclaimed a general amnesty for both Jews and Arabs who had been involved in the April 1920 riots. Jabotinsky and his comrades were released from prison to an enthusiastic welcome by the Yishuv, but Jabotinsky insisted that the sentence passed against them be revoked entirely, arguing that the defender should not be placed on trial with the aggressor. After months of struggle, the British War Office finally revoked the sentences.
In 1921, Haj Amin el-Husseini began to organize larger scale fedayeen to terrorize Jews. Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, former head of British military intelligence in Cairo, and later Chief Political Officer for Palestine and Syria, wrote in his diary that British officials “incline towards the exclusion of Zionism in Palestine.” In fact, the British encouraged the Arabs to attack the Jews. According to Meinertzhagen, Col. Waters Taylor, financial adviser to the Military Administration in Palestine 1919-23, met with Haj Amin a few days before Easter, in 1920, and told him “he had a great opportunity at Easter to show the world...that Zionism was unpopular not only with the Palestine Administration but in Whitehall and if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem at Easter, both General Bols [Chief Administrator in Palestine, 1919-20] and General Allenby [Commander of Egyptian Force, 1917-19, then High Commissioner of Egypt] would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish Home. Waters-Taylor explained that freedom could only be attained through violence.”
Haj Amin took the Colonel’s advice and instigated a riot.
The British withdrew their troops and the Jewish police from
Jerusalem, and the Arab mob attacked Jews and looted their shops. Due to Haj Amin’s overt role in instigating the pogrom, the British arrested him. Yet, despite the arrest, Haj Amin escaped to Jordan, but he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in absentia. A year later, however, British Arabists convinced High Commissioner Herbert Samuel to pardon Haj Amin and to appoint him Mufti.
Samuel met with Haj Amin on April 11, 1921, and was assured “that the influences of his family and himself would be devoted to tranquility.” Three weeks later, however, riots in Jaffa and Petah Tikvah, instigated by the Mufti, left 43 Jews dead. Following these riots England established the Haycraft Commission to evaluate the cause of these riots. The appendix of the report reads, “The fundamental cause of the Jaffa riots and the subsequent acts of violence was a feeling among the Arabs of discontent with, and hostility to, the Jews, due to political and economic causes, and connected with Jewish immigration, and with their conception of Zionist policy as derived from Jewish exponents . . . the Arab majority, who were generally the aggressors, inflicted most of the casualties.”
Following these riots, Haj Amin consolidated his power and took control of all Muslim religious funds in Palestine.
He used his authority to gain control over the mosques, the schools and the courts. No Arab could reach an influential position without being loyal to the Mufti. As the “Palestinian” spokesman, Haj Amin wrote to Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill in 1921, demanding that restrictions be placed on Jewish
immigration and that
Palestine be reunited with Syria and Transjordan. Churchill issued the White Paper of 1922, which tried to allay Arab fears about the Balfour Declaration. The White Paper acknowledged the need for Jewish immigration to enable the Jewish community to grow, but placed the familiar limit of the country's absorptive capacity on immigration. Although not pleased with Churchill’s diplomatic
Paper, the Zionists accepted it; the Arabs, however, rejected it.
Despite the disturbances in 1920-1921, the yishuv continued to develop in relative peace and security. Another wave of riots, however, broke out in 1924 after another wave of pogrom’s sent 67,000 Polish Jewish refugees to Palestine. After a week of skirmishes in Jerusalem between the Haganah and Arab mobs, 133 Jews and 116 Arabs lay dead. The yishuv’s main concern at that time was its financial difficulties; the economic crisis of 1926-1928 led many to believe that the Zionist enterprise would fail due to lack of funds. Zionist leaders attempted to rectify the situation by expanding the Jewish Agency to incorporate non-Zionists who were willing to contribute to the practical settlement of Palestine.
The prospects for renewed financial support for the yishuv upset Arab leaders who feared economic domination by the Zionists. Led by Haj Amin al-Husseini once again, rumors of a Jewish plot to seize control of Muslim holy places began to spread. Violence erupted soon after, causing extensive damage. Rioting and looting were rampant throughout Palestine. In Jerusalem, Muslims provoked the violence and tensions by building and praying on or near the holiest place in the world for Jews, the Western Wall. By late August, the Arabs, in well organized formation, attacked Jewish settlements near Jerusalem. The disturbances spread to Hebron and Tsfat, including many settlements in between, and on the Kfar Dorom kibbutz in the Gaza Strip. After six days of rioting, the British finally brought in troops to quell the disturbance. Despite the fact that Jews had been living in Gaza and Hebron for centuries, following these riots, the British forced Jews to leave their homes and prohibited Jews from living in the Gaza strip and Hebron in an attempt to appease Arabs and quell violence. By the end of the rioting, 135 Jews (including eight Americans) were killed, with more than 300 wounded.
Like the riots earlier in the decade, afterward the British appointed Sir William Shaw to head an inquiry into the causes of the riots. The Shaw Commission found that the violence occurred due to “racial animosity on the part of the Arabs, consequent upon the disappointment of their political and national aspirations and fear for their economic future.” The report claimed that the Arabs feared economic domination by a group who seemed to have, from their perspective, unlimited funding from abroad. The Commission reported that the conflict stemmed from different interpretations of British promises to both Arabs and Jews. The Commission acknowledged the ambiguity of former British statements and recommended that the government clearly define its intentions for Palestine. It also recommended that the issue of further Jewish immigration be more carefully considered to avoid “a repetition of the excessive immigration of 1925 and 1926.” The issue of land tenure would only be eligible for review if new methods of cultivation stimulated considerable growth of the agricultural sector. The Shaw Commission frustrated Zionists, but the two subsequent reports issued on the future of Palestine
were more disturbing. The Hope Simpson report of 1930 painted an unrealistic picture of the economic capacity of the country. It cast doubt on the prospect of industrialization and incorrectly asserted that no more than 20,000 families could be accommodated by the land. The Hope Simpson report was overshadowed,
however, by the simultaneous release of the Passfield White Paper, which reflected colonial Secretary Passfield’s deep-seated animus toward Zionism.
This report asserted that
Britain’s obligations to the Arabs were very weighty and should not be overlooked to satisfy Jewish interests. Many argued that the Passfield Paper overturned the Balfour Declaration, essentially saying that Britain should not plan to establish a Jewish state. The Passfield Paper greatly upset Jews, and interestingly, also the labor and conservative parties in the British
Parliament. The result of this widespread outcry to the Secretary’s report was a letter from British Prime Minister MacDonald to Dr. Chaim Weizman, reaffirming the commitment to create a Jewish homeland.

The Arabs found rioting to be a very effective political tool because the British attitude toward violence against Jews, and their response to the riots, encouraged more outbreaks of violence. In each riot, the
British would make little or no effort to prevent the Arabs from attacking the Jews. After each incident, a commission of inquiry would try to establish the cause of the riot. The conclusions were always the same: the Arabs were afraid of being displaced by Jewish immigrants. To stop the disturbances, the
commissions routinely recommended that restrictions be made on Jewish immigration. Thus, the Arabs came to recognize that they could always stop Jewish immigration by staging a riot. Despite the restrictions placed on its growth, the Jewish population increased to more than 160,000 by the 1930s, and the community became solidly entrenched in
Unfortunately, as the Jewish presence grew stronger, so did the Arab opposition. The riots brought recognition from the international Jewish community to the struggle of the settlers in
Palestine, and more than $600,000 was raised for an emergency fund that was used to finance the cost of restoring destroyed or damaged homes, establish schools, and build nurseries.

Monday, June 29, 2015



A still from the 1913 film, "Jews of Palestine."
A still from the 1913 film, "Jews of Palestine."
In his 1967 book Israel: An Echo of Eternity, Abraham Joshua Heschel refers to “the jungle of history.”
An interesting locution, and apt. A jungle is a place where things seem to co-exist against all odds—nature at its best and most beautiful, but also at its worst and most vicious.
If history is a “jungle”—nature at its most beautiful but also its most unforgiving—then an historian is an explorer: she must try to make order of chaos and find meaning in dense overgrowth. It is thus appropriate that Ben Loeterman’s new film “1913: Seeds of Conflict” deploys an agricultural metaphor.
History is a jungle.
The film, premiering June 30 on PBS, consists of rare and often striking footage of early twentieth-century Palestine, mostly taken from a newly discovered film from 1913: Noah Sokolowsky’s, “The Life of Jews in Palestine.”
Loeterman’s film offers this footage along with interviews with a team of experts and short dramatizations featuring significant individuals of the time. The script of these dramatizations is taken directly from letters, court cases, and speeches, all in their original languages (with subtitles). While such dramatizations can often seem trite or contrived, they are used quite effectively in the film. Even hearing the Arabic, German, French, Hebrew and Turkish gives one a feel for the multiethnic dimension of this particular corner of the jungle.
1913 is not a year many point to as the germ-cell of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Loeterman suggests that it is; not in any obvious way, no seismic event, national conflict or political edict. Rather, three things happened in 1913 that frame this film.
First, Sokolowsky’s film “The Life of the Jews in Palestine” was made, containing the earliest moving images of Palestine; second, Arthur Ruppin’s speech at the Zionist Congress that year focusing on “conquest of the land” through land purchasing that set the Zionist nationalist agenda on a new course; and third, a local skirmish between an Arab who stole some grapes near the Jewish colony of Rehovot on his way to selling his produce and a Russian-Jewish guard who beat him brutally not for, as the guard later said, “stealing grapes from a Jewish colony but stealing grapes from the Jewish people.” Two people died: one jew and one Arab.
Loeterman’s film argues that this local skirmish was a match that ignited a fire. But to understand why Loeterman argues we must return to the jungle of history that is Ottoman Palestine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The story of “1913: Seeds of Conflict” begins on a politically mundane, yet artistically fascinating, note. Film archivist Yaakov Gross is informed that in a warehouse in France a few boxes of old films of Palestine were discovered. In those boxes was a film that depicts Jewish life there in 1913. It is one of the earliest moving images from Palestine. After World War I the film had vanished and was thought lost.
Like many propaganda films made after it, Sokolowsky’s film depicts burgeoning life in the Jewish colonies, or small agricultural towns, that dotted the lower plains at that time (the more fertile land was in the mountains where most of the Arab population lived). It also shows a bustling multiethnic and largely peaceful Jerusalem at a time before the four quarters (Armenian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim) separated its inhabitants into veritable enclaves.
And like many of the films that would come later, it rarely depicts Arabs—who at that time were the large majority of the population.
These were films meant to promote the common Zionist myth first coined by the British Jew Israel Zangwill, “A land without a people for a people without a land.”
Examining one clip of a bustling Jewish colony in the film, the narrator stops to ask Gross, the archivist, about figures in the distance at the top of the frame, almost silhouettes, standing on a hill. “Who were they?” the narrator asks. Gross answers, “I don’t know.”
Of course, they were Arab villagers watching the filming from a safe distance. Gross’s  “I don’t know” echoes throughout the film. And thus the story begins.
The film does a good job going through the various Jewish immigrations that took place from the 1980s—beginning with the pogroms in the aftermath of Czar Alexander’s assassination in Russia in 1881, through the First World War, as Jews left Europe in increasing numbers. During this period, Zionism was still a nascent movement (during this period of immigration only 5% of Jews ended up in Palestine. Most immigrated to the US).
Yet slowly Zionism begins to take hold of a Jewish population, many of whom did not have nationalist aspirations, wishing simply wanted to live a relatively secure life in the Holy Land. But the worse things got in Europe the more Zionism became a viable alternative—itself an expression of the density of this historical jungle, where things feed on that which seeks to destroy them.
Theodore Herzl knew this quite well when he wrote in his The Jewish State (1896) that “the misery of the Jews will be Zionism’s propelling force.”
Interspersed with both Jewish and Muslim academic experts on Zionism, the Arab Middle East, and the Ottoman Empire, this film offers a complex picture of a situation that went very wrong for reasons that all-too-often had nothing to do with either Jews or Arabs (later called Palestinians).
In this early period they were all simply Ottomans, subjects of a dying kingdom.
The Young Turk Revolution in 1908 transformed the empire, already crumbling, from a centralized system of government to one that viewed the French Revolution as its model.  Jews and Arabs in Palestine largely welcomed this revolution and viewed it as a positive step toward self-expression (not yet self-determination).
But something else began to happen. The mostly Sephardic Jews who lived in Palestine before the second large Jewish European immigration (known as the Second Aliyah) in 1904-1914 were suspicious of these European Jews with their “Zionist” ideas who did not want to integrate into the empire.
Zionists, and also Palestinian Arabs, began to see the 1908 revolution as an opportunity to distance themselves from the empire altogether. As an illustration of this we meet an important figure, Albert Antébi, a Syrian Jew who played a crucial role in mediating between the Ottomans, the Sephardic communities, and the Zionists.
Antébi was a devoted subject of the sultan, a proud Jew who identified as an Ottoman who encouraged the new Jewish immigrants to do the same. Like the Arabs, he saw what was happening as the first decade of the twentieth century progressed: Jewish self-expression was becoming Jewish self-determination.
The Young Turk Revolution helped create the space for Zionism to take root in Palestine. But that same social context also gave rise to new Arab newspapers such as El Carmel and El Palestine,around which coalesced a collective Palestinian identity.  These papers openly challenged the Zionist project (not the “Jews”) and warned the Arabic-reading public of an ensuing confrontation.
As Rashid Khalidi argues in his book Palestinian Identity (2009) Loeterman suggest that Zionist and Palestinian identity emerge simultaneously in Palestine as the Ottoman empire experienced upheaval and eventual collapse.
The film depicts the turn from self-expression to self-determination among Zionists in three areas: Jewish purchase of Arab land from largely absentee land owners, the “Jewish labor” movement of the Second Aliyah (1904-1914), and the increasingly demeaning attitude many of the Zionist colonists had toward the indigenous Arab population  (perhaps more a legacy of their identity as Europeans than their Jewish pedigree).
The central figure in the first case was German-Jewish immigrant Arthur Ruppin (1876-1943) who developed an intricate plan of Jewish colonies that would create an infrastructure of a future state. In 1890 this came to a head with a land dispute between members of the Jewish colony of Rehovot and Bedouins who had been living and farming that land (but had no Ottoman deed to prove ownership). The Jews bought the land outright and demanded the Bedouins leave without compensation. The Bedouins refused.
The case went to the Ottoman courts in Istanbul, but jurists threw it out of court deeming it a local dispute not worth addressing. The Bedouins had to leave and Rehovot continued to expand.
And thus seeds of conflict were sown. The Arabs began to realize what was happening and they knew the Ottomans had no real interest in intervening. The Arab press in Palestine lambasted the absentee Arab land owners who were selling the land to the Jews at an inflated price, but to no avail. Those landowners had mostly left before the birth of any real national consciousness among the Arabs in Palestine.
The Jewish labor movement was largely the brainchild of the Second Aliyah immigrants, the first “Zionist” immigration that gave rise to the Kibbutz movement. They wanted to create a society where the Jewish, and not Arab, worker created the infrastructure for their Jewish society. While done with ostensibly moral intentions, as Edward Said notes in The Question of Palestine, it also marginalized the Arab worker who stood by and watched a modern society blossom while he remained mired in a largely pre-industrial world.
As important, the film argues that the Jewish labor movement changed the relational dynamic from local to national. Arabs rightly felt that their land was no longer being used for Jewish colonies; it was now being used for a national project. Ruppin knew this and it greatly concerned him. His speech at the Zionist Congress in 1913 about “conquest of the land” through practical means contributed to a shift in emphasis of the Zionist movement. Pragmatics trumped co-existence. Ruppin wrote about the dangers of alienating the Arab majority, in one letter even suggested he “may have gone too far.”
But in the jungle once things start to grow it is very difficult to stop them.
The attitude toward the Arab is the third major focus of the film. As one expert noted, in the early Zionist imagination, the Arab was not a person but a part of nature (a part of the jungle). There was a stone, a tree, and an Arab. They were part of the landscape, considered nomadic, and not a functioning society.
One can see this is some of the early collections of photographs of Palestine published by Jewish photographers. It is what we would later call Orientalism. Zionists such as Ahad Ha-Am (Asher Zvi Ginsberg 1856-1927) wrote passionately against this, not only on moral grounds but also because, like Ruppin and even like Antébi, he knew its consequences. Unless things change, Ahad Ha-Am argued, the Arab will become the enemy.
The film gives us a very cogent view of all these moving pieces that culminates in the 1913 theft of grapes that resulted in the deaths of an Arab and a Jew. The national struggle had its first casualties. Both sides knew it. And both sides wanted a peaceful resolution. They knew the Ottomans didn’t care anymore, they had bigger problems.
Negotiations began —it was a real moment of communication.
But then something came to disrupt this opportunity: World War I began. All attention turned elsewhere. It had been an opportunity, perhaps, a way to stop the ball from rolling out of control. Instead, like the 1913 film, it was a forgotten shrub, trampled on by the boot heels of history.
From our vantage point in 2015, many wars later, many deaths later, many failed attempts at resolution later, this film has an arresting quality. All sides are to blame. No sides are to blame. Fate is to blame. History is to blame.
The lack of hindsight on all sides was only a little worse than the lack of foresight. Things just happened too fast. From the Young Turk revolution in 1908 until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 is only six short years. Yet in that brief span contingencies narrowed, ideologies took root in the rocky soil, local became national, and communal self-expression became national self-determination.
The film shows that all the major parties (except perhaps the Ottomans who were busy managing their own demise) knew what was happening. And yet nothing was done, or could have been done, to stop it.
The film, I think, invites us to take a closer look at the Arab fellahin standing in the distant hills in the top of the frame of Sokolowsky’s 1913 film. This is not to take sides, and I think the film does an excellent job not taking sides; it is rather to see how things could have been before they became what they were. Things could have been different, and along the way many on both sides knew it and futilely tried to warn the parties involved.
But history is a jungle and rarely yields to reason. Somewhere toward the end of the film, Amy Dockster-Marcus says in passing “we can’t control history.” Is that true? We make history, we arehistory.
Perhaps it is because history is only after-the-fact; history only enters when the damage is already done.
Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik once wrote, “The past is indeterminate, a closed book. It is only the present and future that can pry it open and read its meaning.” History is a crowbar. Marcus asks early on in the film, “was there a turning point, a moment in time…when things could have been different?”
The answer, of course, is yes; it is always yes. But why does that matter? I’m not quite sure. “1913: Seeds of Conflict” forces us to take a serious look at that question.

FROM YEMEN TO ZION, 1881 - Palestine-Israel

 For hundreds of years the Jews of Yemen maintained contact with the Land of Israel, and individuals with their families settled there at various times. In 1881 a movement of immigration commenced, which was temporarily halted during 1914-1920 because of World War I. Up until the war close to 5,000 people immigrated to Palestine, around 8% of the total Jewish population of Yemen, a figure unmatched by any other community. In 1914 Yemeni Jews constituted 6% of the entire Jewish population in Palestine. The immigration process culminated in 1950 when most came to Israel through the "On Eagles Wings" Operation.

Contrary to the first wave of immigration from Eastern Europe in 1882, which was associated with the persecution of and rioting against Jews in Russia, the Yemeni Jewish immigration was not the result of persecution by the local government or population. In 1881 the motives for the immigration of Yemeni Jews were imbedded in messianic expectation and deep religious belief. They regarded, as did Jews in other traditional communities, existence in the Diaspora as being temporary, and that they would return to the Land of Israel in the messianic age. These expectations were expressed in their spiritual lives as well as in their literary works, such as the poems of Rabbi Shalom Shabazi of the 17th century, which tied them to the Land of Israel. Realization of this process depended on political changes and their implications. In 1872 the Ottoman Turks conquered Yemen and annexed it to the Ottoman Empire. The Land of Israel was also under Ottoman sovereignty and this made travel from Yemen easier than in the past. Tradesmen and travelers, mail and books arrived in Yemen and provided information on the developments in the Holy Land and in the Jewish world such as the reinforcement of the Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, the establishment of agricultural settlements and the ideas of enlightenment.
 Political instability in central Yemen at the end of the 19th century and during the first decade of the 20th century, caused by rebellion against the Ottomans, as well as natural disaster, drove the Jews from central Yemen to other settlements in the country. Some of this internal migration was converted into immigration to Palestine.
 The Jewish Yemeni immigrants interpreted the verse "I thought I would climb a palm tree" (Song of Solomon, Chap. 7 vs. 8) as meaning them. The words "palm tree" they interpreted through a play of letters in Hebrew as the year 5642 (1882). The first Yemeni Jewish  immigrants arrived in Jerusalem from Sam’a’, the capital of Yemen on New Year's eve of the year 5642. Toward the end of October 1885 the first residential neighborhood of Yemeni Jewish immigrants was established in Kfar Hashiloah, Jerusalem. In 1886 the Mishkenot Israel neighborhood was established followed by others. The Yemeni Jewish immigrants made a living from manual labor and crafts, and with the establishment of the Bezalel Academy of Art in 1906, joined as silversmiths. 
1906 saw a wave of immigration from North Yemen, and then from other areas in Yemen. These immigrants joined settlements such as Rehovot, Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva, Hadera and Zikhron Yaakov. Despite their desire to join the pioneering agricultural settlements, they were driven toward the role of agricultural laborers and made a living as guards, in service jobs, crafts and petty trade. The agricultural settlement of Eliashiv was established in 1933 and, after the establishment of the State of Israel, other agricultural settlements were established for Yemeni Jews. These included Ora and Eshtaol in the Jerusalem hills, Givat Yearim in the Judean Mountains, Yachini in the Negev, Sha’ar Ephraim in the Shfela and others. The town of Rosh Ha'ayin is a prominent Yemeni Jewish community, and Tel-Aviv-Jaffa has well known neighborhoods that were established at the beginning of the 20thcentury - Mahane Yehuda (near Neve Zedek), Mahane Yosef, the Kerem Hatemanim and the Hatikva neighborhood.
 The Jewish settlement in the Palestine regarded Yemeni Jews as the extension of an ancient Jewish tradition that has maintained its vitality. This percept assisted in the embracing of foundations of their culture, such as the silver filigree artwork, embroidery, song, music and dance, into Israeli culture
Dr. Bat-Zion Eraqi Klorman.

The Stamp and First Day Cover
 The photographs on the stamp: early Yemeni Jewish immigrants reading from the Holy Scriptures and a Yemenite guard at Ben Shemen.  These images symbolize the perception of Yemeni Jews as belonging to both worlds, the one that presents the continuation of the Jewish religious tradition, and the other that shows their integration into the Zionist ethos. The tab shows a photograph of the first sixty houses built in Kfar Hashiloach on the slope of the Mount of Olives outside the Jerusalem gates. The first day cover shows an illustration of a shofar and a part of the front page of the Havazelet newspaper announcing the inauguration of the Yemeni Jewish homes in Kfar Hashiloah.

Immigration to Israel:
The First Aliyah

(1882 - 1903)

ImmigrationTable of Contents | Law of Return | Immigration Statistics

The First Aliyah followed pogroms in Russia in 1881-1882, with most of the olim (immigrants) coming from Eastern Europe; a small number also arrived from Yemen. Members of Hibbat Zion and Bilu, two early Zionist movements that were the mainstays of the First Aliyah, defined their goal as "the political, national, and spiritual resurrection of the Jewish people in Palestine."

Though they were inexperienced idealists, most chose agricultural settlement as their way of life and founded moshavot — farm holders' villages based on the principle of private property. Three early villages of this type were Rishon Lezion, Rosh Pina, and Zikhron Ya'akov.
The First Aliyah settlers encountered many difficulties, including an inclement climate, disease, crippling Turkish taxation and Arab opposition. They required assistance and received scanty aid from Hibbat Zion, and more substantial aid from Baron Edmond de Rothschild. He provided the moshavot with his patronage and the settlers with economic assistance, thereby averting the collapse of the settlement enterprise. The Yemenite olim, most of whom settled in Jerusalem, were first employed as construction workers and later in the citrus plantations of the moshavot.
In all, nearly 35,000 Jews came to Palestine during the First Aliyah. Almost half of them left the country within several years of their arrival, some 15,000 established new rural settlements, and the rest moved to the towns.

See Also: Second Aliyah | Third Aliyah | Fourth Aliyah | Fifth Aliyah | Aliyah Bet

Aliyah from Yemen

The first group of immigrants from Yemen came approximately seven months before most of the Eastern European Jews who arrived in Palestine.


Kindergarten in Rishon Lezion, c.1898
The First Aliyah laid the cornerstone for Jewish settlement in Israel and created several settlements - Rishon LeZionRosh PinnaZikhron Ya'akovGedera etc.
Most settlements met with financial difficulties and most of the settlers were not proficient in farming. Baron Edmond James de Rothschild took several of the settlements under his wing, which helped them survive until more settlers with farming experience arrived in subsequent aliyot.
Immigrants of the First Aliyah also contributed to existing towns and settlements, notably Petah Tikva. The first neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv (Neve Tzedek and Neve Shalom) were also built by members of the aliyah, although it was not until the Second Aliyah that Tel Aviv was officially founded.
Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote:
But the major cause of tension and violence throughout the period 1882-1914 was not accidents, misunderstandings or the attitudes and behaviors of either side, but objective historical conditions and the conflicting interests and goals of the two populations. The Arabs sought instinctively to retain the Arab and Muslim character of the region and to maintain their position as its rightful inhabitants; the Zionists sought radically to change the status quo, buy as much land as possible, settle on it, and eventually turn an Arab-populated country into a Jewish homeland.
For decades the Zionists tried to camouflage their real aspirations, for fear of angering the authorities and the Arabs. They were, however, certain of their aims and of the means needed to achieve them. Internal correspondence amongst the olim from the very beginning of the Zionist enterprise leaves little room for doubt.[10]
Morris provides excerpts from three letters written in 1882 by these first arrivals:
  • Vladimir (Ze'ev) Dubnow, one of the Biluim wrote to his brother, the historian Simon Dubnow, in October 1882: "The ultimate goal ... is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years .... The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland."(Dubnow himself shortly afterward returned to Russia.)[11]
  • Ben-Yehuda, who settled in Jerusalem in September 1881, wrote in July 1882 to Peretz Smolenskin in Vienna"The thing we must do now is to become as strong as we can, to conquer the country, covertly, bit by bit ... We will not set up committees so that the Arabs will know what we are after, we shall act like silent spies, we shall buy, buy, buy."[12]
  • In October 1882 Ben-Yehuda and Yehiel Michael Pines, who had arrived in Palestine in 1878, wrote to Rashi Pin, in Vilna"We have made it a rule not to say too much, except to those ... we trust ... the goal is to revive our nation on its land ... if only we succeed in increasing our numbers here until we are the majority [Emphasis in original] .... There are now only five hundred [thousand] Arabs, who are not very strong, and from whom we shall easily take away the country if only we do it through stratagems [and] without drawing upon us their hostility before we become the strong and populous ones."[13]
The Jewish Virtual Library says of the First Aliyah that nearly half the settlers did not stay in Palestine.[14]

Relationship with the Old Yishuv

The relationship of the members of the First Aliyah with the Old Yishuv was strained. The First Aliyah's settlement efforts were opposed not only by the Old Yishuv's traditionalists, but also by their own settlers. The First Aliyah's people, on their part, viewed the Old Yishuv as a foreign agency. There were additional disagreements about economic and ideological issues. Only a few groups from the Old Yishuv sought to take part in the First Aliyah's settlement effort, one such group being the Peace of Jerusalem (Shlom Yerushalayim).[15]

The 28 colonies established by the First Aliyah

The colonies established by the First Aliyah are known in Hebrew as moshavot. These are:
Rishon LeZion (1882)
Rosh Pinna (1882, taking over and renaming the colony of Gei Oni established in 1878 and down to three families by 1882)
Petah Tikva (1882; reestablished after first attempt in 1878)
Mazkeret Batya (1883 established as "Ekron")
Ness Ziona (1883; began as "Nahalat Reuven")
Gedera (1884)
Bat Shlomo (1889)
Meir Shfeya (1889)
Rehovot (1890)
Hadera (1891)
Ein Zeitim (1892)
Motza (1894)
Hartuv (1895)
Metula (1896)
Be'er Tuvia (1896 reestablished and renamed by Hovevei Zion; first settled in 1887 under the name Castina)
Bnei Yehuda (1898; not identical with the new Bnei Yehuda)
Mahanayim (1898-1912)
Sejera (1899)
Mas'ha (1901), renamed Kfar Tavor in 1903
Yavne'el (1901)
Menahemia (1901)
Beit Gan (1903; next to Yavne'el)
Atlit (1903)
Giv'at Ada (1903)
Kfar Saba (1904)
Not included here: the five ephemeral colonies of the First Aliyah in the Hauran.



Under the German-Soviet Pact in August 1939 and its secret clauses on dividing Central and Eastern Europe between the two new allies, Stalin’s USSR began in 1939 and 1940 a new phase of expansion towards the west. The Sovietisation of the new territories involved purges of the former elites and other counter-revolutionary “socially alien elements”, etc.
Three waves of deportation were organised in the Polish territories annexed to Ukraine and western Belarus in 1940: these banished former settlers, osadnicy, local elites and some of the refugees (mostly Jews) who had fled the German occupation of Poland. The deportation resumed in spring 1941: from western Ukraine on 22 May; from Moldavia in the night of 12-13 June; from the Baltic republics on 14 June and from western Belarus in the night of 19-20 June.
Some heads of household were sentenced to forced labour in the camps, and their families and children were often exiled to “special resettlements” in Siberia or Kazakhstan. Nearly 500,000 were sent to the furthest depths of the USSR.