Monday, January 10, 2011
Never-Ending War On The Jews - Pt. 2/4
Denial and Revenge 1948-67
"The masses cannot be mobilized by a mere appeal to fight Israel; they suffer exploitation not at the hands of the Zionists but rather at the hands of the Arab ruling classes. It is these classes, too, who since 1948 have oppressed the people of Palestine. They have kept them outside the productive process, penned them up in camps, living on the charity of the big powers and everywhere subject to special regulations. They have used racism and chauvinism to set them apart from the other Arab peoples."
- Journalist Samir Franjiyeh - Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter, 1972
The years between Israel's independence and the Six-Day War were characterized by incessant terrorist activity, carried out by Palestinians and often sponsored by Arab nations. Arab refugees from the 1948 War of Independence, located in camps in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, became a locus of anti-Israel activity. No Arab country would take them in, no Arab country would help them, so they became the responsibility of the United Nations. These angry Arabs began mounting night raids against Israelis, killing one here, raping one there.
Eilat - Beersheva bus; the sign on the bus reads "Eilat Daily" and "Best Wishes"
Israel was subject to a massive wave of infiltration by Palestinian refugees from Jordan and Egypt. The infiltrators' intentions varied: some only wanted to reclaim property; others intended to steal from Jews who settled near the border; others wanted to kill Jews in revenge for their military failure of 1948. This led to the deaths of more than 200 Israelis; theft caused a considerable economic damage, and a general feeling of insecurity was created by the raids.
Both Egypt and Jordan at least initially tried to limit this phenomenon, but neither were particularly successful. The wave of attacks on Israel became more organized in the form of Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, called fedayeen (Men of Sacrifice or Suicide Fighters), who began to conduct raids against the Israeli civilian population by 1951. In spite of retaliatory attacks made by Israel, the infiltrations never stopped - although they were often interrupted for brief periods of time.
By 1954, Egypt reversed its stance completely, formally creating a battalion of fedayeen as a part of the Egyptian army forces stationed in Gaza. In Jordan the fedayeen did not have a formal status; evidence seems to indicate the Jordanian authorities were opposed to it; however the lower-ranking officials and military commanders were reluctant to block infiltrations, and the authorities either were not able or did not want to force them to.
In 1955, Nasser began importing arms from the USSR and other East bloc nations building his arsenal to confront Israel. In the short-term, however, he employed a new tactic to prosecute Egypt's war with Israel. He announced it on August 31, 1955:
Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam and they will cleanse the land of Palestine....There will be no peace on Israel's border because we demand vengeance, and vengeance is Israel's death.
These "heroes" were the fedayeen, whose activity violated the armistice agreement provision that prohibited the initiation of hostilities by paramilitary forces; nevertheless, it was Israel, not the Arab states, that was condemned by the UN Security Council for its counterattacks.
The fedayeen operated from bases in the territories surrounding Israel: Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. They were trained and equipped, primarily by Egyptian Intelligence, to engage in hostile action on the border and infiltrate Israel to commit acts of sabotage and murder. A bounty was offered for each Jew killed. The Arab states surrounding Israel each hoped to annex Israeli territory at some point in the future; Egypt arranged for the fedayeen to operate primarily from locations in Jordan. This would insure that Jordan bore the brunt of Israel's retaliation.
In the period 1951-1956, hundreds of fedayeen attacks were carried out against Israel; over 400 Israelis were killed and 900 injured. Fedayeen terrorism contributed to the outbreak of the 1956 Sinai Campaign.
Eventually, Syria launched a plan to subvert Israel's water supply. In order to intensify the hostilities, Syria began aiding to Palestinian terrorism. It managed the transformation of the PLO, previously a moderately successful group with political aspirations led by Ahmad Shukairy, into a full-fledged terrorist network enjoying Arab and Palestinian popular support, with Yasser Arafat's FATAH movement at its steering wheel. The PLO as we know it today was formed in late 1964. Its first attacks in February 1965 were aimed at - unsurprisingly - Israel's water installations in the north; however, they never caused much damage and the PLO remained only a minor player.
Underground bunker - Kibbutz Gadot
From 1949-1967 Syrian artillery regularly shelled the residents of the Hulah Valley, forcing a generation of Israeli children to sleep in underground bunkers and ride to school in armored buses. Kibbutz Gadot was shelled 400 times.
Fedayeen movements - 1960's
In 1951 the West Bank was annexed by the Jordanians and many well-to-do Palestinians became "Jordanianized," but most activists were drawn to pan-Arab populist movements which emphasized that the liberation of Palestine was part of the larger goal of changing the social and political structure of the Arab world. It was believed that participation in pan-Arab movements would enable Palestinians to regain their lost homeland.
Palestinian support for pan-Arabist movements and regimes remained strong until 1961, when the Egyptian-Syrian union failed. Pan-Arabism then became suspect. After the 1967 war, the fedayeen leadership largely disassociated itself from pan-Arabism. The Palestinian activists began identifying themselves, directly or indirectly, with new fedayeen groups - such as al-FATAH. Fedayeen encouraged Palestinians to take matters into their own hands and not rely on Arab leaders who were not serious about liberating Palestine. Their strategy stressed the independent armed struggle, making them the new heroes of the Arab world.most Palestinian activists became committed to new militant and secular nationalist groups.
Residents of Kiryat Shmona cover the severed leg of a terrorist victim. The appeal of Arabism beginning in the late 1950s and the strength of the Fedayeen movements in the 1960s and 1970s intensified opposition to the Jordanianized elite who became increasingly unpopular.
Children's dormitory, kibbutz Misgav Am, after an attack by Palestinian terrorists
Never Ending War on The Jews - Part 1
Never Ending War on The Jews - Part 3
Never Ending War on The Jews - Part 4