Israeli history 101
What do you know about Zionist Leaders?
By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, PhD
First Posted May 28, 2002 at http://www.iap.org/aboutleaders.htm translated to Portuguese and posted also at http://www.palestina1.com.br/index.php?id=182
"We can be the vanguard of culture against barbarism." (Theodore Herzl, 19th century advocate of Political Zionism as quoted in Tom Segev, "One Palestine Complete," p. 150)
Chaim Weizmann (18741952) was born in Motol, Russia and became a British subject in 1910. During World War I, Weizmann discovered an improved method of making acetone and butyl alcohol for explosives to aid British war efforts. He was thus instrumental in securing British government commitment to Zionism in the form of the Balfour Declaration (which was secured in a letter addressed to Zionist leader Lord Rothschild). He also served as special advisor to the British Ministry of Supply. For his efforts on behalf of the Zionist project he was rewarded by becoming first president of the state of Israel. He described teh native Palestinians as:" the rocks of Judea, as obstacles that had to be cleared on a difficult path." (Nur Masalha, Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 17). His understanding of the Balfour Declaration was articulated thus: "By a Jewish National Home I mean the creation of such conditions that as the country is developed we can pour in a considerable number of immigrants, and finally establish such a society in Palestine that Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English or America American" (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 41).
David Ben-Gurion was born David Green in Plonsk, Russia (now in Poland) in 1886. He settled in Palestine in 1906. As chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine from 1935 to 1948, Ben-Gurion directed all Jewish affairs to transform the country from multi-ethnic/multi-cultural area to a Jewish state "to redeem its Jewish nature". His activities ranged from land development and settlement of immigrants to secret activities against natives and later (after the Palestinian revolt of 1936 jolted the British rulers) against the British. Here is an excerpt from Rabin's memoir about Ben Guion: "We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, 'What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!'" (Yitzhak Rabin's memoires, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979; Rabin's description of the conquest of Lydda, after the completion of Plan Dalet). Ben-Gurion never bothered to learn the language of the native people he lived amongs in Palestine before 1948. In Shabtai Teveth official biography we read also such things: "Four days after the constituent meeting, on October 8, 1906, the ten members of the platform committee met in an Arab hostel in Ramleh. For THREE DAYS they sat on stools debating, and at night they slept on mats. An Arab boy brought them coffee in small cups. They left the hostel only to grab an occasional bite in the marketplace. On the first evening, they stole three hours to tour the marketplace of Ramleh and the ruins of the nearby fortress. Ben-Gurion remarked only on the buildings, ruins, and scenery. He gave no thought to the Arabs, their problems, their social conditions, or their cultural life. Nor had he yet acquainted himself with the Jewish community in Palestine (mostly non-Zionist Orthodox Jews prior to 1920). In all of Palestine there were (in 1906) 700,000 inhabitants, only 55,000 of whom were Jews, and only 550 of these were (Zionists) pioneers." (Shabtai Teveth, p. 9-10). He advocated transfer of the Palestinians stating that: "With compulsory transfer we have vast areas .... I support compulsory transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it. But compulsory transfer could only be carried out by England .... Had its implementation been dependent merely on our proposal I would have proposed; but this would be dangerous to propose when the British government has disassociated itself from compulsory transfer. .... But this question should not be removed from the agenda because it is central question. There are two issues here : 1) sovereignty and 2) the removal of a certain number of Arabs, and we must insist on both of them." (Nur Masalha, Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 117)
Moshe Sharett, 18941965, Born in Russia, originally named Shertok. In 1906 he settled in Palestine where he was active in the labor movement. In 1933 he became head of the political department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Sharett was David Ben-Gurion's closest associate in the struggle for an independent Jewish state. In 1948 he was appointed foreign minister of Israel and from 1953 to 1955 served as prime minister. He resigned from the government in 1956. Sharet sought to strengthen Israel's position by statesmanship rather than confrontation. His replacement as premier by Ben-Gurion in 1955 and retirement in 1956 reflected the movement in Israel toward confrontation that resulted in the 1956 Arab-Israeli War. But Sharret was a committed Zionist who did not speak out against transfer but rather was a member of governmental transfer committees. He merely advocated advancing Zionist goals by using more diplomacy and less force (as opposed to Ben-Gurion and other hawks).
Levi Eshkol (18951969) was born Levi Shkolnik in Ukraine (then under Russian control). In World War I he served in the Jewish Legion, which supported the British forces in WWII. He moved to Palestine and helped build up the Haganah, the Jewish underground organization that helped ethnically cleanse Palestine between 1947-1949.
Golda Meir (1898-1978) was born Golda Mabovitz in Kiev, Ukraine. Her family moved to Milwaukee in 1906. In 1921, she and her husband, Morris Meyerson (the name was changed to Meir in 1956) settled in Palestine. She once declared "There are no such thing as Palestinians." Her secret agreements with King Abdullah in 1947 was instrumental in thwarting the formation of a Palestinian state and in the Hashemite's control over the area known as the "West Bank" (see Avi Shlaim "Collusion across the Jordan")
Menachem Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk, Russia (now Brest, Belarus) in 1913. In the 1930's and 1940s, he became active in the Zionist underground terror movement called Irgun Zvai Leumi which engaged in terrorism including bombings in civilian areas. Begin became wanted for murder by the British mandate authorities including for murder (this has no statute of limitation and there were calls for his arrest on a state visit to England). Elected Prime Minister of Israel as a Likud party leader (Likud evolved from teh same terror organizations of Stern and Irgun that followed Jabotinsky's revisionist Zionist ideology). He was an ultra nationalist and racist. He once called Palestinians "cockroaches". He stated things like this: "The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized .... Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever." (Iron Wall p. 25 & Simha Falpan, p. 32)
Yitzhak Shamir was born 1915 in Ruzinoy, a village in eastern Poland. His last name was Jazernicki and he changed it. He joined the Irgun Zvai Leumi, an underground Jewish terrorist group in 1937 and was involved in several terrorist attacks against civilians. In 1940, Shamir joined the more radical Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Israel Freedom Fighters), or Stern Gang. He was twice arrested for his terrorist activities by the British and fled to France in 1946. When Israel was established, he came back and then worked for the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency responsible for continuing terrorism against the native Palestinians. As Prime Minister, his rain of terror on teh native Palestinians and those living in refugee camps was perhaps only matched by Sharon and Begin.
Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995), was born in Jerusalem to Zionist settler parents. In 1941, Rabin joined the Palmach, a unit of the Jewish underground army in Palestine and was deputy commander of the Palmach in 1947-1948 when the group engaged in ethnically cleansing Palestinians (as Benny Morris documented expulsion of Palestinians in the LOd and Ramle areas were carried out under Rabin's command). Famous as Israeli defense minister in the late 1980s for ordering troops to "break the bones" of Palestinian demonstrators (mostly children). Rabin stated that "The Oslo "Peace Process" is "A new instrument for reaching traditional -Israeli- objectives" (according to Uri Savir, his chief negotiator, from http://www.fmep.org/reports/v10n3.html ). Henry Kissinger stated "I ask Rabin to make concessions, and he says he can't because Israel is too weak. So I give him arms, and he says he doesn't need to make concessions because Israel is strong" (quoted in Findley's Deliberate Deceptions p.199). Rabin, once said (in the Knesset): "For all its faults, Labor has done more and remains capable of doing more in the future (in expanding Jewish settlements) than Likud with all of its doing. We have never talked about Jerusalem. We have just made a 'fait accompli.' It was we who built the suburbs in (occupied) Jerusalem. The Americans didn't say a word, because we built these suburbs cleverly."
Ehud Barak, was born 1942 as Ehud Brog, son of East European immigrants in Palestine. He later adopted the Hebrew name Barak meaning "lightning". He began his military service in 1959. He was a member of a secret assasination unit that killed a number of Palestinian political leaders in Lebanon (e.g. Beirut 1976) and targeing freedom fighters in the occupied territories. He was rewarded by rising quickly through the ranks to become the youngest army chief of staff in Israeli history.
Ariel Sharon (Arik Scheinerman) was born in British-ruled Palestine in 1929 from Russian settlers. In 1953, he was asked to set up a unit for "preemeptive strikes" across the borders. This "unit 101" spread terror and murderous violence among the Palestinian population to force them to flee from their homes and land near the border. On October 14, 1953, Sharon committed a massacre in the village of Qibya (then under Jordanianrule). Ben Gurion lied when he said the massacre was committed by enraged Israeli villagers (as later documents showed). 69 civilians (mostly women and children) were murdered. In the early 1970s, his forces were charged with the task of "pacifying" the recalcitrant Gaza Strip. He imposed a brutal policy of repression, blowing up houses, bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishments and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians. The whole area was effectively transformed into a jail. He was to become involved in the settlements project, in founding Likud, and a number of other "acheivements." He was the archjitect oF Israel's invasion of Lebanon. His funded and armed a mercenary/proxy Phallange forces committed the massacres at Sabra and Shatila for which he is being indicted for war crimes. His crimes continue to date unchecked (both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch stated that recent actions in teh past two months amount to war crimes). In the last few years he has been the leader of a relentless war on Palestinians in teh occupied areas that resulted in the killing of over 4500 Palestinians and nearly a thousand Israelis. He also personally approved large scale home demolitions that resulted in over 50,000 Palestinain civilians (non-combatants) made homeless. See http://www.indictsharon.net
Shimon Peres (1923 -) was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland (now Belarus). He and his parents came to Palestine in 1934 (under British rule). He joined the underground Israeli forces, the Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the 1940s. He is the architect of Israel's nuclear program. Appointed in 1953 as director general of the ministry of defense, he immediately started exploring the nuclear development. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with the help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of "ambiguity." The US and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He was awarded (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their Oslo accords. The Nobel committee members recently signed a letter regretting their awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize (based on his recent actions as member of the Sharon government).