There was no Nakba, Palestinians just “disappeared”: Ehud Barak claims
The word “#Nakba”, and also the word “expulsion”, are not mentioned at all by the former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak. Instead, he uses the awful phrase “they disappeared” and the euphemistic term “evacuation.” ■ During the 1948 war, just to mention, about 700,000 people who constituted the vast majority of the Palestinians who lived in the territories that became the State of Israel, “disappeared” from here.
By Kobi Niv • Translated from Hebrew Haaretz by Sol Salbe
In the whole hullaballoo which followed the election, a quasi-documentary corporate film about Ehud Barak seems to have been swallowed up. It was broadcast last week on Keshet 12 and its main point was an interview, almost a monologue, lasting about an hour and a half, in which the former prime minister edified us with his wisdom.
That’s a real pity. Because Barak is one of the few Israeli leaders who has a slightly complex view of reality. Even if that is only by acknowledging that “the other side”, and not just us, have feelings, loves, pains, desires, aspirations and even abilities. But he, too, with all the sobriety and apparent complexity of his view of the situation, is severely afflicted with an arrogant, childish, and myopic worldview, like anyone who grew up on the knees of military Zionism, whereby any problem can be solved by deception, a surprise and two good axe blows.
Take, for example, Barak’s view of the Nakba, the expulsion of the Palestinians in the 1948 war. Of course, the word “Nakba”, and also the word “expulsion”, are not mentioned at all by him in this context. Instead, he uses the awful phrase “they disappeared” and the euphemistic term “evacuation.” During the 1948 war, just to mention, about 700,000 people who constituted the vast majority of the Palestinians who lived in the territories that became the State of Israel, “disappeared” from here.
The very fact that a “clearheaded” leader is unable to call a spade a spade, but rather like a little kid he calls “expulsion” by the title “evacuation”, indicates the vision impairment from which Barak suffers. For the difference between “expulsion”, in which you are thrown out of your home without your property, risking life and limb, to the unknown, without alternative accommodation and without any compensation, is not at all similar to “evacuation”, where you are transferred in an orderly manner, with all your property, with little or no danger to you, to a place of alternative, permanent housing, and you also receive monetary compensation.
In the movie “What would have happened if?” Barak says that he once asked Yitzhak Rabin what happened in Lid (Lod, Lydda) in 1948. Rabin told him that after the conquest of the city, “Yigal Alon travelled to see David Ben-Gurion to ask him what to do with the Arabs in Lod.” In a conversation that took place in the presence of other people, Alon asked Ben-Gurion several times about the matter, but did not receive an answer. Only at the end of the conversation, in the hallway, when Ben-Gurion accompanied Alon out and they were just the two of them, “then Ben-Gurion in his slightly shrill voice,” Barak regales what Rabin told him, “and with a hand gesture, he told him: ‘Do what is necessary.’” “With this matter sorted,” Barak continued, “Alon returned from headquarters and the directive that followed was to get the Arabs out of there.”
“And why didn’t the same thing happen in the Galilee? After all, the entire centre of the Galilee is full of Arabs,” Barak asks in the film and he also answers, explaining that the force commander who captured Nazareth, Haim Laskov, who was far from Tel Aviv, sent a telegram asking what to do in the city. “And the General Staff,” Barak continued, “could only provide the answer required by the laws of war.” The photo shows the written answer of the first prime minister and defence minister — “Do not keep people away from Nazareth.”
“During the War of Independence, there was an attempt to avoid explicit instructions,” Barak continued. “You will not find any documented instruction from Ben-Gurion, any explicit order from Ben-Gurion, or from the General Staff, reserved what to do. But there was certainly an atmosphere that justified it, that people understood “That this war is an existential war, that it was forced on us, and that in this framework there will be no choice, without it being explicitly stated, and in some places to evacuate the Arab residents.”
What existential war?! After all, Barak did not even once say that the Palestinians who were evacuated (and we know that they were evacuated, that is, expelled, not “from some places” but from almost everywhere) shot or even spat at the Jewish fighters. And it is also clear that the “evacuees” were mostly old men, men, women, and children innocent of any sin. So why was there no choice, as Barak claims, but to evacuate the Arabs in some places. Was it because it was not an existential threat, but a demographic threat? That is, in ethnic cleansing?
Barak does not let the facts, as he himself provides them, confuse him, heaven forbid. He concludes by asserting: “Whoever says that there was such a plan (to expel the Palestinians from the territories of Israel-in-formation) is not telling the truth.” On the other hand, Barak is a complex person, so he immediately adds: “And likewise those who say that there was no such intention in the air, also do not tell the truth.”
Mr Barak, you yourself told us a moment ago that there was also such a plan, formulated by Ben-Gurion and the General Staff which was sent to the field as a clear order — to expel as many Palestinians as possible from the territories captured by the Israeli army, but without documenting, in writing or photo or in a recording. What is that if not a plan, Mr Chief of Staff, Defence Minister and former Prime Minister, Mr Barak? The fact that they are trying to hide the plan means that there is no plan? Or maybe hiding the plan is actually part of the plan? And how do you think, Mr Barak, that there was “such an intention in the air” without such a plan? How was such an intention created, if there was no such instruction? What was it, some sort of a citrus blossom with the scent of evacuation that passed through the nostrils to the soldiers’ brains in the field and because of this they carried out the evacuation, expulsion, and ethnic cleansing? How can a former head of government avert his gaze and lie to himself as if he were a baby?
Interviewer Ran Tal makes it a little difficult at this point. “And today?”, He asks, “How do you see it today?”. And Barak answers with full determination: “Today I see this … I do not … I have no doubts and reservations about the justness of Ben-Gurion’s policy.” Hello Ehud, a moment ago, just a second ago, you said there was no such policy, so how come you justify a policy that did not exist? There’s a little logical flaw here, don’t you think?