UPDATE 11 am Israel time Saturday:
Palestinian Hamas terrorists continue shooting mortars continue out of Gaza at the people of southern Israel with at least 5 fired in the last 24 hours.
The enemies of Israel continue to wage a war of delegitimization against the Jewish state at every opportunity and in every possible venue.
On August 14–ten days from now–the Sacramento, California city council will entertain a proposal to make Sacramento a sister city of Ashkelon, Israel. In response to this proposal, the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement has mounted a worldwide offensive, spearheaded by a group calling itself “NoRightsNoSisters”, to reject this proposal.
The offensive has taken numerous forms such as writing letters and emails to city council members, telephoning them, showing up in force at the council meeting, and signing a petition against the proposal.
The heart of the argument against sisterhood for Ashkelon can be summed up by one of the leading BDS “activists” in her letter encouraging people to take action:
“. . . make sure that Sacramento, California doesn’t become a sister city with the Israeli city of Ashkelon, a city built on the ruins of the Palestinian town of Majdal Asqalan that was home to generations of Palestinian families until they were ethnically cleansed in 1948.”
The events in Sacramento are being played out in communities all over the world as the BDS movement, following in lockstep with the PLO/Palestinian Authority, attempts to rewrite the history of what happened in 1947 and 1948.
Each time an event like the one in Sacramento comes up, it behooves each one of us who supports Israel to get the facts straight so that we can counter the BDS falsehoods with facts. It has been your humble servant’s experience that when countered with factual information, the BDSers are often left with nothing to say.
In this context, this blog will be devoted for the next two days to the events in Ashkelon between November 29, 1947 and August of 1950. The previous 3000 year history of Ashkelon, one of the most storied cities of the Middle East, will not be discussed–and the ancient Jewish roots in the city will not be mentioned.
Let’s begin on November 29, 1947. It was on this date that the United Nations voted 33-13 (with 10 abstentions, and 1 absent) to adopt Resolution 181 which created independent Arab and Jewish states in British Mandated Palestine. The plan was immediately accepted by the Jewish Agency which represented the Jewish community in Palestine, and rejected by the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine, and the Arab League.
Here is a map of the U.N. partition:
The plan went into effect on May 14, 1948. On May 15, 1948, the new country of Israel–reborn after some 1800 years–was invaded by Arab armies. The largest of those armies was the Egyptian army.
The Egyptian Army first captured the Yad Mordechai kibbutz on May 24, 1948, 7 km north of Gaza, and quickly proceeded unopposed across the Negev attacking (and in some cases destroying) Jewish communities along the way. Next the Egyptians took Beersheva and Hevron.
They also began driving northward toward Tel Aviv, establishing their forward base in al-Majdal, an Arab town beside the current location of the city of Ashkelon, with a population of approximately 10,000. Far from being uninvolved in the fighting, most of the men of Majdal immediately and enthusiastically joined the Egyptian infantry as it drove northward to fight against Israel.
However, their infantry advance was stopped at Ashdod (Isdud) on May 29, 1948 (at a place now called Ad Halom which is 3 km from my home in Ashdod).
Nevertheless, by early June, Egyptian aircraft began bombing Tel Aviv and Egyptian naval forces were attacking the city from the sea. On June 3, 1948 the bombardment stopped when an Egyptian plane was shot down.
Yet by October 1948–with Israeli forces still concentrating on other fronts—the Egyptian Army remained in control throughout the Negev attacking Israeli convoys from their base in Al-Majdal and elsewhere.
And . . . it is at this point that we will stop for today to resume tomorrow . . . with Part 2 and what really happened at Majdal.
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