The BDS Attempt To Rewrite History: Ashkelon (Part 2)

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ALL RESIDENTS OF SOUTHERN ISRAEL ARE URGED TO STAY IN YOUR BOMB SHELTERS FOR THE COMING HOURS!

SPECIAL UPDATE 11:30 pm Sunday: 

At 11:22 pm, it remains unclear whether the entire force of terrorists that killed the Egyptian soldiers and attempted to breach the Kerem Shalom Crossing are dead or not. Residents of southern Israel are advised to stay in their bomb shelters–and to lock them. At 11:07 pm, the Egyptian Army has declared a state of emergency in the Sinai.  At 11:06 pm, there are continuing reports of mortars being fired into southern Israel. At 11:00 pm, Israeli and Egyptian F16s are now in the air along their respective sides of the Sinai border.

SPECIAL UPDATE 10:30 pm Sunday:

At 10:15 pm, it is reported that 4 terrorists in the car that rammed the Kerem Shalom Crossing have been killed. At 10:05 pm, heavy gunfire from helicopters–numerous mortars fired at Israel. At 9:53 pm, an Egyptian military source is reporting that 15 Egyptian soldiers have been killed and an Egyptian tank or armored personnel carrier captured by Global Jihad.

SPECIAL UPDATE 9:00 pm Sunday:

At 8:09 pm, 5 mortar shells fired from Gaza at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.  At 8:34 pm, warning sirens for incoming rockets throughout communities near Gaza border. At 8:39 pm, the IDF and police have erected roadblocks on all roads bordering Gaza and Egypt. At 8:50 pm it has been reported that “dozens” of rockets have struck the Eshkol region. At 8:52 pm–8 minutes ago–two vehicles carrying terrorists have attempted to crash through the Gaza border fence at the Kerem Shalom Crossing. An intense firefight is underway.

SPECIAL UPDATE 7:30 pm Sunday:

At 1:09 pm this afternoon the first mortar barrage hit southern Israel–at least 5 fired at communities on the Gaza border. At 5:45 pm, at least six more mortars were fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. At 6:01 pm, all communities around Sderot were alerted to incoming rockets by red sirens. At 6:09 pm, at least 3 rockets hit the Sderot area–five people were treated for traumatic shock. At 6:17 pm, heavy fire was reported with mortars falling–IDF responded with heavy fire from helicopters. At 6:35 pm, at least one Qassam rocket struck Sha’ar Hanegev.

 

UPDATE 8 am Israel time Sunday:

In Jerusalem last night, Border Guards arrested two Palestinians after they assaulted an Israeli man. As the arrests were being made the Guards came under a “rock” throwing attack. Also in Jerusalem, a bus on route to the Western Wall was struck with “rocks” as was an ambulance going through a neighborhood in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Three Israelis were injured in the “rock” throwing incidents. 

At 11:12 pm there was another major “stoning” incident at the Tapuach Junction in which 8 Israelis on a bus were injured by Palestinian terrorist “rock” throwers.

At 3:20 pm yesterday, IDF soldiers opened fire on a Syrian attempting to breach the fence along the Syrian border--shooting the man in his knee.

TODAY’S BLOG: 

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 heart of the argument against sisterhood for Ashkelon can be summed up by one of the leading BDS “activists” in her fraudulent 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 purpose of this blog yesterday and today is to show the absurdity of the BDS charge of “ethnic cleansing” by reference to the events that actually took place.

Palestinian Arab leaders who led the Palestinian Arabs in their war against Israel in 1948: Kemal Arekat (l), former leader of Futuwa movement, Abdel Qadir al-Husseini (c) and Kassem Rimawi (r), leader of Palestinian Arab Party . This picture was taken on February 16, 1948 as Arab armies began to send contingents into Palestine in advance of the May offensive against the new state of Israel. (AFP / Getty Images)

I left you yesterday at the beginning of October 1948 as Israel’s War for Independence continued. The Egyptian Army–with the Palestinians, mostly from Majdal, who had joined it in its march northward from Gaza–had been stopped at Ashdod, but from its forward base in Majdal the Egyptian Army had continued to control the Negev attacking Israeli convoys at will.

It was starkly apparent that if Israel were to have any hope of controlling the Negev all the way down to Eilat–territory that had been designated in the UN Partition Plan as belonging to Israel–the Egyptians and their Palestinian cohorts had to be driven out of their positions.

And so Israel devised “Operation Yoav” involving the Negev, the Givati, and the Yiftach infantry brigades.  The goal of the operation was to open a corridor through the Negev, cut the Egyptian lines of communication, and drive the Egyptians out of the country.

On October 28, 1948, the Givati Brigade attacked Ashdod, sending the Egyptian Army into full retreat toward Majdal.  In the process, all of the Arab residents of Yavne (who had already fled to the Egyptian lines) and Ashdod fled to Majdal where the Egyptians tried to stabilize their defensive lines.

Nevertheless, on November 4, 1948 after an intensive battle, the Givati, Negev, and Yiftach Brigades decisively defeated the Egyptians and Palestinians at Majdal. As the Egyptian Army retreated back to Gaza (15 km away), 90% of the Arab residents of Majdal left with it–a few others escaped into the Hevron Hills, and others into Israel itself.

To repeat: 9,000 of the 10,000 Palestinian Arab residents of Majdal chose to leave with the Egyptian Army. Why did they choose to leave? Obviously, given their unsuccessful actions in fighting Israel for the previous 7 months, they feared what might happen if they were left alone to fight the Israelis. To the Majdal Arabs, Gaza was a safe haven still under the protection of the Egyptian Army.

The bottom line is that there was no “ethnic cleansing” whatsoever. The people of Majdal, who had been eager combatants in a war to destroy Israel, chose to pick up and move 10 miles away in order to remain under the protection of the Egyptian Army.

But approximately 1000 residents of Majdal remained.

Immediately, the Israeli Army surrounded the town with a barbed wire defensive perimeterfearful that those who had remained would launch more attacks against Israelis and Israeli soldiers. 

This situation remained unchanged until August of 1950 as a debate raged in Israel about whether the perimeter should be removed, with Moshe Dayan favoring keeping fence and the Israeli Histadrut (labor unions) arguing for its removal.  But finally, most of the Majdal Arabs–partly as a result of inducements from the Israeli government–decided themselves to join their relatives and friends in Gaza.

As Benny Morris (so fondly quoted by BDS on every occasion) says in his book “1948 and After”:“The Majdal Arabs own uneasiness at life . . . under military rule, hemmed in by barbed wire and a pass system, dependent on Israeli handouts . . . cut off from their relatives in Gaza and from the Arab world in general, served as preparatory background . . . To sweeten the pill, the military government offered some fulsome carrots in the form of financial incentives.”

In the end, at their own request, most of the Majdal Arabs were taken to Gaza where they were reunited with their families. But a few families remained in Majdal–which was eventually incorporated into the new Israeli city of Ashkelon in 1956. 

They remain in Ashkelon until today.

In sum, Majdal is an example of what happened throughout Israel and in the areas designated as being part of “Palestine” that were conquered by Israel in 1948.

An excellent map of Israel after the end of the Israel War of Independence. Note especially the areas in dark green surrounded by white dotted lines--these are the areas that were originally designated by the U.N. for the new Arab country of Palestine, a country rejected by the Palestinian Arabs. However, because of the continuing Arab attacks launched from these areas, Israel captured this territory and incorporated it into Israel (map source: http:// mondedplo.com/maps/middleeast1949.

The decision that Palestinian Arab communities made to join in the fight against Israel being waged by the Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Saudis, and others was ultimately devastating in that it resulted in the self-depopulation of Palestinian Arab towns and settlements–as Palestinian Arabs foolishly sought safe havens among those who had sought to destroy Israel.

Those safe havens quickly turned into “refugee camps.” It is no wonder that even Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview last year that the Palestinian Arab rejection of the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan was an error of historic proportions:  “It was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole” (note the word “our”). Far from being a people who sought to avoid the 1948 war as BDSers and so-called “human rights” groups like to claim, the Palestinians actively engaged in the war against Israel, and brought disaster upon themselves.

It is especially important at this moment to show solidarity with Ashkelon when the city is under bombardment virtually every day by terrorist missiles. Eleven cities have already become sisters with Ashkelon: Cote Saint-Luc, Canada; Xinyang, China; Aix-en-Provence, France; Iquique, Chile; Kutaisi, Georgia; Aviano, Italy; Berlin-Weisensee, Germany; Sopot, Poland; Entebbe, Uganda; Portland, Oregon; and Baltimore, Maryland.

So what can you do, dear reader? Take two minutes right now, and send an email to every person on the Sacramento City Council that simply says:

“I support the proposal to make Sacramento a sister city of Ashkelon.”

Here are the email addresses:

aashby@cityofsacramento.org

ssheedy@cityofsacramento.org

scohn@cityofsacramento.org

rkfong@cityofsacramento.org

jschenirer@cityofsacramento.org

kmccarty@cityofsacramento.org

dfong@cityofsacramento.org

bpannell@cityofsacramento.org

mayor@cityofsacramento.org

cyniguez@cityofsacramento.org

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