24th April, 2016
Where was Jonathan Freedland [The books interview, Saturday Review, 23rd April], and where was A.B. Yehoshua, when Israeli historian Benny Morris launched The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem in 1989? Yehoshua claims he ‘never heard people speaking about Arabs in a racist way’ until now. Doesn’t ‘ethnic cleansing’ count? In 2004 Morris gave an interview to Ha’aretz in which he extolled the pre-planned policy of slaughter and forcible removal of Palestinians from their homes known as Plan Dalet. Didn’t Yehoshua hear about that? Did he stop his ears when Yitzhak Rabin ordered the Israeli army to ‘break the bones’ of Palestinians? Characterising the 1948 catastrophic dispossession of Palestinians as ‘The War of Independence’ and denying Israel’s brutality by rewriting history doesn’t sound like ‘the unofficial liberal conscience of the nation.’ These antecedents explain the thousands who flocked to a ‘Death to the Arabs’ rally in Tel Aviv this weekend.
The claim that Israel ‘left’ Gaza is equally a travesty when Gaza is constantly under attack and siege, held in a vice-like grip by an Israeli ring of steel from air, sea and land.
Yehoshua’s suggestion that Area C of the occupied West Bank now be annexed is no different from the demands of the settler movement; the idea that the occupation would be reduced by further colonisation is risible.