I was extremely happy to find that Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948, is available in an electronic book edition in the iBook store for IOS devices, and the Barnes and Nobles for the Nook application, as well as in a Kindle edition in the Amazon.com. The electronic edition is selling for only $5.99 which makes this a real bargain compared to the $23 for the paper edition. The expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 to make room for the creation of a Zionist state with a Jewish majority is one of the most discussed topics in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It has always been a subject for moral and legal debates for the last 65 years. Since its creation in May 1948, Israel constantly promoted the myth that the Palestinians voluntarily left their homes and properties and practically condemned themselves to self-imposed exile, or they were encouraged to do so by the Arab governments who promised the Palestinians a speedy repatriation once the Arab armies completed the liberation of Palestine from Zionist forces. This official Israeli narrative was constantly perpetuated in the United States and the West by various media outlets and many Academic institutions for nearly four decades. These institutions were heavily pressured and influenced by powerful and wealthy pro Israeli lobby groups. This narrative was repeated so frequently until it became enshrined in the minds of many if not most people in the western societies as the unquestionable truth regarding the real causes of the Palestinian refugee problem.
The first challenges to the narrative promoted by Israel and its supporters came from a small group of Israeli scholars known as the neo historians. Drawing on recently declassified material from the Zionist Archives, they were able to debunk the official Israeli narrative and show the heavy and systematic involvement of the various units of the Zionist forces in the expulsion of the Palestinian population from their towns and villages during the war of 1947-48. The most formidable first challenge came with the publication of Benny Morris’s The Origin of the Palestine Refugee Problem in 1987. His work systematically traced the expulsion of the Palestinians in the war of 1947-48 village by village and town by town. He concluded that more than seventy percent of the Palestinian refugees in the war of 1947-48 were actually expelled by the various units of the Zionist forces at gun point. The remaining thirty percent left as a result of a systematic campaign of a psychological warfare threatening the Palestinian villagers of massacres similar to the ones the Irgun forces committed in the village of Dayr Yassine if they did not leave within specific period, usually few days or hours. All but 3 of the 257 inhabitants of this village where massacred in April 9 1948 and their corpses were stuffed down water-wells. A smaller number of refugees were traumatized with the spread of the news of rape of Palestinian girls by Zionist fighters. Only a tiny minority of wealthy families and members of the Palestinian bourgeois class left Palestine voluntarily. However, Morris claims that the expulsion of the Palestinian population was an outcome of decisions made by the Zionist field commanders and not a result of carefully planned and calculated strategy by Zionist leaders at the highest Political levels.
Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 takes the debate to its logical conclusion. Also drawing on published Zionist Sources and declassified Zionist documents from the Zionist archives, He traces Zionist thought from its origins all the way through 1948 and demonstrates that in fact the Expulsion of the Palestinian population is an integral part of the Zionist thought from its outset. What happened to the Palestinians in 1947-48 can’t be reduced to unfortunate decisions made by Zionist field commanders as Benny Morris claims but must be seen in its proper historical context. This can’t be isolated from the spirit of Zionist thought which from the beginning was intent on creating a Jewish state in Palestine and the expulsion of its non-Jewish population… I strongly recommend this book to any reader interested in this subject.