ISLA 210 Lecture Notes - Nur-Eldeen Masalha, Avi Shlaim, Palestinian Refugees

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Published on 19 Jul 2012
School
McGill University
Department
Islamic Studies
Course
ISLA 210
Professor
MARCH 5, 2012:
The mandate of Palestine ceases to exist, with the West bank controlled by Jordan
and the Gaza Strip controlled by Egypt
6,000 Jews were killed in the 1948 war, and 30,000 Arabs died (somewhat disputed
numbers)
750,000 Palestinians became refugees
In the 1970s, in the Israeli academy there are scholars who are known as critical
sociologists- for example, Baruch Kimmerling, Yonathan Shapiro, and Gershon
Shafir. They focused on mandate Palestine
Israeli nationalist narrative: that the British were much more supportive of the
Palestinians, that they needed a national home after the holocaust, that the 1948
was the new nation with few arms against the big Arab states (David vs. Goliath), a
war of independence
The narrative of the Mapai is that it was draw by purely nationalist ideals.
Egalitarian, socialistic, idyllic experience of the kibbutz.
There was a very strong nationalist agenda behind the Mapai, and nationalism
trumps socialism.
Kimmerling reconsidered Jewish nationalism in terms of immigrants and settler
categories. He looked at the ways it was like and different from those examples.
Jewish settlers were not like French settlers or any other settlers because they were
not connected to a metropole. In Palestine it also did not exploit local labour-
ironically from the far left in the Jewish settler movement, Marxists pushed for a
separation of labour so as not to exploit labour, which led to a compete separation of
economies.
In the mid to late 1980s, there were a series of books published in the 1948 war
based on recently declassified documents from Israel, which claims to overturn
traditional narratives on the war (ex. Books by Avi Shlaim, Benny Morris, Ilan
Pappe, Nur Masalha). This showed thinks like a close relationship between the King
of Jordan and the leaders of the Yishuv (the agreement that Jordan could have the
West Bank in Israel got the rest).
MYTHs OF 1948:
1. The British were pro-Palestinian
2. The military balance was hugely in favour of the Arabs
3. The refugees were asked to leave to the Arab States and in some cases the
Israelis begged them to stay. (ex. The major of Haifa asking the Palestinians
to stay is part of the Israeli nationalist narrative.)
4. Israeli-Jordanian relations were just as hostile as Israeli relations with other
states.
5. The declared Arab war aims to “push to Jews into the sea” absolutely
reflected the reality of a united Arab army fighting on behalf of Palestinian
nationhood.
6. The Israelis wanted peace at the end of the war but it was Arab
intransigence that blocked it.
The new scholars take these myths and expose the real situation. These arguments
were not new, but they were called the “New historians,” despite the fact that
Palestinian scholars like Khalidi had been writing about things like this earlier.
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Document Summary

The mandate of palestine ceases to exist, with the west bank controlled by jordan and the gaza strip controlled by egypt. 6,000 jews were killed in the 1948 war, and 30,000 arabs died (somewhat disputed numbers) In the 1970s, in the israeli academy there are scholars who are known as critical sociologists- for example, baruch kimmerling, yonathan shapiro, and gershon. Israeli nationalist narrative: that the british were much more supportive of the. Palestinians, that they needed a national home after the holocaust, that the 1948 was the new nation with few arms against the big arab states (david vs. goliath), a war of independence. The narrative of the mapai is that it was draw by purely nationalist ideals. There was a very strong nationalist agenda behind the mapai, and nationalism trumps socialism. Kimmerling reconsidered jewish nationalism in terms of immigrants and settler categories. He looked at the ways it was like and different from those examples.

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