A Fake Massacre Serves as Historical Backdrop to a New Palestinian Novel

June 24 2019

In the novel Children of the Ghetto: My Name Is Adam—recently published in English translation—Elias Khoury tells the story of a Palestinian who fled the city of Lydda during Israel’s war of independence and takes as its theme the “silence” of members of that generation. The subject of a fawning review in the New York Times, the book employs as its central conceit an exercise in Holocaust inversion (made clear by the title), comparing the plight of the Palestinians to that of the Jewish victims of Nazism. But the supposed massacre perpetrated by the Haganah at Lydda—which had a formative impact of the protagonist of Children of the Ghetto—never happened, as Martin Kramer demonstrated in Mosaic in 2014:

Lydda, along the route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, was an Arab city of some 20,000, swollen by July [1948] to about twice that size by an influx of refugees from Jaffa and neighboring villages already occupied by Israeli forces. The 5th Infantry Company of the Transjordanian Arab Legion (approximately 125 soldiers) was deployed in the city, supported by many more local irregulars who had been making months-long preparations for battle.

On July 11, . . . the 3rd Battalion of the [Haganah’s] Yiftaḥ brigade moved into southern approaches to the city. . . . By the next day, as Israeli forces were strengthening their hold on the city, two or three armored vehicles of the Arab Legion appeared on the northern edge and began firing in all directions. This encouraged an eruption of sniping and grenade-throwing at Israeli troops from upper stories and rooftops within the town, and from [what was known as] “the small mosque” only a few hundred meters from the armored-vehicle incursion.

Israeli commanders feared a counterattack by the Legion in coordination with the armed irregulars still at large in the city. The order came down to suppress the incipient uprising with withering fire. The Great Mosque and the church, [crammed with male Arab civilians], were unaffected, but Israeli forces struck the small mosque with an antitank missile.

In short, a fierce battle took place, and Israeli troops fired on a mosque that had become an enemy outpost, but, as Kramer goes on to prove, there is no evidence of a massacre.

Read more at Mosaic

More about: Israeli War of Independence, Literature, Lydda, Palestinians

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada