Editor's Note: I have always believed that Arabs who want to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors should be allowed to do so. On the other hand, those who hate Jews and raise their hands to cast stones, Molotov cocktails, and fire rifles to kill Jews must find another place to live. Those that want to transform Israel from a Jewish state to a terrorist state of "Palestine" must also be driven from Eretz Yisrael.
The Jerusalem Post November, 20 2001
THE INTERNATIONAL ROOTS OF TRANSFER
By Moshe Kohn
Rehavam "Gandhi" Ze'evi, was not - as many people have alleged in their desire to shame his memory - the father, the mother, or even the midwife of the "transfer the Arabs out of the Land of Israel" idea. Nor were Ze'evi's alleged spiritual fathers - David Ben-Gurion, Berl Katznelson, Haim Arlosoroff, or any of the other "activist" Socialist Zionist leaders who have been mentioned as advocates of the idea - its inventors.
In his lifetime - and since his martyrdom last month in the cause of Jewish appeasement - Ze'evi has been branded a "fascist" and a "racist" for advocating the idea. If considering the transfer of Arabs from the Land of Israel - by agreement or, if necessary, by coercion - earns one those epithets, then he and those Zionists and other estimable Jews are in the glorious company of such "fascists/racists" as Nobel Peace laureate Fridtjof Nansen, organizer of the mutual transfer of Greek and Turkish populations after World War I; the 31st president of the US, Herbert Hoover; his successors, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Sir Norman Angell; the 1937 Royal (British) Peel Commission; British Col. Richard Meinertzhagen; American author John Gunther; Harry St. John Philby, a rabid British anti-Zionist and adviser to Saudi Arabian ruler Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the man responsible for the transfer of the Hashemite Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula to Transjordan; Rev. James Parkes, English Christian theologian and historian; British secretary for the colonies William Ormsby-Gore; the British Labor Party; British foreign secretary and prime minister Anthony Eden; and other non-Jewish luminaries.
(The history of transfer is told in richly documented detail in Chaim Simons's book, International Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine, 1988.)
Let's begin with Herbert Hoover, who was a Quaker, a noted humanitarian, and an engineer by education and profession. (His story is told in greater detail by one of his biographers, Richard N. Smith, in An Uncommon Man, 1984.)
In 1945, Hoover proposed the recovery of some 12 million dunams (three million acres) of land in Iraq for the resettlement of the Arabs of Mandatory Western Palestine. (This designation applied only to the area west of the Jordan River, the eastern part of the Mandate having long since been presented by Winston Churchill to the Hashemite newcomers from Arabia.)
"Palestine itself," Hoover wrote, "could be turned over to Jewish immigrants in search of a homeland." He thought this might prove to be "the model migration in history - transferring Arabs to an Arab nation; restoring agricultural prosperity to the ancient valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, and providing persecuted Jews with a refuge and a beacon. It would be a solution by engineering instead of by conflict," Hoover said. He subsequently wrote a letter of elaboration to the New York World-Telegram newspaper (long since defunct) saying that his proposal offers "a method of settlement with both honor and wisdom." Truman liked the idea.
As for Franklin Roosevelt, today we know things we wish were not so about his response to the 1939-1945 murder of the Jewish people in German-occupied Europe. In light of that, it is interesting to note that he was an ardent supporter of the idea of transfer of the Arabs, at one point even advocating forced transfer if necessary.
In 1942, Roosevelt told his secretary of the treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr.: "I actually would put barbed wire around Palestine, and I would begin to move the Arabs out of Palestine... I would provide land for the Arabs in some other part of the Middle East... There are lots of places to which you could move the Arabs." And he told the under-secretary of state, Edward Stettinius, that "Palestine should be for the Jews and no Arabs should be in it."
As for the British Labor Party, in 1944 it adopted a pro-Zionist resolution, including a proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine, that was too radical even for some of the Zionist leadership. But that was before it came to power the following year, and came under the sway of that rabid anti-Zionist and anti-Semite, foreign secretary Ernest Bevin.
In 1927, even Iraq's King Feisal I implicitly welcomed the idea of "Muslim Arab peasants from Syria and Palestine" coming to cultivate the vast expanses of unoccupied Iraqi land. A little more than two decades later, Iraqi prime minister Nuri Sa'id put forth the idea of exchanging Baghdad's Jewish population for an equal number of Israeli Arabs.
More recently, a distinguished Jerusalem Arab, Prof. Sari Nusseibeh, has advocated the idea of voluntary transfer. Nusseibeh, is president of Jerusalem's Al-Quds University and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's chosen successor to Faisal Husseini as the PA's "voice of Jerusalem."
© 2001 The Jerusalem Post