The Hebrew Reconquista of Palestine: From the 1947 United Nations Partition Resolution to the First Zionist Congress of 1897

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VOL. 39

2009/10

No. 1
P. 24
Essay
The Hebrew Reconquista of Palestine: From the 1947 United Nations Partition Resolution to the First Zionist Congress of 1897
ABSTRACT

Challenging the widely accepted premise that the 1948 war was a war of Jewish self-defense, the author demonstrates that the 1947 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) partition resolution was fundamentally a green light for the Yishuv’s fully mobilized paramilitary organizations (supported by the resources of the World Zionist Organization) to effect the long-planned establishment of a Jewish state by force of arms. He further argues that as a national movement, Zionism was inherently conquest-oriented from the moment of its birth in Basel in 1897 and that it most closely resembles—in the alchemy of its religious and secular motivation and its insatiable land hunger, irredentism, and indifference to the fate of the “natives”—the Iberian Reconquista of the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries.

Walid Khalidi, a founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) and its general secretary, has taught at Oxford University, the American University of Beirut, and Harvard University. This article was written in honor of the late Dr. Mansour Armaly. A shorter version was presented on 23 November 2008 as part of the IPS-Mansour Armaly panel at the annual Middle East Studies Association conference held in Washington, DC. A longer version was presented on 21 February 2009 as the keynote address at a Palestine solidarity conference organized by the Palestine Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.