The Political Coming-of-Age of the "National Minority"
When Israel was established in 1948, in an area considerably larger than that alloted to it by the UN Partition Plan of November 29, 1947, only 150,000 Arabs remained where 800,000 had lived prior to the conflict which erupted when the Plan was announced. Zionist leaders, among them first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, considered it a miracle that the emerging Jewish state was practically "clean" of Arabs. In fact, it was no miracle. The Zionists had conducted the 1948 war in a manner intended to lead to just such a result. It was not only the Deir Yassin massacre (April 9, 1948) that induced the Palestinian Arabs to flee their homeland; other, not so well known, but no less infamous, massacres contributed to this process of "cleaning" Israel of Arabs. Only recently, in August 1984, an Israeli journalist, Yoella Har-Shefi, uncovered the fact that the Israeli army has massacred the inhabitants of Dawaymeh village in southern Palestine on October 28, 1948. There are many Galilee inhabitants who can relate their experiences in 1948 and who can describe the "mini-massacres" carried out by the Israeli army in their region, and its attempts to expel them from their villages and homeland. Under such circumstances, it was a miracle that as many as 150,000 Arabs remained rooted in their villages and towns in Israel in 1949 when the Arab states-Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria-signed the Armistice agreement with Israel.