Zionist troops from Ben Dunkelman’s 7th brigade celebrate on July 17th, 1948, after the surrender of the mostly Christian Palestinian city of Nazareth. The Toronto Star calls Dunkelman a “hero” because he protected the residents from death or expulsion. But hold on. According to the UN partition plan, Nazareth was not supposed to be in Israel. And Dunkelman’s concern for Christians did not extend to Muslims. So what kind of hero is that? Read more
A feel-good Christmas story by Toronto Star writer Mitch Potter, told readers about Ben Dunkelman, the Canadian from Toronto who “saved” Nazareth. According to the Star article, “The Toronto man who saved Nazareth” Dunkelman is a hero because he protected the Christians in Nazareth from the Israeli military as it carried out its ethnic cleansing of the Galilee in 1948.
Dunkelman, who was an heir to the TipTop Tailor fortune, was the commander of one of the main Zionist forces which had already completed the expulsion of thousands of Palestinian Muslims. But Dunkelman hesitated when he came to Nazareth, a predominantly Christian city.
He asked for written orders to carry out the expulsion from David Ben Gurion, who had become Premier of Israel a few months earlier. Ben Gurion, concerned about how the expulsion of Christians from Nazareth would look in Europe, declined. Lacking explicit written orders, Dunkelman prudently decided to instead negotiate the surrender of Nazareth rather than attack it and expel its Christian residents.
So far so good.
But while Dunkelman’s forces did did not attack Nazareth, they did conquer it, and Nazareth was forcibly incorporated into the new State of Israel contrary to the UN plan and despite the wishes of its residents. Furthermore, according to Jonathan Cook, an Israeli journalist who now lives in Nazareth, Dunkelman’s forces continued a bloody campaign over the rest of the Galilee, killing hundreds of Muslims and forcing tens of thousands to flee.
Another Canadian Journalist/researcher, Dan Freeman-Moloy, has written a damning critique of the Star coverup, which includes a vivid description of the Dunkelman’s campaign in ethically cleansing the rest of the Galilee including through a massacre of Palestinian civilians at the village of Safsaf.
While Zionist forces were ethnically cleansing the Galilee of its non Jewish residents in 1948, thousands of Palestinian Muslims congregated in Nazareth when they learned that the Christian city was “safe” . A tent city of Muslim Palestinian refugees rapidly grew up around Nazareth. And so, today, Nazareth is the largest Palestinian city inside Israel. It is mostly Muslim. But it is so because Ben Dunkelman felt more comfortable killing and expelling Muslims than Christians.
Jonathan Cook explains in a very recent article how Israel deals with Nazareth today, by creating a new Jewish City, called “Nazareth Ilit”, which surrounds the Palestinian City
Very informative. Thanks for writing this, Peter.
Thank you Peter for that informative article. Would it be true to say that almost nothing about the issue of Israel-Palestine is simple? i know the land pressures that Nazareth faces, and you and your speakers (and our own exploratory trip) confirm that. So the issues are still with us, with little end in sight. You may have seen the NYT article on Bedouins and high-tech industry in the Negev. If not, I will send it to you.
Thank you Peter,
Thank you for standing up for all and the Palestinian Human rights,
If there are many people in this world like you, we would have been living in peace, like a family, without wars, that’s what called (UTOPIA).
Any name ends with “MAN” is a Jewish name, so Dunkelman is a Zionist Canadian from Toronto!.
The Israelis didn’t kill the Palestinian Christians, because they were protected and backed by the European Christian Countries.!. Although when they were (the Jews) seeking a safe and peaceful refuge after being killed by the Deutch (Germans) and the French the Othman Impire welcomed them, (Just like when our great Prime Minister JUSTIN TREAUDU welcomed the Syrian Refugees). So The Jews lived in many Arabic countries, like Morocco Palestine and Iraq, besides, there are many Jews living in Turkey up to date.
Most of NAZARETH Citizens are Christians,, because JESUS Peace be upon him, was raised up in Nazareth, Prophet JEJUS is Palestinian and refugee!!. He was born in BAITHLEHEM, and a refugee in Nazareth, so most of his followers were Nazareth Palestinians.
The Israelis killed most of the Muslim Palestinians, although it is written in the thier Holy Tourah and in my holy book the Quran, “Because of that, we ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in relation of murder, or to spread mischief in land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind”. But they think that they are the chosen people of God, and God will not punish them for what they are doing to us, the Palestinans
My explanation of mankind, is the whole mankind from our father ADAM until the day of judgment.
I’d like to say something which has no connection to your valuable article Peter, that when I donated with all my organs -in case of my death – a simple Muslim old woman, (I was young at that time) that simple old woman asked me if I put a condition that my organs will go to Muslims! my reply was NO, it is to any needy person whether he/she is a Muslim, Christian, Jew, or Athiest, any humanbeing.
Last thing I’d like to add, is that the whole Palestine is not supposed to be Israel, not just Nazareth.
Thanks again The Great Peter.
While I appreciate your support, I am sorry to say that your reply contains many errors and inaccuracies. I encourage you to do more careful research before posting.
1. It is not true that any person with a name ending in “-man” is necessarily Jewish. While many Canadian Jews have -man as a suffix, that is also true for many other people. It is very common in eastern Europe, including among many who are not Jewish.
2. It is not true that the Israelis did not kill Palestinian Christians during the Nakba and afterwards. In fact, many of the early leaders of the Palestinian resistance movement were Christian. The Israeli attitude toward all non Jews appears to have been the same.
3. It is not true that most of the Palestinians living in Nazareth today are Christian. Most are Muslim, for the reasons I explained. However, it does have a sizeable Christian population.
4. The Israelis did not kill most of the Palestinian Muslims during the Nakba. In fact, most were able to flee. While there were some massacres during that time, the number killed was much much smaller than the number who were made refugees.
5. Finally, while you and I might agree that it was not fair that the UN gave any of Palestine to a new Jewish state, the UN was the highest international body at the time. The partition is a result of International law. My point however was that even by the unfair UN vote, Nazareth was not to be part of Israel. But Dunkelman took it anyway. Because he could.
Excellent article, Peter. Thank you for critiquing Potter’s piece & referencing Dan Freeman-Moloy’s. Really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
> 5. Finally, while you and I might agree that it was not fair that the UN gave any of Palestine to a new Jewish state, the UN was the highest international body at the time. The partition is a result of International law.
Where in the UN charter does it give the UN the right to take land from one set of people and give it to another? Everything I have seen seems to rule that out. I think the UN resolutions were the result of international power politics and not an application of legal principles. Like Dunkelman they did what they did because they could, not because any law justified it.
I agree on all points. But the UN did decide to partition, and Nazareth was to be in the Arab part.
Thanks, Peter, for highlighting this story and making those incisive observations. They inspired me to publish my own thoughts on Dunkelman’s role: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/silenced-nazareths-survival
tks to you Jonathan. I have now incorporated your article, with its update on Nazareth today, into the postscript of my post.
Comments are closed.