Friday, June 17, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull's Moshe Dayan Moment

The truth, as they say, will out:

"Campaigning in Perth, [PM Malcolm] Turnbull agreed with the description of invasion for the first arrival of the First Fleet in 1788... 'Well, I think it can be fairly described as that and I've got no doubt... our first Aboriginal Australians describe it as an invasion... But, you know, you are talking about an historical argument about a word. The facts are very well-known. This country was Aboriginal land. It was occupied by Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years - 40,000 years'." (PM faces renewed push for a treaty, Tom McIlroy, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/6/16)

And even, on the odd occasion, from a Zionist leader - in this case, the late Moshe Dayan:

"We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country [the total area was about 6%] we bought the lands from the Arabs. Jewish villages were built on the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal [Dayan's own village] arose in the place of Mahalul, Gevat - in the place of Jibta, [Kibbutz] Said - in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua - in the place of Tell Shaman. There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population. [Ha-Aretz, April 4, 1969]"

Edward Said used that quote of Dayan's in his seminal work, The Question of Palestine (1979), but added, by way of explanation: "Even Dayan's terminology, frank as it is, is euphemistic. For what he means by 'the Arab villages are not there either' is that they were destroyed systematically." (p 14)

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