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Chapter 8: Our Fathers’ Children
 
 
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bthem through its dynamic development. But this premise was btotally erroneous. . . . No amount of explanation about the bgrowth of benefits could convince them, for the dispute was political bfrom the outset as the immovable clash between two national move- bments [italics added].” (“First Clashes with the Arab Na- btional Question,” Bar Ilan University Journal 1977, p. 297).

bWriting in 1913, German Zionist Richard Lichtheim bstated: “The Arabs are and will always remain our natural op- bponents. They do not care a straw for ‘the Joint Semitic bSpirit.’ . . . The Jew for them is a competitor who threatens their bpredominance in Palestine. . . .”

bThe nearly two decades that followed were years of bloody bviolence that included the riots of 1920, 1921, and 1929. During ball those years the general Zionist view remained optimistically, bwishfully the same: There was no real clash between Jewish and bArab interests. There was room in the country for both people b(in a Jewish state, of course), and all that was required was b“understanding” and “goodwill.” For years nothing could bshake this delusion, for the bitter reality was better put out of bsight and mind.

bThus, Ben-Gurion, in a 1915 article titled “Facing the Liv- bing,” wrote: “The Land of Israel is now a half desolate and bruined country—and the Arab minority [sic!] element is not bcapable of resurrecting the land. . . . we are building and reviv- bing the land and this is the moral humane basis of our desire and bwork in the Land of Israel.” What Ben-Gurion either could not bor would not understand was that the Arab believed that the bland was his half-desolate or totally so, and that the ability to brebuild it did not, in the Arab’s eyes, carry with it any “moral bhumane right” whatsoever to take it from him.

bAgain and again the early Zionists attempted to delude bthemselves with the thought that they were really benefiting the bArab, who would sell his political birthright for a mess of socio- beconomic pottage.

bThus, Achdut Avoda, largest and most influential of the blabor groups in the early years (from it eventually came two bpresidents and three prime ministers), after years of serious bArab rioting, could resolve at its Seventh Convention (1924) bthat, on the one hand, the convention “sees as an unbreakable bfoundation . . . the right of the Hebrew people to create a na- b 

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Chapter 8: Our Fathers’ Children