Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Pseudo-academics to hold "Right of Return" conference at Boston U

This weekend, a conference is being held at the Boston University Law School Auditorium advocating the Palestinian Arab "right to return" to destroy Israel demographically.

Of course, there is no such "right" and the papers being presented are a far cry from scholarly. I discussed this conference briefly in February.

The roster of speakers include Joseph Massad, who I have dismantled a few times, and Salman Abu Sitta, the author of the "Atlas of Palestine 1948" that Benny Morris comprehensively demolished.

I looked a little more at Abu Sitta and found this piece where he claims that some secret Red Cross documents prove Jews poisoned Arabs in Acre in 1948 with typhus:

Acre was to be the next Zionist target. The Zionists besieged the city from the land side, and started showering the population with a hail of mortar bombs day and night. Famous for its historical walls, Acre could stand the siege for a long time. The city water supply comes from a nearby village, Kabri, about 10kms to the north, through an aqueduct. The Zionists injected typhoid in the aqueduct at some intermediate point which passes through Zionist settlements. (see map)

The story can now be told, thanks to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) files which have now become available, 50 years after the event. A series of reports, under the reference G59/1/GC, G3/82, sent by ICRC delegate de Meuron from 6 May to about 19 May 1948 describe the conditions of the city population, struck by a sudden typhoid epidemic, and the efforts to combat it.

Of particular importance are the minutes of an emergency conference held at the Lebanese Red Cross Hospital in Acre on 6 May, to deal with the typhoid epidemic. The meeting was attended by: Brigadier Beveridge, Chief of British Medical Services and Colonel Bonnet of the British Army, Dr Maclean of the Medical Services, Mr de Meuron, ICRC delegate in addition to other officials of the city. The minutes stated that there are at least 70 known civilian casualties, others may not be reported. It was determined that the infection is "water borne", not due to crowded or unhygienic conditions as claimed by the Israelis. It was decided that a substitute water supply should now come from artesian wells or from the agricultural station, just north of Acre (see map), not from the aqueduct. Water chlorine solution was applied, inoculation of civil population started, movement of civil population was controlled (lest refugees heading north towards Lebanon will carry the typhoid epidemic with them, as intended by the Zionists).

In his other reports, de Meuron mentioned 55 casualties among British soldiers, who were spirited away to Port Said for hospitalisation. General Stockwell arranged for de Meuron to fly on a military plane to Jerusalem to fetch medicine. The British, who left Palestine in the hands of the Jews, did not want another embarrassing incident to delay their departure.

Brigadier Beveridge told de Meuron that this is "the first time this happened in Palestine". This belies the Israeli story, including that of the Israeli historian Benny Morris, that the epidemic is due to "unhygienic conditions" of the refugees. If that was so, how come there was an almost equal number of casualties among British soldiers? Why did such conditions not cause epidemic in such other concentrations of refugees, under far worse conditions, in Jaffa, Lydda, Nazareth and Gaza?
A quick look at the Palestine Post archives reveals that the epidemic was due to the chlorination in Acre having broken down the previous month, before the influx of refugees.

Now, why didn't other refugee populations come down with typhoid? Well, they did; this article is from August 1948:

And was this the first outbreak of typhoid in Palestine? Not even close; typhoid was common in the 1930s and 1940s. Here's just one of many articles about typhoid, this one in Haifa:

It takes literally minutes to expose Abu Sitta as a liar. 

Which makes him a fitting speaker at a conference for a "right" that is as fake as his academic honesty is. 

See also Richard Cravatt's analysis of this conference. 

(h/t Dan)