Monday, June 13, 2022

  • Monday, June 13, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon


Anton Alexander writes in Malaria World Journal about the remarkable achievement of Zionists, specifically Dr. I. Kligler, in eliminating malaria from Palestine - the first time such an accomplishment was achieved on a national scale, anywhere. The methods that were successful then are not being copied now in areas that are still rife with the disease, and Alexander believes that this is largely because so many do not want to accept the scope of this Zionist achievement and instead pretend that a Palestinian state could have arisen on its own had Jews not moved to the region and created such solutions.

After the defeat by the British Army of the Turkish Army in 1918, in the final year of World War I, Palestine was administered by the British Mandate, in effect a colony-like structure. It is little appreciated today that Palestine was then thinly populated or even uninhabitable in many areas. Indeed, Palestine was then almost empty. It is also usually not appreciated that if malaria had not been eliminated in Palestine, it is doubtful the State of Israel could ever have come into existence.

The following brief extract from a previous paper may assist in appreciating the severity of the malaria that existed in Palestine 100 years ago. 

In 1919, Dr. Manson-Bahr, a future director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, described Palestine as one of the most highly malarious countries in the world. He knew the conditions in Palestine as in 1918, in the final months of WWI, whilst an officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps with the British Army in Palestine, he had witnessed a force of 40,500 men lose 20,427 men in 9 weeks due to malaria. Of the 100,000 Turkish prisoners-of-war taken after their defeat in 1918 by the British Army in Palestine, 20 per cent had to be hospitalised immediately, suffering from malaria.

...For many years, historical narratives have been promoted providing a hostile account of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 from out of Palestine. These narratives have often assumed the form of the Emperor’s New Clothes, misleadingly omitting reference to the malaria which devastated the country. Such narratives for years have thereby provided an incorrect impression that malaria in Palestine 100 years ago did not exist. In effect, it may have been an attempt to make the disease invisible! 

The world has been done a great disservice by the failure before now to declare ‘the emperor is wearing nothing at all’, to call out that Palestine 100 years ago was drenched in malaria, that it was accordingly uninhabitable in many areas. Palestine, in fact, had become desolate and neglected in many areas, and was then almost empty of inhabitants. The method and approach begun by the Zionists in 1922 to eliminate malaria in Palestine were successful, there was much to learn from the method, and the lessons from that malaria elimination are still relevant around the world and could still be applied today. 

Due to the omission of reference to malaria in these misleading narratives, today’s malaria-community is likely to be unaware of the steps taken in the successful malaria elimination in Palestine all those years ago and which experience could be saving lives today. Sadly, it is likely such misleading narratives by these malaria omissions will have done harm, costing many lives over the years throughout the world today wherever malaria has existed.
Dr. Kliger's methods were respectful to all inhabitants of the land, Arab and Jew, and education was key. Alexander wonders whether today's approaches to control malaria have the same respect for the inhabitants that the Zionists did a century ago.

But before such instruction or education could take place, it was necessary firstly to interest the inhabitants in malaria control or elimination, to cause the inhabitants to realise that a death from malaria was not just a fact of life. Instead, the inhabitants had to realise that such a death was a tragedy. The inhabitants had to believe malaria was not inevitable, therefore fatalism had to be overcome. The commencement of the successful Zionist malaria elimination in Palestine 100 years ago was a demonstration of an effective engagement with the community. Palestine was one of the first places to throw off some of the world’s old colonial attitudes which it did by engaging with dignity and respect all the inhabitants (both Arabs and Jews). This resulted in an extraordinarily strong and resilient cooperation by the inhabitants, Jews and Arabs, in the necessary anti-malaria works, lasting for years and years, and which cooperation was to rid the country of the disease. 

I ponder the point and ask the question to the malaria-community: Are inhabitants today truly treated with respect and dignity? Is the approach and engagement with inhabitants the same that each one in the malaria community would honestly want for themselves? Is there a whiff of old-style patronage about the malaria community’s approach?





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