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1948 | The Daily

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In this episode of “The Daily,” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is explored through the lens of the events of 1948. Understanding the significance of this year is crucial to comprehending the ongoing conflict. The episode delves into the clashing narratives from both the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives and how these narratives shape the present situation. It also examines the impact of the 1948 war on Palestinians, including the displacement of many and their yearning to return to their homes. The episode sheds light on the complexities and nuances of the historical record and the challenges of reconciling the narratives of both sides.

Main Takeaways

The Clashing Narratives of 1948

  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is currently referencing the events of 1948.
  • Understanding the meaning of 1948 is crucial to understanding the current conflict.
  • There are two clashing narratives about 1948, one from the Israeli perspective and one from the Palestinian perspective.
  • Israel celebrates a double holiday while Palestinians mark the event in mourning.

The Palestinian Narrative

  • The key to the Palestinian narrative is the idea that all of the Arabs who left what is now Israel during the 1948 fighting were deliberately expelled by Israeli forces.
  • The Palestinian narrative is one of moral purity and victimhood, with the belief that they were deliberately expelled from their land by Israel during the 1948 fighting.
  • Palestinian children are being taught that they are from Arab towns that had been emptied or destroyed, and the dream of returning to those places still lives.

The Israeli Narrative

  • The Israeli narrative is one of moral purity, fighting for their existence as an independent state against Arab armies.
  • The Israeli narrative of the 1948 war is one of noble accomplishment, with little questioning of the virtue of their victory.
  • Holocaust survivors emphasized the theme of resistance in their accounts, which aligns with the Israeli idea of creating a state and being strong.

Revisiting Historical Accounts

  • Yetsok Rabin’s memoir was censored by the Israeli government, and several paragraphs were deleted that completely changed the Israeli narrative of the 1948 war.
  • Rabin’s account of driving out the population of Lod and Rondla during the war was psychologically difficult and required the use of force.
  • Benny Morris mined declassified documents and injected the Israeli narrative with complications and nuances.

The Impact on Palestinians

  • The narrative conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is still ongoing and affects the present, with many Palestinians being displaced and yearning to return to their homes.
  • The Palestinians were scattered into a diaspora, with many ending up in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Gaza Strip.
  • Palestinian refugees in camps live in poverty and struggle to have a comfortable life.

The Complexity of the Historical Record

  • The historical record shows that not all 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled by Israel as a matter of policy.
  • Many Palestinians left their homes as a result of the war, some were expelled, and others feared being massacred.
  • Many Jews living in Arab countries were also expelled and fled to Israel, making up at least half of Israel’s population today.


The Clashing Narratives and Their Impact

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply rooted in the events of 1948. The clashing narratives from both sides, the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives, shape the present situation. Israel celebrates the creation of their state as a noble accomplishment, while Palestinians mourn the loss of their land. The Israeli narrative emphasizes the fight for survival against Arab armies, while the Palestinian narrative portrays deliberate expulsion and victimhood. These narratives continue to fuel the conflict, with many Palestinians longing to return to their homes.

Revisiting Historical Accounts and Their Complexity

The historical record surrounding the events of 1948 is complex. Yetsok Rabin’s censored memoir sheds light on the use of force in driving out the population of certain areas. Benny Morris’s research reveals complications and nuances in the Israeli narrative. Not all Palestinians were forcibly expelled, as some left due to the war, fear of massacre, or other reasons. Similarly, many Jews from Arab countries were expelled and sought refuge in Israel. Understanding these complexities is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the conflict.

The Impact on Palestinians and the Diaspora

The 1948 war resulted in the displacement of many Palestinians, leading to a diaspora scattered across refugee camps in neighboring countries. These camps often face poverty and limited opportunities. The desire to return to their homes remains strong among Palestinians, representing a challenge to the existence of the Jewish state due to population and security concerns. Both Israelis and Palestinians struggle to recognize each other’s victimhood, further complicating efforts towards reconciliation.


The events of 1948 continue to shape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with clashing narratives and deep-seated emotions influencing the present situation. Understanding the complexities and nuances of this historical period is crucial to fostering empathy and finding paths towards reconciliation. Acknowledging the experiences and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians is essential in moving towards a peaceful resolution.

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