U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price is new to his job, but he is learning fast. There seems to exist an unwritten rule in his department since former U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull started working on the creation of Israel after 32nd U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt returned from the Yalta Conference in Feb. 12, 1945. He was exhausted and was no longer strong enough to stand, even with the support of braces, but he was energized with the custody of the Western world the British had pushed into his hands.
I’ll come back to Price and the rule he was quick to learn shortly. Let’s continue with this brief historical detour.
Roosevelt would not see the creation of Israel. It took three more years and 33rd U.S. President Harry S. Truman and his secretary of state, George C. Marshall, had the honor of receiving the ark representing the new “Jewish state.”
Actually, the British paved the way for it 30 years earlier with the Balfour Declaration, promising a Jewish national home in Palestine, but Roosevelt had been busy dismembering the Ottoman Empire and for that job, he needed the Arabs.
In 1945, Roosevelt assured the Ottoman Arabs that the U.S. would not intervene without consulting both the Jews and the Arabs in that region. Soon after Truman took office, the Ottoman state was dissolved into 16 new countries.
The new president appointed a special Cabinet representative to oversee the creation of Israel. Henry F. Grady, an assistant U.S. secretary of state, completed discussions with his British counterparts about the future of Palestine and in May 1946, Truman announced his approval of a recommendation to admit 100,000 people into Palestine and in October he publicly declared his support for the creation of a Jewish state.
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency (the de facto government in the area), proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. Truman recognized the new nation on the same day.
The Henry Grady design
Henry Grady, “America’s top diplomatic soldier” and the “Commander of the Cold War,” died in 1957 and so we could not find out his opinion on the largest refugee disaster that he was responsible for designing.
In Palestine, Grady was involved in many Cold War-related disasters. He was embroiled in the oil crisis that eventually led to the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and the lack of his thoughts on the Palestinian refugees in his posthumously published memoirs (2009) did not raise many eyebrows.
Probably, Grady and his British partners had thought that Palestine was large enough to provide a home for Jewish immigrants to the holy lands where Muslims, Christians and Jews had been peacefully coexisting for many centuries.
However, they had to know better. The de facto Jewish government (first the Palestine Zionist Executive, later the Jewish Agency for Israel) and its military arm Haganah – under the command of former Israeli Prime Ministers Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon and Yigal Allon and former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan – had already killed thousands of local Arab residents.
Historians disagree concerning the numbers of massacred victims, but U.S. and British authorities were very well aware that any more Jewish immigrants admitted in the area would not help to create two states, one for Jews, one for Arabs.
We learn from Grady’s memoirs and British documents that some experts objected to the U.S. and British governments saying that before improving the overall security in Palestine, a mass of Jews were admitted to the area.
The Jewish Agency and later the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) committed raids and massacres in at least 190 Arab villages and farms and more than…