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by Hilda Terry


I go back - in family recollections and almost in age - to when the early Zionists were looking for a sanctuary to which a persecuted Jew could flee. My grandmother fleeing Europe's pogroms, arrived in America two weeks before a big man was shot and killed. He was Abraham Lincoln.

Her father had the boat fare for his family. The rest of their family went to Palestine. By foot, you didn't need the fare. By the time I was old enough to want to write to them, they had all died along with thousands of other early Zionists, fighting to clean up the malaria-infested coastal marshes that had decimated the Arab population before them. Plenty of contemporary writers wrote of how deserted the land was when the Zionists took on the mosquito.

My youngest uncle used to read me and translate their letters, but the uncles, too, were not yet born. The way they fought the mosquitos in a deserted land goes so far back, NO one remembers it

My grandmother's sister got married when I was young and went with her groom immediately to Palestine from the wedding party in Salem, Massachusetts, but my grandmother was already grown and the mother of 7 or 8 of my uncles. The family was sending money to THIS couple and the family they had while I was growing up, but the ones who went to Palestine when my grandmother's father took his family here were long gone, of course.

Look at your map. Israel is STILL little more than the once barren malarial-infested coastal marshes.

You still see photos of early Zionists, lined up like chain gangs, hacking away at rocks, creating gravel under which to bury the marshes, and, in which to plant trees.

And all that while, the poorest Jews were filling penny pushkes while Jewish organizations and Jewish philanthropists bought up the large estates from the tax collectors and loan sharks that had stolen the land from the farmers before the Zionists found their run down unlivable land nobody else wanted. By 1948, it was said that over 3/4ths of Israel's 8,000 square miles had been purchased by Jews.

Pat Buchanan told his TV audience that Israel is 100% of Palestine. He HAS to KNOW that Jordan is 80% of Palestine. Before the 60s, the quickest way to get your head cracked was to call ANY Arab a Palestinian - the name under which Rome had tried to bury the conquered Jews. Look in your ancient history books. You had a period of transition during which Jewish places like Judah are called "Jewish Palestine." The burial could not wipe out the memory. For 2,000 years, "Palestine" has meant, in plain English, "THE LAND OF THE JEWS."

Arabs coming later were sure the Jews had taken the best land. No. No. Because of an Islamic law against selling land to Jews, they got only the most worthless, and only at a price Arab sinners couldn't refuse. I once listened to my grandfather arguing with the rabbi. "If it's desert you want," he said, "For what you're paying for one lousy acre, there, you can buy AAAAaaaallll of Arizona."

The land that had begun to flourish attracted Arabs. Arab population in the Zionist-developed area increased dramatically between World War 1 and World War 2.

When Israel was declared a State in May 1948, the Arab countries declared war. One of the byproducts was that some of the Arabs fled their homes and became official refugees.

On December 11, 1948, after UN delegate Sir Alexander Cadogan had determined that there were (counting illegals) 120,000 Arabs dislocated by the assault on the new state, we listened to a UN/Israel resolution to allow the 120,000 to return to their homes, with compensation for those who chose not to. The proposal was vigorously rejected by the Arabs, objecting to the words requiring returnees to, "in no way impair the safety of the state."

By 1967, before the 1968 war, an unsupervised UNWRA was feeding almost a million and a half impoverished Arabs openly recruited from wherever. Few, if any of them, had ever stepped foot in Israel.

When Israel defeated the Arab invaders in 1968 and took Samaria and Judea and Gaza and the rest of Jerusalem, Arabs began flooding into these territories as the Zionists and their supporters brought the land back to life.

Gaza was a place where even the earlier Egyptian soldiers had been shocked by the shabby barefooted natives wading in freely flowing open sewage. Stuck with the unexpected custody of this sorry Arab town, Israel immediately began building new homes with electricity and plumbing for their new charges. The U.N. Arabs immediately passed a law forbidding Israel to make any improvements in the occupied lands. The suitable housing was forcibly dismantled.

Nevertheless a 1989 UN report found "Exceptional progress over the past 20 years of Israeli occupation." The years had resulted in longer life spans and reduced infant mortality. Egyptian microbiologist Dr. Mustafa Tolba reported that, during the 20 years of Israeli occupation, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were among the only areas of the world in which the spread of the desert had been halted. ALL the Palestinian Arabs, who were taught revolutionary new farming and irrigation methods by the Zionists, enjoyed an increase of fertile land in the territories.

The Oslo Accords in 1993 gave Yasser Arafat control of much of the territories. He wasn't interested in agriculture.

Having been kicked out of Jordan, Arafat spent 10 years digging tunnels in Lebanon, loading them with tanks and stuff, preparing to attack Israel from THAT border. Not wanting war, Lebanon, once the Paris of the Middle East, begged Sharon for help. He persuaded Began to pre-empt and Arafat was eventually ousted. Gaza was Arafat's next aim.

When TV Guide mentioned in their March 5-11, 1988 issue that three fourths of the Arab families in the territories owned television sets - the same percentage as were owned by Jews in Israel - Arafat knew time was not on his side. I don't know where you go to look up stats and things for those years, but in my own book, I see this note: "As I write this, today's death toll for the West Bank is: 10 Arabs killed by the IDF, 11 (ELEVEN) Arabs killed by their own assassins for suspicion of collaboration or something."

And then this footnote: "Not noted in the media" - by the end of the month, (April 1990), the toll was twice as many innocent Arabs assassinated by terrorists as were killed by the IDF".

Arafat, starting his Intifada decades after the failed war of 1948, had to get rid of the old men who remembered what Gaza and the West Bank had been like before the occupation. He replaced them with innocent infants and easily won the sympathy of the world for his rock-throwing babes. I was in Israel in 1986. My cousin's Arab friends made a party for me. I drew portraits of all the kids and gave the markers to the fascinated girl watching over my shoulder. It was all very friendly. Arafat had to brainwash his know-nothing infants for his Intifada.

Asked why the Arabs could not compromise for peace as the Jews do repeatedly, Hanan Ashwari explained "We are not like the Jews. We are an All-or-Nothing people." Mohammed had this problem way back. When he realized he was to be the prophet for his all-or-nothing people, he solved it with his vision that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, over whom the Covenant had been made 2 or 3 thousand years before. Allah was Abraham's God, and Mohammed was Abraham's prophet.

There IS a peaceful solution - but the Arabs must give up their all-or-nothing ignorance. Forget the farce of "land for peace." It was NEVER the 8,000 acres of coastal malaria-infested swampland that the Arabs wanted - not even BEFORE the Zionists made the land livable. They want the history of the Jews for themselves. They have ALWAYS wanted it. Even now, they are excavating the ground beneath their Mosque on the Jewish Temple Mount, busily discarding every shard that might possibly suggest this was once the site of the Temple of Solomon.

Today's Arab intellectuals look at today's Israel next to Gaza and the West bank and wonder what happened to those old Arab "smarts". They need to find it in their hearts to believe that the Jews did NOT blow up America's twin towers. The Arabs simply have to realize that they have been living on welfare all these years with the lies their parents had to tell to get ON the unsupervised list for generous UNWRA handouts. They need to turn their anger on those responsible for misleading them. The established evidence of how they were lied to - how they have been manipulated and held hostage to the enshrinement of aggressive terrorism - dishonors their God.

Hilda Terry D'Alessio "is closing in on 90" and wonders "how will you ever reeducate all the non-Muslims and Jews who believe the Arab rewrite of history?" She is a cartoonist and created the teenage girl comic 'Teena', which ran from 1941 until 1966. She was the first woman to join the National Cartoonists Society in 1950 and was awarded the prize for best animation cartoonist by the National Cartoonists Society in 1979.

Her home, at the entrance to Carl Schurz Park and Gracie Mansion, has become a designated New York City landmark, incorporated as the Henderson Place Foundation, Inc ( The house is a repository for archives on the history of the area, and on the people who have lived and worked in these historical houses.

This essay will be part of a forthcoming book: "Ghosts of WWII"

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