User:Ynhockey/Historiography of 1948 Palestine exodus from Lydda and Ramla
During the first decade following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, most of its historiography dealt with recounting the military events, with little attention paid to the political arena. This culminated in the book Toldot Milhemet HaKomemiyut (History of the War of Independence), published in 1959 by the IDF's history branch, headed by Netanel Lorch.(cn) The book dealt briefly with the exodus from Lydda and Ramla, and said that residents of Lydda had violated the terms of their surrender, were afraid of Israeli retribution, and left voluntarily. In his book The Edge of the Sword (1961), Lorch wrote that residents had even requested safe conduct from the IDF.(Morris 1987)
A detailed history of the events in Lydda and Ramla was written by Israeli historian Elhanan Oren, also a former member of the IDF history branch, in his doctoral thesis for the Tel Aviv University. This served as a basis for his 1976 book, BaDerekh El HaIr (On the Road to the City).(Haaretz) Oren stated that:
As the refugee question turned into a political grinding axe for the Arab states, an accusation arose against Israel, that it employed a deliberate expulsion policy, and the example of Lydda–Ramla was brought up more than once as proof. Not here is the place to discuss the exodus and exile of the Arabs in the War of Independence in full.(Oren 1976, p. 126)
Oren directed his readers to other books that, according to him, dealt with the issue in more depth.(Oren 1976, p. 305) He did, however, discuss the looting in the cities, basing a significant part of his account thereof on the memoirs of a soldier and later officer named Yitzhak Tishler, published in 1970.
The opening of the IDF archives to the public, and release of many original documents from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War throughout the 1980s, ushered a new era of research into its history, including the events in Lydda and Ramla.(Morris 1987) A group calling itself the New Historians emerged that, based on this new information, sought to challenge the collective memory of the war and its course.(Bar-On, p. 209) A prominent New Historian, Benny Morris, wrote that Israel's pre-1980s history of what happened in Lydda and Ramla was "less than honest".(Morris, 1987) In 1986, he published research on the events in Lydda and Ramla in the Middle East Journal.(Morris 1986) Morris also criticized Elhanan Oren's book for failing to note that the residents of the two cities were expelled, and portraying the IDF in an overtly positive light.(Morris 1987) He again made this criticism in his book, The Birth of the Palestine Refugee Problem. Oren countered that Morris ignored the Arab goals in the war, and judged the events by the end result of the war.(Haaretz)
According to Morris, an unlikely Israeli person to acknowledge publicly that the residents of Lydda and Ramla had not simply fled, but had been expelled, was Yitzhak Rabin in the manuscript of his 1979 memoirs, Pinkas Sherut (Service Notebook). The text was erased from the manuscript by an Israeli government censorship board, but it was published in October that year after Rabin's translator leaked it to The New York Times.(Morris 1987) Further Israeli research was done by Alon Kadish, Avraham Sela and Arnon Golan, and published in the form of the book Kibush Lod (Conquest of Lydda) in 2003. On the Arab side, Spiro Munayyer published a detailed personal account of the events in the Journal of Palestine Studies in 1998.