Расстрел «Альталены»

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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 19 Jun 2009, 22:28

С сайта Eretz Israel Forever

MONROE FEIN (The Altalena)
(from Shmuel Katz’s memoirs)

*With the declaration of a truce, however, the danger was that our ship might be attacked in the open sea by the Egyptians or, what was more in an onrush of loyalty to U.N. decisions, plead justification.

How great was this risk, and how good were the ship’s chances of breaking through if attacked?

These questions we discussed long and earnestly with Monroe Fein.

Fein had handled precisely the same type of vessel against the Japanese.

He was confident of his ability to evade attack: and in the repelling attacks he would be well-equipped on board with weapons that could be used against aircraft.

We paced the deck that moonless Tuesday night for an hour or more turning over the whole project.

Hanging over the rail when Fein had left me to attend to some chores, I pondered over this young American and Americanized Jew, quiet-spoken and clear-headed, responding to a call he had only just begun to recognize.

Now, coolly and pragmatically, without heroics or sentimentality, he was about to drive into whatever danger offered or threatened.

In those spring days of1948 there were many of his kind who came from the counties of rooted comfort to give expression to the sudden sense of solidarity with their ancient people.

There were many; yet they were few.

Too many more, albeit moved by the spectacle of their embattled brothers and cheering them on, yet remained at a distance in New York and Los Angeles, and London and Buenos Aires and Johannesburg.


How to stave off civil war I
By YEHUDA AVNER

...
IT WAS June 1948. The fledgling Jewish state, hardly a month old, was embattled on every side. The infant IDF was still a hotchpotch of disbanded Hagana, Palmah, Irgun, and Lehi units. Everything was improvised, makeshift, provisional.

Amid the muddle, the Altalena, an Irgun arms ship, arrived off the shore of Tel Aviv, overdue. It was loaded with hundreds of volunteers and packed with desperately-needed arms.

So, yet again, the Devil looked down at the fractious sight, grinned, and dispensed a mortal brew of such malice, mistrust, and misunderstanding that Ben-Gurion suspected Begin was fomenting a putsch. So he ordered his loyalists to shell the Altalena, which caught fire. In the blaze, several volunteers were killed and wounded, and the weaponry lost.

Eyewitness accounts describe Begin as standing on the Altalena's burning deck like some figure in a parable, black from the acrid smoke, flinging up his arms and yelling frantically to his men, "No – don't shoot back! Don't open fire. No civil war!"

That night, eyes dark-circled by anxiety and fatigue, Begin broadcast over the Irgun underground transmitter, speaking in tears about the Altalena, its arms, and its dead.

The young adults of the Israel Bonds delegation, listening to him 34 years later, stared intently, as if the pitiful spectacle was taking place before their eyes.

"Some antagonists jeered me because of those tears I shed in public that night," he told them broodingly. "Yet to this day, I feel no shame. On the contrary. There are fateful times when a choice has to be made between blood and tears.

"During our revolt against the British, blood had to take the place of tears. But at the time of the Altalena – Jew against Jew – tears had to take the place of blood. Better that one Jew shed tears from his heart than that he should cause many to weep over graves."

Pulling back his shoulders and lifting his jaw, he said in conclusion: "It was extremely hard to order my men to restrain their natural instinct for revenge. But I had to do it.

"Twice in my lifetime I had to do it – to cry out, Yehudim anahnu! We are Jews! Never raise a hand against a fellow Jew.

"It was the most important decision of my life."

The writer served on the staff of four prime ministers, including Menachem Begin. (avner28@netvision.net.il)
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 19 Jun 2009, 23:35

Altalena Affair
It is no longer a secret that this famous arms-ship served as the instrument of a sinister plot. When Mr. Ben Gurion, on the rostrum of the first Israel parliament, modestly boasted “I have some part in that ship lying not far away from here,” he was interrupted by a question from a member of Maipai: “But who was it who urged you to do it?”

Mr. Ben Gurion was silent. His silence was perhaps even more eloquent than any words. The attack on the Altalena was prepared in secret and with intent. The boat was destroyed by fire. Dense smoke rolled out of her and enveloped her. We cannot extinguish that fire; but we will seek to dissipate the screen of smoke.

The tragic fact was that the “Altalena” was late in coming. Had this landing-craft arrived off the shores of Eretz Israel immediately on the liquidation of British rule, that is, in the middle of May, 1948, the whole condition of the nation would have been radically changed. We should then have placed at the disposal of the Government and the Army eight or ten battalions, fully equipped with arms and ammunition - instead of their customary equipment; unlimited readiness for self-sacrifice and short-ranged Sten-guns. At our first attack we should have captured Ramleh. This Arab town, besieged by the Irgun Zvai Leumi at the request of the Haganah in order to draw away enemy forces from the Latrun front, was on the point of falling when we had to withdraw. The morale of the inhabitants had been lowered, mainly by the shelling of our 3 inch mortars. Our boys stormed the approaches to the town and in the opening stages captured large parts of it. But lack of arms and ammunition proved fatal. They needed only a few hundred rifles and additional ammunition, but on the Ramleh front that quantity was not available either to us or to the Hahanah Command. Three hundred rifles, or six per cent of the number loaded in the hold of the “Alatalena” ...

Had we been able to capture Ramleh at that time - and its conquest depended solely on these additional arms - the united Jewish forces would have broken the Arab front at Latrun and our strategic situation would have been changed fundamentally, its effects being felt as far as Jerusalem, as far as the Old City. With the fall of Ramleh, the fate of Lydda would have been sealed. Thus we should have smashed the enemy on the central front in the first stage of his invasion, instead of only after the first “truce.” And the Jewish forces would have been free in the second stage for a full-scale attack on the ‘Triangle.’ In a word, we should today have held the Western bank of the Jordan - at least.



All the Jewish forces were very tired; the enemy had superior armament. This was no longer an underground partisan-political fight. This was a fight in the open field and the consequences of defeat might be destruction of our people.



Immediately ... (upon its arrival off shore) ... we communicated with the Israel Department of Security and gave them detailed information about the boat and its cargo of munitions. Now - we said to the representatives of the Security Ministry - it is for you to decide whether to permit the boat to come, or divert her. Official propaganda, hiding behind the smokescreen, pretended that the Irgun had brought over the “Altalena” in order to prepare an armed revolt against the Government of Israel.



As for the UNO prohibitions, we would manage somehow. After all, the Government knew. In the circumstances this was no question of morals. Nobody was helping our attacked people; the situation was one of life and death; and we thanked God that the Government understood the situation, weighed what had to be weighted and disregarded what in the circumstances it was forbidden to take into account. At once a code message went out to the “Altalena” where, as we later learnt, it aroused even greater joy. Instead of “Keep Away” it was now “Full steam ahead.”

This fact must be re-emphasized, for it is from this point onwards in this sad history that the black smoke-screen has been thrown up.

And it was the Government that decided to bring the “Altalen” in during the truce period. Otherwise she would not have come.

When the independence was declared on the 14th of May, 1948, there was no immediate formation of a unified army.

We were gratified at the official recognition of “the Irgun Zvai Leumi soldiers in Jaffa,” but out of concern for the tender growth of our State we wished to uphold the status of the Prime Minister as such.

Our staff was thus an official and recognized body when it was called to discuss with the representatives of the Ministry of Security the unloading of the “Altalena” arms.

The “Altalena” had nine hundred soldiers, five thousand rifles, four million rounds of ammunition, three hundred Bren guns, 150 spandaus, five caterpillar-track armored vehicles, thousands of air-combat bombs, and the rest of her war equipment.

*This shipment of arms from America was in the planning for over a year, involved the escape of prisoners and detainees in Africa for its organization, and was fulfilled by the vast organized efforts of those Irgun members who had been negotiating for years in the States, gathering financial and political support for these arms.

She had been acquired by the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation and the American League for a Free Palestine, and we had intended bringing her in while the British forces were still ruling - with men or arms or both.

Jerusalem was a “separate entity.” Israel Sovereignty had not been extended to our capital. The official leadership, which had accepted the UNO decision on partition in its entirety, had resigned itself to the imposition of an international regime in Jerusalem. Mr. Ben Gurion had demanded at a meeting ... that his movement exert its utmost influence to prevent even any talk of “conquering Jerusalem” or extending the boundaries of the State. Consequently the Israel Army was not established in Jerusalem even after it had been formed and operating elsewhere.

We must bow our heads to all the Jewish soldiers irrespective of organizational affiliation, who fought the Arab invaders with supreme bravery. They all had great victories. They all had their bitter defeats. They all suffered from insufficient equipment. We never taunted others with retreats or defeats. But what fantastic and untrue tales have not been told of our comrades? Everywhere we lacked arms and ammunition. All this is part of the background to the discussions on the distribution of the arms of the “Altalena.”

Israel Galili, Commander of the Haganah, informed me ... that 20% of the arms were to be allowed to the Jerusalem front. Only much later did it become clear precisely what the real intention behind this “agreement” was. The 20% was to be sent only to Haganah troops in Jerusalem.

Galili, at the time for unloading the Altalena arms, said they would not help us. “We wash our hands of the unloading of the arms,” he declared.

The Government’s refusal to cooperate in unloading the arms was a serious blow. We had neither the lighterage, nor the vehicles, nor the required tackle ... nor available men.

Despite the difficulties, we threw ourselves whole heartedly into the work. The moral strength and endeavor of the boys seemed to be doubled and trebled.

But only part of the arms were unloaded - and went into action only after the killing of numbers of Irgun men.

Still, the arms unloaded proved a decisive factor in the fight against the Arabl invaders.

And not only her arms. “Altalena” brought over a battalion of fighters (many from Nazi concentration camps). These young people were overwhelmed with joy when they reached the shores of their Homeland.

Suddenly we noticed that we were surrounded on all sides by troops. A few minutes later I received an ultimatum from the local Army Commander, a ten minute ultimatum.

Suddenly we were attacked from all sides, without warning. With machine guns, with mortars. Many were wounded on board ... and there was no doctor. The Palmach officer promised to send a boat immediately from Tel Aviv port. We waited. One hour, two hours. But no boat came. The condition of the wounded grew worse.

Suddenly ... something whistled over our heads. “That’s a shell! They’ll set the ship on fire!” We called to the Palmach commander, reminding him that he had promised a complete cessation of fire. He did not reply. A second shell, a third, a fourth.

A few minutes later a shell penetrated the belly of the ship. Fire broke out and smoke poured forth. We began evacuating the wounded while Munroe Fine ordered the flooding of the hold and thereby saved not only the lives of all of us on board but also many in the houses on the Tel Aviv shore. Had the vessel exploded the damage must have been widespread. All the time shells were falling around the burning ship, and bullets came whistling past the men as they were getting the wounded away on improvised rafts in the water.

The “Altalena” went up in flames.

The ship became the common grave of a number of the brave men who had come as volunteers to fight for their people.

We had swore an oath: “In no circumstances will we use arms against our fellow Jews.” Not one shot was fired by our boys against the Haganah.

Let them not boast in their hearts of that act which “somebody urged them to do” nor excuse themselves on his responsibility. “The Lord is watching, and he knows mens’ hearts.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE ALTALENA AFFAIR - Brother Against Brother
In the words of Yoske Nachmias

I was also involved in the Alatalena Affair.

The Altalena was a ship which the Irgun brought in 1948 full of weapons and ammunition by the organization’s funding raising and procurement efforts of Hillel Kook (Peter Bergson) in the United States, purchasing American Army surplus.

They reached France, and in France the French government handed us, free of charge, all kinds of arms and ammunition.

Nine hundred and fourteen (914) Irgun warriors were on board, which had been trained in Europe (survivors of the death camps) by Irgun members and were coming to Eretz Israel.


When the ship was in route, the State of Israel was declared, 15 May 1948.

The Irgun came to the temporary government and told them the ship was on the way with its 914 warriors and the Irgun were willing to give everything away to the new government ... but that 20% of the arms were to go to our units in Jerusalem.

Why Jerusalem?

Because Jerusalem was supposed to be “international” ...

and there was an ordinance with the temporary government, wherever there is not a Jewish regime, there the Underground would continue to exist.


So the demand of arms to their units in Jerusalem, and they asked where the ship should go (to land).

The temporary government said to land at Kfar Vitkin, a village by the beach half way between Haifa and Tel Aviv.

I was a company commander at the time in the Irgun. The leader of operations of the Irgun, Gidi Paglini, told me to come to Kfar Vitkin with my company.

Without arms, we were to be put with the group to unload the supplies on the ship. Gidi put me into confidence that the ship was coming with so many arms and people, he wanted me to be there with my unit to work as porters to off-load the ship.

My company got to Kfar Vitkin and there found the Palmach and IDF units also at the beach. We sat together ... we waited on the ship coming ... then together we started unloading arms.

We didn’t unload many arms, working together three or four hours, when suddenly the Palmach and IDF units left the area and all that were left were members of the Irgun.

The Headquarters of the Irgun were there - Menachem Begin, Ya’acov Meridor, and many others were in meeting. We decided we decided to offload by ourselves.

Suddenly a burst of heavy fire came on us, on the Palmach, on the IDF units!

Menachem Begin on the shore said -
“Don’t fire back!”
There will be no war between brothers!
The first and second House of David was destroyed by brother hate ...
There won’t be a destruction of the third House of Israel!”


And we didn’t fire one arm back!

Suddenly, Ya’acov Meridor, 2nd in Command, said -
“You, Yoske - take the Commander and go on board and leave ...
Wait for instructions there!”


Menachem Begin didn’t want to leave his men.

“We must leave,” I told him. And my wife (also with the Irgun) took one side of his arm, another girl, Shula, took his other side, and I from his back pushed him into a landing craft. We went into high seas to the Altalena.

From there we went to Tel Aviv with a white flag flying.

We had very big loudspeakers, and we broadcast saying -
“We want to negotiate ...
We don’t want to have war with our brothers!”


They didn’t listen to us.

Instead of talking to us, they (Yitzhak Rabin in command) fired on us a hell of a fire!

Menachem Begin was on the command position of the bridge, with a loudspeaker saying -
“Don’t fire back!”

“Let them kill us all!”

“We will never lift a hand on a Jew!”


Menachem Begin called me and said -
“Yoske - go ashore and with negotiation try to stop the fighting!
You are going down without any arms ...
You are going only with the ‘wireless.’”


I took a little landing craft and started sailing toward the beach.

Heavy fire was on me all the time.

When I reached the beach, I jumped from the craft and I ran in zig-zags to a house where we thought - from there they are firing upon us.

I started shouting -
“Who is the Commander here?”

A voice replied -
“Yoske - is that you?”

He recognized my voice, it was my cousin!

Look, Avraham,” I replied -
“We don’t fire back, we don’t want war between brothers!
Please stop the fighting!”


He said -
“I swear to you, we are not firing at you!
They are firing on you from the north there!”

(He pointed where the Hilton stands today.)

I looked there and I suddenly saw a burst of fire!
A mushroom came out of the center of the ship!


I took the wireless from my back, running to the sea.
While I was running there was a blast of heavy fire raining on me.
I ran in zig-zags ...
I got to the water ...
there was a hell of a fire on me while swimming as fast as I could back to the ship!

I looked for my wife - “Where is she?”

She was on the bottom deck caring for the wounded.

“Yava, the ship is ready to blow - let’s get out of here!”

She replied, “First let’s offload the wounded!”

And from God’s help - who knows how - lots of little canoes came - hundreds of them - I don’t know where they came from - under the firing they didn’t stop even for one second!

We offloaded all the wounded ...

Menachem Begin was at the deck giving orders ...

I said -
My Commander - JUMP!”

NO! I am the Captain - I am the last one to jump!” he said.

I said -
Excuse me, the Captain is Miran Fine - he is taking care of the ship.

You are a Captain of the Jewish nation - JUMP - please
!”

He said -

No - you jump - I am the last one to jump!”

I took two or three youngsters,
we put on him a life vest - by force (I didn’t know if he knew how to swim) -

AND WE THREW HIM OVERBOARD!

And then I told my wife to jump (my wife doesn’t swim) and she said to me -

You go first and wait for me.”

So she jumped down to me ...
and I took her, swimming on my back ...
all the time fire raining down on us!

I swam to the nearest dingy ...
Put my wife in ...

I said I can’t go to shore ...

I didn’t get in because five comrades were swimming ...

I called to them ...

One was shot in the head as he climbed in the dingy, and he drowned.

Another began to climb in and was hit in the arm and my wife grabbed his shirt.

We went on the high seas ...
The Israeli Navy picked us up ...
and jailed us.

Those five who came to the dingy were from Cuba.
They had come to us ...
Not even Jewish people ...
They came to help the Jewish people in Eretz Israel ...
They were strangers to us.

We were put into a room together,
and in the morning the Israeli police fingerprinted us.

I believe my wife, Yafa, and me were the first “gangsters” in the free land of Israel, with the Cubans!

Later I found out (as we were six generations in Jerusalem, and I was of ten brothers and sisters) some of us were in the Palmach (2) ... some in the Irgun (4).

They had summon up my brother’s Palmach unit (unit “L”) - of which he was the commander - to the beach, and he said -
Whom are we fighting here?”

They told him -
The Irgun.”

My brother said -
Are you crazy?”

I don’t fight against Jews and especially against the Irgun because by brothers might be there!”


And he left.

He was jailed because he left the combat area.

Years later Ben-Gurion said that concerning the ship Altalena ...
somebody misinformed him ...

And that’s why he gave an order -
Not to talk to the Irgun people and to fire to destroy the ship at all costs.


We had sixteen Irgun dead and many wounded ...

(some of the 914 survivors of the death camps died) ...

WE DIDN’T FIRE ONE SHOT BACK.


* * *

(PERFIDY – Ben Hecht)

Because of the liberation of Tel Aviv (at the battle of Jaffa), the Jews were able to repel the first blow. Soon the retreats began. Daily, almost hourly, the five Arab nations closed in on the new and tiny state of the Jews. The Israel Army lost its big battle of Latrun to the Arab legions. Ben-Gurion explained the defeat by revealing that the combined Jewish forces had only thirteen hundred rifles.

Now the betrayal begins. While the battle-worn Palmach and Irgun stand in the hills of Jerusalem holding off the Arabs with almost no arms or ammunition, Ben-Gurion assures the UN that his new government doesn’t want Jerusalem, and cravenly agrees to “internationalize” the Old City.

And riding to the rescue out of Marseilles is the Irgun ship Altalena (literary pseudonym of Jabotinsky). It carries five thousand rifles, one million rounds of ammunition, one thousand grenades, three hundred Bren guns, fifty cannon, four thousand aerial bombs, nine tanks and fifty anti-tank guns and quantities of medical equipment. Also 920 trained combat soldiers – volunteers. The arsenal had been financed by “The Hebrew Committee for National Liberation,” established in New York by Irgun representatives Peter Bergson and Samuel Merlin. The recruiting and sailing of the vessel had been accomplished with the close cooperation of the French authorities.

The Weizmann-Ben-Gurion Government had given a precise and specific go-ahead to the Altalena. It had also promised to help unload the cargo that would ensure the safety of the new Israel and relieve the siege of Jerusalem.

Dropping anchor off the shores of Palestine, the arms ship ran smack into Ben-Gurion’s betrayal.

On board the Altalena were Begin, his aides, and Merlin.

In the bow of the ship, looking at the land of Israel into which he had smuggled thousands of refugee Jews, stood the Homeric Abrasha Stavsky. He was returning after fourteen years to the haven to which he had piloted his thousands. He was shot facing his betrayers and died of his wounds.

Merlin was wounded. The Altalena was sunk. Twenty of its Hebrew fighters were killed, half of them in the water while trying to swim ashore, some on the shore in cold blood.

The facts were these. (The Ben-Gurion government) had planned the whole scurvy business from the beginning . It would appease the British by selling out the Jerusalem fighters to the UN, and it would explode an old rage at the Irgun even if it meant blowing up half the city of Tel Aviv. A single shell landing in the Altalena explosives would have accomplished this Neronian feat.

Ben-Gurion sank the cargo that could have brought total victory over the Arabs, but removed a possible political rival, the Irgun.

Flushed by this coup, Ben-Gurion made a ringing statement in the newly-established provisional parliament of Israel.

He said to the Jews and to all the world:

“Blessed be the cannon that blew up the ship. It should be enshrined in the Third Temple of the Jews.”
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 19 Jun 2009, 23:38

EZEKIEL 13:

“You have not gone up into the gaps or breeches, nor built up the wall or the house of Israel that it might stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.”

“Because, even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace, when there is no peace, and because when one builds a flimsy wall, behold, these prophets daub it over with whitewash.”

“… who prophesied deceitfully about Jerusalem, seeing visions of peace for her when there is no peace …”

“… who prophesy out of the wishful thinking of their own minds and hearts …”

“Because with lies you have made the righteous sad and disheartened, whom I have not made sad or disheartened, and because you have encouraged and strengthened the hands of the wicked …”

* * *

(from Shmuel Katz’s memoirs)

The drama of the Altalena began that last week in March.

On the 25th Dr. Ariel, in the name of the Irgun, handed in to the French Foreign Ministry a memorandum proposing a secret agreement between us and the French Government.

It outlined the common interest, on which such an agreement would be based, “between France and a Hebrew Palestine as the Irgun envisages it.”

The Irgun, for its part, could offer only future goodwill in return for the practical help we proposed France should accord us.

We had two specific immediate requirements.

***We asked that France provide “the necessary facilities for the organization of a base for training and, for the time being, for concentrating one brigade in its metropolitan or colonial territory.”

***We asked that she provide “the armament and the supplies necessary for the modern equipment of two infantry brigades.” “One of these” said the memorandum “is in Palestine. The other will be concentrated in French territory and should reach Palestine about 15 May.”

This memorandum was the culminating set in the diplomatic campaign Ariel had for two years been waging in a number of departments of the French Government.

His unfortunate suspension at the end of 1946 from his post in the Irgun had not discouraged him. He had, too, been invited in the meantime to work for the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation. As they built up the French branch of their League for a Fee Palestine they were well served by Ariel’s excellent political connections. His personal relations with the Irgun officers had also not been impaired. Lankin and Eli were both in friendly touch with him.

ARIEL MAINTAINED A LIVELY CONTACT PARTICULARLY WITH THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR WHERE, TOGETHER WITH MADAME VAYDE, HE OBTAINED PERMISSION, OVER THE PERIOD OF THEIR ACTIVITY, FOR MORE THAN TWENTY THOUSAND “DISPLACED PERSONS” TO ENTER FRANCE.

During the tensions surrounding the Exodus 1947 at Prot de Bouc in the summer of 1947, Marc Pages, Head of the Aliens Department in the Ministry (and – as far as I can ascertain – the first senior French official to respond to the Irgun thesis of the common interest propounded by Ariel) and his assistant Francois Rousseau, warned Ariel of a tendency in the Jewish Agency to succumb to British pressure and debark the passengers.

Ariel, accompanied by Eri Jabotinsky, went post-haste to press the Haganah officer responsible for operations in Europe, Shaul Meiroy, against such surrender, and to convey the strongly-held French official opinion on the subject.

Towards the end of 1947 Lankin had restored Ariel’s status as the Irgun’s diplomatic representative.

WITH THE DIRE DEVELOPMENTS IN PALESTINE AND OUR DESPERATE LACK OF MATERIAL, ARIEL LOST NO TIME IN PRESSING UPON HIS CONTACTS IN THE FRENCH ADMINISTRATION THE PROFOUND IMPORTANCE TO FRANCE THAT THE JEWS REPEL THE ARAB ONSLAUGHT, AND THE VITAL NEED FOR IMMEDIATE HELP.

At last, on 23 March, Jacques Boissier, Charge de Mission in the office of the Foreign Minister, proposed that Ariel set down the proposal in writing for the Minister.

On 27 March, the day I arrived in Paris, Boissier wrote Ariel that he had communicated the memorandum to the Minister who “would no doubt study it and discuss it with his colleagues.”

TEN WEEKS LATER THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT GAVE US THE ARMS WHICH WERE LOADED ON THE ALTALENA.

The Altalena was an American L.S.T. (Landing Ship Tank) bought from the Second World War surpluses by the Hebrew Committee.

They had intended it for a further essay in Aliyah B.

WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARAB ATTACK THEY HAD ACQUIESCED IN THE IRGUN REQUEST TO HOLD THE BOAT FOR THE GRAND DESIGN WE HAD LONG HARBORED: TO BRING TO THE SHORES OF PALESTINE A CONTINGENT OF FIGHTERS FROM EUROPE, TOGETHER WITH AS LARGE A CONSIGNMENT OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION AND SUPPLIES AS THE BOAT COULD CARRY.

In deed it was in recognition of this design that the boat had been given its name: Altalena was the pseudonym used in his early writings by Jabotinsky.

Manned by Jewish American volunteers, the boat had now arrived in European waters.

The crew were ready to continue the voyage eastward and thus make their contribution to the defense of the Jewish State.

We could not give the order to sail before the second week of May, the eve of the British departure.

The Irgun was in any event not ready for them.

We certainly had not the arms.

Sadly Lankin had persuaded them to “fill in” their wait by sailing the Altalena as a cargo boat on the short run between Marseilles and the North African ports.

Their current cargo was potatoes.

* * *

On the day of 14 May 1948 the Altalena was still carrying potatoes from Marseilles to Casablanca.
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 19 Jun 2009, 23:51

NEGOTIATIONS WITH HAGANAH OVER THE ALTALENA
The joy of Meridor’s surprise homecoming after four years’ enforced absence was soon invaded by the grim tones of our conference with Begin and Avraham.

INSTEAD OF A SHIP FILLED WITH MEN AND ARMS WE BROUGHT ELOQUENT EXPLANATIONS FOR ITS FAILURE TO ARRIVE.

This was indeed the crucial moment.

An accretion of even a few hundred rifles and a few thousand rounds of ammunition at that moment could have a decisive effect on the battle in which our Irgun force, under the operational agreement with the Haganah, was at that moment engaged: an attack on Ramleh.

A courier from Giddy arrived while we were talking to ask of (ammunitions).

There was none available.

The Haganah, Begin told us, was in no better state.

WITH ADEQUATE ARMS HE WAS CONFIDENT THE WHOLE OF WESTERN PALESTINE COULD BE LIBERATED.

We came to a quick decision. Crying over spilt milk would not help.

WE MUST FIND THE QUICKEST MEANS OF BRINGING THE ALTALENA.

* * *

NEGOTIATIONS WITH HAGANAH OVER THE ALTALENA:

That midnight at the Irgun headquarters in the Fraud Hospital we held a meeting with three representatives of the Haganah: it’s Commander Israel Galili, Levi Skolnik (now Eshkol) and a man named Cohen.

The Irgun was represented by Begin, Avraham, Meridor and me.

We told them of the Altalena and we made them a proposal.


CONSEQUENCES OF THE LACK OF ARMS
We believed then, and in the later light of our knowledge of Arab strength and depositions, there is little doubt that in those couple of weeks the Irgun would have changed the face of the country, precisely in accordance with strategic objectives we had laid down in January.

The elimination of Jaffa as the direct consequence of the acquisition of a reasonable quantity of arms was no accident.

It was rather an indication of what could be achieved.

ON 15 MAY THE IRGUN, WITH ITS VERVE AND ITS THRUST AND THE POWER OF ITS NAME (SINCE JAFFA GREATLY ENHANCED) COULD HAVE BROKEN THE BACK OF THE ARAB ATTACK ON THE CENTRAL FRONT.

***The Jewish forces could have pressed on to the Jordan.

We had for months the 15th of May and the days immediately following as days of crisis and opportunity.

They were.

The opportunity was probably even greater than we had foreseen.

FOR LACK OF ARMS, WE MISSED IT.

* * *

(BEVIN) CONCENTRATED HIS EFFORTS, AT WASHINGTON AND THROUGH THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR IN LONDON, ON THE CENTRAL AND CRUCIAL OBJECTIVE: TO KEEP THE AMERICANS FROM LIFTING THE ARMS EMBARGO.

In this his success was complete.

* * *

Our Interlocutors having taken our offer on the Altalena to Ben Gurion, Galili on 17 May gave Avraham the reply on the telephone.

It was negative.

There was no counter-suggestion.

There was no explanation.

“What about the .303 bullets?” I asked Avraham.
“They didn’t even mention them” he replied.

* * *

The crew was relaxed and sociable when we went aboard the plane at Haifa.

In Paris our parting was cordial.

Activity at headquarters had become more feverish than ever.

Volunteers, offers of help, commercial proposals for the sale of arms came from all sides.

Emissaries had to be sent in various directions to check on the authenticity of proposals or to conduct negotiations.

NOW TWO AGENTS WENT OUT TO SEVERAL COUNTRIES TO ARRANGE FOR THE CROSSING INTO FRANCE OF HUNDREDS OF OUR MEMBERS SELECTED TO TRAVEL BY THE ALTALENA TO SERVICE IN PALESTINE.

Two days before any return Ariel had at last had a conclusive reply from the French Government.

At Chauvet’s direction he had then met for the first time Jean Morin, Director of the Foreign Minister’s Cabinet.

*Morin informed him that the Government had decided to accede to our request for arms.

*In the light of the terms of our request the decision was a turning-point in the relations between France and Israel.

It came at a time when on the public international plane the French attitude to the new State was still, for a number of reasons, some traditional some empiric, painfully if understandably equivocal.

As late as March we had through Ariel protested to the French Foreign Minister at a slighting statement about the Israel fighting forces made by the French delegate at Lake Success, Alexander Parodi.

THE DECISION TO GIVE THE IRGUN ARMS, CONFIRMED IN FORMAL TERMS BY BIDAULT WHEN HE RECEIVED ARIEL THAT 19 MAY, was a long and bold step forward towards the fraternal empathy which has subsequently infused the relations of Paris with Jerusalem.

The decision was governed by pragmatic political considerations and calculations.

Yet Ariel was able to subsequently to report innumerable manifestations of a quite spontaneous warmth, of a frank informal enthusiasm, in the French officials entrusted with its execution.

It had taken almost two months for the Government to make up its mind.

Now its execution had to be arranged through the necessary channels.

They, to our harassed and impatient minds, were too numerous.

Day followed day and still no final date could be set.

At the Foreign Office Ariel was now in constant touch with Morin – who worked hard to speed the process.

Ten days went by before Ariel saw General Revera, the Chief of Staff of the Army.

Three days later, on the last day of May, Ariel reported that the Army had received the necessary instructions for the actual delivery of the arms.

He had already seen General Coudraux, the officer responsible for the operation.

WE WOULD RECEIVE THE ARMS ON 5 JUNE.

* * *

On Sunday afternoon, 30 May, we had a business meeting on the Altalena arrangements.

Ariel was there, in buoyant mood.

From Marseilles came Monroe Fein, the captain of the Altalena, precise and plain spoken, a U.S. Navy veteran of the War in the Pacific.

With him came Abraham Stavsky.

For years Stavsky had been occupied with Aliyah B projects.

He had negotiated the purchase of the Altalena for the Hebrew Committee, and he appeared and acted as its owner.

He was also its business manager.

He was also a kind of universal uncle to the American boys serving on the ship who, like all who knew him, had soon discovered the lovable personality under that large rather hulking exterior.

Fein raised two practical problems on which he asked for decisions.

*THE FIRST WAS THE POINT OF LANDING.

The Altalena was a product of American wartime shipbuilding ingenuity – a L.S.T. built for the speedy landing of tanks.

The ideal beach for this type of landing boat is one that is steep.

There the boat can be brought square up to the land.

*The greater the distance form the land the more complicated became the unloading.

*In our circumstances of potential enemy air-attacks it could be dangerously slow.

We had no reply for Fein.

None of us had the necessary scientific knowledge.

*IN ANY CASE THIS WAS NOT MERELY A PHYSICAL PROBLEM.

If we did not get cooperation from the Haganah our choice of sites would be limited.

At that stage, envisaging the need for bringing many of our own people to help in the unloading, we suggested the beach opposite Frishman Street in Tel Aviv as the most suitable site.

Fein’s problem was that of signals for visual communications when the ship came in sight of land.

The proposals I had brought with me from Tel Aviv did not satisfy him.

I cannot remember the reason.

I remember he convinced me.

He made an alternative proposal.

WE DECIDED TO SEND AN EMISSARY TO PALESTINE TO CLEAR UP THESE QUESTIONS, AS WELL AS TO BRING US A MORE UP-TO-DATE REPORT ON THE SITUATION.

The choice fell on Aryeh Ben Eliezer.

WITH HIM ON 3 JUNE WENT NIKO (NATHAN GERMANT) ONE OF MERIDOR’S COMPANIONS IN THE GREAT ESCAPE FROM KENYA.

At least one of them was to return without delay.

There was no certainty that this decision could be fulfilled.

There was still no regular air service to Palestine, though a South African Jewish group of businessmen, which had set up the Pan African Air Company, was not keeping the route open.

*HOWEVER THE ALTALENA HAD ITS RADIO AND THERE WAS A RADIO ON SHORE AT THE OTHER END.

*NOW MOREOVER, IN A VILLA SOME DISTANCE FROM PARIS A RADIO TRANSMITTER WAS BEING ERECTED FOR US BY OUR “SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE” – A GROUP OF PHYSICISTS WHO HAD VOLUNTEERED FOR SERVICE AND WHOM LANKIN HAD ORGANIZED AS A UNIT.

*WE FELT THAT THIS THREE-WAY COMMUNICATION WOULD BE ADEQUATE TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEM THAT MIGHT ARISE IF BEN ELIEZER OR GERMANT DID NOT RETURN BEFORE THE SHIP SAILED.

The next day Eli, from his own tiny headquarters in the one-room flat of the Homesky family in the Champs Elysees, telephoned to every corner of Europe our instructions for the timing of the transports of people.

THESE WERE TO ARRIVE AT ONE OF THE TWO CAMPS PREPARED FOR THEM NEAR MARSEILLES AT LATEST BY 6TH JUNE.

LANKIN, WHO HAD BEEN APPOINTED BY THE HIGH COMMAND TO BE THE COMMANDER OF THE EVOLVING MILITARY UNIT ON THE ALTALENA, WENT TO TAKE UP HIS TASK AT MARSEILLES.

I remained alone at headquarters in Paris.

Meanwhile we had been the recipients of a complaint from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It was addressed to Ariel on 25 May and read as follows:

The French government asks me to request that you convey to the Command of the Irgun Zvai Leumi in Palestine the following communication:

“Reports from Jerusalem indicate that French establishments, some of which have been occupied by troops and others subjected to artillery fire, have been pillaged or are threatened by destruction.

On the other hand the French Consulate General is the object of heavy firing from both sides.

The French Government can hardly tolerate the prolonged destruction of a work of civilization more that a thousand years old. It demands of the Commander-in-Chief in the most energetic terms that he given his troops the necessary orders in order to put an immediate end to this situation.”

“The happy development of our relations with the Irgun are in danger of being compromised if it does not take this appeal into consideration.”

“The same communication and for the same reasons has been conveyed to the Jewish Agency and to the Arab States.”

I knew that during the Jaffa battle the French consul there had called at Irgun forward headquarters to ensure that French buildings in the town should be spared damage.

He had been given assurances provided he saw to it that every such building flew the French Flag.

I thought it extremely unlikely that the Irgun in Jerusalem would tolerate pillage or avoidable damage of French property.

At that point moreover the Irgun had not occupied any French building, nor did wee have any artillery in Jerusalem.

However the message was conveyed to Tel Aviv and thence to Jerusalem.

Assurances were given there and in Paris.

Our relations with the French in Palestine remained good to the end.
Так и остается загадкой, как удaлoсь М.Карпову сoврaть в 3.3 рaзa бoльше чем Бaрaк...
Помогите Марку с ответом.

igorp
В реале Игорь Пекер
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 20 Jun 2009, 00:16

TENSION MOUNTS WAITING IN FRANCE WITH THE ALTALENA, JUNE (... till its end in Tel-Aviv - igorp)
At the last moment we were subjected to a further delay.

*The delivery of the arms was postponed for three days.

*Meanwhile hundreds of young men and women had arrived in the camps.

*They had to be fed and kept tranquil for the extra days.

*The owners of the land on which one of the camps was set up threatened legal proceedings

*Tension at Prot de Bouc (and at Avenue de Hessine) was heightened when the French police discovered a mysterious consignment of rifles in the Marseilles railway station.

We had had them stored in Paris awaiting the day when at last they could be sent to the Altalena.

Though the Ministry of the Interior had issued orders and made arrangements with the police, with the Customs and with all other possible authorities to ensure the unmolested dispatch and movement of our arms to the boat, this odd consignment from Paris was by some error in the consignment note delivered to the baggage room at Marseilles.

*When our agents arrived to claim it the police arrested them.

A COMPLETE DIPLOMATIC OPERATION IN PARIS WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE AN EXPLANATION FROM THE UPPER TO THE LOWER ECHELONS OF AUTHORITY AND ORDERS FOR THE NOISELESS RELEASE OF OUR UNLUCKY REPRESENTATIVES.

The delay in the major consignment brought home with redoubled force the grave political and security problem which faced us.

BY 2 JUNE BOTH THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL AND THE ARAB STATES ANNOUNCED THEIR ACCEPTANCE OF THE TRUCE DECIDED ON BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL.

(see CEASEFIRES theme)

***NO SANE ISRAEL GOVERNMENT COULD ACCEPT SUCH A TRUCE WITH THE INTENTION OF OBSERVING IT, ANY MORE THAN THE ARAB STATES WOULD STOP RECEIVING ARMS UNDER “LONG-STANDING” CONTRACTS FROM BRITAIN.

There was no doubt in my mind then that the Provisional Government intended to exploit the truce (as we later learnt that it did) in order to correct our dangerously inferiority in arms.

*That, truce or no truce, they would welcome the arrival of the Altalena (however sour their welcome might be) was, to be obvious.

*With the declaration of a truce, however, the danger was that our ship might be attacked in the open sea by the Egyptians or, what was more in an onrush of loyalty to U.N. decisions, plead justification.

How great was this risk, and how good were the ship’s chances of breaking through if attacked?

These questions we discussed long and earnestly with Monroe Fein.

Fein had handled precisely the same type of vessel against the Japanese.

He was confident of his ability to evade attack: and in the repelling attacks he would be well-equipped on board with weapons that could be used against aircraft.

We decided:

*That in the light of the gravity of the arms situation, we must take the risk that might ensue from a formal breach of the truce;

*That the boat should therefore sail, taking whatever action its commander thought necessary to evade or resist enemy action;

*That the commander should do whatever possible to evade United Nations truce surveillance.

*To this end, unloading of the arms on the Palestine coast should be carried out preferably at night, and the boat stand off during daylight.

TUESDAY 8 JUNE WAS FINALLY FIXED FOR THE DELIVERY OF THE ARMS BY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT.

On that day I traveled down to Marseilles and to Port de Bouc.

At the camps some nine hundred young men and women, in between meals and physical training and unarmed military exercises, fretted and complained at the inaction, at the delay, at not being given arms.

Rammy, who had been summoned from Geneva to take charge of the large camp, was exhausted by very cheerful.

He had succeeded in maintaining order, cleanliness and discipline and to hold the owner of the land at bay.

He was looking forward eagerly to the conclusion of this triple test of his capacities.

Late in the evening, with Dr. Ariel and Madame Vayda, I paid my first and only visit to the Altalena.

Fein then took me round the boat, explained its proposed organization, showed me the substantial arms and supplies from diverse sources that had already come aboard, including half-a-dozen caterpillar trailers.

I was still unable to give him Tel Aviv’s reply to his queries on signals, or the point at which he was to land.

In that event Germant arrived the very next morning and in my absence from Paris flew straight down to Marseilles.

*He brought to Fein the High Command’s approval of the signals he had suggested; and their request to bring the ship to the beach opposite Frishman Street in Tel Aviv.

We paced the deck that moonless Tuesday night for an hour or more turning over the whole project.

Hanging over the rail when Fein had left me to attend to some chores, I pondered over this young American and Americanized Jew, quiet-spoken and clear-headed, responding to a call he had only just begun to recognize.

Now, coolly and pragmatically, without heroics or sentimentality, he was about to drive into whatever danger offered or threatened.

In those spring days of1948 there were many of his kind who came from the counties of rooted comfort to give expression to the sudden sense of solidarity with their ancient people.

There were many; yet they were few.

Too many more, albeit moved by the spectacle of their embattled brothers and cheering them on, yet remained at a distance in New York and Los Angeles, and London and Buenos Aires and Johannesburg.

Suddenly I felt very tired.

I went on to the piers, got into the car we had come by, and fell fast asleep.

I was thus saved a nerve-wracking wait.

I was awakened by voices and movement. I got out.

The head of the convoy of trucks had arrived.

The commander of the convoy, a Major, got out of his car, came up to where Ariel was standing with Madame Vayda and the Divisional Commissioner for the Surveillance de la territoire of the Surete.

The Major asked the civilian official for “Mr. Ariel.”

Ariel identified himself.

The Major saluted and said “I am Major X, head of this convoy of arms directed to you. I am at your disposal.”

*THERE WERE TWENTY-SEVEN TRUCKS.

*THE MAIN ITEMS IN THE TRANSPORT WERE FIVE THOUSAND LEE-ENFIELD RIFLES,

*FIVE MILLION ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION AND

*250 BREN MACHINE-GUNS.

It was about two a.m. Wednesday.

The steel-helmeted soldiers began unloading the trucks.

A team of stevedores began the loading of the ship.

We decided that the ship would sail on Thursday.

After a few hours’ sleep I flew back to Paris.

* * *

That day it was announced that the two sides in Palestine having agreed on the terms, the ceasefire would come into force on Friday morning.

In the week since their acceptance of the truce in principle the military situation had, in our balance, changed to worse.

*ON ALL THE FRONTS THERE WERE TWO NOTABLE COMMON INGREDIENTS: FIERCE AND DAUNTLESS JEWISH FIGHTERS AND A STRIKING JEWISH INFERIORITY IN FIRE-POWER.

Even now there was a hitch at Prot de Bouc.

On arriving in Paris I found a telephoned message from Marseilles.

The stevedores working on the Altalena had gone on strike, ordered out by their Trade Union.

We were given an official explanation.

Ariel intervened with the Union, but meantime the French soldiers set to work.

Sixty men, and then another sixty, were brought from the Irgun camp to do the work of the stevedores.

They were more enthusiastic but not as fast.

Another day was lost.

Work went on incessantly for two days.

AT MIDDAY ON FRIDAY 11 JUNE THE LOADING WAS COMPLETED.

THE ALTALENA SAILED FOR PALESTINE AT 8:30 THAT EVENING.

Indeed the space I have here devoted to this incident is far grater than it occupied in my mind at the time.

I was overwhelmed by a sea of real troubles.

At eleven p.m. on Friday night I had received the message of the sailing of the Altalena.

Early the next morning a thunderbolt came down.

A TELEGRAM ARRIVED FROM TEL AVIV ASKING ME NOT TO SEND THE BOAT AND TO AWAIT INSTRUCTIONS.

I was shocked and dismayed.

What could have happened?

On Tuesday, the day I went to Marseilles, I had had a telegram from Tel Aviv asking whether the boat had sailed.

The next day Germant had arrived bringing the instructions for beaching.

They knew therefore that we were making preparations for the sailing.

What had happened in these several days?

In fact nothing had “happened.”

There was a certain lack of (mental) correspondence in our thinking.

Begin had assumed the he would be informed in advance of the date we fixed for a sailing.

He too was watching the negotiations for a truce and its likely effect on the affairs of the Altalena.

More significantly and materially his estimate of the probable effects of a breach of the truce on our part was different from ours.

*He was not prepared t commit a breach of the truce without the prior consent of the Israel Government; we believed that the Israel Government would give its blessing to an accomplished fact.

The situation could still be corrected.

I drafted a message to be sent o our radio to the ship.

Now came the second blow.

*Our transmitter did not work.

I did not stop to investigate.

I CABLED TEL AVIV THAT THE SHIP HAD SAILED, THAT I HAD NO CONTACT WITH HER, THAT THEY SHOULD TRY TO COMMUNICATE WITH HER DIRECT.

I then raced to the Yugoslav Embassy.

While the boat had supplies enough, at a stretch, for four weeks, the prospect of a thousand people sailing aimlessly round in the Mediterranean for a month in the midsummer heat was not a pleasant one to contemplate.

A friendly port might give her discreet shelter for at least part of the time.

THE ONLY GOVERNMENT I BELIEVED MIGHT AGREE WAS YUGOSLAVIA.

Yugoslavia had indeed recently broken with the Soviet Union, she had indeed opposed partition.

Yet there was no unequivocally hostile attitude to us.

We had noted this the previous year during the United Nations Commission’s session in Palestine, during our conversation with the editor of Borba in Tel Aviv, my talks with (the) Yugoslav representative in Geneva, and my meeting with Brilej.

Brilej was now an Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I hoped, through him, to obtain ten or fourteen days’ asylum for the boat.

I do not know what Brilej’s reaction would have been.

I applied for a visa, was told the application must be sent to Belgrade.

I asked that it be sent telegraphically and be referred to Brilej.

Perhaps this was a mistake. The official did not look pleased.

Nevertheless I asked him to telephone as soon as he had a reply.

Certainly in the ten days I remained in Paris I did not receive any reply.

*The days passed in unrelieved anxiety, deepened by the knowledge that from the moment it sailed the Altalena’s voyage had been reported, though not prominently, in the British Press.

I was, too, kept occupied by the maintenance of a dozen airmen sent from Canada and the United States to man the planes which had been bought on our behalf.

The planes themselves had not arrived.

At last came news, this time good.

On Thursday 17 June Aryeh Ben Eliezer, returned from Palestine.

He reported on what had gone forward there since the receipt of my telegram of Saturday.

***BEGIN HAD SENT A TELEGRAM TO LANKIN ON THE SHIP INSTRUCTING HIM TO KEEP THE SHIP AWAY FROM THE PALESTINE SHORE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE OWING TO THE TRUCE.

*As we learnt later the order was received on board and Fein and Lankin made the necessary arrangements.

*Lankin instituted rationing of food and drink and cigarettes to last four weeks.

*IMMEDIATELY AFTER SENDING THE INSTRUCTIONS THE IRGUN HIGH COMMAND APPLIED ITSELF TO SECURING THE GOVERNMENT’S AGREEMENT TO THE COMING OF THE SHIP.

They communicated with Galili and gave him a full account of the ship and its contents, of its sailing without permission from France, of the order that had now been given to the ship to keep away.

***IF THE GOVERNMENT AGREED, THE ORDER WOULD BE RESCINDED AND THE SHIP BROUGHT IN.

***IF NOT, THE SHIP WOULD REMAIN AT SEA UNTIL THE END OF THE TRUCE.

THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION, SAID ELIEZER, HAD BEEN COMMUNICATED AT A MEETING WITH SHKOLNIK AND GALILI, AT WHICH HE HAD BEEN PRESENT, ON TUESDAY 15 MAY.

The decision was: to bring the ship and to bring it with all possible speed.

In great relief and indeed joy Begin had sent a new order to the ship: “Full Steam Ahead.”

“They are now on internal problems,” said Ben Eliezer. “Galili has promised that the Haganah will send trucks to help us unload the ship as quickly as possible so as to reduce to a minimum its exposure to possible U.S. intervention. They were due to discuss later other details, about where to beach the ship and how to distribute the arms. Everybody is now relaxed, and I felt free to leave for Paris.”

I at once communicated (the news) to Ariel who had been brooding in his own way over the developments of the preceding week. He was overjoyed.

The anxiety which had hung over the office those several days was transformed into a quite disproportionate light-heartedness.

The boat was still in danger.

Yet no rationalization can alter the fact that neither Arabs, nor British, nor U.N. observers

***THE ONE THING WE DID NOT, COULD NOT, FORESEE WAS ABYSMAL BETRAYAL BY THE GOVERNMENT OF A MONTH-OLD ISRAEL FIGHTING FOR ITS LIFE.

Now, except for the planes which had still not arrived, and would have to be forwarded to Palestine when they did arrive, the Irgun Zvai Leumi in Europe could be reduced to skeleton (proportion).

It would not yet be entirely wound up.

WE NEVER FORGOT JERUSALEM, WHERE THE ISRAEL GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT LET ITS WRIT RUN, WHERE THE BATTLE WAS STILL HEAVILY JOINED, WHERE THE OLD CITY HAD FALLEN AND THE NEW IN MANY-PRONGED DANGER.

There the Irgun would have to continue its independent existence to struggle for the inclusion of the whole of the city in the Jewish State.

It might be for only a matter of weeks.

It might be for months or years.

*Until we knew, a remnant of the Irgun abroad must be kept in being.

*For the present, however, as many of us as could possibly get back to Israel, to the front, must do so.

Indeed of all our officers only Aryeh and Ariel remained in Paris, with Yehoshua Helpern to look after finances.

All the rest packed their bags.

There were about twenty-five of us.

I decided again to charter a plane – this time French.

We took with us Major Samuel Weiser who had come from London and Conrad Berkovici one of the band of writers in America who had for years given dedicated service to our cause through the Hebrew Committee.

With us too came Samuel L. Katz; and a young woman from London, Gusta Feingold, with a baby in arms. Her husband and her brother, who had both served as officers in the British Army, had sailed on the Altalena. She was hurrying to Palestine to make a home for all of them in the new State.

On Tuesday 22 June we left Paris.

As we waited among our suitcases on the pavement of Avenue de Hessine for the taxis to take us to the airport, Ariel arrived.

He was agitated.

He called Eli and me aside and showed me a slip of paper.

He had just had a telephoned message from the French Foreign Office.

There a telegram had arrived about the Altalena.

THE BOAT, SAID THE MESSAGE, HAD ARRIVED OFF EFAR VITKIN AND HAD BEEN FIRED ON.

What could it mean?

Kfar Vitkin was a communal village north of Natanya peopled exclusively by Mapai members, by definition enemies of the Irgun.

We left our thoughts unspoken.

Through my mind, unbidden, flashed an incident from South African history.

The Zulu Chief Dingaar invited the Boer leaders to a friendly parley in his kraal. Inside they were massacred to a man.

I reproached myself for such macabre and probably unjust thoughts.

Our only stop on the way was at Ajaccio in Corsica, where we spent the night.

There we heard no news at all from Palestine.

We reached Haifa the next afternoon.

At the airport we rushed to buy the newspaper.

IN GIGANTIC HEADLINES IT TOLD US THAT TWENTY MEMBERS OF THE IRGUN HAD BEEN KILLED, AMONG THEM ABRAHAM STAVSKY, AND THAT THE ALTALENA WAS BURNING TO DEATH OFF THE SHORE OF TEL AVIV.

* * *
Begin has published his account of the Altalena in The Revolt, and Lankin – The Story of the Commander of Altalena.

Monroe Fein, at my request wrote his own laconic factual report immediately after the event.

This was supplemented by the report of Jerry Salaman, the crew-member who had been charged with the defense of the boat.

Fein’s and Salaman’s reports have never been published.

(NOTE: They are preserved in the Jabotinsky Museum in Tel Aviv.)

Except for minor details all the accounts confirm and supplement each other.

Indeed it is not difficult to get at the essential truth of the story of the Altalena.

***The numerous fabrications issued in the name of Provisional Government and which flooded the Press in Israel and outside were only needed by their authors for a few days.

The obvious facts – or the facts that soon became obvious – lit up their lurid mendacity.

It was by then too late for them to be of effect.

***Moreover, mistakes were made by the Irgun leadership which helped Ben Gurion obfuscate the issue and “get away” with it.

* * *

*It had been agreed between the Irgun and the Haganah that on the official proclamation of the National Army, the Irgun would be incorporated into the army unit by unit under its own junior officers.

To organize the transfer and until the process was completed the Irgun High Command would continue in being as a Military Staff recognized by the new Army Command.

By the middle of June, when the negotiations of the Altalena took place, a number of Irgun units were already serving in the Army.

Indeed they could be identified on all the fronts.

One of them had participated in the heroic defense of Negbah, one of them had captured the Arab village of Yibneh north of Ashdod.

*With the eager consent of the Government to the bringing of the ship, Galili (now Assistant minister of Security) and his colleagues were asked to determine the most convenient point for the boat to land.

*Their answer was: Kfar Vitkin.

Galili even gave an unsolicited explanation of the choice: it would be easier there to evade United Nation surveillance.

Hence the order went out from Begin to the Altalena to make course for Kfar Vitkin.

When it was received on board the ship Eliahu Lankin was overwhelmed with delight.

As he explained to Fein, who was blissfully ignorant of Jewish politics – This was obviously a Government choice.

This meant that the Government was cooperating with the Irgun in the operation.

“All our troubles” he told Fein “are over.”

Fein however did not forget the Arabs and the British.

He was wary of air attacks.

*Throughout the voyage men were trained as anti-aircraft gunners, and by the time the boat arrived off the Palestine coast, he had mounted twenty-two guns and thirty Browning machine-guns as anti-aircraft defense.

*On shore the nest phase of the discussions began: how to distribute the arms.

*There was some surprise on the Irgun side that there should be any question.

The Irgun, after its years of struggle as an independent organization, was now drafting its units into the army.

All of them were short of arms.

They were bleeding on every front for shortage of arms.

THE ALTALENA AND ITS ARMS, A COLLECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT, BASED ON YEARS OF EFFORT BY THEM AND THEIR COMRADES, HAD BEEN PLANNED TO REACH THEM, SHOULD HAVE REACHED THEM, AT LEAST A MONTH EARLIER, EVEN BEFORE THE NATIONAL ARMY WAS ESTABLISHED.

HAD THIS HAPPENED EVERY IRGUN UNIT JOINING THE ARMY WOULD HAVE PHYSICALLY BROUGHT ITS OWN ARMS WITH IT.

This was indeed our contribution to the defense of the State: an army.

This was indeed the significance of our entering the army: as units, with our colors flying and bearing our arms.

*As for Jerusalem, there the shortage of arms was most painful.

*Moreover there was no National Army - there the Irgun continued its independent existence, parallel with the Haganah.

Who could object, who indeed had the right to object, to hard acquired Irgun arms going to our contingent in Jerusalem?

***THE IRGUN NEGOTIATORS INSISTED THAT TWENTY PERCENT OF THE ARMS MUST BE EARMARKED FOR THE IRGUN IN JERUSALEM.

*On Jerusalem – Galili told Begin – the Provisional Government had agreed: twenty percent of the arms would be allotted to Jerusalem.

*For the rest – the reply was negative.

*The arms must simply be handed over to the Provisional Government.

*The Irgun continued to press that the Irgun soldiers in the Army should have priority in getting arms which their comrades had acquired.

Begin records what he said to Galili:

“Had the boat come several weeks ago, as we had planned, the Irgun would have had all the arms. Wouldn’t you agree that our boys should come into the Army at least fully armed and equipped? You yourself demanded that in view of the gravity of the situation all arms and equipment in the possession of the Irgun should be issued to the Irgun boys who were going into the Army. What has now changed? These particular arms were merely late in arriving. Our boys are already in the Army or will be within a matter of days. It would only mean that they will be mobilized with the full equipment which we in any case would have given them. What is wrong with that? Why can’t you agree?”

Galili remained adamant.

***NOW HE MADE THE ASTONISHING PRONOUNCEMENT THAT AS NO AGREEMENT HAD BEEN REACHED ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ARMS THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT UNLOAD THE SHIP.

This was a severe blow.

***IT WAS NOT EASY FOR THE IRGUN NOW TO MOBILIZE THE EQUIPMENT FOR UNLOADING AND REMOVING THE ARMS.

All available manpower not yet actually in the Army and all possible sources of transport were alerted.

Even a football match was exploited to this end. Over the loud speaker at half time the announcer called on all owners of vehicles to report with their vehicles for special duty.

Avraham, incurably optimistic, decided to try the Army once more.

He telephoned to David Cohen, the liaison officer at the Ministry of Security (who had been present with Galili and Bahkol at our midnight meeting a month earlier).

He appealed to him for help in unloading.

He pointed out that speed would be essential for the operation.

Surely they did not want to give the U.N. observers time to interfere?

Cohen promised to convey the request and suggested Avraham telephone again the next day.

The next day he informed Avraham that the reply was positive.

The army would send trucks to Kfar Vitkin.

It was now Friday 18 June.

On the evening of the next day the Altalena arrived off the coast.

She was a little too far south.

It was some hours before the signal lights on shore were spotted.

Only at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning (20 June) did the boat reach the beach at Kfar Vitkin.

“It was impossible to bring the LST all the way up to the shore” wrote Fein. “The bow of the ship … was approximately forty meters from the shore … The shore parties had constructed a number of rafts made out of empty oil-drums and we attempted to lash these together with hopes of forming a bridge. However the surf was too high to handle them safely and this attempt was abandoned. We also attempted to land a group of passengers on the LCVP (small boat) but the coxswain, after attempting to run up on the beach several times, decided not to risk the boat and the people and returned with them to the ship. By this time daylight was approaching, and we gave up the attempt to land anything that night and put out to sea once more with the intention of returning as soon as darkness had fallen in the evening.”

What had happened on shore?

Everybody had gone to Kfar Vitkin.

There was an atmosphere compounded of action and celebration.

It was indeed a holiday.

At last all the months of hope and striving and sheer hard work had come to fruition.

Late it might be, but not too late to turn the scales in the battles soon to be renewed.

For Begin himself it was a great and historic occasion.

He felt, probably more poignantly than his comrades, the significance, after years of underground struggle, of this dramatic, open manifestation of Irgun achievement.

IT SEEMED TO ALL OF THEM A FITTING LAST ACT FOR THE IRGUN ZVAI LEUMI, NOW RAPIDLY FADING INTO THE SHADES OF HISTORY.

Everybody went to Kfar Vitkin.

Except for brief visits by one or other of the members of the High Command nobody remained at Irgun headquarters in Tel Aviv.

To the Freud Hospital building where the Irgun Headquarters were situated David Cohen of the Ministry of Defense came that Sunday afternoon. He had participated in the midnight meeting there on 15th May. He served now as the Ministry’s liaison officer with the special Staff set up by the Irgun to coordinate the entry of the Irgun units into the newly formed Israel Army.

He found there his opposite number, Amitzur, who told him that the ship had been ordered out to sea and would be brought back to the shore after dark to be unloaded.

To Amitzur’s query he repeated the promise to help in the unloading of the ship.

He added that he would himself be on the spot and would mobilize help in the neighborhood.

THE PROMISED TRUCKS NEVER CAME.

Nor did Cohen, nor Galili, nor anybody who had taken part in the negotiations with the Irgun.

A personal appearance on the beach at Kfar Vitkin was quite incompatible with their purpose.

On the contrary: this was their moment for springing the trap.

No sooner had Galili received the information that the boat was within his reach than he hastened to give the necessary orders.

The task of carrying them out fell to the lot of the Army commander in the area, Dan Even, who headed the “Alexandroni” Brigade.

In later years Even wrote a foreword to a book about this brigade and there related in detail the briefing he was given that Sunday.

According to his account (which has never been denied) Galili said to him:

“The I.Z.L. has brought a boat filled with arms and ammunition to the shore at Kfar Vitkin. We knew the (arms) were due to arrive and reached an agreement whereby we and they were to unload the arms together. The I.Z.L. has broken the agreement. They did not inform us of the date of the boat’s arrival nor where it was going to anchor.”

ON THE STRENGTH OF THIS BRIEFING WHICH WAS DELIVERED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE CHIEF OF OPERATIONS YIGAL YADIN, BRIGADIER EVEN PROCEEDED TO PREPARE THE ATTACK ON THE I.Z.L.

At nine o’clock on the Sunday evening the Altalena returned.

Now arrangements had been made on board.

IN THE FIRST TWO HOURS, WITH THE HELP OF THE LCVP – AND AFTER BEGIN HAD BEEN TUMULTUOUSLY WELCOMED ON BOARD – THE WHOLE IRGUN CONTINGENT WAS LANDED.

Nearly a thousand happy men and women were immediately packed onto lorries and taken to a rest camp at Natanya.

A handful remained with the crew to take part in the unloading together with the large crowd of Irgun members who had come to Kfar Vitkin.

The unloading went on all night.

During the night a group of Palmach soldiers appeared and lent a hand.

They asked Lankin to show them over the Altalena.

He took them out in a motor boat to the ship.

They expressed wonderment at the size of the arms shipment.

They were not seen again.

It was very slow work.

It would have taken a literal week of nights to complete.

It was decided not to suspend work for the daylight; unloading until Monday midday or later.

Avraham had gone back to Tel Aviv.

There … he went and asked … to arrange for the dispatch of lighters from the port to speed up the work of unloading.

On his way he saw troops going towards Kfar Vitkin. He wondered vaguely why.

During the night two strange ships had taken up position near the Altalena.

“At daybreak” writes Fein “we identified the shops as corvettes of the Israel Navy and consequently paid very little attention to them the rest of that time.”

***Suddenly on the beach Begin and Meridor saw that soldiers were taking up position round them in a wide circle.

They were asking themselves what this could mean when an officer arrived with a note for Begin.

It was signed by the local Army commander.

It was very terse.

THE SHIP AND THE ARMS MUST BE SURRENDERED WITHIN TEN MINUTES; OTHERWISE THE ARMY WOULD APPLY ALL THE FORCE AT IT DISPOSAL.

The world collapsed around them.

Begin sent a reply that “this was not matter that could be settled in ten minutes.”

The army commander did not carry out his threat.

Yaacov Meridor was permitted to leave the area to see the heads of the Local Councils of Kfar Vitkin and Netanya.

They promised to intervene with the Government.

Begin sent word to the ship to stop unloading.

Meridor returned.

AFTER LONG DISCUSSION, BEGIN FELL IN WITH MERIDOR’S PROPOSAL THAT HE BOARD THE SHIP AND MAKE HIS WAY TO TEL AVIV.

“In this way” writes Begin “we could extricate ourselves from these siege conditions and I would be able to communicate directly with the Government and put an end to what I still hoped was a perilous misunderstanding somewhere. I was doubtful about leaving the boys, surrounded as they were. But Meridor insisted that I go.”

The men on the beach were called together for Begin to explain what he was about to do.

AT THAT MOMENT, AS THEY CLUSTERED TOGETHER, THE ARMY LAUNCHED ITS ATTACK.

From all sides and with a variety of weapons – rifles, machine-guns and mortars the small crowd of unarmed men was attacked.

Begin shouted to the men to scatter.

Under a hail of bullets Begin and Lankin and a number others raced to the motor-boat waiting at the shore and took off for the Altalena.

Among them was Abraham Stavsky.

Among them was Merlin of the Hebrew Committee, who had come from Tel Aviv.

Monroe Fein, startled by the burst of shooting, “suspected some sort of a sneak Arab attack and my thought was to protect the ship by going to sea.”

“I then learned” he wrote “that there was a party of people coming from the beach in our LCVP which had been tied up at the pier at the time. I gave them instructions to stand off until I was clear of the beach and then I would take them aboard. As we started our engines and began to move off the beach, we saw the boat leaving the pier with approximately thirty people on board. As the ship swung around and headed seaward, our starboard side was facing the two corvettes which remained in the same position as they had all during the day and the previous night.

“Suddenly, and without any warning whatsoever, both corvettes opened fire on the Altalena with heavy machine-guns. We were completely unprepared for such an attack and could not begin to return fire. I noticed the gunfire was aimed towards the LCVP as well and swung the ship around to a position between the boat and the corvettes. As soon as we had completed this maneuver the firing from the corvettes stopped and we began to receive a signal from them.

“As we were taking aboard the men in the boat, one of the corvettes again began firing but this time the shots ere placed across the bow and were obviously intended as warning shots to make us comply with their orders, which was to proceed immediately to Tel Aviv. We signaled back that we would comply with these orders. As soon as the LCVP was stowed aboard, we turned south and set a course for Tel Aviv. One of the corvettes had taken up her position to the west of us and the other astern of us. As we continued, the latter gradually dropped out of sight.”

NOW CAME A NEW THREAT.

As she sailed southward to Tel Aviv the Altalena naturally hugged the coast.

There Fein felt she would be safest from attack by the corvette.

*Suddenly the corvette sent an order to change course and head for the open sea.

The ominous significance of the order was patent.

What purpose could have there been in driving the boat from the safety of the shore?

“As we had not intention of complying with this order” wrote Fein “we adopted various ruses to stall them off …”

IT WAS AFTER MIDNIGHT OF 21 JUNE WHEN THE ALTALENA REACHED TEL AVIV.

Running in at full speed she was grounded opposite Frishman Street.

She was greeted by a flurry of fire from the shore.

Soon after, the two corvettes took up positions nearby.

When dawn came those on board saw that the shore area was surrounded by soldiers.

* * *

The last act of the tragedy may be simply described.

FROM THE ARRIVAL OF THE BOAT AT TEL AVIV UNTIL IT WAS DESTROYED THERE WAS NO HINT OR SIGN FROM THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF ANYTHING BUT THE DETERMINATION TO KILL.

To this end even the white flag hoisted or flourished that day was disregarded.

No proposal, no demand was made of the Irgun leaders, of the captain of the ship.

Even formal “surrender” did not help.

THE ONLY LANGUAGE USED BY BEN GURION WAS THAT OF THE RIFLES AND FINALLY OF THE BIG GUN.

* * *

Avraham, in Tel Aviv, on learning of what was happening at Kfar Vitkin, had sought out Yitshak Gruenbaum, now a member of the Provisional Government in whose name agreement to the Altalena’s coming had been given.

They met at the Bristol Hotel.

***Gruenbaum, the member of the ruling group who had taken part in all the earlier negotiations with the Irgun was startled to learn what Avraham told him.

***He had not, nor had the Government as well, been informed at all of the discussions with the Irgun leaders about the Altalena.

***They had not been told of its expected advent.

Ben Gurion, Yitshak Gruenbaum, had told his colleagues that the Irgun had sprung a surprise on the Government, brought a boat with arms which they refused to hand over to the army.

This was a revolt, declared Ben Gurion, which had to be crushed.

Much taken aback now by the truth, Gruenbaum promised to see Ben Gurion immediately.

He an Avraham moreover worked out together an interim proposal for a compromise.

The arms should be landed and stored while a reasonable arrangement was worked out for their distribution.

*Avraham explained to Gruenbaum that the Irgun would regard it as a great injustice if the Irgun soldiers were not given priority of these arms, but the Government would inevitably have the last say.

THE IRGUN HOWEVER WOULD INSIST IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES ON TWENTY PERCENT OF THE ARMS GOING TO THE MEN IN JERUSALEM.

There the Government did not claim sovereignty; by agreeing to the boat’s coming it had in effect agreed to the transit of weapons to the independent Irgun in Jerusalem.

However the immediate requirement was to put and end to the “siege” by the Government, ensure the safety of the invaluable arms, and work out an arrangement in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Avraham never heard again from Gruenbaum.

When they parted the boat was already on its way to Tel Aviv, carrying a target for Ben Gurion much more important than a few thousand rifles, and a few million rounds of .303 bullets and the rest.

Aboard the Altalena was Begin, maneuvered into a position where he might be treated as a rebel.

After Begin was disposed of (and if to this end the ship had to be blown up the price was worth it) there would no doubt be noise and criticism, maybe even an uprising of Begin’s followers.

All the better: they could be crushed in masse.

* * *

I write this fifteen years after the events.

I write it without heat.

Very few new material facts have come to light since that time.

Yet I hesitated a long time before reaching this conclusion.

It would have been much pleasanter to be able to find an explanation,

… to show that it was all a misunderstanding,

… that something went wrong in the communications,

… it was error in aim that made it possible for unarmed men swimming away from the burning ship to be fired on,

… that it was sudden physical blindness striking all the soldiers at once that made them unaware of a white flag fluttering on the ship,

… of white handkerchiefs waved frantically by swimming men.

* * *

ON BOARD THE SHIP, BEGIN’S CENTRAL THOUGHT WAS STILL TO ENSURE THE SAFE LANDING OF THE ARMS.

Their destiny could be worried about afterwards.

“A group of armed men was sent ashore in the LCVP to take up positions round the beach” writes Fein “in order that discharging of cargo could begin.

”But when a second group was approaching the shore they were suddenly fired on from the beach on all sides. The boat succeeded in landing this party but it could not return to the ship because it was subjected to heavy fire each time it approached. The fact that the crew of the boat was waving a white flag” writes Fein “did not seem to diminish the firing.”

“On the ship” - continues Fein’s account – “the order was given to the men in the defense unit to fire on such of the army troops as they could definitely see were firing on the ship. When the order to open fire was given the after-battery mistakenly fired one burst at one of the corvettes (which) had shown no inclination in joining in the fight. The ship continued to receive heavy firing from the shore for a period of about one and half hours. Some of the heavy machine-guns ashore were using armor-piercing ammunition which passed right through steel bulkheads of the ship. This fact began to cause us numerous casualties. We had no doctor on board and some of our casualties were very seriously wounded. We contacted, through Etzel headquarters ashore, the army commander and requested a ceasefire in order to allow us to remove the wounded men form the ship. We arranged that we would use our own LCVP for this purpose. Ceasefire was agreed to almost at once and all firing on both the shore and ship had stopped within a few minutes. From this point on there was not a single round of ammunition fired from the ship for the remainder of the afternoon.

“Immediately after the ceasefire order we attempted to contact the LCVP which had remained on the beach to the north of the ship. However, we discovered that we were unable to reach them as apparently their radio set had gone dead. Jack Baron, the Chief Officer volunteered to swim to the boat to tell the crew of the arrangement that had been made.

“As soon as he was in the water, he was fired upon many times from the shore, but succeeded in reaching the shore, only to be captured by army men. He was not allowed to walk up to the boat.

“When we saw there was no possibility to communicate with our own boat, we immediately made this fact known to the Palmach commander and asked that a government boat be sent from the harbour to take off the wounded. This was immediately promised us. We then settled down to wait for the appearance of this boat, meanwhile caring for the wounded as best we could.

“During the time one of them died. One hour and a half later, and after repeated requests there was still no sign of any boat. We had also tried to signal to the two corvettes to make the same request, but they gave no indication that they even saw our signal.

“At this time, we were suddenly taken under fire by a large gun which was located on the coast to the north of the city. This gun fired three shots, all of which passed over the ship and exploded in the water shortly beyond. We immediately got on the radio and asked whether or not the ceasefire order still was in effect and if so, what was the reason for the renewed gunfire. A reply was made that the ceasefire order was still in effect and that the gun would be silenced immediately. Following this there was a period of about fifteen minutes in which no more gunshots were made.

“During this time I conferred with the Commander-in-Chief of the Irgun and told him that if the gunfire should hit the ship, the ship, the cargo and possibly a good many lives would be lost and that he should at all costs maintain the ceasefire order until there could be further negotiations. This he agreed to do, but as he himself came up to talk on the radio to the headquarters ashore, the heavy gun resumed firing.

“As soon as the gun started a second time, I struck the flag as a sign of surrender. We again inquired of the Palmach commander whether the ceasefire order was in effect and the reply came that the ceasefire order was in effect but that he had been ‘unable to contact all fronts.’ Within a few seconds after this message was received, there was direct hit on the ship which started a large fire in the cargo-hold. The ship’s crew made immediate and valiant efforts to put out this fire, but because of the nature of the cargo it proved beyond our capacity and I ordered all men aboard to prepare to abandon the ship.

“The first thought all of us had was to remove the wounded men. There was no panic. Everyone behaved in an extremely calm and heroic manner. As the men began jumping off the ship and swimming towards the shore, those of us still on board saw that they were being shot at continuously from rifles and machine-guns on the beach. I rushed to the bridge and began waving a white flag and shouting to stop the fire on the men who were swimming for their lives. At the same time another man hoisted a large piece of white canvas on the halyard, but these efforts were of little avail, as the firing continued.

“We continued in our efforts to take off all of the wounded men and we received much assistance from those who rowed out from shore in a number of paddleboats, exposing themselves to the danger of the firing from the beach and the explosions on the ship which by that time had begun and continued in increasing frequency. Several men among us made a trip below decks throughout all parts of the ship which were still accessible and made certain that no man had been left on board. When this had been done and when the violence of the explosions warned us that it was highly dangerous to remain on the ship any longer, all men were ordered over the side and the ship left burning and exploding violently. By this time the harassing fire from the shore had ceased and the only danger to those of us still in the water was from flying shrapnel of the ship itself.

“Those of us who reached the shore were unmolested on the beach and most were taken immediately to Etzel headquarters where we received clothing and arrangements were made for shelter.”

*Members of one of the Irgun units incorporated in the army, when the incredible news of the Army attack on their comrades reached them, broke camp and made their way to Tel Aviv.

They tried to get through the cordon surrounding the beach.

They failed.

The reporter of Haaretz who saw their effort at two different street intersections near the beach noted in transparent surprise in each case that they did not use force, did not open fire.

Only later, when the shelling of the boat started, noted the reporter, the Irgun called to the Army soldiers to stop the shelling, and broke through their lines – but again without shooting.

Some of the Army soldiers joined with the Irgun in shouting that the shelling should stop.

But nobody seemed to know where the gun was.

The shelling of the ship, and the shooting at those aboard who tried to save themselves by swimming, went on to the end.

THE SHIP WAS DESTROYED, THE MAJOR PART OF THE PRECIOUS LOAD OF ARMS DESTROYED, SIXTEEN MEMBERS OF THE IRGUN WERE KILLED, SOME FORTY WOUNDED.

Two Haganah Army soldiers were killed in the burst of retaliation and several wounded.

Mr. Ben Gurion had truly won a great victory.

The object of this sacrifice of lives and material however, was not achieved: Begin was not killed.
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 20 Jun 2009, 00:22

CONCLUSIONS FROM THE ALTALENA
On my return, and for months afterwards, I made as compulsive a study as could be made of the events surrounding the Altalena in Israel.

The physical facts (in spite of the strange distortions to which they were subjected) are hardly disputable.

I mulled over them, correlated them with what I knew in my own direct experience, and reached a conclusion which no later reconsideration had been able to alter in my mind.

From the moment it became clear the Begin was personally on the spot, he became the TARGET OF THE BULLETS AND THE SHELLS.

There is no other rational explanation of the astonishing, the murderous, and in the end, barbarous, behaviour of the Army.

What other objective was there that could justify the destruction of a ship and a quantity of war material that might, for all Ben Gurion knew, be sufficient to turn the scales on the resumption of the hard and bloody battles?

WHERE SO MUCH HAD BEEN ENDANGERED AND SO MUCH BLOOD LOST FOR LACK OF ARMS, A TRULY MAJOR REASON HAD TO EXIST FOR THE ACT OF DESTRUCTION IN WHICH BEN GURION WILLFULLY AND INFLEXIBLY INDULGED THAT DAY.

(A deputation of mayors that came to plead with him to open negotiations were rebuffed at the very moment that the big gun began firing.)

Could it be the boat itself whose destruction was required in order to win the war and establish Israel’s independence?

Could it be the houses on the sea-front and their inhabitants (all of whom were endangered by the explosion of the ammunition in the burning ship) that needed to be destroyed?

Only the people on the Altalena remain as the rational target whose destruction was worth the loss and the risk involved.

Yet the thirty or forty men on board the Altalena when she arrived off Tel Aviv were all unknown, anonymous to those on shore.

OF ALL OF THEM THE IDENTITY OF ONE ALONE WAS KNOWN FOR CERTAIN TO BEN GURION, AND THAT WAS BEGIN.

In May 1948 the Irgun was at a peak of popularity which no opposition in Palestine had ever attained.

The mounting recognition both of their courage of its soldiers and its political perspicacity had been brought to a climax by the attack on Jaffa and its capture.

Admiration and sympathy had been given sharper focus by the ugly schadenfreudex with which the enemies of the Irgun had greeted the failure of its initial assault on the town.

To a professional politician popularity is measurable in votes at an election.

*Given peace, an election would have to be held within a few brief months of the end of the war.

Here then, perhaps no more than five or six months before the test of elections, was the prospective leader of the opposition on the crest of a billowing wave of popularity.

The danger inherent in such popularity was undoubtedly obvious to the wily politician in Ben Gurion.

Begin, as it happened, (for good or ill) was not thinking of elections.

Now, as Ben Gurion saw it, came the Irgun with its arms in such quantity as might as well influence strongly the course of the war in Israel’s favor.

Overnight the legend would be born that at the crucial moment of arms shortage Begin and the Irgun had saved the situation.

(This would have been unfair, for the Provisional Government both before and during the truce had been receiving substantial quantities of arms, mainly from Czechoslovakia; but this the public did not know.)

***Who knows what effect this might not have on the balances of forces in an election to be held soon after the war?

In May and June 1948 Ben Gurion had not yet been cast in the image of Architect-of-the-State-and-of-victory which, with Stalinistic comprehensiveness, his army of propagandists (he himself not least among them) later succeeded in building up.

In June 1948 the thought of a second and competing image was highly realistic and could only have been most oppressive to Ben Gurion.

Suddenly the Irgun presented him with the weapon by which this threat could be literally liquidated.

Unbelievably, moreover, Begin, patently remote from all such calculation, exposed himself to the simplest and most effective of all political campaigns: the rattle of the machine-gun.


BEN GURION’S DISTORTIONS ABOUT THE ALTALENA
How did Ben Gurion explain his actions?

THE TRUTH IS THAT HE DID NOT EVER REALLY EXPLAIN HIS ACTIONS.

ALL CALLS FOR AN INQUIRY MADE IN THOSE VERY DAYS BY MEMBERS OF THE PROVISIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL WERE TURNED DOWN BY BEN GURION’S COMPLACENT MAJORITY.

He applied the tactic perfected in the totalitarian states and embodied in the formula “the prisoner was killed while trying to escape.”

Much later it might be discovered that the prisoner was in fact being held without rhyme or reason and that he had simply been shot in the back in his sleep.

This revelation would by then be of little use to the prisoner, except that still later he might be declared a martyr.

***What Ben Gurion told the National Council and what Galili told the Press during the Altalena operation and in the day or two thereafter consisted of a sprinkling of surface facts in a dish of unabashed lies, evasions and omission.

It was true that the Irgun had brought the ship.

It was true that there was a truce on between Israel and the Arabs.

It was true that the terms of the truce prohibited the bringing of arms.

It was true that the Irgun had not accepted the ultimatum at Kfar Vitkin.

It was true that the ship had sailed from Kfar Vitkin to Tel Aviv.

It was also true that the ship had fired at the army in Tel Aviv.

This sprinkling of facts was mixed into the official version vociferously proclaimed by Ben Gurion, soberly argued by Galili.

It ran roughly as follows:

Suddenly one fine morning the Irgun brought an arms ship. Nobody was told about it. Obviously it was part of a conspiracy against the Government and it flouted the U.N. truce conditions. The Provisional Government naturally could not tolerate either the threat to itself or the breach of the truce regulations. It demanded that the boat and its contents be handed over – so that they could be placed under U.N. control. The Irgun refused to do so. It obviously meant to arm its members for the purpose of holding the Government to ransom. At this point too an Irgun contingent gathered on the beach at Kfar Vitkin and opened mortar fire on the army; and the Altalena left Kfar Vitkin, evaded two corvettes and escaped towards Tel Aviv, where she beached opposite Frishman Street. Here the Irgun was again ordered to hand over the ship and its arms. They refused. There was nothing left for the Government but to destroy the ship. The ship, said Ben Gurion, was bringing ruin to Israel.

“Blessed be the gun” he proclaimed “that destroyed her!”

Even with only the surface facts at their disposal not everybody was bamboozled by this intrinsically stupid story.

Two Cabinet Ministers (Rabbi Fishman and Mr. Moshe Shapiro) resigned.

Several members of the National Council asked unanswered questions.

Several physical facts which Ben Gurion could not change made it clear to them at once that his story was a corruption:

*First and foremost they knew that his declared concern for the truce was sheer hypocrisy.

*The Irgun had brought the ship to, of all places, Kfar Vitkin.

*The fighting men on board had been landed at Kfar Vitkin and sent away.

*At Tel Aviv the ship had been fired on after raising a white flag.

*Men swimming to save their lives had been fired on.

Ben Gurion had sufficient support among his complaisant party members and among the bloodthirsty enemies of the Irgun to ignore the questions and protests of the more squeamish members of the national Council and of the Irgun sympathizers there.

Public shock and bewilderment lasted long enough to enable Ben Gurion to emerge the undoubted victor from the clash which he had so blatantly stage-managed.
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 20 Jun 2009, 00:34

20/20 HINDSIGHT
In this he was aided unwittingly but effectively and lastingly by Begin.

The tragedy of the Altalena was the subject of considerable discussion among the people in the Irgun.

There was much criticism of Begin, particularly by some of those who had worked in Europe.

He had been accused of naivety in that he believed the Government’s acquiescence in the bringing of the boat was sincere.

He should have known, they argue, that Ben Gurion would betray him.

If this was available naivety, we all shared it.

How otherwise would we have sent the boat at all?

Everybody in Paris was overjoyed at the news brought by Ben Eliezer of the agreement with the Government.

Indeed in this we were more na?ve than Begin.

WE TOOK IT FOR GRANTED THAT THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT WOULD WELCOME THE BOAT AND ITS CARGO WITH OPEN ARMS.

Begin was more cautious. He insisted on getting their specific approval.

Until he had that he even ordered the ship to keep away from the coast.

On the shore at Kfar Vitkin, however, he failed in not at once recognizing the fact of Ben Gurion’s betrayal.

The shock of the ten-minute ultimatum was surely great.

A sudden stab in the back is not conducive to quiet thinking.

Its implications however are usually clear.

Begin should have realized that he had been trapped, and trapped successfully, by a cunning schemer.

I believe that at that revelation there was no alternative but to “surrender.”

SURRENDER – FOLLOWED BY A VIGOROUS CAMPAIGN OF PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT.

Would I, in the emotional circumstances at Kfar Vitkin, have acted differently from Begin?

I don not know. Maybe I would have made the same blunder.

It was a blunder.

Begin’s succumbing to the proposal that he board the boat and sail off to Tel Aviv, is also understandable only in the light of the shock to which he was subjected.

He could not of course be expected to suspect Ben Gurion of trying to have him killed.

By boarding the boat he at once put himself off from all possible channels of influence and communication, and exposed himself formally as resistant to the Army.

As in every frame-up the surface evidence was on the side of the framer.

By boarding the boat Begin also provided Ben Gurion with the final element necessary for the success of the plot.

IT WAS PURE CHANCE, AFTER ALL, THAT BEGIN WAS NOT KILLED AND, FOR A WHILE AT LEAST, DEPICTED AS HAVING “LED” AN “ARMED REBELLION.”

* * *

Unfortunately when all was over and it was possible at least to tell the people the whole truth, this was done in such a manner as to nullify its effect.

Begin came off the boat (and) went to the microphone.

AFTER THE TERRIBLE EVENTS OF THE TWO DAYS, WITH THE ALTALENA AND ALL IT MEANT BURNING TO DEATH, WITH SIXTEEN OF HIS YOUNG COMRADES DEAD AND SCORES WOUNDED, HIS HEART BURSTING WITH SORROW AND WITH BITTERNESS, EXHAUSTED PHYSICALLY AND HIS NERVES STRAINED TO BREAKING-POINT, BEGIN DID NOT SEEK REST.

He was obsessed with one thought.

The truth must be published.

THE PEOPLE MUST BE TOLD, SO THAT THEY COULD AT LEAST KNOW THE MAGNITUDE OF THE CRIME THAT HAD BEEN COMMITTED NOT ONLY AGAINST THE IRGUN BUT AGAINST THE SECURITY OF THE PEOPLE.

There was indeed a shattering story to be told.

What Begin did not realize was that he was himself in no fit state to tell it.

Insofar as the object of the broadcast was to enlighten the people, to mobilize their support, it was a disastrous performance.

The speech was long.

It was ill-prepared.

Begin’s voice broke.

He wept.

To many he sounded incoherent.

Who can blame him for weeping?

Who, after such an ordeal, would have retained complete self-control?

But why could he not have sent somebody else to the microphone?

“There are times” writes Begin in The Revolt “when the choice is between blood and tears. Sometimes … it is essential that blood should take the place of tears. Sometimes, as the Altalena taught us, it is essential that tears should take the place of blood.”

There is however another alternative.

At least in public: neither blood nor tears.

Nearly fifteen years earlier, at the height of the Stavksy blood-libel campaign, Jabotinsky had written a article that gave incisive expression to the nature of leadership in crisis.

It was an article that none of us who followed Jabotinsky, and maybe many others, will ever forget.

Begin too.


It was called Kalt Un Fest – Cool and Firm.

* * *

*The result was that Ben Gurion’s victory was, for a while, complete.

Moreover, many in the population who, earlier hostile, had since the conquest of Jaffa and the integration of the Irgun in the Army begun to see in Begin a political star which in the peace they might follow, unjustly yet understandably took flight at his emotionalism.

They did not know that it was the second time in his adult life that he had wept.


THE ROLE OF GALILI AND THE PALMACH IN THE ALTALENA
One man without whom the plot against the Altalena could hardly have been carried out has through the years escaped attention.

It is Yisrael Galili, then Deputy Minister of Security.

Galili, one of the spiritual fathers of the Palmach, once Sneh’s deputy and then his successor as chief of the Haganah.

HE TOOK PART IN ALL THE NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT THE ALTALENA.

The differences between Galili and Ben Gurion over the Palmach were yet to prove substantial.

They were to reach a severe crisis the next year.

Galili and his colleagues were yet, in bitter truthfulness, to accuse Ben Gurion of treachery towards the Palmach and of distorting history.

Over the Altalena Galili acted throughout as Ben Gurion’s jackal, told unblushingly the necessary lies, concocted with easy fluency the relevant fabrications.

The attack on the Altalena was carried out mainly by Palmach units.

The alliance with Ben Gurion was a natural one.

It sprang from the odd history of the Palmach.

In the war against the Arabs in 1948, the Palmach, the best trained and most compact of the Haganah forces (indeed, for open warfare, of all the Jewish forces) fought with great valor and great incisiveness.

Their place in the history of the War of Independence is assured.

Yet the legend of the Palmach had been built up for years before the War of Independence.

It was a legend built on wishful fantasy and untruth.

Anybody who came to Palestine soon after the end of the Second World War would soon hear about “the part played by the Palmach in the War,” about how “the Palmach invaded Syria,” about Palmach heroism, the wonderful spirit round the flickering campfire, with the traditional Arab “finjan” (coffee-pot) and the songs and the stories.

The campfire and the coffee and the songs and stories were all factual.

All the rest, except for two or three minor military incidents, was fiction.

Perhaps if you examined closely what you heard and read in those days you would find there was more insinuation than bald statement, more boastful suggestion that was downright untruth.

***THE FIRST YEARS OF THE PALMACH’S EXISTENCE, DOWN TO THE END OF WORLD WAR II, CONSISTED, IN FACT, OF ENDLESS DISCUSSION ABOUT THE WAR AND AN UNENDING PREPARATION OF FIGHTING THAT OBSTINATELY REFUSED TO COME OFF.

Of the two exploits which the Palmach instructors and propagandists inflated into major military operations only one, strictly speaking, was carried out by the Palmach.

When in May 1941 twenty-three members of the Haganah were sent by sea to Syria to blow up the oil refineries at Tripoli even the decision to establish the Palmach had not yet been taken.

The historian of the Palmach comforts himself with the thought that the twenty-three, had they lived, would certainly have joined the Palmach.

The twenty-three perished on the way to the target, nobody knows in what circumstances – and the Palmach leaders gave themselves a notch for heroism on their account.

In June 1941 thirty-three members of the Haganah who were in process of being embodied in the first Palmach units cooperated in the Allied invasion of Vichy-controlled Syria as guides and sappers.

The Australian group which five of these men were attached was involved in a clash with a Vichy French group, and a fortified French post was blown up.

In this operation the officer, Moshe Dayan, was severely wounded in the eye which had to be removed.

About this incident the Palmach historian writes:

“We see how limited was this operation which too was turned into a part of the Palmach tradition. Legends were woven about it and a song was sung ‘How in Syria the Palmach Marched.’ The Palmach in fact did not march in Syria. In fact it had not yet been established.”

Two or three minor auxiliary operations in which, out of a total strength of about fifteen hundred, perhaps ten or twelve men altogether participated, sums up the total military activity of the Palmach in Palestine throughout the Second World War.

The circumstances of the War – the Germans did not, after all, invade Palestine – and the sour British hesitancy over any Jewish aid at all were against them.

They did at least get a much better military training than any other Haganah unit.

*Youngsters who joined the Palmach after the War were indoctrinated with the belief that they were joining a unit tried in battle and with a record of daring and heroism second to none.

What with the songs and the campfires and the coffee and the rollicking spirit – the legend did indeed fashion an atmosphere of high patriotism and bravery.

The frustration of the leaders, who practiced or condoned this deception, and who themselves did not thereby suffer any loss of admiration and adulation by their younger followers, may be imagined.

In time they had even greater reason for frustration.

The Palmach was dominated by the political group which, at first a splinter of Mapai, later became the Ahdut Avoda party.

One of their sharply distinctive characteristics was a militant attitude both towards the British and on the frontiers of the future State.

Characteristics of their activism were phrases used by Galili (in March 1944): “We may have to fight a war of zealots against the British,” or Yitshak Sadeh (in June 1945), expressing undying opposition to partition: “On this issue we shall not retreat, we shall not betray it, we shall not compromise.”

In the first months after my return to Palestine in 1946 I was so impressed by the closeness to our own outlook that for some time I pressed the idea of trying to reach some accord with them.

The fact was that the leaders hardly progressed beyond the realm of talk.

They were part of the Haganah and they accepted the decisions of the Jewish Agency blindly.

When the United Resistance Movement was established in 1945 the Palmach played an enthusiastic and impressive part in the Haganah operations.

THEY DOCILELY LAID DOWN THEIR ARMS WHEN IN THE SUMMER OF 1946 THE AGENCY THREW IN THE TOWEL.

For all their strenuous propaganda posturing as independent thinkers and the builders of a new military tradition it is doubtful whether even in the inner councils of the Haganah they fought for the ideas they preached to their followers.

When in 1946 Sneh was removed as heard of the Haganah because he wanted to continue resistance, Galili had no difficulty in filling the vacant post.

THE FIGHTING UNDERGROUND WHICH THEY LONGED TO EMULATE WAS THEREFORE AS NATURAL A TARGET FOR THEIR FRUSTRATIONS AS FOR BEN GURION’S.

It happened moreover that the Ahdut Avoda leaders were among the fiercest and most bigoted opponents of Jabotinsky in his lifetime and inculcated in their followers all the old clich?s of the thirties.

“Fascists” was their most popular epithet for us.

It was so simple, required no explanation, had the necessary emotional effect.

Their movement was based almost entirely on kibbutzim where culture was controlled, where a “hostile” newspaper was taboo, where a dissenting opinion meant excommunication.

Their propaganda was as effective as in any totalitarian community.

Persisted in long enough it could not but give birth, at least among their more impressionable followers, to the conviction that a member of the Irgun (like, for example, anybody dubbed “Jew” or “Communist” in Nazi Germany) was “expendable,” that even his blood might be shed with some impunity.

***It was no accident therefore that with these accumulated stores of frustration, envy, and hate, the Palmach was the central pillar of the “season” organized by Ben Gurion in 1944-45.

***It was not merely the fortuitous circumstances of being Ben Gurion’s deputy that drove Galili to collaborate actively in the warp and the woof of the conspiracy against the Altalena.

***It was almost certainly with enthusiasm that the Palmach officers that Tuesday afternoon in Tel Aviv, prevented the taking off of the wounded from the ship, violated the ‘ceasefire,’ shelled the white flag of the Altalena – while fobbing of Fein’s agitated appeals with the pretentious stupidity that not “all the fronts” could be contacted – and carried out the orders to shoot at helpless men struggling in the water.


AFTERMATH
It now required a considerable effort to calm the storm in the ranks of the Irgun.

Whether in the units already absorbed in the Army or among those whose integration was still being organized, the pain and the shame at the murder of the Altalena were finding expression in a wave of revolutionary bitterness, directed for the first time against their fellow Jews.

Had we called for a revolt there would have been no lack of volunteers.

This was indeed the first subject Begin raise when I went to his home straight after my arrival at Haifa, the day after the Altalena climax.

The boat was still smoking off the beach.

A Palmach unit had made a night raid on Metsudat Zeev, the headquarters of the Revisionist Party where also the Jabotinsky Museum was housed.

They had played havoc with furniture and historic documents and had arrested a number of the people from the Altalena sheltering there for the night.

All over the country an atmosphere of emergency was being manufactured.

On the road from Haifa our taxi had been stopped five times at road blocks and our papers examined.

Scores of Irgun members were being arrested.

There were signs that Ben Gurion and his allies would now cause as much havoc as possible under the pretext of “putting down a revolt.”

The mood in the Irgun was explosive.

Begin was haggard and tense.

HIS EXPRESSION WAS SET: THERE MUST BE NO CIVIL WAR.

Within a fortnight at most the war with the Arabs would be resumed.

ONLY BEN GURION HATED JEWS ENOUGH TO RISK CIVIL WAR.

Our accounts with him would be settled in the ballot box.

We would set up a political party.

Meantime we must influence our people to join the Army: it was our Army now no less than Ben Gurion’s.

Begin had sent out a call to all Irgun officers who were in the Tel Aviv areas to come to a meeting that day.

We met there together.

About two hundred of them had come.

They heard Begin out quietly.

I BELIEVE MOST OF THEM KNEW FROM THE BEGINNING THAT EVEN THE RECKLESS PROVOCATIONS OF BEN GURION WERE NOT ENOUGH TO NULLIFY THE YEARS OF IRGUN TEACHING AND PREACHING AGAINST FRATERNAL WAR.

No voice was raised against Begin’s appeal.

Only, there were some who announced that as the Irgun continued to exist in Jerusalem they preferred to go to the Jerusalem front.

So it came about that in spite of the vigorous check exercised against this purpose by the Palmach on the road to Jerusalem, about 150 Irgun officers and soldiers arrived to reinforce our unit there.

Some of them found some stratagem for getting by the road blocks.

Others left the road and made their way, on foot by day and night, through the Judean hills.

* * *

We nursed our wounds.

Among the men killed on the Altalena were two boys from Cuba.

Three of them had arrived in Paris after the final date fixed for joining the camp at Marseilles.

They asked me for an order to the camp commander to accept them nevertheless.

I hesitated.

They were overcome with emotion.

How could I deny them when they had come all the way from Cuba?

I gave it.

With the delay in the boat’s departure they arrived at Marseilles in good time.

I never discovered why and how they had come to remain on the boat at Kfar Vitkin.

They searched for the body of one of them, 21-year-old David Mitrani, found only after a week.

It was hard even to think about Stavsky’s end.

He had been struck by bullets in the water but had not died of his wounds.

He had died of a heart attack
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 20 Jun 2009, 00:41

The Altalena Affair
By Prof. Yehuda Lapidot

Sixteen Irgun fighters were killed in the confrontation with the army; six were killed in the Kfar Vitkin area and ten on Tel Aviv beach. Three IDF soldiers were killed: two at Kfar Vitkin and one in Tel Aviv.


Observations: This is no Altalena
By Yated Ne'eman Staff and Moshe Arens

16 [Irgun] people were killed, 14 of them Holocaust survivors and two Jewish volunteers from Cuba.
Begin's instructions not to return fire prevented a bigger tragedy.

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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 22 Jun 2009, 00:01

altalena
booknikvideo November 25, 2008


phpBB [youtube]
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 22 Jun 2009, 01:39

Свидетельства стрельбы "Пальмаха" по спасающимся с им же расстрелянной 22.06.1948 "Альталены":

- Yitzhak Rabin - murderer of Altalena ship
с корявыми отмазками Рабина и таки свидетельствами против его версию :

phpBB [youtube]


А здесь - среди тех же и других, можно посмотреть на фальсификатора Дир-Ясина М.Пэиля :

- ??????? - ????? ?? ??????
limorenosh June 05, 2009

????? ??????-?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?? ??????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ????????. ???????? ???????? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ??????: ???????? ?? ????? ???? ????????-???...
????? ??????-?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?? ??????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ????????.
???????? ???????? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ??????: ???????? ?? ????? ???? ????????-??????.
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Category: Education

phpBB [youtube]


- Дов Шилянский: «Если бы «Альталену» не расстреляли, Иерусалим был бы наш еще в 1948»
23 Июня 2005

когда по людям, выпрыгивающим в море с горящего корабля и плывущим к берегу, безжалостно стреляли


- JEWS KILLING JEWS -- 1948
Samuel Schachter
Their cannons finally sank the ship, and their marksmen shot at the survivors as they swam to shore.


"АЛЬТАЛЕНА": 60 ЛЕТ СПУСТЯ
Элиэзер Локер wrote:Сразу после того как начался обстрел, Бегин приказал всем покинуть судно. Я вместе со всеми прыгнул в воду. С берега стреляли по шлюпкам, по людям в воде, были убитые и раненые. Люди Рабина вели прицельный огонь даже после того как "Альталена" подняла белый флаг. Тот, кому удавалось добраться до берега, старался куда-то спрятаться. Люди Бен-Гуриона пытались арестовывать нас на берегу, но значительная часть населения нам симпатизировала и всячески им мешала, поэтому мне и нескольким моим товарищам удалось скрыться…


The 'Altalena' sequel
By Sarah Honig, The Jerusalem Post 27 Aug 2007

Uri Yarom's Kenaf Renanim, p. 71 wrote:Yarom - the decorated commander of Israel's first helicopter squadron - is the salt of this country's earth, especially as he suitably hails from the left side of its great and definitive political divide. That lends him ultra-respectability and credibility.
...
In 2001 he included in his autobiographical book (p. 71) an eyewitness account of what he saw on June 22, 1948, as the IZL arms ship Altalena blazed off Tel Aviv. The men on board - mostly idealistic Holocaust survivors intent on joining their reborn nation's struggle for independence - dove into the sea under a hail of gunfire. Some were hurt, but the bullets still kept coming, even though the boys flailed desperately among the waves.

Yarom was a youthful Palmah soldier under the command of Yitzhak Rabin, who eagerly orchestrated and diligently oversaw the attack on the Altalena. Yarom, who cannot be suspected of pro-Revisionist bias, recalled:
"The wounded were being lowered off the boat. From the shore people started swimming toward them to offer help, but from the hotel and nearby houses indiscriminate shots were aimed at the helpless wounded and at those who swam to rescue them! I'll never forget that fellow wearing a blue shirt done up with a white cord [the Hashomer Hatza'ir uniform], who directed the snipers to their targets and pointed to each head that bobbed above the water's surface. His eyes flashed with hatred as he egged the sharpshooters on with his shouts, spotted their quarry and encouraged them to get the swimmers. My heart shuddered within me. Before my eyes was waged a war between brothers! Jews are shooting Jews - in order to kill!"


Altalena Affair
All the time shells were falling around the burning ship, and bullets came whistling past the men as they were getting the wounded away on improvised rafts in the water.


THE ALTALENA AFFAIR - Brother Against Brother
In the words of Yoske Nachmias

(PERFIDY – Ben Hecht)

The Altalena was sunk. Twenty of its Hebrew fighters were killed, half of them in the water while trying to swim ashore, some on the shore in cold blood.


Conciliation, Counter-Terrorism, and Patterns of Terrorist Violence: A Comparative Study of Five Cases. *.
Ethan Bueno de Mesquita p.33 (ссылка 11 на Sprinzak (1999)

Because of concerns that the munitions would ignite, the Irgun abandoned ship (Begin last of all) and made for shore, with the IDF firing on them as they attempted to reach the beach.</i>
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Re: Был (не) один, который не стрелял

Postby igorp » 23 Jun 2009, 22:40

Был (не) "один, который не стрелял"


4. Конец "Альталены"
... первый зондаж в этом направлении был сделан еще ночью, когда "Альталена" шла от Кфар Виткин в Тель Авив. Хейман Шамир, один из высших офицеров ВВС, обратился к пилоту Вильяму Лихтману, добровольцу из США: "Нельзя допустить, чтобы корабль бросил якорь. ЭЦЕЛЬ задумал "спектакль", чтобы доказать свою силу". "Я не могу участвовать в вашей политике", ответил Лихтман. "Я приехал сюда, чтобы драться с арабами. Это то, что я знаю, и это то, что меня интересует". "Это приказ! Солдат должен выполнять приказ и не интересоваться политикой". "Есть ли евреи на корабле?" "Разумеется! Это важно для тебя?" "Есть маленькая разница. По случайности я сам еврей. Я знаю, что для вас здесь это не очень важно. Может, вы сами вообще не евреи! Вы можете забрать ваши сраные приказы и проглотить их! Сволочи! Вы думаете, что я приехал сюда убивать евреев?!" Лихтман командовал эскадрильей, и он сказал, что если один из его летчиков согласится, он "всадит ему пулю в глотку. Это будет лучшее, что я сделаю в своей жизни".

Потерпев неудачу у Лихтмана, обратились к Рыбакову. Он тоже был американским летчиком добровольцем, но он "работал" не на боевых самолетах, а на транспортных "Дакотах" (С 46), которые доставляли оружие из Чехословакии (разумеется, в нарушение условий перемирия). Рыбакова спросили, можно ли сбросить бомбы с "Дакоты". "Думаю, что можно", ответил Рыбаков, "Что, перемирие кончилось?" "Нет, речь идет о корабле" "Ага! Понял! Египтяне везут оружие!" "Нет, это не Египет, это ЭЦЕЛЬ, иргун" "Иргун? Ко всем чертям, Иргун это евреи!!!" "Да, но они вне закона. Это не займет более получаса. О кей?" "Поцелуйте меня в ... Я прилетел за десять тысяч миль и потерял четырех товарищей не для того, чтобы бросать бомбы на евреев".

Теперь Шамир обратился к третьему летчику. Это снова был американец доброволец, и снова Шамир получил отказ: "Я отказываюсь быть палачом" "Люди на корабле это иргунисты!" "Мне все равно, кто они. Мне важно, что они евреи". В итоге Шамир сказал: "Ну ладно! Наверное, было не вполне честно требовать этого от тебя. В конце концов, это не твоя страна". Итак, "воздушная опция" отпала. Оставалось использовать пушки.

В лагерь "Йона" на севере Тель Авива была послана половина батареи два орудия калибра 68 мм. Командовать операцией должен был Иосиф Аксен, в прошлом офицер Советской Армии, а ныне один из немногих специалистов в молодой артиллерии ЦАХАЛа. Аксен получил приказ: "Установить орудия в Тель Авиве, для боевой операции". "Какой операции?" "Обстрелять корабль". "Какой корабль?" "Корабль ЭЦЕЛя с оружием". "На этом корабле мои братья. Я не буду стрелять, я готов идти под суд". "Это отказ выполнить приказ!" "Я не буду стрелять по братьям". "Ты пожалеешь об этом. Это будет стоить тебе жизни". "Я беру на себя ответственность. Я знаю, что такое военно полевой суд и что такое отказ выполнить приказ. Я не выполню этот приказ, даже если я заплачу за это жизнью. Суд не состоялся, потому что армии нужны были его знания и опыт. Но затем он не получал повышения и вскоре уволился из армии.


"Altalena Affair"
A Blood Libel - June 22, 1948
by Gad Nahshon

Robert Sharman, the first commander of the Israeli Navy, Ben-Gurion"s advisor refused to attack Altalena from sea. He was an American volunteer.


Boris Senior,
Machal Pilot Who Refused to Bomb Altalena
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby igorp » 20 Jul 2009, 00:17

ПРИМЕР АЛЬТАЛЕНЫ
Уди Лебель, "БеШева" от 26.06.09

На этой неделе отмечалась годовщина жестокого расстрела «Альталены». Несомненно, формирующая травма во всем, что относится к истории политического насилия в израильском обществе. Но помимо многолетней острой полемики вокруг фактов, которые привели к столь тяжёлому событию, отозвавшемуся незаживающей болью, не стоит игнорировать различные изменения в общественной памяти и сознании израильтян в связи с «Альталеной».

С самого начала истеблишмент все свои силы бросил на то, чтобы снять эту историю с общеизраильской повестки дня. Тут и последовательное сопротивление требованиям Бегина о назначении комиссии по расследованию, и потопление корабля, чтобы, не дай Б-г, он не стал монументом и частью тель-авивского пейзажа, а также отрицание и игнорирование жертв этой истории и членов их семей. И это всё ради того, чтобы не начались общественные дискуссии вокруг стигмы, которую укоренила в массах партия власти. Стигма, выставлявшая правых под руководством Менахема Бегина как неуважающих власть закона, как постоянно стремящегося организовывать военные путчи, не уважающего израильскую демократию, и поэтому они не достойны участвовать в управлении страной. В связи с этим, видно, обстрел «Альталене» более, чем предназначался замолчать оружие на корабле, он обращался к широкой общественности, чтобы показать сущность политических конкурентов партии МАПАЙ. После этой истории – и не только вследствие ее - Менахем Бегин в течение многих лет определялся как нарушитель закона, тогда как поведение Давида Бен-Гуриона превозносилось, как образчик государственного подхода ("мемлахти"). Расстрел «Альталены» был преподнесён народу как вынужденная, болезненная мера, явившаяся священным государственным принципом.

Но посмотрите, какое чудо! С течением времени произошли существенные изменения в общественном сознании. Именно поведение Бегина считается сегодня образцом общегосударственного подхода, потому что он призвал своих сторонников воздержаться от того, что несло в себе опасность перерастания в гражданскую войну, в «войну между братьями». Государственным поведением, во имя которого он проявлял сдержанность перед лицом провокаций и излишнего политического насилия со стороны Бен-Гуриона и преданных ему людей. Мало того, что Бен-Гурион лишился ярлыка носителя государственного подхода в том событии, нам ещё раскрылось – как и на этой неделе - ещё множество тайников с оружием, которые существовали в кибуцах «а-Шомер а-Цаир». Эти тайники отнюдь не были предназначены для войны с арабами, они ждали того дня, когда членам кибуцного движения потребуется задействовать их против евреев - если руководители государства будут действовать на стороне Запада против вторжения советских революционных войск. Следует помнить, что кибуцы принадлежали к течению, представители которого превратились в основной стержень командования ЦАХАЛа и из их среды вышли 6 начальников Генштаба. В течение лет они носили престижный знак "государственности".

Изменение сознания

Как это связано с нашим временем? Видно, можно увязать «перемену знака» по отношению к участникам истории «Альталены» к подспудным явлениям, имеющим ныне место в израильском обществе. То есть – всё может подвергаться переменам. На конференции исследований Иудеи и Самарии было представлены данные изучения общественного мнения евреев, не проживающих в Иудее и Самарии. Оказалось, что 56% опрошенных определяют еврейские поселения в Иудее и Самарии как «настоящее сионистское действие». Подобное же число опрошенных определяет Иудею и Самарию как «пояс безопасности государства Израиль». Только 24% видят в поселениях «источник конфликта с "палестинцами"». 62% воспринимают поселенцев Иудеи и Самарии «как и любых других граждан», 50% считают их «настоящими сионистами», а утверждающих, что речь идёт о «вымогателях денег» оказалось менее 13% опрошенных. В восприятии опрошенных у 45 % поселенцы воспринимаются как «религиозные сионисты, которые служат в боевых частях ЦАХАЛа» (при этом 9% опрошенных видят в «молодёжи холмов» представителей поселенцев). Что до идеи «двух государств для двух народов» только 8% опрошенных верят, что «это приведёт к окончанию конфликта». Остальные убеждены, что это решение или воспрепятствует обострению конфликта на короткое время, или вообще не повлияет на него. Эти данные весьма показательны. Речь идёт о расставании с фантазиями, о рациональном мышлении и взрослом восприятии существующей реальности, об отторжении стигм, которые годами внедрялись в сознание израильского общества высокопоставленными властителями дум, и главное – о независимости мышления в отношении диалога в СМИ, которые, мягко говоря, не поддерживают усиления этих концепций.

Учитывая расставание израильского общества, начиная со второй поливины 70-х, со стигмами в отношении Менахема Бегина и его сторонников, его готовность "ревизионистов" как "мемлахти", как испытавших несправедливость со стороны истеблишмента, был поднят вопрос, что привело к революции сознания? Некоторые говорили – «дух времени», некоторые указывали на забывание осадков прошлого, но, главным образом, говорили о том, что общество попросту научилось распознавать актёров на подмостках истории, которых раньше награждали демоническими образами. Ведь Бегин сидел в правительстве Эшколя, участвовал в правительстве национального единства. То есть для знакомства общества с ним уже не нужен был посредник. Без сфабрикованных исторических книг или тенденциозных компрометирующих речей, а посредством объективного непосредственного и конкретного узнавания перед обществом раскрывался лидер движения Херут, обнаруживший всю полноту ответственности, серьёзности и государственной мудрости. Более всего он раскрылся, когда признал необходимость назначить Бен-Гуриона министром обороны в правительстве Эшколя, не больше не меньше, и даже потребовал этого публично.

А что можно сказать о нынешних стигмах? Очевидно, не так уж много изменилось. Чем больше можно будет обойти посредничество СМИ и дать возможность обществу познакомиться с Иудеей и Самарией, с жителями и деятельностью там – стигмы изменятся, как это уже происходит, и мировоззрение сформируется заново. Картины операции «Литой свинец» уже преподали урок израильтянам о том, кто служит в боевых частях и несет на себе тяготы обороны. Визиты израильтян в в Иудее и Самарии совершают чудеса восприятия ими этих земель (пояс безопасности, а не лишняя земля), а главное – непосредственное знакомство с жителями Иудеи и Самарии даёт возможность узнать и определить поселенца, как «одного из граждан Израиля». И это, вероятно, венец всех происходящих изменений.

Изменения в сознании в деле «Альталены» учит тому, что и мифы, которые кажутся чем-то стабильным и незыблемым – тоже не более, чем временное явление, потому что «дух времени» иногда сильнее стигм и нет замены непосредственному ознакомлению с израильским обществом, со всем его спектром и во всём разнообразии (включая повестку дня в СМИ). И не надо ждать. Это не то, что всё общество прочитало Шломо Накдимона об «Альталене», когда он изменил отношение к прошлому. Общество попросту узнало людей, которые в этом участвовали. Исходя из этого, и ныне, в связи с проблемами поселенчества, с его развитием в Иудее и Самарии, как и сопутствующие проблемы, надо позволить обществу познакомиться с районом и с действующими лицами. Не только вокруг политических споров. Познакомиться с поселенцами в контексте борьбы семьи Шалит, в контексте потери суверенитета на территориях Негева и Галилеи, вокруг борьбы за бюджет на образование и культуру (которые страдают также и в части приобретения учащимися еврейского национального самосознания) и т.д. Дело «Альталены» - это оптимистическое свидетельство о том, что мощи общественной логики сильнее любых политических стигм, в том числе и тех, которые мощный истеблишмент пытался проввинуть. Есть место для оптимизма!

Подготовила Фаня Шифман МАОФ
Так и остается загадкой, как удaлoсь М.Карпову сoврaть в 3.3 рaзa бoльше чем Бaрaк...
Помогите Марку с ответом.

fenja
Ветеран мега-форума
Posts: 2974
Joined: 25 Feb 2005, 19:11
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Re: Расстрел «Альталены»

Postby fenja » 06 Oct 2010, 22:19

Leon Geyer.
A bird may be known by it song. Еvry ass loves to
hear himself bray. Cut yur article according to it


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