ESTER'S CHILD



Excerpts from Part 2

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Seeing his wife's distraught face, George tried to assure her, "Don't worry. We'll be back." He paused before repeating what Palestinians had been told. "We'll be back in one week." Neighboring Arab governments had promised to come to the Palestinian's defense...promised to defeat the "Zionist gangs"...promised to toss them into the sea. George repeated the words, this time as much for himself as for Mary, "We'll be back...in one week."

Mary sat silent. Sorrow came flowing over her. She could not control her tears, which rolled down her cheeks.

George's father, Mitri, sat ashen-faced, refusing to speak or even to look back at the house where he had lived most of his life. He had hoped the British could keep the peace...at least until the British forces left the country later in the year. But the British, claiming they could not implement a policy which was not acceptable to both sides, had opposed the UN vote and were planning to leave Palestine the following month.

Votes, and mandates, and partitions, and legal talk all swirled through George Antoun's thoughts--they were all useless, he concluded. Nothing could change the fact that he had been forced to leave his home in order to protect his family from the fighting. Frightened and angry, George drove his family out of their beloved city of Haifa, up the Coast North, through the cities of Acre and Nahariya, and across the border into Lebanon.

Two days later, on April 23, 1948, the Jews captured Haifa.


When World War II ended in 1945, the Jews renewed their demand for a homeland in Palestine. Throughout the world community, there was widespread support for the Jews. The unspeakable crimes committed against the Jews of Europe by the German Third Reich had given the Holocaust survivors a moral license to be heard. The Jewish population of Palestine now stood at 550,000 and they owned 20% of the land. The remaining 80% was owned by the 1.1 million Muslim Arabs and 140,000 Christian Arabs also living in Palestine.

U.S. President Harry Truman began to push for the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine. He believed his own future political interests would be well served by supporting Jewish demands for a homeland. Largely as a result of the Truman administration's efforts, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, giving the Jews 55% of the land area. There were vehement protests from the Arabs. The UN also voted for Jerusalem to remain an international city, which infuriated the Jews who claimed that the formation of a Jewish state without Jerusalem was impossible.

Once again, neither Arab nor Jew was appeased.

From the date of the UN vote, November 29, 1947, Jews and Arabs set out to exterminate each other. Attacks followed by reprisal attacks became commonplace. Hardened Jewish survivors of World War II and the Holocaust were tenacious fighters. In battle after battle, Palestinians were losing Palestine.

© The Sasson Corporation • Rights to publish Ester's Child owned by Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC.

Excerpts from Part 2

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