Early Zionists attempted to copy Arab violence. Both sides engaged in sniping, indiscriminate terror-killing of civilians, and bombings. Arabs first used truck bombs in Jerusalem in the Independence War, way before the advent of the PLO. Jewish Etzel and Lehi guerrilla groups specialized in pinpoint murders of Arabs and market bombings, while Haganah concentrated on larger-scale operations against Arab villages. The story of Deir Yassin is questionable, but there were Balad al-Sheikh and other villages where Jews unquestionably massacred Arab inhabitants. War is never nice. The Jews need not amuse the world with absurd stories of Arabs fleeing Palestine of their own volition or answering the dubious calls of foreign Arabs to clear the battlefield. If such calls were actually made, the Palestinians would have recognized them as a ruse to facilitate robbing their villages and possibly settling them—by fellow Arabs. Palestinians, especially rootless Arabs from the lowlands, started fleeing the country before Arab armies invaded it—in response to Jewish terror. The terror was not misplaced. There are examples of Palestinian villages expelling Arab guerrillas to avoid Jewish retaliation; presumably, other Arab villages could have followed such a shameful path of national surrender. In the devastating and lawless Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, Palestinian Arabs didn’t abandon their villages. Besides Jewish terror, Arabs fled because of their inability to earn sustenance: Jews refused them jobs and prices skyrocketed. Many refugees were Arab Christians who didn’t care about the Jewish-Muslim struggle. A large number of Muslim refugees fled to the West Bank or Arab enclaves in Israel.

Jewish attempts at reciprocal violence failed. After the Arabs murdered two Jews on a bus in April 1936, Jewish guerrillas killed two Arabs near Petah Tiqva. That prompted further violence. The Arab-Jewish clashes produced almost twice as many Jewish casualties as Arab ones. The only working strategy was overwhelming repression of the Arabs, such as was done in late 1948.

Ben Gurion was not a leftist in the current sense of being liberal. For all his organizational failures, Ben Gurion was prepared to wage a near-total war on Arabs. His only compromise was driving the Arabs out rather than annihilating them, and that shortcoming created a long-term disaster—the time bomb of Arab refugee camps. Palestinian civilians launched a guerrilla war on Jews immediately upon the UN vote on the partition, eight months before the invasion by foreign Arab militias. Ben Gurion had every historical precedent on his side for total war.

Israel can crush Palestinian society by a kind of reflex pressure. By refusing to hire Arab migrant workers, Jews make them go back to their overcrowded villages. There the proletariat increases the crime rate, which creates social pressure and weighs the rural Arabs down economically—thus destroying the rural society. The simple measure of boycotting Arab labor would send Palestinian society back to the Iron Age.