Monday, April 6, 2009

The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

In a recent thread of comments, several readers who were critical of Sam Farr's support of Israel suggested once again that the whole problem began in 1948 when the Israelis "drove the Arabs out of their homes". While such a scenario suits Palestinian propaganda purposes, this is hardly an accurate assessment of what actually happened in 1947 and 1948. In this article, David Meir-Levi, a Jewish historian and archeology professor, documents wave after wave of Arab migration with each cause noted. He has included dozens of quotes from Arab, British, and Israeli press at the time to document his claims. Here is his scholarship:

The Refugee Problem

The Eight Stages of Creation

There were eight stages to the flight of Arabs from what would soon become Israel:

1. as early as the Fall of 1947, months before the UN partition plan of 11/29/47, it was clear that there would be a war no matter what course of action the UN took. In anticipation of this war, many of the well-to-do Arabs (the Effendi) of the Western Galilee, from Haifa to Acco and villages in between, closed down their houses and went to Beirut or Damascus, where with their wealth and connections they could wait out the war in safety. They thought that they would thus be out of the way of danger, and when the war was over (no one imagined that Israel would win) they would come back to their homes.

Current estimates by objective observers (Conan Cruise O’Brien being perhaps the most objective) is that c. 70,000 fled.

2. The refugees of #1 caused a sudden absence of political and social leadership among the Arabs of the Galilee, and thus as the hostilities developed in the Winter of 1947, many of the Arab peasantry (Felahin) fled as well, following their leaders' example. They lacked the money and connections to make a comfortable trip out of the way of danger, as their Effendi had done. So many of them simply walked with whatever they could carry, to Lebanon or Syria. Their main motivation for leaving was that since their leadership had fled, things must be pretty bad, so they had better leave too. They too were sure, based upon documentation from Arab press at the time, that when the war was over and the Jews were all dead or driven from Israel, they would come back to their homes.

We don't have good numbers for this exodus, but estimates range around 100,000 people. There were so many exiting that the Arab states had a special conference in Beirut to decide how to handle all the Arabs that were pouring across the borders. They set up special camps...later to be known as refugee camps.

Note Well!! These Arabs were fleeing of their own free will. No one, neither Israel nor Arab states, were encouraging, frightening, or ordering them to do so. The war had not yet even begun.

3. After 11/29/47, warfare between the Israeli Haganah (not yet called the IDF because the local British Mandatory forces were stalwartly pro-Arab and routinely arrested Haganah soldiers and took their the Israeli army was still an underground army) and para-military Arab volunteers numbering in the 10's of thousands (trained and armed in Syria and Lebanon, with the aid of both ex-NAZI and British officers) began in earnest.

The Arab press and public speeches made it clear that this was to be a war of the great Mongol hordes killing all in their path. The Jews would be either dead or out. Israel was fighting not a war of independence, but a war of survival.

In order to defend some areas where Jews were completely surrounded by Arabs (like the Jews of Jaffa, Jewish villages or kibbutzim in parts of the Galilee and central hill country, and in Jerusalem) the Haganah adopted scare-tactics that were intended to strike terror into the Arab population of those areas, so that they would retreat to safer ground, and thus make it possible for the Hagana to defend those Jews who would otherwise be inaccessible and thus vulnerable to genocidal Arab intentions.
Many Arabs in parts of the western Galilee, Jaffa, and parts of western Jerusalem, fled before these tactics (rumors that a huge Jewish army from the West was about to land on the coast, hand-grenades thrown on front porches of homes, jeeps driving by and firing machine guns into the walls or fences of houses, rumors circulated by Arabic-speaking Jews that the Haganah was far bigger than it really was and was on the verge of surfacing with a massive Jewish army, etc.).

Here it is important to note that Jews were at cause in this part of the Arab flight. But it was not because they wanted to ethnically cleanse the country, or to wipe out the Arabs. It was because they knew that Jews undefended in Arab enclaves would be slaughtered (as in fact was the case of Jews in the Gush Etzion villages and in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem, and as had happened in Hebron in 1929). It was the exigency of their fighting a war of survival against a bigger and better armed enemy that drove them to the tactics described above.

It is also important to note here the following two facts:
a. had the Arab leadership accepted the UN partition plan; there would have been a state of Palestine since 11/29/47, for the Arabs, alongside of Israel.
b. had the Arab armies not invaded, there would have been no refugee problem.

In light of these two facts, I assert that the total onus of culpability for the start of the refugee problem rests squarely and solely upon the Arab states that invaded, in clear disregard for the UN resolution 181 and international law.

4. Arab leadership from among the para-military forces, and the forces of Syria, were vociferous in their announcement that they wanted Arabs to leave so that the armies would have a clear field in which to perpetrate their genocide of the Jews. When the war was over (Arab newspaper articles suggested c. 4-6 weeks before all the Jews were driven out or killed), the Arab residents could come back and have both their own lands and those of the Jews. Cf Infra, for sources of these announcements.

We cannot know how many Arabs fled because of these announcements; but since a number of Arab spokespersons after the war admitted to having done this, and wrung their hands publicly in painful repentance of having created the refugee problem, it is clear that the Arab leadership's own message to many Arabs in the area was a major factor in the Arab flight.

It is also important to point out at this time that there were a number of cases where Jewish leaders got out in public and pleaded with Arabs not to leave. The mayor of Haifa is the best example of this. At the risk of his own life, he drove through the Arab section of Haifa with a loudspeaker on his jeep, and in Arabic called out to the residents of his city to disregard the Arab propaganda. Nonetheless, tens of thousands fled. The incredulous British officers who witnessed this (don't forget, the British had not yet left) documented it for us in a variety of sources. Those Arabs who stayed were unharmed and became citizens of Israel.

The British also documented for the world a similar phenomenon in Tiberius (a town in which the Arab population vastly outnumbered the Jewish), where the Arabs quite literally chose to leave even though they were under no direct threat from the Jews, and asked the British to assist them. Tens of thousands exited under British guard, while the Jews, both civilian and Hagana, looked on.

In a slightly different twist, the Arabs of Safed (Tzefat), fled before the Haganah attack, even though the Arab forces in Safed outnumbered the Jews c. 10 to one.

Wherever Arabs chose to stay, they were unharmed and later became citizens of Israel.

There have been a number of essays written by later historians contesting the truth of the assertion that Arab leaders told their people to flee. But you can read in O’Brien, or in Mitchell Bard's "Idiot's Guide" and "Myths and Facts", or in some of the other things I have attached below, the irrefutable proof of just such pronouncements. Arab and pro-Arab historians seek to rewrite history in order to exonerate the Arab world from the onus of culpability mentioned above. Even a superficial review of the facts reveals the truth.

5. Deir Yassin: what happened at Deir Yassin is still hotly disputed. But by their own admission, Arab leadership today acknowledges that the lies created by the Arabs then about the fictitious "massacre" were done in order to shame the Arab armies into fighting against the Jews, and to frighten the Arabs and encourage them to flee.

The village sits near the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Jewish Jerusalem was under siege, and its lifeline was the road to Tel Aviv. A contingent of Iraqi troops had entered Deir Yassin on 3/13/48. Some sources suggest that they were asked to leave. Apparently they did not, since their armed bodies were numerous among the dead after the battle. It was obvious that they were going to try to cut off that road. Doing so would spell the end of Jewish Jerusalem. So on 4/9/48 a contingent of the Irgun (a para-military splinter group) entered the village. This operation was completely legitimate in the context of rules of engagement, since the Iraqi presence made the village a legal military objective.

Their intent, to capture the village and drive out the Iraqis, was completely clear from the onset, because they entered with a jeep and loudspeaker telling the civilian population to flee the village (unfortunately, this jeep slid into a ditch, so some of the villagers may not have heard the message; but many did, because they fled before the Irgun got into the village); and because rather than surrounding the village and barring escape, they left several routes open for the civilians to flee, which hundreds of villagers used. However, the Iraqis had disguised themselves as women (easy to hide weapons beneath the flowing robes of the burqa) and had hidden themselves among women and children in the village. So, when the Irgun fighters entered, they encountered fire from women! When the Irgun fighters fired back, they killed many innocent women because the Iraqis were hiding behind them. After suffering more than 40% casualties to their forces, the Irgun succeeded in killing or capturing the Iraqis. Then, while they were in a group, still dressed as women, having surrendered and agreed to be taken prisoner, some of the Iraqis opened fire again with weapons concealed beneath their women's clothing. Irgun fighters were caught off guard, more were killed, and others opened fire into the group. Iraqis who had indeed surrendered were killed along with those who had only pretended to surrender and had then opened fire. (*)

When the Hagana arrived they found the dead women and other civilians and accused the Irgun of murder and massacre. But the Red Cross, which was called in to assist the wounded and civilians, found no evidence of a massacre. In fact, even the most recent review of the evidence (7/1999), by Arab scholars at Beir-Zayyit university in Ramallah (capitol of the hopefully soon to be Palestinian state), indicates that there was no massacre, but rather a military conflict in which civilians were killed in the crossfire. The total Arab dead, including the Iraqis, according to the Beir Zayyit calculation, was 107.

So where did the idea of a massacre come from? The same Arab sources that confess to having urged the Arabs to flee have also acknowledged that the Arabs at the time galacticly exaggerated the Deir Yassin fight, making up stories of gang rape, brutalizing of pregnant women, killing unborn children cut from their mothers' wombs by blood-thirsty Jews, and massive murders with bodies thrown into a nearby quarry. These same Arab sources admit that their purpose in these exaggerations and lies was to shame the Arab nations into entering the conflict with greater alacrity so that the Jews would be destroyed by the overwhelming numbers of Arab invaders (like the Mongols 800 years earlier). The plan backfired. The Arab armies invaded, but only with a tiny fraction of their capacity; and this is part of how the Jews were victorious. But as a result of these exaggerations and lies, Arab civilians panicked upon hearing these stories, and fled by the tens of thousands. This is documented on television by a PBS program (50 Years of War) in which Deir Yassin survivors were interviewed in 1991. They unabashedly proclaimed that they begged Dr. Hussein Khalidi, director of Voice of Palestine (the Palestinian radio station in East Jerusalem) to edit out the lies and fabrications of atrocities that never happened. He told them: “We must capitalize on this great opportunity!”

Note well!! The flight of Arabs had begun per #1-4 above many months before Deir Yassin. So Deir Yassin cannot account for those hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sought refuge prior to 4/9/48. Moreover, while current Arab propaganda asserts that Deir Yassin was one of many examples of Jewish massacre and slaughter, there is not one other documented example of any such behavior by the Jews. Deir Yassin was not an example, it was the exception.

In sum, re Deir Yassin, it was not what happened at Deir Yassin that caused the flight of tens of thousands of Arabs; it was the lies invented by the Arab High Command and Dr. Hussein Khalidi of the “Voice of Palestine” radio news channel that caused the panic. One can hardly blame Israel for that.

Moreover, we have from an unimpeachable source, Yassir Arafat himself (his authorized biography, by Alan Hart, "Arafat: Terrorist or Peace Maker") the assertion that the Deir Yassin lies were spread "like a red flag in front of a bull" among the Arabs by the Egyptians. Then, having terrorized them with these stories, the Egyptians proceeded to disarm the Arabs of the area and herd them into detention camps in Gaza (hence today's Gaza refugee camps). Why did the Egyptians do this? According to Arafat, it was to get the Arabs out of the area because the Egyptians wanted a free hand to wage their war. Egypt had every intention of conquering the Negev and southern part of the coastal plain. They wanted no interference from the locals.

So the lies about Deir Yassin were spread in order to shame the Arab armies (didn't work) and (by the Egyptians) panic the Arab civilians (did work).

Bottom line, Deir Yassin was not a massacre, nothing even vaguely akin to what the Jews are accused of ever happened, the lies were made up by the Arabs, spread by Arabs, and thus the further flight of refugees after 4/9/48 was caused not by the Deir Yassin battle, but by the Arab lies about the Deir Yassin battle. And this from Yassir himself, and from Beir Zayyit University.

We don't know how many Arabs fled as a result of the “Voice of Palestine” exaggerations. Several hundred thousand is a good estimate. Most of them ended up in the Egyptian detention camps in Gaza.

6. There were two more incidents (in addition to the actions noted above in #3) of Arab refugees being caused directly by Israeli army actions: Lydda and Ramle. Both villages sat astride the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As the siege on Jerusalem tightened, the Israeli forces knew that in order to save the Jews of west Jerusalem from defeat and possible annihilation, they had to keep that road open. So one night they entered both villages and forcibly drove out the Arab residents. They rousted them from bed and sent them walking across the fields to the area that was under Jordanian control (only a few kilometers away).

Note...none were killed. there was no massacre. but they were driven out. However, they were driven out (as I explained above in #3) because of the military exigency of the war.

7. By 5/15/48 the British had evacuated their forces from all of British Mandatory Palestine, and the Jews now had a free hand in using their haganah, which now became the IDF. And the Arab countries had a free hand in attacking. And attack they did (although not with their full forces). Armies from 8 Arab nations poured into the area from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt (volunteers and soldiers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Morocco came too - hence 8). They outnumbered the Hagana (now IDF) c. 5 to one. For the next month or so the Israelis were fighting a terribly difficult defensive war, just barely able to keep the invaders out. There were c. 63,000 Haganah volunteers, but weapons for only 22,000.

In June of '48 there was a cease-fire imposed by the UN. In July when the Arabs re-initiated hostilities, the Israelis had been able to use the cease-fire to import arms and planes from Russia and Germany via Czechoslovakia. Now fully armed, the IDF numbered 65,000 and the odds were reduced to 2-1. Good odds for the determined Jewish fighters.

When the fighting resumed in July, the IDF went on the offensive and succeeded in driving the Arab armies out of both the Jewish areas and the areas that the UN had intended to be the Palestinian state (western Galilee, and southern coastal plain (north of Gaza). When this offensive began, more Arabs fled. As noted above, the Arabs that stayed were safe, not harmed, and became citizens of Israel.

Contrary to revisionist and mendacious Arab propaganda, there was never any intent to massacre any Arabs. Many civilians died in the cross fire, and the overwhelming majority of Arabs who fled did so needlessly, at their own initiative or because of the Arab leadership that lied and intimidated them. Some Arabs were driven out by the IDF, but as part of a war defensive measure. Not as part of any plan to ethnically cleanse the land or massacre/genocide the Arabs. These accusations are all new revisionism aimed at exonerating the Arabs from their heinous and brutal role in creating the Arab Refugee problem, and transferring the guilt to Israel.

Finally, after the 2/49 cease-fire, when the war was over, there was still a continued flight by tens of thousands of Arabs. The Jews did absolutely nothing to encourage or force this flight.

Those are the 7 stages of causation. The next stage is maintenance and refusal to seek solution.

8. As I noted above, the Arabs caused the problem of Refugees by starting the war, and by encouraging Arabs to leave during the war. Even worse, although Israel offered on several occasions to repatriate refugees, the Arab states refused.

During the Rhodes armistice talks in 2/1949, Israel offered to return to the Arabs the lands that the Jews had conquered that were meant to be part of the Palestinian state, in exchange for a peace treaty. This would have allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to return to their homes. The Arabs said no, because, as they themselves admitted, they were momentarily going to mount a new offensive. They had lost round one. There would be more and more rounds, until the Arabs won. Their new offensive was the 9000 terrorist attacks mostly from Egypt that the Arabs perpetrated against Israel from 1949-1956 (part of the cause of the '56 war).

At the Lausanne conference in 8-9/49, Israel offered to repatriate 100,000 refugees even without a peace treaty. The Arab states said NO, because that would involve a tacit recognition of the state of Israel.

Thus, despite Israel's offers of repatriation, the Arabs insisted on maintaining the refugees in their squalor and suffering. Arab spokespersons in Syria and Egypt were quoted in their newspapers as saying: we will maintain the refugees in their camps until the flag of Palestine flies over all of the land. They will go back home only as victors, on the graves and corpses of the Jews.

Moreover, as some Arabs were candid enough to announce in public, the refugee problem would serve as "..a festering sore on the backside of Europe", as moral leverage to be used against Israel, in order to win the emotional support of the West against Israel.

So, bottom line, the Arabs were 100% at cause for the creation of the problem (by starting the war), and 100% at cause for maintaining the problem (by refusing Israel's offers of resolution).

Perhaps the most important considerations in judging whether or not Israel set out to put into action a plan to genocide the Arabs of Palestine or to drive them from their homes are:

1. the complete absence of any coverage in any world press, including Arab press and western press openly hostile to Israel, about any such actions of which Israel is today accused.
2. the complete absence of these accusations from any Arab spokespersons during this time, even at the very height of the flight (post-Deir Yassin).
3. the fate of the Arabs who stayed (became Israeli citizens, enjoy more freedom, democracy, standard of living, etc. than any Arabs anywhere in the Arab world today)

Quotes for proof that Arab leaders told Arabs to flee:

“The first group of our fifth column consist of those who abandon their homes…At the first sign of trouble they take to their heels to escape sharing the burden of struggle” Ash-Sha’ab, Jaffa, 1.30.48

“(the fleeing villagers)…are bringing down disgrace on us all… by abandoning their villages” As-Sarih, Jaffa, 3.30.48

"Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe."
- Haifa District HQ of the British Police, April 26, 1948, (quoted in Battleground by Samuel Katz).

"The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by order of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city.... By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa."
- Time Magazine, May 3, 1948, page 25

“The Arab streets (of Palestine) are curiously deserted (because)…following the poor example of the moneyed class, there has been an exodus from Jerusalem, but not to the same extent as from Jaffa and Haifa” , London Times, 5.5.48

"The Arab civilians panicked and fled ignominiously. Villages were frequently abandoned before they were threatened by the progress of war."
- General John Glubb "Pasha," The London Daily Mail, August 12, 1948

The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the act of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agreed upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem."
– Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, in an interview with the Beirut Telegraph 9/6/1948. (same in London Telegraph, 8.48)

The most potent factor [in the flight of Palestinians] was the announcements made over the air by the Arab-Palestinian Higher Executive, urging all Haifa Arabs to quit... It was clearly intimated that Arabs who remained in Haifa would be regarded as renegades." London Economist (Oct. 2, 1948)

“It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem” Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station, Cyprus, 4.3.49

"[The Arabs of Haifa] fled in spite of the fact that the Jewish authorities guaranteed their safety and rights as citizens of Israel."
- Monsignor George Hakim, Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, New York Herald Tribune, June 30, 1949

“The military and civil (Israeli) authorities expressed their profound regret at this grave decision (taken by the Arab military delegates of Haifa and the Acting Chair of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee to evacuate Haifa despite the Israeli offer of a truce). The Jewish mayor of Haifa made a passionate appeal to the delegation (of Arab military leaders) to reconsider its decision”. Memorandum of the Arab National Committee of Haifa, 1950, to the governments of the Arab League, quoted in J. B. Schechtman, The Refugees in the World, NY 1963, pp. 192f.

Sir John Troutbeck, British Middle East Office in Cairo, noted in cables to superiors (1948-49) that the refugees (in Gaza) have no bitterness against Jews, but harbor intense hatred toward Egyptians: “ They say ‘we know who our enemies are (referring to the Egyptians)’, declaring that their Arab brethren persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes…I even heard it said that many of the refugees would give a welcome to the Israelis if they were to come in and take the district over”.

"The Arab states which had encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees." – The Jordanian daily newspaper Falastin, Feb. 19, 1949.

"The Secretary General of the Arab League Azzam Pasha, assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade...Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes, and property to stay temporarily in neighboring fraternal states, lest the guns of invading Arab armies mow them down."
---Al Hoda (a New York-based Lebanese daily) June 8, 1951

"Who brought the Palestinians to Lebanon as refugees, suffering now from the malign attitude of newspapers and communal leaders, who have neither honor nor conscience? Who brought them over in dire straits and penniless, after they lost their honor? The Arab states, and Lebanon amongst them, did it." –
The Beirut Muslim weekly Kul-Shay, Aug. 19, 1951.

"We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down."
- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said, Sir Am Nakbah (The Secret Behind the Disaster) by Nimr el-Hawari, Nazareth, 1952

"The Arab Exodus …was not caused by the actual battle, but by the exaggerated description spread by the Arab leaders to incite them to fight the Jews. …For the flight and fall of the other villages it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumors exaggerating Jewish crimes and
describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs ... By spreading rumors of Jewish atrocities, killings of women and children etc., they instilled fear and terror in the hearts of the Arabs in Palestine, until they fled leaving their homes and properties to the enemy."
– The Jordanian daily newspaper Al Urdun, April 9,

The Arab governments told us: Get out so that we can get in. So we got out, but they did not get in. (Quoting a refugee)
---Al Difaa (Jordan) Sept. 6, 1954

“The wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab states, and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter and re-take possession of their country”, Edward Atiyah (Secretary of the Arab League, London, The Arabs, 1955, p. 183)

“The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the UN and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders do not give a damn whether Arab refugees live or die”, Ralph Galloway, former head of UNWRA-1956

"As early as the first months of 1948, the Arab League issued orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries, later to return to their abodes ... and obtain their share of abandoned Jewish property."
- Bulletin of The Research Group for European Migration Problems, 1957

"Israelis argue that the Arab states encouraged the Palestinians to flee. And, in fact, Arabs still living in Israel recall being urged to evacuate Haifa by Arab military commanders who wanted to bomb the city."
- Newsweek, January 20, 1963

"The 15th May, 1948, arrived ... On that day the mufti of Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country, because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead.", The Cairo daily Akhbar el Yom, Oct. 12, 1963.

“Since 1948, it is we who have demanded the return of the refugees, while it is we who made them leave. We brought disaster upon the refugees by inviting them and bringing pressure on them to leave. We have accustomed them to begging...we have participated in lowering their morale and social level...Then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson and throwing stones upon men, women and children...all this in the service of political purposes...”
Khaled el-Azm, Syrian prime mistier after the 1948 War, in his 1972 memoirs.

"The Arab states succeeded in scattering the Palestinian people and in destroying their unity. They did not recognize them as a unified people until the states of the world did so, and this is regrettable."
- Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), from the official journal of the PLO, Falastin el-Thawra (“What We Have Learned and What We Should Do”), Beirut, March 1976

“Since 1948, the Arab leaders have approached the Palestinian problem in an irresponsible manner. They have used to Palestinian people for political purposes; this is ridiculous, I might even say criminal...” KING HUSSSEIN 1996

Abu Mazen Charges that the Arab States Are the Cause of the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Wall Street Journal; June 5, 2003)

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) penned an article in March 1976 in Falastin al-Thawra (cf. supra), the official journal of the PLO in Beirut: "The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny, but instead they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe" (emphasis added).

As Abu Mazen alluded, it was in large part due to threats and fear-mongering from Arab leaders that some 700,000 Arabs fled Israel in 1948 when the new state was invaded by Arab armies. Ever since, the growing refugee population, now around 4 million by UN estimates, has been corralled into squalid camps scattered across the Middle East - in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza, and the West Bank.

In 1950, the UN set up the United Nations Relief and Works Agency as a "temporary" relief effort for Palestinian refugees. Former UNRWA director Ralph Galloway stated eight years later that, "the Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders do not give a damn whether Arab refugees live or die." The only thing that has changed since then is the number of Palestinians cooped up in these prisons.

Contrasting the Arab Position with the historical evidence
The Arab Position
I. The Jews invaded Arab Palestine
A. the traditional homeland of the Arabs from time immemorial
B. in waves of alien European immigrants, from late 19th century onward.
C. They displaced indigenous Arab population
1. violently drove out fellahin, stole Arab lands and homes
2. to create a Jewish, racist, oppressive, apartheid, terrorist state.
II. The Jewish aggression culminated in a terrorizing war of conquest in 1948
A. The 1948 war was an act of naked, unprovoked aggression against Arabs
1. The UN partition plan was illegal, immoral, unconscionable
2. The creation of the “Jewish State” (An-Naqba = The catastrophe) a European plot to Europeanize the Middle East and assuage European guilt after Holocaust (which actually did not happen)
B. Peaceful Arabs were driven from their homes by Jewish terror and attack
C. Vengeful Jewish aggression terrorized helpless peasants who fled
1. most egregious was Deir Yasin, April 9, 1948
2. fearing annihilation, they fled to neighboring countries for refuge
III. “Refugee Problem” created by Jewish/Zionist Aggression
A. almost 1,000,000 Arabs fled from Jewish terror and aggression
B. They endure a miserable, impoverished existence in “concentration-camp” settlements because they have no where else to go
C. Contrary to the Geneva convention, the Zionists have never let them return to their ancestral homeland
D. The situation was exacerbated in 1967 with the 3rd great war of Zionist aggression, expansion, and terror against helpless Arab peasantry
E. Jewish apartheid, racist, genocidal oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from 1967 onward created more refugees
IV. Now, after fifty-four years of
A. unopposed violation of Fourth Geneva Convention Art. 49, & UN resolutions 194. 242 and 338 by the Zionist aggressors
B. unrelenting, grinding poverty suffered by the refugees in their hovels
C. endless, fruitless complaints by the Arab nations in the UN and elsewhere
D. the world must force Israel to do justly with the Palestinian refugees by
1. repatriating all 4,500,000 to their original homes
2. giving them back their original land holdings
3. paying appropriate compensation for their suffering

The History (based on public British, Arab, UN, European news documentation)
I. Population of Palestine (= Arab I)
A. Jews were a continuous minority part of the population of Palestine
B. Arab immigration from 1850’s created most of Arab Population
1. So “ancestral home from time immemorial” is false
C. Jewish immigration from 1880’s did not displace Arabs
1. European Jews
a. bought land (some squatters evicted) from Effendi
b. settled unoccupied and unowned land
c. reclaimed hitherto uninhabitable land
d. by doing I.C.1.c., European Jews created more land on which Arab immigrants came to farm and graze
D. Jewish and British improvement of economy and living standards in Palestine from 1850’s onward created
1. growth of Arab population due to better medical infrastructure
2. improvement of economy so that Arabs came in from surrounding Arab lands to get jobs, farm reclaimed land
E. Turks from 1870’s to 1917, and British from 1917 to 1947, encouraged the immigration of Arabs into Palestine to:
1. provide cheap labor for the expanding economy
2. keep the majority population Arab, not Jewish
F. As a result of I.D.-E., Arab population tripled in 70 years
G. British, to curry favor with Arab oil states, restrained Jewish immigration (white papers), even during WWII and immediately thereafter, even while Arab states and Mufti of Jerusalem had openly sided with the Nazis

II. The War of Independence: 11.1947-2.1949 (=Arab II.A)
A. UN Partition Plan created TWO states
1. Israel, c. 20% of “greater Palestine”
2. Palestine, c. 80% for Arabs (included modern Jordan)
B. Arab states frustrated Partition Plan by
1. invading and occupying Arab Palestine in Dec. 1947
2. inciting local Arabs to attack Jews before end of Mandate
3. attacking and destroying isolated Jewish settlements
4. encouraging local Arabs to evacuate and “make room for the Arab armies to annihilate the Jews”
5. telling local Arabs that they could later come back and have their own lands as well as those of the Jews (Jaffans in Tel Aviv)
6. creating anarchy via II.B.1-5 in Palestine
C. The British constrained Jewish immigration and policed Jewish para-military forces brutally and lethally until last day of Mandate.
D. With the end of British Mandate (5.15.1948), 21 Arab states declare war and seven Arab armies invaded the newly created Jewish State.
E. Jewish victory, against all odds, and contrary to the vocalized expectations and American news media, resulted in the conquest of territory designated by the UN as part of Arab Palestine
III. The Arab Refugees (= Arab II.B-C)
A. Per supra, II.B.1-6, invading Arab armies encouraged initial wave of Arab refugees, beginning in December, 1947, primarily from Galilee
B. Jewish leadership encouraged Arabs to stay (best example = Haifa)
C. Keeping refugees out was part of Ben Gurion’s plan (357-900{?} villages)
D. Deir Yassin occurred on April 9, 1948
1. isolated incident of intentional Arab civilian casualties
2. housed Iraqi troops which had attacked Jewish settlements, so was tactically reasonable target of military offensive
3. happened 5 months after start of Arab flight, so could not be cause (cause has to happen before effect)
4. could be an exacerbation of Arab flight, but even that is questionable since no great surge of Arab refugees from surrounding areas immediately after the attack on Deir Yassin
5. Arab leadership later used Deir Yassin to encourage Arab flight
6. Arab propaganda now uses Deir Yassin to explain Arab flight
E. Ramla: opinions divided
1. Moshe Dayan describes “machine gun run” down main street
2. Refugees describe Jewish invasion, terror, murders, flight
IV. The “Refugee Problem” (= Arab III)
A. Definition of Refugees – a telling conundrum
1. Geneva Convention: “permanent or habitual home”
2. UNWRA: “at least two years in Palestine”
B. Counting the Refugees – an irreconcilable conundrum
1. estimates vary :
a. Faris el Khoury, Syrian rep. to UN says 250,000 in 5/48.
b. Emil Ghoury said 200,000 by 9/48
c. Folke Bernadotte said 300,000 by 9/48
d. Red Cross said 350,000 by 2/49
e. UN estimates 750,000 in total by 1948, and 1,000,000 by 7/49; but this may include conflations per IV.B.2 infra
2. UNWRA admits
a. inflating of numbers by Arab states
b. willing adoption of status by non-refugees
c. demand by Arab states that status be conferred on all Arabs impoverished by war (including those that did not leave homes)
d. willingness of Red Cross to accommodate demand of IV.B.2.c and include any destitute Arab in “Palestine”.
e. Legal return of c. 100,000 refugees to Israel after war
f. Illegal entry of unascertained tens of thousands to camps after war
g. marketing of supplies by refugees to non-refugees
h. forging refugee ID cards for sale to “neo-refugees”
i. not removing dead from refugee roles but registering births
j. growth of refugee numbers beyond natural reproduction
k. voluntary resettlement of hundreds of thousands who found work and homes in other Arab countries (esp. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE)
l. UN frank admission that in Jordan alone in 1959 there were at least 150,000 ineligibles and many dead on the refugee roles for supplies and shelter (UN Doc. A/4478, p. 13, quoted in Katz, Battle Ground, p. 25)
m. Arab states’ demand for “inherited status” of refugees
3. 2001 numbers c. 4,500,000 untenable unless conflation

Israel’s original offer
5. Even before armistice talks Israel offers to repatriate 100,000, Arab states demand repatriate all (Lauzerne conf., 1949)
6. UN resolution 194, 12.11.48, both sides must negotiate, cease hostilities, allow for negotiated settlement that will include deciding the fate of the refugees. Israel agreed. Arabs refused to negotiate, refused to cease hostilities, refused any discussion of refugee issue.
C. Refugees Return to Homes
1. c. 170,000 Arabs who had either stayed in their homes, or returned from refugee centers after the war, were incorporated as full citizens in to the state of Israel (albeit an imperfect democracy, but with parliamentary representation)
2. Jordan gave citizenship to refugees, incorporating tens of thousands peacefully and constructively, critiqued peers
3. Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, inter alia) have large Palestinian population, part refugees, working and living there for decades (but not citizens, subject to intimidation and expulsion)
D. Other solutions
1. Historians have frequently noted that there have been numerous refugee problems created by the wars of the 20th century.
a. 12,000,000 ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe post WW2
b. 14,000,000 Pakistani and Hindustani after 1948 partitionof India/Pakistan.
c. 500,000 Finns expelled by USSR in 1947
d. 150,000 Turks expelled from Bulgaria 1950
e. The Arab refugee problem is the only one to remain unresolved.
E. Arab intransigence maintained and exacerbated problem
1. Arab states initially refused European $$ aid to refugees
2. publicly vocalized decision to keep refugee problem unresolved to use as “moral leverage” against Israel and against Europe
3. forcibly keep refugees from leaving camps to find work elsewhere, maintaining poverty and suffering to use as “moral equivalent” to Holocaust (which they deny ever happened)
4. cf. infra, PS #!: Sa’id description of how Arab host countries treated refugees.
5. drove c. 800,000 Jewish Arabs from their homes (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen)(Saudi Arabia never allowed Jews in, Jordan had no Jews because British did not allow them to settle in “trans-Jordan), where they had lived for 2000+ years
6. property confiscated from Jewish deportees was ear-marked for “Arab refugee assistance” but final disposition unknown
7. Public documentation shows that Iraq and Syria imported laborers from Turkey, Iran, Soviet Central Asia, from 1950’s – 70’s, but refused Palestinian refugees
8. Arab vociferous excoriation of Israel for putative violation of refugee human rights and defiance of Geneva convention and UN resolutions (194, 242, 338) purposefully mis-quotes these texts. All texts include need for peaceful negotiations as means to handle problem. 21 of 23 Arab states have steadfastly refused any negotiation or peaceful settlement.
9. World ignores international law that refutes Arab refugee status:
a. refugee status is not inherited, hence today’s children and grandchildren of refugees are not refugees
b. refugees once resettled in host country are no longer refugees: hundreds of thousands of refugees resettled in Kuwait, Qatar, Arabia in the 1950’s to work the oil fields and remained there (although Kuwait exiled their Palestinian population of 300,000 in 1992)
c. refugees once granted citizenship in host country are no longer refugees: hundreds of thousands of West Bank refugees are Jordanian citizens.
10. World ignores reality that current “refugee camps” and “refugee status” ended de facto decades ago for most refugees:
a. Rashid Khalidi, “Palestinian Identity” (1997) pp. 207 ff and esp. Note #54. Refugees in Syria and Jordan moved out of the camps such that only 22% of original refugees remained in Jordan camps, only 28% in Syria. 52% still in camps in Lebanon (based on “Palestinian Refugees: their problem and future”, Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, Wash. DC 1994)
b. Center for Peace and Justice visitors to Jordan and West Bank refugee camps noted (speeches and written reports in Santa Cruz, CA, 2002) that many residents of the refugee camps are “outsiders” (i.e., not refugees) who purchased refugee property because it offered greater benefits than their own village property (unclear: this may be reference to the fraud perpetrated against UNRWA of creating fake refugees, per supra IV.B). Most of the camps were indistinguishable from the residential areas around them.

F. Six-day War
1. Defensive war, same as 1948 war. Disposition of conquered lands and displaced persons to be handled in context of peace settlement, per UN and Geneva
2. Few refugees (they learned from their previous mistakes)
3. UN 242 (11.27.67): Israel must return territories
a. not “the” territories”, so Israel must return some territories
b. in exchange for peaceful settlement, and inviolate guarantees for secure borders and cessation of hostilities
c. resolution spoke of “refugees”, not “Arab refugees” – so solution relates to all refugees, both Arab and Jewish (& cf. supra IV.F.4-5)
Bottom Line (= Arab IV)
A. The Arab refugee problem was created mainly by the belligerent Arab states that defied the UN, invaded Israel, encouraged the Arabs to flee, and then purposefully kept them in a state of despairing poverty for Machiavellian propaganda purposes. Israel, regrettably, did play a role; but a relatively minor one which it tried to reverse after the war.
B. The problem was maintained intentionally by the Arab states through their refusal to abide by the UN resolutions and the Geneva convention, refusal to integrate any refugees into under-populated Arab countries (except for Jordan), and to enter into peace negotiations with Israel
C. By maintaining the problem, they sought to gain pseudo-moral leverage against Europe and Israel, keep a “festering human sore” in the forefront of their propaganda war against Israel, and use the issue as a political weapon.
D. Israel indicated its willingness on several occasions to include repatriation and/or reparations for Arab refugees, in context of peace treaty
E. Egypt, in its treaty with Israel, refused to deal with refugee issue in Gaza strip, and ceded all of Gaza strip to Israel. The PLO refused to negotiate with Israel, so refugee status of Gaza Palestinians was maintained.
F. Jordan had integrated thousands of Palestinians into its economy, and did not see any need or responsibility to deal with the disposition of those on the West bank in the context of its peace treaty with Israel.
G. The abuses, exaggerations, lying, distortions, perpetrated by Arabs, UNWRA and the refugees make it impossible to identify a bona fide refugee populace.
H. The Palestinian population of the West Bank, under Israeli rule from 1967 to 1992, experienced the highest standard of living of any Arab country with the exception of the oil states. Same true of Arab Israelis. Arab population of West Bank and Gaza tripled since 6/67: no genocide, no ethnic cleansing.
I. Palestinian population under PNA from 1992 to present has declined precipitously, standard of living eroded, due to mis-appropriation of c. 5.2 billion $$ by PNA into personal wealth and weapons stock-piling, and due to Israeli controls as part of fight against PNA terror. (Oklahoma City as parallel)
Justice for Jewish and Arab refugees could be part of peace settlement, if PNA and other Arab states (viz., Syria, Iraq) would agree to peace talks without preconditions.

PS #1: Edward Sa'id, Columbia University, outstanding spokesmen for the Palestinian cause, documents the cruelty of the Arab states to the Palestinian refugees:

"The by now notorious peace process has finally come down to the one issue that has been at the core of Palestinian depredations since 1948: the fate of the refugees. That the Palestinians have endured decades of dispossession and raw agonies rarely endured by other peoples - particularly because these agonies have either been ignored or denied, and even more poignantly, because the perpetrators of this tragedy are celebrated for social and political achievements that make no mention at all of where those achievements actually began - is of course the locus of "the Palestinian problem," but it has been pushed very far down the agenda of negotiations until finally now, it has popped up to the surface.
"Along with [the original displacement of the 1948 war] went the scandalously poor treatment of the refugees themselves. It is still the case, for example, that the 40,000-50,000 Palestinian refugees resident in Egypt must report to a local police station every month; vocational, educational, and social opportunities are curtailed; and a general sense of not belonging adheres to them, despite their Arab nationality and language.

"In Lebanon the situation is even more dire. Almost 400,000 Palestinian refugees have had to endure not only the massacres of Sabra, Shatila, Tel al-Za'atar, Dbayyeh, and elsewhere, but have remained confined in hideous quarantine for almost two generations. They have no legal right to work in at least 60 occupations; they are not adequately covered by medical insurance; they cannot travel and return; they are the objects of suspicion and dislike. In part, they have inherited the mantle of opprobrium draped round them by the PLO's presence (and since 1982 its unlamented absence) there, and thus they remain in the eyes of many ordinary Lebanese a sort of house enemy to be warded off and/or punished from time to time.

"A similar situation exists in kind, if not in degree, in Syria. As for Jordan, although it was - to its credit - the only country where Palestinians were given naturalized status, a visible fault line exists between the disadvantaged majority of that very large community and the Jordanian establishment for reasons that scarcely need to be spelled out. I might add, however, that for most of these situations where Palestinian refugees exist in large groups within one or another Arab country - all of them the direct consequence of 1948 - no simple, much less elegant or just, solution exists in the foreseeable future. It is also worth mentioning, or rather asking, why it is that a destiny of confinement and isolation has been imposed on a people who quite naturally fled to neighboring countries when driven from their own, countries that everyone believed would welcome and sustain them. More or less the opposite occurred: except in Jordan, no welcome was given them - another unpleasant consequence of the original dispossession.
(From the introduction to Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return, Pluto Press, London, 2001)

Some considerations re modern hypocrisy about massacres , refugees and ethnic cleansings in the Arab world
A.) In February, 1982, Hafez el Assad attacked his own city of Hama (southwestern Syria) with a 2-week bombardment and artillery barrage. Between 15,000 and 15,000 civilians were killed, along with 300-400 Moslem Brotherhood insurgents (the target of his attack). It merited only 1.5” of NY Times newsprint. The UN, all international NGOs, the USA and the EU were silent on this hideously brutal massacre.
B.) August, 1982: Sabra and Shatilla (Lebanon). Between 1975 and now there have been dozens of attacks by PLO against Lebanese, Druze against Lebanese, Syrians against Christian and Druze, and vice versa. Some of these have resulted in bona fide massacres of dozens, scores, or hundreds of civilians in villages, on buses, or in refugee camps.
Only those attacks that could be indirectly associated with Israel merited world-wide attention and became causes celebres for NGOs and the UN. Only these two massacres sparked international legal scrutiny. And, ironically, Israel is the only country of all that are involved in the horrific massacres in Lebanon that conducted an inquiry and self-critical evaluation of the Israeli army and government regarding their indirect involvement in the massacres (which were perpetrated by Christian Phalangist Lebanese troops).
C.) Kuwait: 1992, with the successful completion of the first Gulf War and the liberation of Kuwait, the Emir of Kuwait forcibly exiled 300,000 Palestinians from Kuwait. They were forced to flee, with no money or property. Most went to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Europe and the USA. Most had lived in Kuwait for decades, working in various aspects of the Petroleum industry. Many had been born in Kuwait. Some were quite well to do. None were citizens because Kuwait never authorized citizenship for Palestinian refugees. Their crime: support for Saddam Hussein in the Gulf war. Minimal coverage in western Media. The UN, EU, NGOs, and USA were silent on this brutal and massive example of ethnic cleansing.
D.) Jordan, 2004: The Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab al-Yawm (5/17/04) announced that Jordan plans to 'transfer' some 300 refugees who consider themselves Palestinians to a buffer zone between Jordan and Iraq. The refugees in the Al-Ruwayshid camp arrived with the onset of the United States' war in Iraq last year, fleeing from Iraq in advance of the fall of Saddam Hussein. Palestinian activities and settlement in Iraq were heavily subsidized by Hussein, to the detriment of Iraqi economy, as part of his support for the Palestinian terror war against Israel. With Saddam’s fall, the Palestinians became persona non grata and many fled to Jordan.

The sources said that the Jordanian government's intention to evict them follows the failure of all negotiations between the UN High Commission for Refugees [UNHCR] and several Arab countries. These other Arab countries refuse to host these refugees in their countries. The Jordanian government plans to offer the refugees two choices: either return to Iraq, or move to the no-man's land. In any event, Jordan is determined to tear down the camp at the end of this month.

The western Media, UN, UK, EU, USA and NGOs are all silent.

E.) Update on Iraqi cravenness: Friday, 3/19/04, 5:45 pm, NPR “Talk of the Nation” on KQED FM, San Francisco: a survey of the US Marines’ “Oral History” of the 2003 Iraq war. One Marine interviewee told the following tale: we entered the town (Faluja) and were very careful to contain our fire so as not to harm civilians. Then we found that Iraqi women were firing at us from the windows of their homes. After losing some men to this fire due to our containment orders, we decided to change our tactics and declared our sector an “open range of fire” zone. When we had neutralized the opposition, we discovered that the “women” were actually Iraqi male mujehadeen (dml. Iraqi para-military fighters loyal to Saddam Hussein, who numbered about the same as the total Iraqi army!) in women’s clothing! We faced similar tactics in the guise of gunfire from doorways of homes; but when we broke into those homes, we found everyone sitting around dressed in pajamas, with no visible weapons. The fighters, after shooting at us, took shelter behind civilians, and hid their weapons and uniforms. When we left, they grabbed their weapons and fired on us.
We will never know how many Iraqi civilians, especially women and children, were killed by American fire due to these Iraqi tactics (eerily reminiscent of Deir Yassin).

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