The Original Palestinian Refugee Situation; a result of Zionism or Arab anti-semitism?
“My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” Psalm 120: 6,7
For real peace negotiations, a referee must understand the nature of the opponents and conflict. Who threw the first punch? Who tried to avoid the conflict and what was the track record of both parties? Without a willingness to honestly face the actions and attitudes of the Arab people’s, and that of the Jewish prople, we can never pretend to administrate a just peace in the mid-east.
It’s popular in the secular media and college campuses to cast the Israelis in the light of oppressors and occupiers, and the Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding Arab nations as peace seeking and persecuted people.
But how did the original refugee situation come to pass? Why did so many Arabs abandon their homes and lands and flee to other Arab countries when the British Mandate ended and the Balfour proclamation claimed the parts of the Palestinian Territory originally to be ceded to Israel?
At the end of the British Mandate, and in defiance of the idea that the Jewish people might actually form a small state in the Islamic mid-east, it was the Arab and Palestinian leaders who ordered all the Arab settlers to flee. They also threatened that all Arabs who remained would be treated as collaborators and killed. They assured the Palestinian settlers that it would only take a few days to annihilate the Jewish people and take a spoil of all the Jewish settlements. Actual newspaper clippings and statements from the Arab authorities, the British military and the surrounding Arab newspapers cast light on the 1948 exodus of arabs from their homes.
In fact, the Jewish settlers pleaded with the Arabs to stay on their land and promised no harm would come to them. But the Arab governments, and the Palestinian High Committee, indeed, every Arab authority, commanded the Palestinian Arabs to flee to other countries. In an article titled, “What we have Learned and What We Should Do”, in the official journal of the PLO called, Falastin eth-thawra, in March 1976, Abu Mazen wrote;
“The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but instead, they abandoned them, and forced them to emigrate and leave their homeland…the Arab states succeeded in scattering the Palestinian people.”
Khaled al-Azm, Prime Minister of Syria in 1948 wrote in his memoirs;
“…since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. We have brought destruction upon a million Arab refugees by calling upon them and pleading with them to leave their land, their homes their work and businesses.” (Khaled as-Azm’s memoirs, Beirut 1973, part one, pp.386-387
Harry Stebbins an official in the British Mandatory Government in Palestine in 1948 wrote;
“Long before the end of the British mandate…all my Arab Palestinian staff of some 200 men and women and all of the 1800 man labor force had left Haifa in spite of every possible effort to assure them of their safety if they stayed. They all left for one or more of the following reasons:;
1) The arab terrorism engendered by the November, 1947 UN partition resolution frightened them to the death of their imaginative souls and they feared Jewish retaliation.
2) (Arab) Propagandists promised a blood bath as soon as the mandate ended in which the streets of all the cities would run with blood.
3) The promised invasion of the foreign Arab armies (which started on May 14 with the Arab Legion massacre of some 200 Jewish settlers at Kfar Etzion) was preceded by extensive broadcasts from Cairo, Damascus, Ammon and Beirut to the effect that any Arabs who stayed would be hanged as collaborators with the Jews.” (Harry C. Stebbins, London Evening Standard, Jan 10, 1969)
In September 6, 1949, in the Beirut Telegraph, Emile Ghoury, of the Palestinian Higher Committee said;
“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.”
Jamal Husseini, of the Palestinian Higher Committee told the Security Council on April 23, 1948;
“…we have never concealed the fact that we began the fighting.”
A British police report to Headquarters in Jerusalem noted that the Jews were making every effort to persuade the Arab settlers to stay and continue on with their lives. In Haifa, the Arab Nat’l Committee refused to sign a treaty with the Jewish representatives despite a passionate plea from the Jewish mayor of Haifa.
Unlike the panic stricken Arab settlers, the Jewish settlers refused to panic and run. In his memoirs, Khalid Azm also said;
“But the massacre at Kfar Etzion, the massacre of the (Jewish) hospital convoy…and the continued blasting and shelling of the Jewish settlements for over 20 years, has not caused one single Israeli to move away.” (Azm, ibid)
Did you catch that? For 20 years BEFORE the formation of the Jewish State, the Jews were being bombed and blasted by Arab armies and terrorists. Some things never change. So the unrest and violence in the mid-east was not caused by the formation of the Jewish Nation. The real reason is the Islamic Arab nations will never rest until, as Nasser said before the 1967 Six Day War, all the “Jews are driven into the sea”.
As the Iraqi prime minister Nuri Said was quoted by the head of Palestinian Youth organization, Hawri, as saying;
“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.” (Hawri, The Secret Behind the Disaster, 1952, Nazareth)
Or so they thought. The Jews remain, and even though all the nations of the world come against them, they will prevail. But don’t let the facts confuse you. If you want to practice the new anti-Semitism, which shows itself in anti-Israelism go ahead, go with the flow. But remember, things usually flow down hill.
Have a great day.