Thursday, May 14, 2020

  • Thursday, May 14, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Here are some quotes from Arab leaders in 1948 around the War of Independence. (They were compiled by the late Ami Isseroff, whose MidEast Web site is an encyclopedic and accurate source of information.)

 

Encouragement by Arab Leaders and Rumors - A study by Childers, which examined British monitoring of Arab broadcasts during that period, did not find any evidence that Arab leaders called on Palestinians to leave their homes. However, considerable evidence and testimony exists that at different times, Arab leaders encouraged refugees to flee.  This issue has been inflated beyond its actual importance. It has no real significance in international law, except to counter or support the Palestinian claims of expulsion by force.

During a fact-finding mission to Gaza in June 1949, Sir John Troutbeck, head of the British Middle East office in Cairo and no friend to Israel or the Jews, found  that while the refugees "express no bitterness against the Jews (or for that matter against the Americans or ourselves) they speak with the utmost bitterness of the Egyptians and other Arab states. "We know who our enemies are," they will say, and they are referring to their Arab brothers who, they declare, persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their home. . . ."

The Economist, reported on October 2, 1948: "Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit....It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades."

Times Magazine (May 3, 1948) reported: "The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by orders of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city....By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa."

Edward Atiyah, the secretary of the Arab League Office in London, wrote in his book, The Arabs: "This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boastings of an unrealistic Arabic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re­enter and retake possession of their country."

According to Near East Arabic Radio, April 3, 1948: "It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees to flee from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem, and that certain leaders . . . make political capital out of their miserable situation . . ."

Nimr el Hawari, the Commander of the Palestine Arab Youth Organization, in his book Sir Am Nakbah (The Secret Behind the Disaster, published in Nazareth in 1955), quoted the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said 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."

Habib Issa wrote in the New York Lebanese daily newspaper Al Hoda on June 8, 1951, " 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... He pointed out that they were already on the frontiers and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean. -- Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes, and property and to stay temporarily in neighbouring fraternal states, lest the guns of the invading Arab armies mow them down."

Reports of massacres and actual fighting caused fear among the population. In Tiberias, Haifa and Jaffa, the Arab irregulars initiated combat with the Jews, who retaliated. The Palestinian civilian population, often abandoned by their leaders, were unwilling to stay under Jewish administration and left. In Haifa, Jewish leaders including the mayor and head of the labor council pleaded with Arabs to stay. In Jaffa, the British pleaded with them to remain, but the exodus continued.

The atmosphere in Palestinian towns can be appreciated from the following quote:

"Jaffa was boiling: every second that passed you heard a new rumour, and after every minute the imaginary tales and lies became bigger, finally, they were accepted as definite truth by the public. At sunset, many of the Mufti henchmen patrolled the streets in private and lorry cars, calling upon the people: oh! men, oh! heros; Help..Help.., stop the Jewish attack! They have attacked your brothers in the Manshiya; they pillaged their properties; burned their holdings and raped their women and girls. They have committed awful acts of horror and brutality against your brothers!! In but a few minutes Jaffa's inhabitants were incited and agitated shouted and fired into the air -- On Them! On Them! ("aleihoom, aleihoom") on Tel-Aviv, the town of the wicked...Groups and individuals, they marched on and among them, behind them or in front of them, went the Mufti henchmen belittling the Jewish strength..."

[Muhamed Nimer Al Hawari in THE SECRET OF THE CATASTROPHE, Nazareth, 1955]

It is hard to square the actual atmosphere among Arabs in 1948 and the current narrative of Jews ethnically cleansing them. The “nakba” was and remains a problem created by and for Arabs, but pride and politics does not allow Palestinians to blame anyone but the Jews.

The narrative they say today is a lie. To know the truth, look at what they said in 1948.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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