Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin - Dec. 17, 2006
Arab leaders caused the refugee problem
PA columnist: Arab leaders initiated departure and made false promises of a speedy return
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
PMW has documented yet another corroboration in the official Palestinian Authority (PA) paper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that it was Arab leaders who were responsible for the flight of Arabs from the new State of Israel in 1948.
A backbone of PA ideology, and indeed of anti-Israel propagandists worldwide, is the myth that
However, a regular writer for the official PA paper, Mahmud Al-Habbash, writes in a recent column that in 1948 the Arabs left their homes willingly under the instruction of their own Arab leaders and their false promises of a prompt return. He refers to these promises as "Arkuvian," after Arkuv – a figure from Arab tradition - who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies – and states that the Arabs who left their homes, and became refugees did so believing their leaders' deceptive promises. He places the blame and the responsibility on the shoulders of the Arab leaders and does not mention any so-called "Israeli expulsion."
Following is this most recent article, as well as earlier statements by Arab "refugees" that have appeared in the PA press, all of which corroborate
The following are four statements corroborating that Arabs fled
1. Journalist writing about the events of 1948
Mahmud Al-Habbash, a regular writer in the official PA paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, indicates in his column "The Pulse of Life" that the Arabs left
"…The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the "Catastrophe" [[the establishment of Israel and the creation of refugee problem] in 1948, that the duration of the exile will not be long, and that it will not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees will return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those "Arkuvian" promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events…" [Term "Arkuvian," is after Arkuv – a figure from Arab tradition - who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies."] "
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 13, 2006]
2. Woman who fled
"We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the "Catastrophe" [The establishment of
[Asmaa Jabir Balasimah Um Hasan, Woman who fled Israel, Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]
3. Son and grandson of those who fled in 1948
An Arab viewer called Palestinian Authority TV and quoted his father and grandfather, complaining that in 1948 the Arab District Officer ordered all Arabs to leave
Statement of son and grandson of man who fled:
"Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]. I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the "Catastrophe" [establishment of
Response from Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in
"The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife throughout history until Resurrection Day."
[PA TV April 30, 1999]
4. Article by senior PA journalist
Fuad Abu Higla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al Hayat Al Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit, which criticized the Arab leaders for a series of failures. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders "forced" them to leave
"I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:
To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents, Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians... So what will your summit do now?"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, March 19, 2001]
It is clear from these statements that there is general acknowledgement among Palestinians that Arab leaders bear responsibility for the mass flight of Arabs from