2nd part of 3
The Eight Stages of the Creation of Arab Refugee Problem
There were eight stages to the flight of Arabs from what would soon become
One. 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 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 be out of the way of danger, and when the war was over (no one imagined that
Current estimates by objective observers (Conan Cruise O'Brien, in his book "The Siege", being perhaps the most objective) is that about 70,000 fled.
Two. These refugees caused a sudden absence of political and social leadership among the Arabs of 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
There are no solid 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
Note: Well!! These Arabs were fleeing of their own free will. No one, neither
Three. 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 arms...so the Israeli army was still an underground army) and para-military Arab volunteers numbering in the tens 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 annihilation...like the great Mongol hordes killing all in their path. The Jews would be either dead or out.
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 Galilee and the 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 western Galilee, Jaffa, and parts of western Jerusalem, fled because of 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 responsible 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
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
b. Had the Arab armies not invaded, there would have been no refugee problem.
In light of these two facts, it is clear 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.
Four. Arab leadership from among the para-military forces and the forces of
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
Nonetheless, tens of thousands fled. The incredulous British officers who witnessed this (don't forget, the British had not yet left) documented it in a variety of sources (some mentioned in the appendix below). Those Arabs who stayed were unharmed and became citizens of
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 left 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 about 10 to one.
Wherever Arabs chose to stay, they were unharmed and later became citizens of
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 Conan Cruise O'Brien's "The Siege" and Mitchell Bard's "Idiot's Guide to the Mid-East conflict" and "Myths and Facts" offer irrefutable proof of just such pronouncements.
Five. Deir Yassin: The events that took place at Deir Yassin are 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 concocted 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
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 rather than surround the village and bar 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 thus incorrectly 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, 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 Iraqi soldiers, 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 Arab spokespersons 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.
The plan backfired. The Arab armies invaded, but only with a fraction of their total military capacity. 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 1993 (revised 2001) 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
Note well!! The flight of Arabs had begun 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, 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
Moreover, we have from an unimpeachable source, Yassir Arafat himself (his authorized biography, by Alan Hart, "Arafat: Terrorist or Peace Maker") that the Deir Yassin lies were spread "like a red flag in front of a bull" 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
So the lies about Deir Yassin were spread in order to shame the Arab armies and cause panic among Arab civilians.
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 Arabs, and spread by Arabs. 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
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
Six. There were two more incidents (in addition to the actions noted above in #3) of Arab refugees being forced to flee by Israeli army actions: Lydda and Ramle.
Both villages sat astride the road from Tel Aviv to
Note...none were killed. There was no massacre. But they were driven out. However, they were driven out because their villages sat astride the road to
Seven. By 5/15/48, the British had evacuated their forces from all of British Mandatory Palestine, and the Jews 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. Armies from 8 Arab nations poured into the area from
In June of '48 the UN imposed a cease-fire. By July when the Arabs re-initiated hostilities, the Israelis had been able to use the cease-fire to import arms and planes from
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 large parts of the areas that the UN had intended to be the Palestinian state (western Galilee, and southern coastal plain north of
Contrary to revisionist and mendacious Arab propaganda, there was never any intent to massacre 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 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 at transferring the guilt to
Perhaps the most revealing considerations in the conclusion that Israel NEVER set out to put into action a plan to genocide the Arabs of Palestine or to drive them from their homes are:
The complete absence of any coverage in any world press, including Arab press and western press openly hostile to
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.
The above are the 7 stages of causation. The next stage recounts on-going Arab obduracy in the maintenance of the refugee problem and refusal to seek any solution.
Eight. As noted above, the Arabs caused the problem by starting the war, and by encouraging Arabs to leave during the war. Even worse, although
During the Rhodes armistice talks in 2/1949,
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
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