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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Government & Elections : Peace & War

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.
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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visit Palestine in person,see for yourself

Will the real becky johnson pleaseeeeee go visit the Palestinians and view for yourself how unjust and brutal the Isreal Defense Force is? You do not mention the bombing of Egypt by the agressors-IDF> Brutal and demonic.

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

Sophia: It may surprise you to know that I had a Palestinian man in my home yesterday as a guest. He was born on the West Bank and grew up there. He became a terrorist for the PLO. He described for me how he and all the kids he grew up with were heavily indoctrinated in Jew hatred and in the need to annihilate Israel.

How children are raised from birth to become Shehadas. About the hatred against Jews that is spewed from the pulpit every week from the Imam's in the Islamic mosques there.

He described how the Palestinians had desecrated every holy site for Jews. He said he could not think of a single example where Jews had desecrated a Muslim site even giving control of the Temple Mount to Islamic clerics.

He described how Palestinians talk differently when western audiences are listening. How their talk of Jew-hatred and of destroying Israel changes to concerns about IDF "machine-gunning children" or of "humiliation at checkpoints" etc. The kind of sap foreign audiences are vulnerable to.

He debunked the notion that the terror acts are committed by a few isolated groups. He said how endemic the indoctrination of hatred against Jews is. He reported that more Palestinians are killed by other Palestinians than the IDF ever kills.

He said that when a Palestinian is killed by another Arab, they try to blame it on the IDF "every time".

He talked about an honor killing in Ramallah where the father invited the entire town to witness him as he beheaded his own daughter on the front steps of their home.

Sophia---I have never been to Israel or to a Palestinian city. But this guy grew up there, and was a member of the PLO. He was even recruited as a suicide bomber but only found out after the fact that his handlers had meant for him to die too!!

I taped a tv show with him that will air in a few weeks so you will be able to see him for yourself.

You can also go to his website and read his own personal accounts. His name is Walid Shoebat.

p.s. I hope you actually read the above article which documented in spades the true motive of the 8 Arab nations that invaded Israel the day after they declared their independence. They wanted to achieve the 2nd Jewish holocaust. And guess what?
They still do.

Move this article

Hey indy editors! This is an otherpress article and shouldn't be on the newswire.

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

Great, one Mossad agent interviewing another. I hope I miss it. Becky, how much do they pay you to regurgitate their lies and spew your puke on us?

Who is paying for this?

Steve: How much do you think rich Arabs rolling in oil money who hate Jews and Israel pay gullible anti-Israel leftists groups to spew out trash about the Israelis? Also, I guess my well sourced facts are "puke"? Readers NOTE: Steve Argue cannot refute this article with his own facts and supplementary sources. Instead he stoops to name-calling.

Wake up: This is NOT other press! This is an essay by David Meir-Levi, an Israeli historian, and, to my knowledge, has not been published in another press.

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

Hey, Becky is that an admission that, in fact, you are a paid propagandist?

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

I read through the original post and would like to address a few things.
The topic of Deir Yassin has been addressed elsewhere on this site but I'd like to add some brief comments.

I find it odd that the author included this statement because it belies his own premise: 'Iraqis who had indeed surrendered were killed along with those who had only pretended to surrender and had then opened fire.'

This seems an admission not only of a war crime but a glimpse into the insanity (of war) which prevailed while these incidents occurred.

The following quote is from the Jewish Virtual Library:

"After the remaining Arabs feigned surrender and then fired on the Jewish troops, some Jews killed Arab soldiers and civilians indiscriminately. None of the sources specify how many women and children were killed (the Times report said it was about half the victims; their original casualty figure came from the Irgun source), but there were some among the casualties. Any intentional murder of children or women is completely unjustified."

These statements along with the newly discovered documents (which are briefly referred to and then dismissed in the above article) point to the probability that a terrible tradgey did occur.

The other statement that caught my eye was this:

"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."

How was it that Germany was in the possession of these weapons in 1948?

The author dismisses any Israeli accountability for the mass exodus of the Palestinians while at the same time making it clear that the surrounding Arab countries did not welcome these people or view them as friends.

If there was a war in Watsonville and it was coming to Santa Cruz (roughly the same distance between what is now Israel and the West Bank and Gaza) would you take steps to leave?

It has been well documented that the Arabs in surrounding states did not interfere in the affairs of the Palestinian Arabs until the state of Israel was established. In 1948 the Palestinian Arabs fled the war between the surrounding Arab states and Israel. They are in Diaspora.

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

Becky says, "Readers NOTE: Steve Argue cannot refute this article with his own facts and supplementary sources."

Becky, since you have posted no FACTS this statement seems pretty silly.

Becky, I have refuted your nonsense many times. I do not have time to answer you every time you spew your hateful anti-Palestinian puke. Seriously, this anti-Palestinian stuff is no different than denying the holocaust ever happened.

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

So it is not a fact that in the fall of '47 70,000 wealthy Arabs fled to get out of the way of the upcoming war?

So it is not a fact that another 100,000 fled in the Winter of 1947 when they saw their wealthy employers flee?

So it is not a fact that the Haganah spread scare stories in order to protect isolated Jewish villages from attack?

It is not a fact that Jews were slaughtered in the Gush Etzion villages and in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem?

Is it not a fact that very few Arabs were driven out of Palestine at gunpoint--with most of them fleeing on their own accord or at the behest of their own Arab leaders?

To say I have presented "no facts" defies logic.

To say what I have posted here ( a very detailed history, researched and documented with numerous sources) is "hateful anti-Palestinian puke" shows you to be an ignorant, narrow-minded, spiteful, boob who will believe ANYTHING bad said about Israel and discount ANYTHING good said despite mounds of evidence.

While I have plenty of sympathy for the plight of the Palestinian people, and look forward to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the facts as I see them (and I think have more than adequately presented these for you here) show that their plight is entirely due to their own Arab leaders.

The solution to the conflict rests with the Arabs and the Palestinians. Israel cannot change a policy or grant a concession which will bring peace.

You scoff at me for saying that the Arabs still want to kill the Jews and drive them into the sea.
You call me paranoid. You say I am exaggerating the threat.

You are wrong. The Arabs still want to wipe the Jewish State of the map of the world. NO,not ALL of them!!! But enough of them for it to be a real, and sobering threat which Israel cannot ignore.

Read what the ARABs say every day in their own newspapers at

Don't listen to me. Listen to them.

Re: The Truth about Arab Refugees in 1948

Becky says, "You scoff at me for saying that the Arabs still want to kill the Jews and drive them into the sea. You call me paranoid. You say I am exaggerating the threat."

I never said any of those things. I agree with Leon Trotsky's early assessment and warnings that setting up a Jewish colonial settler state on Arab land would likely be a death trap for the Jewish people. That danger will continue as long as there is an Israeli state carrying mass murder and other oppression against the Palestinian people.

As for the myth of some voluntary mass Palestinian exodus, besides that lie defying all logic, I took up that question in the following discussion with you already:


In your letter to Sen. Kline you wrote:

"...and that there will not be peace for either the Palestinian or the Hebrew speaking population until the Israeli state is abolished and in its place a democratic secular Palestine is built with a separation of church and state where the civil rights of all nationalities are guaranteed."

I am appalled that you are advocating the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. This is a horrendous idea which I'm sure, the Nazi party would have applauded.

You are misguided if you think that a secular democratic state with civil rights will replace Israel.
Can you give me a single example of an Arab/Muslim country that is a secular democracy with separation of church and state and where civil rights of all nationalities are guaranteed?

No!! Yet you advocate dismantling a country that does allow religious freedom, civil rights for all of its population whether they are citizens or not, women's rights, gay rights, a representative democracy with regular elections.

You advocate stopping US aid to Israel, but you still have not answered whether you also advocate breaking the peace treaty Israel has with Egypt to do this.

What is your agenda? Do you want peace in the mideast for Jews and Palestinians? Or do you want to eliminate the Jewish people like the Nazis tried to do in Germany in World War II? I assume you don't mean the latter, but the policies you are pushing for just might have that effect. Get a clue!!

--- Becky Johnson

Dear Becky Johnson,

Your ideas and ignorance are one hundred percent racist. The idea that Arabs and Muslims can’t run their own countries in a pluralistic manner where the rights of Jews, Christians, and others are respected flies in the face of history.

While Europe was suffering under the theocratic tyranny of Christianity during the dark ages; science and freedom of religion were flourishing in the Arab world. The idea that the conquering colonial Zionists from Europe and the U.S. who do not even pretend to give equal rights to the original inhabitants of the land are somehow more enlightened when it comes to civil rights, smacks of the most ugly kind of racism.

No, the bloody Christian crusades of old did not bring enlightenment, nor does the propping up of the theocratic and racist Zionist state with massive support from U.S. imperialism. To the contrary, Israel’s wars against the Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Egyptian people are, and have been, some of the biggest atrocities taking place in the Mideast.

I am an ardent opponent of anti-Semitism. In doing so I recognize that the atrocities of Zionism and U.S. imperialism are today the single largest promoter of anti-Semitism in the world, just as the crimes of U.S. imperialism are the biggest promoter of terrorist attacks against American civilians. When the victims of Zionism and U.S. imperialism lash out at the wrong enemy, this should not cause us to unite behind those whose injustice caused people to lash out in the first place.

This is what you are doing Becky, and you are doing it in the same racist manner as the murderous Israeli state, arguing that Arabs are not fit to rule and blaming Palestinians as a whole for attacks on civilians. In addition you do not differentiate between the brutal racist terror of the Israeli occupation army and the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves from that terror with whatever meager arms they can gather.

The Palestinian people; walled off, denied basic human rights, starved, tortured, and facing mass murder; face the same situation as Jews did in the ghettos of Europe under the Third Reich, minus the gas chambers and crematoria that came later. The Zionist government instead prefers to drive the majority of Palestinians from their homeland through violence and never allow them the right to return while allowing Jews from everywhere to immigrate.

Becky, you as a Zionist have no right to mention the holocaust of the Third Reich, not just because Zionism is very similar to Nazism, but because the Zionist movement supported Hitler. (For documentation of these facts see the following response to another Becky Johnson letter.) Had the Zionist movement not lobbied the British and U.S. governments against the immigration of Jews so that they would be forced to go to Palestine, had they not kept quiet on the Third Reich’s atrocities when they knew full well what was going on, had they not opposed the bombing of the gas chambers and crematoria that could have stopped the death factories, and had they not given overt support to Hitler, many more Jews would have survived the holocaust of the Third Reich.

Racist Israel would not exist without U.S. support. Likewise the most oppressive and anti-worker Arab regimes of the region are propped up, and in many cases were put in power by, U.S., French, and British imperialism. To blame the Arab people for the governments imposed on them by imperialism is like blaming slaves for their brutal masters.

You speak of women’s rights in Near East countries. The 1978 Afghani revolution led by the PDPA was made primarily to promote women’s rights. Yet U.S. imperialism supplied billions of dollars in military aid to the misogynists of the Mujahideen and recruited 100,000 foreign religious fanatics to destroy that revolution. Besides death and destruction, the offspring of this U.S. crime against humanity was the clerical fascist regime of the Taliban. Now the U.S. has put the other warring factions of the misogynist Mujahideen back in power and as a result the horrible conditions caused by U.S. intervention persist.

Likewise, the capitalist counter-revolution that took place in the former Soviet Union has eroded the advanced state of women’s rights as well as healthcare, employment, and education that had been achieved in its Near East Republics during the Soviet era.

A similar situation is now faced by the women of Iraq that had gained an advanced status of equality under the secular Ba’ath regime. Women’s rights will surely suffer under a government made up of CIA stooges from the Iraqi National Congress and bought off Shi’ite and Kurdish leaders.

The fact that women’s rights advanced under Saddam Hussein is largely a result of the working class influence of the Iraqi Communist Party and its advocacy of a secular state. Just as the U.S. supported the Ba’ath Party when it was murdering Communists and union leaders, in fact supplying lists through the CIA, today the U.S. government militarily supports the repressive imperialist imposed Arab monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who guarantee the profits of U.S. oil monopolies while their people live in poverty and women live as slaves.

Yes, I do advocate the total destruction and elimination of the Jewish State, just as I advocate the destruction of all Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu governments. The American, French, and Russian revolutions were major advances in many ways, including the fact that they were decisive blows for the separation of church and state. Likewise the Chinese revolution ended feudal slavery in many forms. This included the Buddhist theocracy that enslaved the people of Tibet. That theocratic government declared that their peasant slaves, slaves who faced extreme exploitation, hunger, and torture under their rulers “enlightened? hands, were only paying for the bad karma of other lives and may be born in a better position in another life.

Likewise, in Palestine the Zionist state of Israel promotes the idea that it is written in biblical texts that Israel belongs to them. This fanatical and intolerant religious view is one of the excuses used deny the country’s original inhabitants their basic human rights, to murder them, and drive these Palestinian people from their homes.

Similarly the rightwing and pro-imperialist Hindu government of India organizes pogroms against Muslims as a tactic in keeping the working class and peasantry from uniting amongst them-selves to defeat the Indian capitalists and their government.

In Europe in the last century, the Jews became a target of violence by the ruling capitalists who saw in the large oppressed Jewish population a hotbed of socialist revolutionaries and a convenient scapegoat for the ills of capitalism.

Just as capitalist governments promote religion as a way to blind and opiate the people with lies, they also promote religious and ethnic divisions as a way to prevent the unity of those who may unite against them. Yet, against all odds, unite we must in order to achieve progress.

In 1945 Tito united the various ethnicities of Yugoslavia in a socialist revolution (all be it deformed by the Stalinist model) that threw the Nazi’s out of their country and ended ethnic conflict for many years. Likewise the socialist revolution that brings about a united democratic secular Palestine will have to unite Hebrew and Arabic speakers for the overthrow of the racist Zionist government of Israel and the overthrow of the repressive monarchy of Jordan. Such a revolution would be a major step towards breaking the back of U.S. imperialism in the Near East.

Becky you say to me, “You advocate stopping US aid to Israel, but you still have not answered whether you also advocate breaking the Peace treaty Israel has with Egypt to do this.? I do not control what treaties Israel will and will not break. Israel and Egypt are a boon for the U.S. war industry. While the U.S. arms the repressive governments of Israel and Egypt in the billions of dollars at U.S. taxpayer expense, this policy does nothing to promote peace. Nor is it meant to. Ending U.S. military funding for repressive capitalist governments around the world through socialist revolution in the United States is a cause to which I am dedicated.

As such, my voice is part of a rising chorus that says the racist violence, exploitation, and oppression against the Palestinian people must stop. We want to stop paying for it with our tax dollars, we want to stop paying for it with blood.

There were Trotskyists in the United States in the 1930s and 40s that stood alone against the Democrats, Republicans, Zionists, Communist Party USA, the American Nazi Party, and the fascist Silver Shirts in calling for letting Jewish refugees into the United States. I stand in that tradition, a tradition that organized the fight against the American Nazi Party in the Streets of New York, physically prevented the organization of the Silver Shirt fascists in Minneapolis, and organized workers in combative unions that won real gains through struggle with militant opposition to the bosses and their two parties (Democrats and Republicans). They did not cower in face of police violence and the false promises of Roosevelt or the Zionists. They did not beg for political rights and other gains for workers and the unemployed. Instead they told the truth. Becky Johnson, you could learn something from these revolutionary traditions rather than support a movement that causes so much pain and death for Palestinians and helped to murder over 6 million Jews with its support for Hitler.

Sincerely, Steve Argue

Dear Steve Argue,

You have to go back and read your history books. Palestine was the name the
British gave to the mandate they took over (in typical British imperial fashion) from the crumbling Ottoman Empire. Palestinians at the time included everyone who lived there, including the Jews. Palestine ceased to exist when Israel was formed in 1948. The plan from the UN was to have the state of Palestine right next to Israel. But all the Arab neighbors (and the Arab population within the borders of the new state of Israel) rejected this two state solution and responded by out and out war waged on the Israelis.

The Palestinians (Arabs who live or lived within the boundaries of Israel) didn't even start to call themselves that until 1968--- twenty years after the establishment of Israel. Basically the concept of Palestine is a manufactured one to drum up support for these Arabs and to decrease support for Israel by the claim that Israel is on THEIR land.

Remember, the Arabs and Muslims who did not flee in 1948, but stayed in Israel have full citizenship, have freedom to practice their religion, own property, vote, have representation in the Knesset, and compose 18% of the population.

There is no Palestine. And there never was except as a British invention.

---Becky Johnson

Steve Argue responds:

Actually history is one of my strong points. You state that I need to consult my history books, yet you make statements that are inarguably historically incorrect. Palestine was in existence as a recognized territory of the Ottoman Empire long before British control and even before the beginnings of Jewish colonization by the Zionist movement.

These inhabitants of the region also had Arab nationalist sentiments that opposed the control of the Ottoman Empire before the creation of the Zionist State and have since opposed many of the U.S., French, and British imposed kings, crown princes, emirs, sheiks, etc. that Zionists like to claim represent the aspirations of the Arab people.

Your attempt to deny a people of even the name of their homeland is consistent with an ideology that denies an entire people of the right to their homeland. The fact that bloody repression and horrible discrimination has driven the majority of Palestinians from large parts of their homeland without the right of return is not enough. The Zionist movement wants to wipe away the rightful name of the land they have conquered by re-writing history and denying there ever was a Palestine.

From its beginnings in the eighteen hundreds the Zionist movement had little concern for the Arab inhabitants of the Palestinian land they would settle. Instead they appealed to imperialist powers as potential allies against the Arab people in setting up their Zionist state. For example Zionist leader T. Herzl stated around 1897: “If his majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could undertake to regulate Turkey’s finances. For Europe, we would constitute a bulwark against Asia down there; we would be the advance post of civilization against barbarism. As a neutral state, we would remain in constant touch with all of Europe, which would guarantee our existence? (from Rodinson, “Israel a Colonial Settler State??).

By being neutral Herzl is obviously referring to the Zionist dealings with powers of Europe and not to the colonial “barbarians? already in and around the land he would settle and conquer.

An Arab leader in Jerusalem named Nassif Bey al-Khalidi who tried unsuccessfully to work out an agreement between Arabs and the Zionist movement warned the Zionists with the following statement, “Be very careful, Messieurs Zionists, governments disappear, but peoples remain. The Jewish immigrants came to Palestine believing it to be a desolate, sparsely inhabited country. They were too busy with their own business and too ignorant of Arabic to notice what was going on around them. Since it was the Turks who ruled Palestine, they turned all their attention toward the Turks. This did not make them popular with the Arabs? (from Neville Mandel, “Chapters of Arab-Jewish Diplomacy 1918-1922?).

The Jewish immigrants never became integrated in any way with the native Arab population. This was true economically, politically, socially, and linguistically. These Jewish immigrants were so separate from the Palestinian people that they were only Palestinian to the extent that they were physically living in Palestine.

It took the weakening of the Sultan during the First World War for Europe (specifically England) to move in and grant the colonial framework for Jewish colonization that aimed itself at the goal of an exclusively Jewish state. This framework was set forth in a British political charter in November 1917 called the Balfour Declaration which stated, “His Majesty’s government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.?

Within this framework an exclusive Jewish state was the stated goal of all but a small minority in the Zionist movement, a goal that obviously would be at the expense of the Arab people already living in Palestine. In order to placate the Palestinians, however, the Balfour declaration stated, “it should be clearly understood that nothing should be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.?

While Britain was trying to placate the Arabs Zionist leader Jabotinsky was very clear on Zionist intentions stating in 1923 in his Book the “Iron Wall?, “There can be no discussion of voluntary reconciliation between us and the Arabs, not now, and not in the foreseeable future. All well meaning people, with the exception of those blind from birth, understood long ago the complete impossibility of arriving at a voluntary agreement with the Arabs of Palestine for the transformation of Palestine from an Arab country to a country with a Jewish majority. Each of you has some understanding of the history of colonization. Try to find even one example when the colonization took place with the agreement of the native population.?

In understanding the existence of a Palestinian people and the struggles yet to come Jabotinsky went on to state, “They have the precise psychology we have. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux upon his prairie. Each people will struggle against colonizers until the last spark of hope that they can avoid the dangers of conquest and colonization is extinguished. The Palestinians will struggle in this way until there is hardly a spark of hope.?

Jabotinsky’s view, and the policy that would later be carried out against the Palestinians could not be made any clearer than his following statement from the same writing: “We can not give any compensation for Palestine, neither to the Palestinians nor to the other Arabs. Therefore a voluntary agreement is inconceivable. All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the native population. Therefore it can continue and develop only under the shield of force which comprises an Iron Wall through which the Arab population can never break through. This is our Arab policy. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.?

In explaining the differences between Zionist factions in dealing with the Palestinians Jabotinsky stated, “Force must play its role – with strength and without indulgence. In this, in this there are no differences between our militarists and our vegetarians. One prefers an Iron Wall of Jewish bayonets; the other prefers an Iron Wall of English bayonets.?

On these issues Rabbi Judas L. Magnes, President of the Hebrew University Jerusalem wrote, “by definition a Jewish state means that Jews will govern other people, other people who live in this Jewish state…Jabotinsky knew this long ago. He was the prophet of the Jewish state...In his early writings he said: ‘Has a people ever been known to give up its territory of its own volition? Likewise, the Arabs of Palestine will not renounce their sovereignty without violence.’?

On the morals of Jabotinsky’s plans and his desire to extinguish all hopes of the Palestinian people he is as clear in the “Iron Wall? as Hitler is of his intentions in “Mein Kampf? with Jabotinsky stating: “To the hackneyed reproach that this point of view is unethical, I answer ‘absolutely untrue.’ This is our ethic. There is no other ethic. As long as there is the faintest hope for the Arabs to impede us they will not sell these hopes – not for any sweet word nor for any tasty morsel, because this is not a rabble but a people, a living people. And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions, except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall.?

In 1940 Jabotinsky states in “The Jewish War Front?: “Since we have the moral authority for calmly envisaging the exodus of the Arabs, we need not regard the possible departure of 900,000 with dismay. Herr Hitler has recently been enhancing the popularity of population transfer.?

While the Arabs of Palestine were extremely tolerant of the Zionists who were moving in to take their land and their hopes the Zionist movement was never interested in forming any sort of alliance with the Arab people. Instead the Zionist movement from its inception was openly anti-Arab and pro-imperialist, even though those same imperial powers were the same ones who were carrying out pogroms against the Jews in the ghettos across Europe. This pro-imperialist policy included close relations with the pogromist leaders of anti-Semitic Czarist Russia who murdered tens of thousands of Jews, and later Zionist support and deals that aided the fascist death camps of Nazi Germany.
Jews, in fact, are victims of Zionism along side Arabs. From the beginning of Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933 the Zionist movement lent their support to the Nazis, support which lasted until at least 1944 when they aided Hitler’s “final solution? in Hungary killing 800,000 Jews. On the surface the idea of Zionist relations with the Nazis may sound illogical and seem made up. Those relations, however, are well documented.

Hitler seized power in 1933 with a clear fascistic program that called for the annihilation of all socialists, communists, labor leaders, and Jews. Despite this fact the Zionist Federation of Germany sent the Nazi Party a memorandum on June 21, 1933 stating: “…a rebirth of national life such as is occurring in German life … must also take place in the Jewish national group. On the foundation of the new [Nazi] state, which has established itself on the principle of race, we wish to fit our community into the total structure so that for us, too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible….? (Brenner, Zionism, pg. 48).

The policy of supporting Hitler was later upheld at the World Zionist Organization Congress in 1933 where a motion to take action against Hitler was defeated 240 to 43. Thus the Jewish boycott of the German economy at a time of economic weakness and vulnerability was broken with the World Zionist Organization’s Anglo Palestine Bank resuming trade. In fact the World Zionist Organization became the principal distributors of Nazi goods in Northern Europe and the Middle East.

Feivel Polkes was a member of Zionist leader Jabotinsky’s Haganah militia. He was sent by Jabotinsky to Berlin to inform Nazi leader Adolf Eichman of his intention to spy for the S.S. in exchange for the release of the money of German Jews for use on the Zionist project. Zionist Feivel told Nazi Eichman, “Jewish Nationalist Circles are very pleased with the radical German policy, since the strength of the Jewish population in Palestine would be so far increased thereby that in the foreseeable future the Jews would reckon upon numerical superiority over the Arabs? (from Brenner, “Zionism? pg. 99).

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, felt so fond of the Zionist movement and their close working relations that he wrote a 12 part report in Der Angriff (The Assault) praising the Zionist movement and ordered a medallion struck with a swastika on one side and the Zionist Star of David on the other.

Collaboration included an agreement in Hungary between Zionist agent Dr. Rudolph Kastner and Nazi leader Adolph Eichman. Under the 1944 agreement the Nazis would murder 800,000 Hungarian Jews without Zionist interference and with complete silence from the Zionist movement. In exchange 600 prominent Jews would be freed from Hungary. The Nazis then opened up a Rescue Department in Hungary headed by Kastner. These facts were exposed by a survivor named Malchiel Greenwald who was subsequently sued by the Israeli government, sued by the same leaders that had fashioned the deal made by Kastner in the first place.

Kastner’s collaboration with the Nazis was confirmed with the Israeli court stating, “The sacrifice of the majority of the Jews, in order to rescue the prominents was the basic element in the agreement between Kastner and the Nazis. This agreement fixed the division of the nation into two unequal camps, a small fragment of prominents, whom the Nazis promised Kastner to save, on the one hand, and the majority of Hungarian Jews whom the Nazis designated for death, on the other hand.? (Judgment given on June 22, 1955, Protocol of Criminal Case 124/53 in District Court, Jerusalem)

The Zionists subsequently ignored a plan drawn up by the resistance that could have saved many, if not most, of Hungary’s Jews. The Zionist silence and lack of action against Nazi atrocities in fact characterizes their stance throughout the entire holocaust. A plan complete with maps was drawn up that would blow-up railroad tracks to the death camps and crematoria and airdropped ammunition to the 80,000 Jews in Auschwitz. Part of the plan also included the parachuting of saboteurs to blow up the Auschwitz facility that was murdering 13,000 people a day. Had the Zionist movement not been so intent on fighting the Arabs rather than the real anti-Semite butchers of Europe they could have gathered the resources to carry out such operations. Likewise Great Britain and the United States could have carried out the proposed measures as well, but chose not to save the Jews and felt no pressure from the silent Zionist movement to do so.

This caused Rabbi Weismandel who had drawn up the plans against Auschwitz to ask of the Zionists in July 1944, “this special message to inform you that yesterday the Germans began deportations of Jews from Hungary. … The deported ones go to Auschwitz to be put to death by cyanide gas. This is the schedule, of Auschwitz from yesterday to the end: Twelve thousand Jews – men, women and children, old men, infants, healthy and sick ones, are to be suffocated daily. And you, our brothers in Palestine, in all the countries of freedom, and you ministers of all the Kingdoms, how do you keep silent in the face of this great murder. Silent while thousands upon thousands, reaching now to six million Jews, are murdered? And silent now, while tens of thousands are still being murdered or waiting to be murdered? Their destroyed hearts cry out to you for help as they bewail your cruelty. Brutal, you are and murderers, too, you are, because of the cold bloodedness of the silence in which you watch, because you sit with folded arms and do nothing, although you could stop or delay the murder of Jews at this very hour. You, our brothers, sons of Israel, are you insane?? (From Schoenman, “The Hidden History of Zionism??)

The Zionists also fought against the immigration of Jews to other countries where they could escape extermination. Explaining their policy of pressuring Great Britain and the United States not to adopt immigration policies that would have saved the lives of Jews Zionist leader Ben Gurion stated in 1938: “If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I would opt for the second option? (from Brenner, “Zionism?, pg. 149).

The ability of the Zionist movement to sacrifice the lives of millions of Jews for the settling of Palestine had a consistent inner logic. That logic speaks volumes. While some of the first victims of these Zionist madmen were the Jewish people, the Palestinians were next. And today the continued Zionist mistreatment of the Palestinian people is one of the biggest threats to the lives of Jewish people because some of the Arab victims of Zionism now do not differentiate between the crimes of Zionism and the Jewish people. In addition the Israeli government aided in the formation of the anti-Semitic organization Hamas and today uses their suicide bombings against civilians as a way to gain sympathy and support in the Zionist war against the Palestinian people (more on this later). Objectively the Zionist capitalist state is, in fact, the common enemy of both Jews and Arabs.

In the 1940s Jews were only one third of the population of Palestine. The Arab majority had not yet been driven from their land. The British, in considering their entire imperial interests in the Middle East and their need for good relations with Arabs had backtracked from their original support of a Jewish state in Palestine. Thus the Zionist minority carried out a war of independence against Britain in order to set up the Jewish state. The Palestinian people, the majority of the population, were not consulted by the Zionists on what kind of future they would like to have for their homeland and had little involvement in the war although a few did side with British forces.

After independence from the Britain in 1948 the Zionist state began a massive expropriation of Palestinian land that has not ended. Becky Johnson’s claim that, “the Arabs and Muslims who did not flee in 1948, but stayed in Israel have full citizenship, have freedom to practice their religion, own property, vote, have representation in the Knesset, and compose 18% of the population? is so utterly untrue as to defy common sense. Besides defying the facts, which we shall establish, I ask why most of an entire people would voluntarily flee the land in which they had built flourishing towns, a rich agriculture, and a vibrant cultural life with nowhere else to go? The short answer is that they did not flee voluntarily. They had met the “Jewish bayonets? of Zionist Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall?. To deny this fact comes in on the same level as those who deny the Holocaust of Europe.

The humiliating conditions of the Palestinian people were recently observed by former anti-Apartheid fighter Archbishop Desmond Tutu who wrote: “I have been very deeply distressed by my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young police officers prevented us from moving about.

“On my visit to the Holy Land I drove to a church with the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem. I could hear tears in his voice as he pointed to Jewish settlements. I thought of the desire of Israelis for security. But what of the Palestinians who have lost their land and homes?

“I have experienced Palestinians pointing to what were their homes, now occupied by Jewish Israelis. I was walking with Canon Naim Ateek (the head of the Sabeel Ecumenical Centre) in Jerusalem. He pointed and said: ‘Our home was over there. We were driven out of our home; it is now occupied by Israeli Jews.’

“My heart aches. I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon??

Although the Israeli government claims that Palestinians have the right to own property, this is a lie. Ever since 1948 Palestinians in Israel do not have the right to own land, because their land is often confiscated by force for Hebrew settlement and agriculture. Water rights have been systematically cut off and diverted away from Palestinian lands and given to stolen Hebrew owned lands. Palestinian laborers are then denied by law the right to work the Hebrew owned agricultural lands, although they are sometimes illegally employed as cheap labor with no labor rights.

Palestinians do not have the right to freely travel. Reminiscent of chattel slavery, Palestinian families are often separated by Israeli officials who commonly do not grant necessary permits for Palestinians to enter neighborhoods or towns where wives, husbands, or children live. In contrast the Hebrew population has full rights to travel.

Palestinians often do not have the right to keep their own homes, which are often confiscated or bulldozed. The bulldozing of houses is a common punishment of families whose children are accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Recently in Jenin houses were bulldozed with people inside, an act that besides killing people also made an estimated 4,000 people homeless.

Palestinians do not have the right to freedom of speech and regularly face arrest, torture, and execution for their political views. Even Hebrew speakers who support rights for Palestinians or an end to Israeli wars have, at times, had their press shut down by the Israeli government or had their demonstrations attacked and beaten by Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians do not have the same right to an education as Hebrew speaking people based on the fact that higher education is paid for through the forced military inscription of Hebrew speakers while Palestinians are excluded from the military. It would in fact make no sense for the Zionists to allow Palestinians into their military since military humiliation, brutality, and outright terror against Palestinians is a part of every day duty for an Israeli soldier. Likewise few blacks served in the Apartheid military of South Africa.

Those Palestinians that are then driven out of what was once Palestine usually are not allowed to return, while Jews who have never set foot in Israel are granted automatic citizenship (with the exception of two Jewish supporters of Palestinians named Ralph Shoenman and Mya Shone who have the honor of not being allowed into Israel because of their writings). Those Palestinians that are forced from Israel are often bombed by Israel in their refugee camps or massacred in other ways. In the 1982 case of the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Lebanon, Palestinians were rounded up and systematically slaughtered in the thousands by Israeli troops and their Phalangist Militia allies.

As survivor Mrs. Sersawi testified in a Belgium appeals court on the Israeli governments war crimes, “The Lebanese forces militia [Phalangists] had taken us from our homes and marched us up to the entrance of the camp where a large hole had been dug in the earth. The men were told to get into it. Then the militiamen shot a Palestinian. The women and children climbed over bodies to get to this spot, but we were truly shocked by seeing this man killed in front of us and there was a roar of shouting and screams from the women. That’s when we heard the Israelis on a loudspeaker shouting, ‘give us your men.’ We thought, ‘thank God, they will save us.’

“We were told to walk up the road to the Kuwaiti Embassy, the women and children in front, the men behind. We had been separated. There were Phalangist Militiamen and Israeli soldiers walking alongside us. I could still see Hassan (her husband with whom she was 3 months pregnant) and Faraj (her brother-in-law). It was like a parade. There were several hundred of us. When we got to Cite Sportif, the Israelis put us women in a big concrete room and the men were taken to another side of the stadium. There were a lot of men from the camp and I could no longer see my husband. The Israelis went around saying ‘Sit, sit.’ It was 11 AM. An hour later we were told to leave. But we stood outside amid the Israeli soldiers, waiting for our men.

“Some men came out, none of them younger than 40, and they told us to be patient, that hundreds of men were still inside. Then about 4 PM an Israeli officer came out. He was wearing dark glasses and said in Arabic: ‘What are you waiting for?’ He said there was nobody left, that everyone had gone. There were Israeli trucks moving out with tarpaulin over them. We couldn’t see inside. And there were jeeps and tanks and a bulldozer making a lot of noise. We stayed there as it got dark and the Israelis appeared to be leaving and we were very nervous. But when the Israelis had moved away, we went inside. And there was no one there. Nobody. I had been only three years married. I never saw my husband again.?

Sabra and Shatila are only one of the massacres of people done by the Israeli government in the past 54 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Today all of the Palestinian towns of historic Palestine are either occupied by Israeli troops who are killing people or surrounded by Israeli troops and tanks who are poised to attack. While Israeli troops are claiming that they are only killing combatants Human Rights Watch has documented the following crimes in Jenin alone: murders of civilians including children, the old, and the disabled; summary executions; the bulldozing of houses with people in them; and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields.

The cities of Ramallah and Jenin have been laid to waste by the Zionists just as the Nazis smashed the towns of Guarnica and Lidice in the name of collective punishment. Likewise the heroic resistance of Palestinian fighters in the face of superior military force is reminiscent of the Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto and Vilna.

The Israeli offensive will not stop those willing to do suicide missions against civilians, attacks that are futile attempts to combat the genocide Palestinians face. The Israeli offensive does the opposite in deepening the conditions that created suicide bombers in the first place. The anger created is by escalated Israeli murder is actually more likely to increase the number tragic of attacks on Hebrew civilians. At the same time Israel has not targeted the main base of the suicide bombers, Gaza, where Hamas is heavily organized. In fact, the murderous Israeli repression really isn’t meant to stop attacks on Hebrew civilians because these bombings by Hamas actually play right into the Zionist government’s aims and objectives in pushing for a final solution against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority who the Israeli government consistently blame for the attacks by Hamas.

Hamas is an anti-Semitic fundamentalist religious organization that killed 150 Israeli civilians through suicide bombings between 1994 and 1998 alone. From its beginnings as the Mujama in the 1970s to this day Hamas does not face the same kind of repression as any other Palestinian group. In addition Hamas reportedly receives $28 million dollars a year from another key U.S. ally in the region, Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. and the Saudi Arabian monarchy work together closely to systematically loot Saudi Arabia’s oil resources for the profits of U.S. oil monopolies while the vast majority of the Saudi people live in poverty. In addition the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Hamas worked together closely in the U.S. war drive to destroy the left progressive PDPA government that held power in Afghanistan from 1978 to 1992. This was a war where the U.S. government and Saudi Arabia gave billions of dollars of military aid to Osama Bin Laden and the Islamic fundamentalists of the Mujahedin who were waging a holy war against the advances in women’s rights, including women’s literacy, that were occurring under the PDPA government. Tactics of the Mujahedin included throwing acid in the faces of women liberated from the veil and murdering women for teaching little girls how to read and write. Fearing a Mujahedin government right on its border and defending the PDPA government from U.S. aggression the Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan in 1979. Although these Soviet troops were invited by the Afghan PDPA U.S. propaganda called this a Soviet invasion.

An estimated 100,000 of the Islamic fundamentalists who fought in Afghanistan were recruited by the CIA outside of Afghanistan. Hamas participated in this activity. As John Cooley from ABC news pointed out on March 13th, 1996 in the International Herald Tribune: “A key Hamas organizer was Abdallah Azzam. He was a tough, brilliant and charismatic Palestinian from Jordan. He supervised training for the CIA’s Afghan guerrillas in Peshawar, Pakistan, where a car bomb killed him in 1989. In the earlier 1980s he toured the United States, recruiting Arab-Americans for the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.?

Just as the United States used Hamas against the Afghani people and the leftist PDPA government, Israel has used the religious fundamentalists of Hamas as a club against the socialist and secular nationalist movements in Palestine that Hamas has violently opposed. It is those secular and socialist movements that Israel has seen as more of a threat in terms of winning the masses of people, including Hebrew speakers, over to positions of sympathy and solidarity with the Palestinians. Hamas’s suicide bombers against civilians instead serve Zionist interests in driving a larger wedge between Palestinians and Hebrew speakers, people who will need to unite against their common oppressor and killer, the Israeli Zionist government.

Early Israeli support for Hamas included in 1978 the granting of Mujama charitable status in Gaza while other organizations, especially political organizations as Mujama was, could not get such status. In 1979 Israeli collusion with the Mujama movement set up the Islamic University of Gaza whose anti-PLO and anti-socialist slogan was: “How can uncovered women and men with Beatle haircuts liberate our holy places?? Students who did not tow the Islamic line were disciplined through brutal beatings and sometimes had acid thrown in their faces. In addition Mujama mobs were allowed to violently attack and burn down PLO controlled institutions at a time when other street demonstrations were not allowed or tightly controlled by the Israeli authorities.

In 1979 the Mujama movement burned the Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s (PRC) building to the ground. In response the PRC issued the following statement, “The tacit approval of the authorities, if not their actual connivance in what happened, was displayed in their attitude of non-interference. While they usually display great alertness to combating even peaceful demonstrations of young students within schools, here they stood indifferently watching a violently destructive demonstration march to its objectives.?

In 1988 Hamas was formed out of Mujama. While PLO supporters were organizing mass demonstrations in the streets Hamas was instead focusing on shooting Israeli soldiers. Despite this fact Hamas had top-level meetings with the Israeli government while that same government would not even meet with the PLO. Milton Edwards in “Islamic Politics In Palestine? noted the relationship: “The relationship between Hamas and the Israeli authorities was, however, at the strongest during the second year of the Intifada. The Israelis had been quick to extend legitimacy status to Hamas in an attempt to marginalize the PLO. Leaders of Hamas were regularly filmed at meetings with top-level Israeli officials and the message the Israelis were sending out was that they regarded Hamas as the type of people with whom they could work…

“In addition the Israelis continued turning a blind eye to large amounts of money coming into the country destined for Hamas coffers, while at the same time stopping the flow of PLO funds in support of the Intifada.?

In 1994 Hamas began its indiscriminate attacks on Hebrew speaking people through suicide bombings. Those suicide bombings had been stepped up by Hamas in the beginnings of the Intifada 2 uprising in September 2000, but then ended due to an agreement between Arafat’s Palestinian Authority and Hamas. While this agreement was in effect world attention became focused on the gunning down of Palestinian children by Israeli sharp shooters on the West Bank. For the Zionist government this was becoming a public relations disaster.

Israeli Prime Minister Sharon needed a new provocation he could use as propaganda to escalate the war against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). To create this provocation he took action to end the truce between the P.A. and Hamas on ending the suicide bombings of civilians. On November 23rd Israeli security forces assassinated Hamas leader Mahmud Abu Hunud. On November 25th, 2001 right-wing Israeli journalist Alex Fishman accurately observed in the “Yediot Achronot?: “Whoever gave the green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman’s agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line.?

Of course no one but Sharon could have given the green light for such an important operation. Sharon’s provocation against the Hamas anti-Semites had its intended affect. Within days Hamas resumed attacks against Israeli civilians. In March a Hamas bomber killed 25 civilians in the Passover attack that was then used by Sharon as his excuse to attack the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority while leaving the Hamas stronghold of Gaza untouched.

The U.S. government’s massive military support to the Zionist State and, to a lesser extent to the repressive Saudi Arabian monarchy is responsible for the bloodshed in Palestine. The racist state of Israel currently receives 300,000 dollars per hour in U.S. military and economic aid. The F-16 bombers, Apache and Cobra helicopters used in the latest attacks are just some of the weapons used to kill Palestinians that are made in the United States.

Socialists stand for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and all of the crowned princes, sheiks, emirs, and Islamic fanatics of the Middle East. We understand that these U.S. policies are the policies of both the Democrat and Republican Parties. Imperialist policy isn’t the result of some misunderstanding by these parties of the wealthy. Instead the repressive and genocidal policies of U.S. imperialism flow inevitably from the drive for profits by the rapacious U.S. capitalists that rule America and much of the world. From this understanding socialists know that the only way we will get a just foreign policy, fair treatment of workers and the poor, and sound ecological policies is through a socialist revolution in the United States.

---Steve Argue, for Liberation News:


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