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1948 Arab refugees: concocted circumstances and numbers

The truth about the circumstances and numbers of the 1948 Arab refugees has been sacrificed – by the UN, Arab regimes, the “elite” Western media and most Western Foreign Offices – on the altar of Arab-appeasement and Israel-bashing.

For instance, the Palestinian Arab leadership collaborated with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, seeking Nazi support to settle “the Jewish problem” in British Mandate Palestine in accordance with the practice used in Europe. Thus, the top Palestinian Arab leader, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, incited his people in a March 1, 1944 Arabic broadcast on the Nazi Berlin Radio – consistent with anti-Jewish Arab terrorism during the 1920s and 1930s – “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. It would please God, history and religion.”  

On January 9, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas honored the Nazi collaborator: “We pledge to continue on the path of the [suicide bombers]…. We must remember the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al-Husseini….”  In 2016, Hitler’s Mein Kemp and the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion feature prominently in Mahmoud Abbas’ hate-education and incitement systems.

On October 11, 1947, Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, the first Secretary General of the Arab League told the Egyptian daily Akhbar al Yom: “…This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacres, or the Crusaders’ wars…. Each fighter deems death on behalf of Palestine as the shortest road to paradise….The war will be an opportunity for vast plunder…. ” On August 2, 1948, the NY Times reported that the founder of the largest Islamic terror organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, instigated: “Drive the Jews into the sea… and never accept the Jewish State.” The Arab incitement led the CIA and the Department of State (which vehemently opposed the establishment of a Jmartyrs ewish State) to warn David Ben Gurion – Israel’s Founding Father – that “a declaration of independence would lead to a second Jewish Holocaust in less than ten years.”

In spite of the Arab military assault on the newly-born Jewish state, the wave of terrorism and subversion by Israeli Arabs, and their collaboration with the Arab invasion and the Nazis, the Commander-in–Chief of the “Arab Liberation Army,” Ismayil Safwat, admitted on March 23, 1948: “The
Jews have not attacked any Arab village, unless attacked first.” 

The Arabs egregiously violated the November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181, Article 80 of the 1945 U.N. Charter (that includes the “Mandate of Palestine,” that stipulated a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River), the July 24, 1922 League of Nations’ “Mandate for Palestine,”, the April 1920 San Remo Conference of the First World War Allied Powers, which resolved to establish a Jewish national home on both sides of the Jordan River, and the November, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was the basis for San Remo.

How many refugees
resulted from the 1948/49 Arab attempt to annihilate the “infidel” Jewish state, which was established, supposedly, in the abode of Islam?  According to inflated British Mandate numbers, before the 1948/9 war there were 800,000 Arabs in “pre-1967 Israel.” 170,000 Arabs remained at the end of the war.  Of the 630,000 Arabs who left, 100,000 were absorbed by Israel’s family reunification gesture; 100,000 middle and upper class Arabs left before the war, absorbed by neighboring Arab countries; 50,000 migrant laborers returned to their Arab countries of origin; 50,000 Bedouins joined their brethren-tribes in Jordan and Sinai, from whence their forefathers migrated during the 18-19 centuries; and 10,000 were war fatalities (compared with 6,000 Jewish fatalities). Thus, the total number of Palestinian Arab refugees – resulting from a war launched by Arabs – could not exceed 320,000, in the context of over 100 million global refugees.  
According to Elfan Rees, Advisor on Refugees Affairs to the World Council of Churches, during the 1950s there were 36 million refugees in Europe, Africa and Asia. Less than 1% were Arabs. All, but the Arabs, have been integrated into their new societies.  Moreover, 100 million refugees were created by wars since WW2 and 79 million were created during 1933-1945, all were integrated.  38 million refugees in their own countries, and 15 million         “ordinary” refugees, were documented in 2014 by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

In addition, there were 90 million Chinese refugees during the 1937-1945 war against Japan; 15 million Hindu, Sikh and Muslim refugees during the 1947 creation of India and Pakistan; 12 million German refugees from Poland and Czechoslovakia following WW2; 9 million Korean refugees during the 1950-1953 war;
7 million Syrian refugees caused by the current civil war; 5 million Sudanese refugees;  3 million Polish refugees following the 1939 USSR occupation; 3 million refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia following the 1975 US withdrawal; 3 million refugees from Afghanistan; 2 millionGreek and Turkish refugees from the 1919-1922 war; 1 million Libyan refugees since 2011; 800,000 Yemenite refugees from Saudi Arabia in 1990; and over 500,000 Christian refugees from Lebanon.  

The UN has highlighted/twisted the story of the 320,000 1948/49 Palestinian Arab refugees – singling them out for perpetuity unlike all other refugees – as a means to de-legitimize Israel. But, the UN has ignored the 300,000 Palestinian refugees from Kuwait, 200,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria and the 50,000 Palestinian refugees from Iraq.

In 1948, expecting an Arab assault on the reconstructed Jewish State, the British High Commissioner, Alan Cunningham, urged Arab and Jewish minorities to evacuate mixed towns. The Arabs complied – many of them returned to their countries of origin – but the Jews remained.   

The London Economist wrote on October 2, 1948: “The most potent factor [triggering the Arab flight] was the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit…and that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades….”  It was reaffirmed by Syria’s Prime Minister, Khaled al-Azam, who admitted, in his 1973 memoirs: “We brought destruction upon the [1948] refugees, by calling on them to leave their homes.”  

The goal of promoting the myth of the 1948 Arab refugees – which fails the reality test – was disclosed by Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Muhammad Salah al-Din Bey (the Egyptian daily Al Misri, Oct. 11, 1949): “In demanding the return of the Palestinian refugees, the intention is to exterminate the Jewish State.”

Should the US taxpayer fund UN agencies – such as UNRAW – which aim to de-legitimize Israel, sacrificing truth on the altar of lethal mythology?   


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Open letter to Prime Minister Bennett ahead of visit to USA

(Hebrew edition in “Israel Hayom,” Israel’s largest circulation daily)

During your first official visit to Washington, DC, you’ll have to choose between two options:

*Blurring your deeply-rooted, assertive Israeli positions on the future of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), which would be welcome by the Biden Administration, yielding to short-term political convenience and popularity inside the beltway;


*Tenaciously advocating your deeply-rooted, principle-driven positions, which would underscore a profound disagreement with the Biden Administration and the “elite” US media, while granting you and Israel long-term strategic respect, as demonstrated by some of your predecessors.

For example, the late Prime Minister Shamir honed the second option, bluntly introduced his assertive Israeli positions on Judea and Samaria, rebuffed heavy US pressure – including a mudslinging campaign by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker – suffered a popularity setback, but produced unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation. When it comes to facing the intensified threats of rogue regimes and Islamic terrorism, the US prefers principle-driven, reliable, patriotic, pressure-defying partners, irrespective of disagreements on the Palestinian issue.

Assuming that you shall not budge on the historical and national security centrality of Judea and Samaria, it behooves you to highlight the following matters during your meetings with President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, National Security Advisor Sullivan, Secretary of Defense Austin and Congressional leaders (especially the members of the Appropriations Committees):

  1. The 1,400-year-old track record of the stormy, unpredictable, violent and anti-“infidel” Middle East, which has yet to experience intra-Arab peaceful-coexistence, along with the 100-year-old Palestinian track record (including the systematic collaboration with anti-US entities, hate-education and anti-Arab and anti-Jewish terrorism) demonstrates that the proposed Palestinian state would be a Mini-Afghanistan or a Mega-Gaza on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.

It would dominate 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructures in the 9-15-mile sliver between Judea and Samaria and the Mediterranean, which is shorter than the distance between RFK Stadium and the Kennedy Center.

Thus, a Palestinian state would pose a clear and present existential threat to Israel; and therefore, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite for its survival.

  1. The proposed Palestinian state would undermine US interests, as concluded from the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which has transformed the Palestinians into a role-model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude. Arabs are aware that a Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, teaming up with their enemies (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Erdogan) and providing a strategic foothold to Russia and China. Consequently, Arabs shower Palestinians with favorable talk, but with cold and negative walk.

Hence, during the October, 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty ceremony, Jordan’s military leaders asserted to their Israeli colleagues that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, and lead, subsequently, to the toppling of all pro-US Arab Peninsula regimes.

  1. There is no foundation for the contention that Israel’s retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which are the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture – is required in order to sustain Israel’s Jewish majority. In reality, there is unprecedented Jewish demographic momentum, while Arab demography – throughout the Middle East – has Westernized dramatically. The Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel benefits from a robust tailwind of fertility and migration.
  2. Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, bolsters its posture of deterrence, which has daunted rogue regimes, reduced regional instability, enhanced the national security of all pro-US Arab regimes, and has advanced Israel’s role as a unique force-multiplier for the US. An Israeli retreat from Judea and Samaria would transform Israel from a strategic asset – to a strategic liability – for the US.
  3. As the US reduces its military presence in the Middle East – which is a global epicenter of oil production, global trade (Asia-Africa), international Islamic terrorism and proliferation of non-conventional military technologies – Israel’s posture of deterrence becomes increasingly critical for the pro-US Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan), who consider Israel to be the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.

Contrary to NATO, South Korea and Japan, Israel’s defense does not require the presence of US troops on its soil.

  1. Sustaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge is a mutual interest for the US and Israel, which serves as the most cost-effective battle-tested laboratory for the US defense industries and armed forces. Thus, Israel’s use of hundreds of US military systems has yielded thousands of lessons (operation, maintenance and repairs), which have been integrated, by the US manufacturers, into the next generation of the military systems, saving the US many years of research and development, increasing US exports and expanding the US employment base – a mega billion dollar bonanza for the US. At the same time, the US armed forces have benefitted from Israel’s military intelligence and battle experience, as well as joint training maneuvers with Israel’s defense forces, which has improved the US formulation of battle tactics.

Prime Minister Bennett, your visit to Washington, is an opportunity to demonstrate your adherence to your deeply-rooted strong Israeli positions, rejecting the ill-advised appeals and temptations to sacrifice Israel’s national security on the altar of convenience and popularity.

Yours truly,

Yoram Ettinger, expert on US-Israel relations and Middle East affairs

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