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Why did we listen to our Arab brothers when they told us to leave so that they could drive the Jews into the sea!

A collection of historical quotations relating to the Arab refugees

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Subject: A collection of historical quotations relating to the Arab refugees

Collected by Moshe Kohn

ON APRIL 23, 1948 Jamal Husseini, acting chairman of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee (AHC), told the UN Security Council: "The Arabs did not want to submit to a truce ... They preferred to abandon their homes, belongings and everything they possessed."

ON SEPTEMBER 6, 1948, the Beirut Daily Telegraph quoted Emil Ghory, secretary of the AHC, as saying: "The fact that there are those refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agreed upon this policy unanimously..."

ON JUNE 8, 1951, Habib Issa, secretary-general of the Arab League, wrote in the New York Lebanese daily al-Hoda that in 1948, Azzam Pasha, then League secretary, had "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, and to stay temporarily in neighbouring fraternal states." I

IN THE MARCH 1976 issue of Falastin a-Thaura, then the official journal of the Beirut-based PLO, Mahmud Abbas ("Abu Mazen"), PLO spokesman, wrote: "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, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live."

ON APRIL 9, 1953, the Jordanian daily al-Urdun quoted a refugee, Yunes Ahmed Assad, formerly of Deir Yassin, as saying: "For the flight and fall of the other villages, it is our leaders who are responsible, because of the dissemination of rumours exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs ... they instilled fear and terror into the hearts of the Arabs of Palestine until they fled, leaving their homes and property to the enemy."

ANOTHER refugee told the Jordanian daily a-Difaa on September 6, 1954: "The Arab governments told us, 'Get out so that we can get in.' So we got out, but they did not get in."

THE JORDANIAN daily Falastin wrote on February 19, 1949: "The Arab states ... encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies."

ON OCTOBER 2, 1948, the London Economist reported, in an eyewitness account of the flight of Haifa's Arabs: "There is little doubt that the most potent of the factors [in the flight] were the announcements made over the air by the Arab Higher Executive urging all Arabs in Haifa to quit ... And it was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades."

THE PRIME Minister of Syria in 1948, Khaled al-Azem, in his memoirs, published in 1973, listed what he thought were the reasons for the Arab failure in 1948:
" ... the fifth factor was the call by the Arab governments to the inhabitants of Palestine to evacuate it and leave for the bordering Arab countries ... We brought destruction upon a million Arab refugees by calling on them and pleading with them to leave their land."

"FOLLOWING a visit to refugees in Gaza, a British diplomat reported the following: 'But while they express no bitterness against the Jews...they speak with the utmost bitterness of the Egyptians and other Arab states: 'We know who our enemies are,' they will say, and they are referring to their Arab brothers who, they declare, persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes." -
British Foreign Office Document #371/75342/XC/A/4991 [From "Revising or Devising Israel's History" by Prof. Shlomo
Slonim in Jewish Action, Summer 5760/2000, Vol. 60 #4]

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Arutz Sheva News Service
Thursday, May 8, 2003
The Arab-sponsored Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut found that "the majority" of the Arab refugees in 1948 were not expelled, and that 68% left without seeing an Israeli soldier.  Joan Peters, who quotes the above on page 13 of her book From Time Immemorial, further writes that the official Arab position on this matter was not uniform:"Some Arab leaders demanded the 'return' of the 'expelled' refugees to their former homes despite the evidence that Arab leaders had called upon Arabs to flee (such as President Truman's international Development Advisory Board Report, March 7, 1951, [which stated that] "Arab leaders summoned Arabs of Palestine to mass evacuation... as the documented facts reveal...")."At the same time, Emile Ghoury, Secretary of the Arab Higher Command, called for the prevention of the refugees from 'return,' [as] it would serve as a first stop toward Arab recognition of the State of Israel..."Arab activist Musa Alami [wrote in the Middle East Journal, October 1949] ,'How can people struggle for their nation, when most of them do not know the meaning of the word? ...  The people are in great need of a "myth'" to fill their consciousness and imagination [and this "myth" will create] identity [and] self-respect.'"