The Arabs Fled in 1948 –
Why Didn’t The Jews?

March 8, 2006
Updated July 22, 2009

The Arabs have long comforted themselves with the myth that they had no alternative but to flee for their lives in 1948. The facts of history show otherwise.

After the British announced their intention to rescind their mandate over Palestine, the small Jewish community numbering a mere 650,000, declared their acceptance of the United Nations partition resolution and announced the State of Israel.

A War Of Extermination – Like The Mongolian Massacres

The Arabs however, refused the state offered to them and decided to vanquish the Jews with the eager help of their brothers in Egypt, Syria,Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The Arabs of the Mandated territory of Palestine constituted yet another army. All were convinced of their ability to exterminate large numbers of infidel Jews and cause the rest to flee.

Arab League Secretary, General Azzam Pasha, confirmed their jihad’s war aim. “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”, he said.

Arab Leaders Urge Arabs to Flee

The Secretary of the Arab League Office in London, Edward Atiyah, wrote in his book, The Arabs: “This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boastings of an unrealistic Arabic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter and retake possession of their country.”

Above is just one of many similar quotations recorded in a thoroughly researched article by Mitchell Bard, published in the Jewish Virtual Library.

The Booty And The Glory

The scantily dressed Jewish women would be raped, kept as sex slaves, sold or killed. Children would be forced to accept Islam. Men who survived the war would be killed.

With the Zionist enterprise dead there would be rich booty for all. The Arab nations would once more bask in the glory of Arab honor and victory. Allah would be vindicated and the fathers of the deserts of Palestine would reign supreme.

Fighting A War Without Guns

In 1948 Israel had to face Arab forces of 160,000, excluding Arab naval andAir forces. Israel’s arsenal was sparse and comprised 5,607 hand guns, 10,264 submachinge guns, 6,436 machine guns, 21,886 rifles, 682 light mortars and no field cannons. It certainly looked promising for the Arabs since the Israelis were heavily outgunned – as shown in this Wikipedia table:

 IDFArabs
Tanks1 w/o gun40
Armored cars (w/cannon)2200
Armored cars (w/o cannon)120300
Artillery5140
AA and AT guns4220
Warplanes074
Scout planes2857
Navy (armed ships)312

The Arabs Fled – Why Didn’t The Jews?

But things did not go well for the Arabs despite their plethora of arms and intense motivation. Large numbers obeyed the call of the Arab armies to get out of the way and to return when the war was over. Many made for the surrounding Arab countries from whence they had come. Others fled the battle areas as civilians have done for centuries when armies around them clashed.

You’d have thought the Jews would be the ones to flee such unequal odds, especially in the face of Arab cruelty and the threats of extermination. But the Jews stood their ground and fought off the far more numerous enemy, better trained, better armed, and better equipped. They fought with their backs to the wall for their lives, their families and their ancient homeland. It was the Arabs, the majority of whom were recent arrivals, who fled back to their original lands. They had no attachment whatever to Palestine. To think that the Palestinians now claim they have 3 to 4 million so called refugees wanting to return is the height of irresponsibility. The figures are non-sensical.

The Legend of Deir Yassin

Unable to face the shame of their defeat the Arabs resorted to lies to account for their transparent military failure and their spectacular refugee migration.

One of these lies was the so called “massacre” at Deir Yasssin” where 100 Irgun members attacked armed terrorists in this village atop a strategic hill.

Menachem Begin, the Irgun commander at that time, subsequently wrote: “We had 4 killed and nearly 40 wounded. (Our) casualties were nearly 40 percent of the total number of the attackers. The Arab troops suffered casualties nearly three times as heavy.” An intense fight certainly, but not a massacre.

How Many Arabs Fled?

As to the number of Arab refugees, highly exaggerated figures were claimed. However, in 1947, a total of 809,100 Arabs lived in the mandated area of Palestine. A 1949 Government of Israel census enumerated 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the 1948 war. By this calculation no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. (Jewish Virtual Library)

A report by the UN Mediator arrived at an even lower figure — 472,000, and calculated that only about 360,000 Arab refugees required aid. (JWV)

The Arabs, who had largely migrated from neighboring Arab states, fled back to them. The Jews who loved their homeland stayed and fought for their country, backs to the wall.

Warring Arab Nations Responsible And Accountable For Refugees

While the Arabs have whined ever since about “the right of return” for their refugees, we must not forget that Israel lost over 6,000 killed in a war where the unabashed Arab aim was to exterminate hundreds of thousands of Jews.

Israel has no intention whatever of accepting the “return” of 3 or 4 million Arabs, the majority of whom were not even born here.

In any event this would be political suicide for the Jewish State. And even physical genocide given the fact that this is Hamas’ declared intention. No Arab state has protested this evil policy. None will lift a finger to prevent it.

Israel is not responsible for the Arab refugee problem. The Arab states which urged them to get out, and whose armies lusted for another Jewish genocide, are.

Theirs is the guilt: Egypt, Syria, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the Palestinians themselves. They caused the problem – they must solve it. They alone must bear the painful consequences of their malevolent, ill-fated plan.
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ANNEXURE:

“Were the Palestinians Expelled in 1948?” By Efraim Karsh (Copyright Commentary, July 2000)

In a seminal article, political and military analyst, Prof. EFRAIM KARSH summarizes, in excruciating detail, the hurried departure of nearly all Arab residents from Haifa.

Karsh writes, “ . . . in 1947, there were 62,500 Arabs in Haifa; by May 1948, all but a few were gone . . ..”

“All did so voluntarily, refusing to heed repeated appeals by the Jewish authorities to stay and live as equal citizens in the new State of Israel. A large number who may well have stayed were prevented from doing so by their leaders.”

“ . . . documents show that Arab flight from Haifa began well before the outbreak of these hostilities, and even before the UN’s November 29, 1947 partition resolution.” (My italics.)

“ . . . by mid-December 1947, some 15,000-20,000 people, almost a third of the city’s Arab population, had fled, By early April 1948, according to Rashid Hajj Ibrahim, the head of the National Committee, the city’s Arab populace had dwindled to some 35,000-40,000.”

“By the time the final battle. . . was joined (on May 15) . . . the number had fallen (to) about half the town’s original community . . ..”

Karsh reports a conversation between Arab leaders and British commander General Hugh Stockwell. The leaders told him: “Of the 30,000-plus Arabs still in Haifa, only a handful wished to stay. Perhaps the British could provide 80 trucks a day, and in the meantime ensure an orderly supply of foodstuffs in the city and its environs?”

“Within a matter of days, only about 3,000 of Haifa’s Arab residents remained in the city.”

Karsh gives these reasons for the Arab flight from Haifa:

• “disheartened by the desertion of their local military leaders”
• “petrified by wildly exaggerated accounts of a Zionist atrocity at Deir Yassin”
• “the Arab Emergency Committee used scaremongering as a major weapon” (to motivate their exodus)
• “some Arabs received written threats that, unless they left town, they would be branded as traitors deserving of death”
• “they were told they could expect no mercy from the Jews.”
“Sheikh Abd al-Rahman Murad of the National Committee, warned a large group of escapees who were about to return to their homes, that if they did so they would all be killed”
• “that the Jews spared not even women and children.”
• “On the other hand . . . the Arab Legion had 200 trucks ready to transfer the Haifa refugees to a safe haven, where they would be given free accommodation, clothes, and food.”

Thus were hundreds of thousands of hapless fellow-Arabs deceived into leaving their homes and becoming refugees.

Ben Gurion’s Recollection

In his ‘Recollections’ (1970, page 83) David Ben-Gurion recalls:

“. . . in 1948 it was the Arab powers and not the Jews who exhorted the local Moslem population to leave their homes and their land. We asked them to stay and help us build a modern country. Those who left did so far more in fear of Arab threats of reprisal against ‘disloyalty’ than of their Jewish neighbors. In confidence they emigrated across the frontiers to the Arab nations which had demanded they come. They ended up in the foul conditions we know of.” (Italics mine.)

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