Palestinian Media Watch, PMW, has documented yet another corroboration by an Arab “refugee” that it was Arab leaders who were responsible for the flight of Arabs from the new State of Israel in 1948. A backbone of Palestinian Authority (PA) ideology, and indeed of anti-Israel propagandists worldwide, is the myth that Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Israel and created the Palestinian “refugee” situation.
However, an elderly woman who left Israel during Israel’s War of Independence, and is today still considered a “refugee,” confirmed in a PA newspaper last week that it was Arab leaders and not Israel who told her and her neighbors to flee, for tactical military reasons. This corroborates Israel’s contention of the last 58 years that Arab leaders were responsible for telling their own people to leave Israel, and for the subsequent “refugee” problem.
Following is this most recent testimonial, as well as two earlier statements by other “refugees” that have appeared in the PA press, all of which corroborate Israel’s historical narrative. The latter two are significant because they were corroborated by still other more public Palestinians, indicating that the responsibility of the Arab leaders is known in the Palestinian world. One was confirmed by Arab Member of Knesset, Ibraham Sarsur, who was then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and the other by a Palestinian journalist, Fuad Abu Higla, in the official PA daily.
The following are three statements corroborating that Arabs fled Israel, under instructions of the Arab leaders:
1. Woman who fled Israel in 1948
“We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the Nakbah . They told us: The Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return, after the battle is over. And indeed there were among us [who fled Israel] those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flock [of sheep] and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours.”
[Asmaa Jabir Balasimah Um Hasan, Woman who fled Israel, Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]
2. Son and grandson of those who fled in 1948
An Arab viewer called Palestinian Authority TV and quoted his father and grandfather, complaining that in 1948 the Arab District Officer ordered all Arabs to leave Palestine or be labeled traitors. In response, Arab MK Ibrahim Sarsur, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, cursed the leaders who ordered Arabs to leave, thus, acknowledging Israel’s assertion.
Statement of son and grandson of man who fled:
“Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]. I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the “Catastrophe” [establishment of Israel in 1948], our district officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon- Southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor.”
Response from Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel:
“The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife throughout history until Resurrection Day.” [PA TV April 30, 1999].
3. Article by senior PA journalist
Fuad Abu Higla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al Hayat Al Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit, which criticized the Arab leaders for a series of failures. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders “forced” them to leave Israel in 1948, again placing the blame for the flight on the Arab leaders.
“I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:
To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents, Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians… So what will your summit do now?” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, March 19, 2001]
It is clear from these statements that there is general acknowledgement among Palestinians that Arab leaders bear responsibility for the mass flight of Arabs from Israel in 1948, and were the cause of the “refugee” problem. Furthermore, the fact that this information has been validated by public figures and the media in the Palestinian Authority confirms that this responsibility is well-known – even though, for propaganda purposes, its leaders continue to blame Israel publicly for “the expulsion.”