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April 14, 2011

Karsh on Palestinian Refugee Numbers

Historian Efraim Karsh undertakes a comprehensive look at the various numbers cited for Palestinian refugees from 1948 and accounts for their discrepancies. He writes, in part,

Admitting to having "some difficulty in separating out the real refugees from the rest, and in explaining the reasons for doing so to the Arab authorities," [Sir Raphael] Cilento [director of the UN Disaster Relief Project (DRP) in Palestine] attributed this chaotic situation to a number of reasons:

•Refugees were registered on arrival and fed but their names were not struck off the list if they moved or died;
•Refugees moving from one area to another would check in and be fed at several points en route and at each would be added to the list of refugees in the area, in this way numbers increased on paper in areas vacated as well as at final destination;
•Local destitute persons were included in numbers although they were not properly refugees;
•Fraud and misrepresentation by officials and others to utilize supplies etc.;
•There were people who left their homes owing to disturbed conditions but returned to them shortly afterward, yet were briefly registered as refugees and the records remained.

Posted by TS at April 14, 2011 02:30 AM


It would be interesting to compare the numbers of the Palestinian Arab refugees with the number of the Jewish refugees from all Arab countries during the time of formation of Israel. Those Arab countries, where Jews lived for centuries, and in some cases like Iraq for millenia, had prevented the solution of the problem of the Palestinian refugees by letting them settle in land and properties left by the Arabian Jews who now form over 50% of Israeli Jewish population. The Jewish refugees were not registered by the UN as refugees because Israel incorporated them into the life of the new country.

In contrast, together with the UN, the Arab countries, which had forced their Jews to flee around 1948, are the CAUSE of the Palestinian refugee problems and thus they are the ones that need to solve it.

Posted by: VM at April 17, 2011 03:52 PM

A very interesting analysis of the manipulation of refugee? status.

Posted by: Sy WEINER at April 17, 2011 07:03 PM

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