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June 12, 2011

The Historical Record of the Arab Exodus

In a May 23, 2011 Op-Ed in Ha'aretz Shlomo Avineri wrote that "despite decades of research, to this day no document or broadcast has been found confirming . . . ... [any order] by the Arab leadership for the population to leave." (The Op-Ed, which for some reason can no longer be found on Ha'aretz's Web site, is available here.)

In an Op-Ed this weekend, historian Efraim Karsh responds:

This claim couldn't be further from the truth. While most Palestinian Arabs needed little encouragement to take to the road, large numbers of them were driven from their homes by their own leaders and/or the "Arab Liberation Army" that had entered Palestine prior to the end of the Mandate, whether out of military considerations or in order to prevent them from becoming citizens of the prospective Jewish state. Of this there is an overwhelming and incontrovertible body of contemporary evidence - intelligence briefs, captured Arab documents, press reports, personal testimonies and memoirs, and so on and so forth. . . .

On April 18, the Haganah's intelligence branch in Jerusalem reported a fresh general order to remove the women and children from all villages bordering Jewish localities. Twelve days later, its Haifa counterpart reported an ALA directive to evacuate all Arab villages between Tel Aviv and Haifa in anticipation of a new general offensive. In early May, as fighting intensified in the eastern Galilee, local Arabs were ordered to transfer all women and children from the Rosh Pina area, while in the Jerusalem sub-district, Transjordan's Arab Legion ordered the emptying of scores of villages.

Posted by TS at June 12, 2011 06:03 AM


Looks like there was a response to Karsh's article:

How do you guys respond?

Posted by: Shira at June 12, 2011 10:10 AM

Shira, you might look more closely at the dates of the pieces. Fogelman's article was published on June 3, well before Karsh's piece was published on June 10.

So obviously it couldn't have been a response to Karsh's article.

If anything, the opposite would be true (although Karsh notes he's specifically responding to Shlomo Avineri). Karsh's latter piece was needed, at any rate, since Fogelman virtually ignored Karsh's point about the Arab Higher Committee ordering Palestinians to evacuate the city. And he ignored the British Superintendent of Police in Haifa's assertion that "[E]very effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives." And so on. I say "virtually ignored" because he does touch on it every so briefly in paragraph 44 -- the very last paragraph of the article -- in a remarkable example of "burying" information inconvenient to the premise: "They did not want to go, but apparently received an order from above."

Posted by: gi at June 12, 2011 08:15 PM

I don't know - maybe my memory serves me better: As examples of what I accept as data/fact: Books!! for instance: "BATTLEGROUND Fact and Fantasy in Palestine", Samuel Katz, 1973, p15, 16: quoting from: 1) the Beirut newspaper Sada al Janub, 8/16/48-"The refugees were confident that their absence would not last long, and that they would return within a week or two. Their leaders had promised them that the Arab Armies would crush the "Zionist gangs" very quickly and that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile."
2) from the Near East Arabic Broadcating Station, Cyprus, 4/3/49: "It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees' flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem."
3) Edward Atiyah, Secy of Arab League Office in London(during '48 War): "This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic Arab press..." ("The Arabs", London, 1955, p.183)

etc., etc., etc....

What am I missing here? Who's not doing due diligence on research? WHY is everyone so ignorant of history? This is getting real tedious...

Posted by: DanS. at June 13, 2011 10:14 AM

DanS: it's a willful ignorance, but thank you for your part in trying to eradicate it.

Posted by: Susan at June 14, 2011 10:25 AM

I clearly recall reading, in April or May 1948, in the NY newspaper PM (almost as left as the communist Daily Worker) the reports of their reporter in Israel, I.F.Stone. He described witnessing the panicky evacuation of Arabs from Haifa harbor, and JEWS TRYING TO DISSUADE THEM FROM LEAVING. Yes, the same IF Stone who was subsequently a diligent apologist for the Soviets.

Posted by: David J., Long Island, NY at June 17, 2011 04:49 PM

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