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January 22, 2015

In '48 War, the Jews "Didn't Want These People to Leave the Village"


jisr az-zarqa.jpg
Israeli-Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa

Alexander Galloway, a former UNRWA director in Jordan, famously said that the Arab world was not interested in solving the Palestinian refugee problem, but instead preferred to "keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel."

Today, ironically, it is UNRWA, the United Nations body responsible for Palestinian refugees, that's often charged with perpetuating the refugee status of Palestinians. And if the refugee problem is still used as a weapon against Israel, it is largely as a key component of the simplistic, hostile narrative that holds Israel as uniformly guilty and the Palestinian as fundamentally victims.

An example of this narrative: The claim in a The New York TImes Op-Ed a few years back that, in 1948, "a people had been expelled from their land in a comprehensive ethnic cleansing operation."

But from those not enlisted in the war-of-words against Israel — from those who speak casually, as citizens and not as warriors — that narrative is often undermined. In today's Chicago Tribune (and in the LA Times last week) there is a story about the Arab-Israeli coastal town of Jisr az-Zarqa. One older resident is quoted talking about that allegedly "comprehensive ethnic cleansing operation":

In 1948, amid fighting between Arabs and Jews surrounding the creation of Israel, there was no fighting in Jisr.

Arabs living in nearby villages fled, but "we didn't even think about it, never even thought about leaving our lands," said Gamil Jarban, 72, a retired fisherman, who said his father built the first house in Jisr. He said the people of Jisr were left alone because they were peaceful.

"Even when the Jews came here, they didn't want these people to leave the village," he said.

To those most dedicated to talking points drawn up by Palestinian rejectionists, Jarban's frank remembrance might be viewed as a betrayal. But even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can't be angry. He's been known to contradict his own narrative now and again.

Posted by GI at January 22, 2015 01:22 PM

Comments

This concept is corroborated by a video on palwatch.org of 1-1-2013 in which Abbas explains that people fled his native Safed through fear of retribution for their massacre of Jews in 1929. Meantime, Ari Shavit (a centrist! a Zionist!) tours the world explaining it was all (including Safed) an ethnic cleansing op. Go Jews for Jihad!

Posted by: PT at January 23, 2015 08:38 PM

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