Palestinian Refugees - 1948

Palestinian Refugees - 1948

In the period from 1917 to 1949, Israel had occupied 78% of the land of Palestine and evicted or caused to flee more than 750,000 Palestinian refugees to Gaza Strip , West Bank and other Arab countries like Syria , Lebanon, Jordan and others.. It is the plight of the Palestinian refugees, who now number 1.5 millions, and the fate of the Palestinians, who now number 2.5 millions, as a people, which have remained the most pressing problems

The following are the main reasons of this refugee crisis

1. The British mandate
The mandate charter stated, “the British mandate government should encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, the mobilization of Jews on state - owned lands throughout Palestine”. Accordingly, the British High Commissioner in Palestine, Mr. Herbert Samo’yel, issued the transfer of property law along with a number of annexes. By this law, the High Commissioner issued a decree on July 1,1920 confiscating 3390 square dunums at Karm Abu Hussein area in Jerusalem. In August 1924, the British mandate government confiscated large areas of Palestinian land, and it has been given to Jewish Agency. The British mandate government donated to the Jewish Potach Company 75,000 dunums and to the jewish Electric company 18.000 dunums free of charge to build up their Jewish projects. The British High Commissioners confiscate more Palestinian land for the construction of new roads for jewish settlements. Palestinian villages were completely ignored and the roads leading to these villages were themselves confiscated under various British codes and regulations.

2 . The Partition Plan

The 1947 resolution on the partition of Palestine came only to complement the unjust laws and military orders enacted by the British mandate government. The partition of Palestine was unfair and illegal because it failed to consult the majority of the Palestinians estimated at that time at 90% of the total population of Palestine. The resolution lacked justice and equality because it gave the Jewish minority about 56% of the land, most of which was located at the fertile coastal areas and 43% to the Palestinian majority, land lying in rugged mountainous areas.

As from 29th November 1947, a state of tension had been created between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The British Government announced its plans to withdraw from Palestine on 15th May 1948.

The State of Israel had been all but born and it now only remained for the Zionists to make sure that when it came into official being, on 15th May 1948, it should be as Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first President, promised in 1921 that "Palestine will be as Jewish as England is English."

3. The economical situation

Since 1920, the British mandate government has put Palestine in a difficult economic, administrative, and political situation, facilitating the establishment of a Jewish state and the displacement of Palestinians to seek jobs in the adjusting Arab countries .

4 . The zionist massacres

In order to push the unarmed defenseless Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes. Jewish terrorist groups such as Irgun Zwei Leumi were brought in when other methods failed. On 9th April 1948, the Irgun Zwei Leumi led by Menachem Beigin, a former Israeli Cabinet Minister and former leader of the Opposition in the Israeli Parliament, attacked the small Arab village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem. An account of this barbaric massacre was given by Jacques de Reynier, the Chief Delegate of the International Red Cross , who was able to reach the village and witness the aftermath of the massacre: "Three hundred persons" he said, "were massacred ... without any military reason or provocation of any kind; old men women, children, newly-born were savagely murdered with grenades and knives by Jewish troops of the Irgun, entirely under the control of their chiefs."

The objective behind the Deir Yassin massacre was to terrify the Arab civilian population, and force them to flee to secure for the Zionists the land without the people. The plan succeeded and they fled in terror, to save their lives. Before May 15th, 1948, while the British Government was still responsible, the Jews had occupied many purely Arab cities like Jaffa and Acre and scores of villages that were in the territory assigned by the U.N. Resolution for the Arab State and evicted more than 300,000 inhabitants from their homes. In an attempt to stem this tide, the neighboring Arab states sent their armies on 15th May 1948 into Palestine. On 15th July 1948 the U.N. imposed a final truce between Israel and the Arabs, by which time Israel had occupied an even larger part of the territory allotted to the Arab State in Palestine.

5. Israeli Army

In view of the Israeli army hostilities which continued after the 1948 war, more Palestinians were forced to move to the Gaza Strip

Refugee issue in the United Nations
The U.N. Mediator in Palestine, Count Bernadotte, in his report submitted to the General Assembly on 16th September 1948, stated: "It is, however, undeniable that no settlement can be just and complete if recognition is not accorded to the right of the Arab refugee to return to the home from which he has been dislodged by the hazards and strategy of the armed conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. It would be an offence against the principle of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes, while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine and indeed offer the threat of permanent replacement of the Arab refugees who have been rooted in the land for centuries." This statement cost Count Bernadotte dearly. On the next day he and his French assistant were assassinated in the Israeli sector of Jerusalem by Jewish terrorists.

On 11th December 1948 the General Assembly discussed Bernadotte's report and resolved: "that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbour should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date." This resolution has been annually re-affirmed by the U.N. ever since, but Israel continues to defy the U.N. and prevent the return of the refugees to their homes

The Zionist responsibility

It is of interest to note here that Zionist propagandists initiated, in an attempt to shirk their responsibility towards the refugees, a campaign stating that the refugees left their homes of their own free will, obeying orders broadcast to them by their Arab leaders. Erskine Childers, an Irish Journalist and author and at was the President of the Republic of Ireland from 1973 to 1974, devoted months to look into this claim and found it baseless. He examined the American and British monitoring records of all Middle East broadcasts throughout 1948 and reported: "There was not a single order or appeal or suggestion about evacuation from any Arab radio inside or outside Palestine in 1948. There is repeated monitored record of Arab appeals, even flat orders, to the civilians of Palestine to stay put."

Nathan Chofshi, a Jewish writer who emigrated from Russia to Palestine. He stated: "If Rabbi Kaplan really wanted to know what happened, we old settlers in Palestine who witnessed the flight could tell him how and in what manner we, Jews, forced the Arabs to leave their cities and villages …. Here was a people who lived on its own land for 1300 years. We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And we still dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being ashamed of what we did and of trying to undo some of the evil we committed by helping these unfortunate refugees, we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them."

Land Acquisition Law

Not only did the Israelis refuse to allow the return of the refugees to their homes, but they consummated the tragedy by seizing all their property in one of the greatest acts of plunder in modern history. The confiscation of Arab land was not confined to the holdings of the refugees but extended to the 200,000 Palestinians, who remained in their homes in 1948, by a series of extraordinary laws and regulations of legalized robbery. These included "The Land Acquisition Law," "The Abandoned Areas Ordinance, 1949," "The Absentee Property Regulations, 1948" and others. The injustices, to which the Arabs in Israel were subjected, went far beyond the expropriation of their farms and property, and included flagrant infringement upon their basic human rights and civil liberties

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