Excerpts of a talk by Prof. of history Benny Morris, about the actual number of Arabs expled from Palestine during the 47-48 war. The Israeli policies and actions that lead to the Palestinian refugee problem.
To see the lecture in its entirety, with supplements and Q&A (about 10 videos) click here to start: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNjK2HUUBEs
For links to related information go to the end of the description, after the “enclosed texts” part.
***The four stages of the creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem***
** Stage #1 **
Started: November 1947 (after the announcement of the Partition Plan for Palestine after which the Arabs started the civil war against Jews in Palestine).
Ended: March 1948.
Population: Mainly middle and upper class.
Reason: Moved to be out of harm’s way (not expelled!).
Actually expelled by Jewish forces: None.
** Stage #2 **
Started: April 1948 (Roughly coincides with the creation of Israel and the invasion of neighboring Arab countries)
Ended: June 1948 (Beginning of first truce)
Population: Lower middle class town and village inhabitants.
Reason: Fled due to fear and lack of leadership.
Actually expelled by Jewish forces: Almost none.
** Stage #3 **
Started: July 1948 (After the end of the first truce during the most intense fighting)
Population: Lower class.
Reason: Expulsion and mass flight.
Actually expelled by Jewish forces: ~50,000 mainly from Lod and Ramle.
** Stage #4 **
Started: October 1947 (During another escalation in fights as Israel goes into the offensive)
Population: Mainly northern inhabitants.
Reason: Mainly mass flight with some expulsions
*** Were There Israeli Expulsion Policies? ***
– When looking at Israeli internal documents we clearly find that (In accordance with original Zionistic principals) there was NO Jewish institutional policy of expelling the Arabs.
– In a military directive from March 1948, there was a specific order that commanders should treat the Arab population with dignity and NOT expel inhabitants, except for military objectives.
– At the point in April 1948, when it seemed to Jewish leadership that an existential threat hangs over the Jewish “yeshuv” there was a change in atmosphere, nevertheless no specific expulsion policy was adopted and no directive given.
How do we know there was no Israeli expulsion policy?
– About 50% of Arabs stayed in Israel, which is the reason why Israel till today consists of 20% Arab citizens.
– No Israeli officer at the course of the 48 war was put to trial for expelling, or not expelling Arabs.
– According to documents we see an inconsistency in expulsions. In some cases there were expulsions and some there weren’t.