Approximately 720,000 Arabs, encouraged by their leaders to leave, fled from what is now Israel between April and December, 1948.(1) The Arab leaders promised them that they would soon be able to return following Israel's destruction. In some cases the Jews, including Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, urged the Arabs to remain, promising that they would not be harmed.(2) Those who remained became full and equal citizens of Israel, while those who chose to leave went to neighboring Arab states. Instead of welcoming their Arab brothers, and integrating them into the mainstream of their societies, the Arab states kept them in squalid refugee camps and used these Palestinians refugees as political pawns in their fight against Israel.


1. Irving Howe and Carl Gershman (eds.), Israel, the Arabs and the Middle East (New York: Bantam, 1972), p. 168.

2. See, for instance, The Economist, Oct. 2, 1948, for a description of Jewish efforts in Haifa to persuade the Arabs to stay.

 

 

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16 Apr 2015 / 27 Nisan 5775 0