August 09, 2007

Independent naqba denial

I didn't see the letter in the Independent that prompted Tony Greenstein's response here:
Sir: Jim Roland (letter, 4 August) really cannot be allowed to get away with the same old discredited Israeli propaganda.

It was nearly 50 years ago, in 1959, that Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi debunked the myth that the Palestinian refugees were the product of exhortations by Arab leaders to leave in order that they could invade. Independently, in 1961, Erskine Childers, in The Spectator of 12 May, published an article after having examined the transcripts of Arab radio stations, monitored by the BBC and CIA, which showed that far from ordering the refugees to leave, they instructed them to stay! This particular myth was created in the early 1950s by Israeli leaders as a means of deflecting the demand that Israel accept the right of return of the refugees.

The explanation for the expulsion of the Palestinian refugees is quite simple. Even in the area that the United Nations allocated to a Jewish state, a majority of the population were Arabs. If a Jewish state were to be created then it was inevitable that the Arabs had to be expelled. As Joseph Weitz, the key official responsible for Jewish colonisation wrote in his diary in 1940: "Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country ... And there is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from her to the neighbouring countries, to transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe should be left..."


The letter Tony was responding to is here.


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