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Zionist FAQs: Isn't it true that Palestinians abandoned their homes during the 1948 war because their leaders asked them to do so?

למאמר בעברית

June 17, 1967. Note the Israeli officer to the left directing Palestinians out of their village 'Imwas
For the moment, let's assume that the Palestinian refugees were not terrorized out of their homes, but left based on their free will. The questions that many Palestinians ask:

  • Is that a good reason for Zionist Jews to loot their homes, farms, and businesses? Palestinians gave no permissions to use their "abandoned" properties!
  • Is that a good reason to block their return to their homes?
  • Is that a good reason to nullify their citizenship in the country they were born?

Let us pose the question the other way around. For a very long time, the Zionist movement encouraged Jews from Europe and the Middle East to emigrate to Israel:

  • Is that a good reason to confiscate their homes, farms, and businesses in their respective countries?
  • Is that a good reason to block their return to their homes if they choose to do so?
  • Is that a good reason to nullify their citizenship in the countries they were born?

Residence of al-Ramla being ethnically cleansed based on the orders from Rabin; July 1948
The just and fair answer to all of these questions is a big fat no. Nobody has the right to usurp the political and civil rights of another citizen PERIOD, regardless of the circumstances.

Neither the Israeli Army boot camps, nor the Israeli schools dares to disclose the truth to its subjects. The truth is most Palestinians were terrorized out of their homes, farms, and businesses. is fortunate to receive pictures portraying the terror that came upon the Palestinian people, click here to witness the ethnic cleansing and destruction of 'Imwas. It should be noted that what happened to 'Imwas by the Israeli Army was a copycat war crime to what already happened to other 450 Palestinian towns during the 1948 war.

Palestinian Refugees on their way to Lebanon, Oct. 1948.
Since the inception of Zionism, its leaders have been keen on creating a "Jewish State" based on a "Jewish majority" by mass immigration of Jews to Palestine, primarily European Jews fleeing from anti-Semitic Tsarist Russia and Nazi Germany. When a "Jewish majority" was impossible to achieve, based on Jewish immigration and natural growth, Zionist leaders (such as Ben Gurion, Moshe Sharett, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann) concluded that "population transfer" was the only solution to what they referred to as the "Arab Problem." Year after year, the plan to cleanse Palestine away from its indigenous people became known as the "transfer solution." David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister, eloquently articulated the "transfer solution" as the following:

  • In a joint meeting between the Jewish Agency Executive and Zionist Action Committee on June 12th, 1938:

    "With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] .... I support compulsory transfer. I don't see anything immoral in it." (Righteous Victims p. 144).

  • In a speech addressing the Central Committee of the Histadrut on December 30, 1947:

    "In the area allocated to the Jewish State there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment, will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority .... There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 176 & Benny Morris p. 28)

  • Palestinian refugees on the run to Lebanon, Oct. 1948
    And on February 8th, 1948, Ben-Gurion also stated to the Mapai Council:

    "From your entry into Jerusalem, through Lifta, Romema [East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood]. . . there are no [Palestinian] Arabs. One hundred percent Jews. Since Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, it has not been Jewish as it is now. In many [Palestinian] Arab neighborhoods in the west one sees not a single [Palestinian] Arab. I do not assume that this will change. . . . What had happened in Jerusalem. . . . is likely to happen in many parts of the country. . . in the six, eight, or ten months of the campaign there will certainly be great changes in the composition of the population in the country." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 180-181)

  • In a speech addressing the Zionist Action Committee on April 6th, 1948:

    "We will not be able to win the war if we do not, during the war, populate upper and lower, eastern and western Galilee, the Negev and Jerusalem area ..... I believe that war will also bring in its wake a great change in the distribution of Arab population." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 181)

  • In speech to the Jewish Agency on June 12, 1948, Ben-Gurion stated:

    "I am for compulsory transfer; I don't see anything immoral in it." For tactical reasons, he was against proposing it at the moment, but "we have to state the principle of compulsory transfer without insisting on its immediate implementation." (Simha Flapan, p. 103)

  • Click here for more "Transfer" (Ethnic Cleansing) quotes from Zionist leaders.

For the moment, assume that the above evidence is nothing but an Arab propaganda. We ask the reader to contemplate what Yitzhak Rabin, one of Israel's Prime Ministers, had written in his diary soon after the occupation of Lydda and al-Ramla on July 10th-11th, 1948:

"After attacking Lydda [later called Lod] and then Ramla, .... What would they do with the 50,000 civilians living in the two cities ..... Not even Ben-Gurion could offer a solution .... and during the discussion at operation headquarters, he [Ben-Gurion] remained silent, as was his habit in such situations. Clearly, we could not leave [Lydda's] hostile and armed populace in our rear, where it could endangered the supply route [to the troops who were] advancing eastward.
Ben-Gurion would repeat the question: What is to be done with the population?, waving his hand in a gesture which said: Drive them out! [garesh otem in Hebrew]. 'Driving out' is a term with a harsh ring, .... Psychologically, this was on of the most difficult actions we undertook".
(Soldier Of Peace, p. 140-141 & Benny Morris, p. 207) .

Later, Rabin underlined the cruelty of the operation as mirrored in the reaction of his soldiers. He stated during an interview (which is still censored in Israeli publications to this day) with David Shipler from the New York Times on October 22, 1979:

"Great Suffering was inflicted upon the men taking part in the eviction action. [They] included youth-movement graduates who had been inculcated with values such as international brotherhood and humaneness. The eviction action went beyond the concepts they were used to. There were some fellows who refused to take part. . . Prolonged propaganda activities were required after the action . . . to explain why we were obliged to undertake such a harsh and cruel action." (Simha Flapan, p. 101)

Residence of Wadi Hunayn being ethnically cleansed out, march 1948
Just before the 1948 war, the residents of the twin cities, Lydda and al-Ramla, almost constituted 20% of the total urban population in central Palestine, inclusive of Tel-Aviv. Currently, the former residents and their descendents number at least a half a million, who mostly live in deplorable refugee camps in and around Amman (Jordan) and Ramallah (the occupied West Bank). According to Rabin, the decision to ethnically cleanse the twin cities was an agonizing decision, however, his guilty conscious did not stop him from placing a similar order against three nearby villages ('Imwas, Yalu, and Bayt Nuba ) 19 years later. The exodus from Lydda and al- Ramla was portrayed firsthand by Ismail Shammout, the renowned Palestinians artist from Lydda itself, click here to view his exodus gallery. To learn more about the ethnic cleansing of Lydda and al-Ramla based on declassified Israeli archives, we suggest clicking here as well.

In order to excuse themselves from any responsibility of war crimes, Zionists have concocted a myth that Palestinians were ordered by their leaders to abandon their homes. As it will be proven below, this version of events was conclusively proven wrong based on Israeli declassified documents. According to the Israeli historian Benny Morris:

  • Faluja-Gaza, 1949, Ethnically Cleansed Palestinians on their way to Hebron
    'In general, during the first months of the war until April 1948 the Palestinian leadership struggled, if not very manfully, against the exodus: "The AHC [Arab Higher Committee] decided .... to adopt measures to weaken the exodus by imposing restrictions, penalties, threats, propaganda in the press [and] on the radio .... [The AHC] tried to obtain the help of neighboring countries in this context ..... [The AHC] especially tried to prevent the flight of army-age young males," according to IDF intelligence'. (Benny Morris, p. 60). Click here if you wish to see the exact order from AHC.

  • 'Whatever the reasoning and attitude of the Arab states' leaders, I have found no contemporary evidence to show that either the leaders of the Arab states or the Mufti [Hajj Amin al-Husseini] ordered or directly encouraged the mass exodus during April [1948]. It may be worth noting that for decades the policy of the Palestinian Arab leaders had been to hold fast to the soil of Palestine and to resist the eviction and displacement of Arab communities'. (Benny Morris, p. 66)

  • 'In Kafr Saba [early May 1948], the locals, under threat from Haganah attack, wanted to leave, but were ordered to stay by the ALA [Arab Liberation Army] garrison. According to Haganah sources, the ALA, with the population of Ramallah about to take flight, blocked all roads into the Triangle: "The Arab military leaders are trying to stem the flood of refugees and taking stern and ruthless measures against them." Arab radio broadcast, picked up by the Haganah, conveyed orders from the ALA to all Arabs who had left their homes to "return within three days. The commander of Ramallah assembled the mukhtars [official leaders] from the area" and demanded they strengthen morale in the their villages. The local ALA commanders turned back trucks which were coming to take families out of Ramallah. .... Haganah intelligence on May 6 reported that "Radio Jerusalem in its Arabic broadcast (14:00 hours, 5 May) and Damascus [Radio] (19:45 hours, 5 May) announced in the name of the Supreme Headquarters: 'Every Arab must defend his home and property .... Those who leave their places will be punished and their homes will be destroyed.'. The announcement was signed by [Fawzi al-]Qawukji.' (Benny Morris, p. 68-69)

    Who shall push who into the sea? Haifa's Palestinians are being loading onto ships out of their homes, April 1948
    Similarly, Simha Flapan (the Israeli writer and politician) stated according to declassified Israeli document and to the November 6th, 1948 edition of the Israeli newspaper Davar:

    ". . . after April 1948, the flight acquired massive dimensions. Abd al-Rahman Azzam Pasha, secretary general of the Arab League, and King Abdullah both issued public calls to the Arabs not to leave their homes. Fawzi al-Qawukji, commander of the Arab Liberation Army, was give instructions to stop the flight by force and to requisition transport for this purpose. The Arab government decided to allow entry only to women and children and to send back all men of military age (between eighteen and fifty). Mohammad Adib al-Umri, deputy director of Ramallah broadcasting station, appealed to the Arabs to stop the flight from Jenin, Tulkarm, and other towns in the Triangle that were bombed by the Israelis. On May 10, Radio Jerusalem broadcasted orders on its Arab program from Arab commanders and AHC to stop the mass flight from Jerusalem and the vicinity." (Simha Flapan, p. 86-87)

    Click here to view the original letter sent by the Arab Higher Committee [AHC] on March 8, 1948 urging the Egyptian government to deny entry for the Palestinian refugees unless in emergency situations.

  • 'The various National Committees issued bans on flight. The Ramle National Committee set up pickets at the exits to the town to prevent Arabs departing. The inhabitants of the villages east of Majdal (Beit Daras, the Sawafirs, ..etc) were warned not to allow in with their belongings. On 15 May [1948], Faiz Idris, AHC's "inspector for public safety," issued ordered to militiamen to help the invading Arab armies and to fight against " the Fifth column and the rumor-mongers, who are causing the flight of the Arab population' (Benny Morris, p. 69)

  • 'On 10-11 May [1948], the AHC [Arab Higher Committee] called on officials, doctors, and engineers who had left the country to return on 14-15 May, repeating the call, warned the the officials who did not return would lose their" moral right to hold these administrative jobs in the future." Arab governments began to bar entry to the refugee -as happened, for example, on the Lebanese border in the middle of May'. (Benny Morris, p. 69)

  • 'The fall of Safad and the flight of its inhabitants shocked the [Palestinian] Arab villagers of the Hula Valley, to the north. [Yegal] Allon launched a psychological warfare campaign ("If you don't flee immediately, you will all be slaughtered, your daughters will be raped," are the like), and almost all the villagers fled to Lebanon and Syria.' (Righteous Victims, p. 213)

  • Who shall push who into the sea? Haifa's Palestinians are being loading onto ships out of their homes, April 1948
    According to a Jewish Agency's Arab section report from January 3, 1948, at the beginning of the flight:

    "The Arab exodus from Palestine continues, mainly to the countries of the West. Of late, the Arab Higher Executive has succeeded in imposing close scrutiny on those leaving for Arab countries in the Middle East." Prior to the declaration of the "Jewish state," the Arab League's political committee, meeting in Sofar, Lebanon, recommended that the Arab states " the doors to . . . women and children and old people if events in Palestine make it necessary." (Simha Flapan, p. 85)

Professor Erich Fromm, a noted Jewish writer, social psychologist and thinker, has this to say on the Zionist argument that the Arab refugees left of their own accord:

"It is often said that the Arabs fled, that they left the country voluntarily, and that they therefore bear the responsibility for losing their property and their land. It is true that there are some instances (in Rome and in France during the Revolutions) when enemies of the state were proscribed and their property confiscated. But in general international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his rights of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than Jews. Just because the Arabs fled? Since when is that punishable by confiscating of property and by being barred from returning to the land on which a people's forefathers have lived for generations? Thus, the claim of the Jews to the land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse."
Dr. Fromm goes on to say:
"I believe that, politically speaking, there is only one solution for Israel, namely, the unilateral acknowledgment of the obligation of state toward the Arabs; not to use it as a bargaining of the Israeli state to its former inhabitants of Palestine." (Bitter Harvest p. 95; printed in Jewish Newsletter on Feb. 9th, 1959)

Faluja-Gaza, 1949, Ethnically Cleansed Palestinians on their way to Hebron
Farther proof of ethnic cleansing (as if more evidence is needed) comes from Glubb Pasha, the British officer of the Jordanian army during the 1948 war, was on the spot at the time and therefore was in a position to know what is going on. He said:

"The story which Jewish publicity at first persuaded the world to accept , that the [Palestinian] Arab refugees left voluntarily, is not true. Voluntary emigrants do not leave their homes with only the clothes they stand in. People who decided to leave house do not do so in such a hurry that they lose other members of their family -- husband losing sight of his wife, or parents of their children. The fact is that the majority left in panic flight, to escape massacre. They were in fact helped on their way by the occasional massacres--not of very many at a time, but just enough to keep them running." (Bitter Harvest, p. 95)

Who shall push who into the sea? Haifa's Palestinians are being loading onto ships out of their homes, April 1948
As Moshe Sharett was ending his career in the mid-1950s, he came to the conclusion that Israel cannot be ruled without deceit as if it's essential for the Jewish state's survival. He wrote just before resigning:

"I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled in our generation without deceit and adventurism. These are historical facts that cannot be altered. . . In the end, history will justify both the stratagems and deceit and the acts of adventurism. All I know is that I, Moshe Sharett, am not capable of them, and I am therefore unsuited to lead this country" (Simha Flapan, p. 52-53). In other word, what Moshe Sharett is saying that the "Jewish state" is incapable of surviving without lying to its citizens and the rest of the world; in fact it has been national security for the "Jewish state" to do so. This form of carefully crafted deception and lies is known in Israel by its Hebrew name: The art of Hasbarah.

Finally, it must be emphasized that Israel tried Adolf Eichmann for atrocities committed as a Nazi leader, it included charges of forcible expulsion (ethnic cleansing), which were classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity. It's ironic how often Israelis and Zionists are selective in the interpretation of war crimes against humanity in a way that fits their political agenda.

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My father hails from Haifa. His name was Youssef Salloum. He was a journalist and editor of the newspaper "Palestine" in Haifa. His father was a mayor of the Maronites in Haifa. My mother hails from a large family. Her name was Marie Salem from Nazareth.
My father told the following: As clashes were continuous in Haifa, he and one assistant lived in the newspaper office and kept producing it. One day an empty hand grenade rolled into the offices of the paper and the people that threw it identified themselves as members of the "Haganah". They called him by his name "Mr. Salloum" and told him that they will return in 24 hours and if he was still there they will throw him a live grenade. Needless to say my father was terrorized, and left. He followed my mother and the children to southern Lebanon as refugees. That was in 1947.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to document this important part of history. It is what I tell people that try to tell that the Arabs left Palestine by choice. Moreover, once my parents left they could not return. My father owned properties in Haifa. One of those is where the Israeli bus station was built on. So they took his home, his place of work and other properties and would not allow him to return from Lebanon.
You need to include information from from here:
Google : "Catastrophic thinking: Did Ben-Gurion try to rewrite history?" (with quotes)
about the deliberate campaign of deceit involved. Found recently in Israeli archives.
Thank you Brent for sticking up for truth.
Also refuting the lying Zionist hasbara (propaganda) of "StCuthbert" back in 2009. All anyone needs to do is read up about the Deir Yassin massacre carried out by Zionist terrorists and also the Zionist "Israelis" own plan codenamed Plan Dalet to steal and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians out of Palestine. This evil Plan Dalet was carried out by the wicked Zionists (and wicked massacres and war crimes like the Deir Yassin massacre were just some of the Zionists evil actions confirmed even by truthful "Israeli" Jewish historians in Zionist "Israel" itself today)!
Read about the Zionist "Israelis" ethnic cleansing scheme called "Plan Dalet" which proves the Zionist "Israelis" planned al-Nakba and carried out this ethnic cleansing of Palestine: Zionist documents (of "Plan Dalet") refute Zionist apologist "StCuthbert" below.
Benny Morris in letter to the Irish Times: " Most of Palestine's 700,000 "refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders). But it is also true that there were several dozen sites, including Lydda and Ramla, from which Arab communities were expelled by Jewish troops...The displacement of the 700,000 Arabs who became "refugees"...was not a "racist crime" (David Landy, January
24th) but the result of a national conflict and a war, with religious overtones, from the Muslim perspective, launched by the Arabs themselves...There was no Zionist "plan" or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of "ethnic cleansing".
An interesting article. Those who deny the Nakba or pretend that the Palestinians left voluntarily are no different from those who claim there was no Nazi holocaust. Both are revisionist historians. I was brought up with the myth that the Palestinians voluntarily left at the instigation of the Arab leaders, via radio broadcasts. This was demolished by Walid Khalidi in 1959 and Erskine Childers in an article in the Spectator circa 1960, when transcripts of Arab radio broadcasts contained the exact opposite, i.e. instructions not to leave.

I'm sure that the quotes in the article are genuine but I would advise that they are always doubly checked as there have been instances where misquotations have become repeated ad nauseum, only for Zionists to later seize on such inaccuracies.