In 1950, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was established. Its purpose was to deal with Arab refugees. First, it undertook to conduct a census of refugees. The definition of a refugee was: “A person who habitually lives in the Land of Israel, and as a result of hostilities, his home and livelihood were lost …” , The UN agency found that the number of refugees was inflated, because the Arabs were “quick to give birth and are deterred from conveying deaths …”. In 1961, the UN Relief and Works Agency director acknowledged that refugees, according to the UN, included other victims of the 1948 conflict, and it is reasonable to assume that these were people who were neglected by their Arab governments (p. 31).
Various estimates of the number of refugees who left the Land of Israel in 1948 ranged from 430,000 to 650,000. According to a reliable study, the exact number was 539,000 (p. 30).
The Arab League presented estimates that were more than 150,000 higher, and refused to carry out official census surveys. The assumption was that the goal of the Arabs was to gain increased attention from the rest of the world – in order to motivate the United Nations to put pressure on Israel and even force a return to the “homeland” of the refugees (p. 31).
According to the United Nations Relief Agency, there is no doubt that in many cases, people who could not be considered bona fide refugees are actually on the welfare lists, with a report by UNRWA from 1960 that claimed that the Jordanian lists alone included150,000 people who have passed away and are therefore not entitled (p. 32).
Many of the refugees left their homes voluntarily before the outbreak of the War of Independence. This in response to the request from the Arab countries, which promised them that after “cleansing the land of Jews,” they would return to their homes. On the part of the Jews, there was an attempt to keep the Arab population as partners in the established state. As proof, the Haifa Workers’ Council called upon the Arab residents of the city not to unnecessarily destroy their homes after years of living together in Haifa (p. 27).
Between 1947 and 1948, the western Land of Israel numbered approximately 747,000 Arabs. Of these, 57,000 were nomads, 37,000 were immigrants reported by the British government, and 170,000 were domestic migrants. Thus, 483,000 Arabs were not immigrants or nomads. In 1948, 140,000 Arabs remained in Israel, and 343,000 fled. Thus, the number of Arab refugees is supposed to be only 343,000, and not the number that the Arabs declared as soon as they left the Land of Israel, which was twice that much (pp. 254-255).
According to Arab propaganda, Jewish immigration deprived Arabs of their jobs; this claim obscures the fact that, for the most part, these were illegal immigrants who had not worked in the area in the first place. In addition, the claims against the kibbutzim that they employed Arabs are actually baseless, since the kibbutzim never employed salaried employees (i.e., there was no discrimination against Arabs). In any case, many of the rural Arab population found, thanks to the Jewish immigration, employment that they had never had before (p. 312).
The “Palestinian” story that the Arabs conjure up includes a variety of assumptions, including: Arab identification of thousands of years with the Land of Israel; the dispossession of Arabs by the Jews even though this was ostensibly an Arab country; Jewish terrorism that forced the peace-loving Arabs to leave and flee; a claim that the Arabs have nothing against the Jews, but only against the Zionists; declaring that they, the Arab refugees, had nowhere to go. These claims were, of course, incorrect: At the end of the 19th century, the Arabs were nomads who wandered from place to place in search of improved living conditions.
The Jews never left the Holy Land; the Arabs who lived in Israel never saw themselves as “Palestinians” – not even after the Mufti’s attempt to instill nationalism in them; it was the Muslims in Palestine who systematically harmed the Jews; the Arab leaders who refused to grant citizenship to these refugees, with the exception of Jordan, were the ones who effectively deprived the refugees of their homes (p. 374). These refugees were received in Jordan, since Jordan admits that its land is Palestinian land.
The writer and historian Martin Gilbert: “… The Arabs – not only are not persecuted, but crowded into the country and multiplied in it until they grew beyond which even the Jews of the world could not have increased …” (p. 227).
The main refugee flight occurred when the British left the country after the Jews were granted equality and independence. This escape was encouraged by Arab leaders who, for their part, were immersed in intra-Arab power struggles – struggles in which “Palestine” served as a tool. These leaders acted to inflame the Muslim masses against the Jews, among other things out of fear that the Jews would try to take revenge on the Arabs for the persecutions they suffered by their hand, and with the thought that the Arabs could not bear, that the Jews would have a state in the middle of the Middle East (p. 375).
In 1977, Syria sought American aid, including technology and manpower, to cultivate their land. The Syrian Minister of Trade and Economy declared that Syria would give valuable land to those who wanted to work it. The proposal to send the Palestinian refugees to work the land aroused opposition from the Arab League and others. When the Syrian officials were asked why they would not give the land to the Palestinians, they replied: “It is possible … to everyone but the Palestinians … must ensure that their hatred is directed against Israel.” Thus, the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews of the Land of Israel became scapegoats in a world power game (p. 386).
If the best Arab researchers are to inquire into the real identity of those who claim to be natives and deportees, many of the Arab countries will be exposed to the demand of these refugees to receive the citizenship they are entitled to (p. 376).
The perpetuation of injustices, even if they were not done at all, is what gave organizations such as the PLO legitimization in the Arab world for violence against the “occupying and oppressing Zionist enemy.” This, while the past and the true roots are hidden from the offspring, their successor generation.
The second and third generation of “refugees” has been used as political tool by the PLO to obtain legitimacy and promote hatred against the Jews, while Arab states refrain from granting civil status to these generations, leaving them destitute (p. 377). This is the way they educate them to believe that their dream of identity can be realized only on the ruins of the Jewish state.
The young generations who grow up on falsehood in an ignorant environment dream of the day they leave the refugee camp for their Palestinian “homeland”; this despite the fact that they can demand civil rights in the already existing Palestinian homeland – Jordan (p. 386).
Refugees needs have not been met, and have been neglected by the Arab world; this has created fertile ground for violence. Misery was perpetuated, and so also the belief in the temporality of the population centers, the “camps.” The PLO found fertile ground there for promoting terror (p. 387).
As of 1982, there were 676,000 refugees in refugee camps throughout the Middle East, with their descendants. Yet, the number of refugees in the world totaled 10 million in that year, including Africans, Asians and Afghans (p. 380).
These Palestinian refugees served as tools in the hands of the Arab world, both the PLO and the Soviets, to justify Arab hostility, to falsely create a non-existent nation, using them in twisted rhetorical double-talk, directed at Western ears which have been listening to these distortions of truth and drinking them eagerly.
After the Arabs realized that they would not be able to sell the destruction plan of the Jewish home to the West, they fostered a false “Palestinian nationalism,” which portrayed Israel as aggressor and the Palestinians as victim (p. 382). Thus, they demanded Palestinian self-determination.
History teaches that any nation that demanded the right to self-determination and sovereignty over any territory differed from the people who lived next to it, the ruling race in that region, in their religion, culture, and tradition. The Palestinian Arabs, who demand self-determination, are not in this situation, since they live next to Jordan, whose citizens have the same identity; thus, their demand is questionable (p. 383).
In the State of Israel, most of the citizens who came from the East are Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were forced to flee or were deported from these countries. The claim that the number of Jewish refugees who came from Arab countries is similar to the number of Arab refugees who left the Land of Israel, which, in fact, constitutes the exchange of populations, is not recognized (p. 389).
The argument for the “return” of the Arab refugees was replaced by the claim of a “historical right,” which they seemly have, after realizing that the first argument does not help them (p. 388).
The possibility of a solution exists: A Palestinian state already exists in Jordan. This is not an easy solution; it is likely to fall on deaf ears and encounter great resistance; but it is a plausible solution. The situation that can no longer exist is turning the Jews into a scapegoat and the cynical exploitation of the Arab refugees as a weapon against the State of Israel.
Professional published reports, indicate that the Arab countries have an urgent need for workers – which can provide many jobs for refugees. The funds needed to realize the project exist in the Arab world – both from Western funding and from expropriation of Jewish property by the Arab states, property that will equal and even exceed in value the Arab property left in the Land of Israel. However, for this reason, the Arab world must cease its discriminatory political attitude towards its brothers, and the free world should stop its refusal to understand that there is a Palestinian state, Jordan (p. 390).
If the refugees will be embraced by the Arab nations, they could grow in a normal environment, suitable for their tastes and beliefs, and perhaps without hatred and hostility. The host Arab states will benefit from this, and of course the refugees themselves will also. This line of action is the most humane, and will prove, if initiated, that the Arabs really look out for the fate of their Palestinian brothers and do not use them as weapons in the war against Israel (P. 391).
In 1982, the Palestinian refugees were placed second on the list of important refugees of the United States Refugee Committee. Before them on the list were the Afghans, followed by the Ethiopians, the Vietnamese, the Cambodians, the Laotians and the Salvadorans – though they were in a state of destitution (p. 380). In its reports, the committee included the Jordanian Palestinians in Jordan (733,000), despite the fact that the Jordanians offer citizenship to the Palestinians as part of the Jordanian Nationality Law (p. 381).
After the Six-Day War, the Arabs understood that in order to defeat Israel, they had to turn to propaganda. The goal of the Arab propaganda is to erode Israel’s legitimacy for defensible borders and to force it to squeeze into dimensions that will enable to conquer it militarily (p. 28).