Sunday, February 17, 2013

How Palestinian Refugees Differed From Others, How Jewish Refugees Differed From Them All

                                                                               Exodus 1947                          
Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       
Arabs have been migrants. Mark Twain can attest to that as he visited the Holy Land on a trip starting in February 1, 1867. Bedouins attacked his camp, the land where the man rides and carries the child on a pigmy jackass but the woman walks. Mark Twain traveled miles of desolate country whose soil is rich enough but was only weeds.  He saw only 3 people, Arabs, wearing only a long coarse shirt, and they were shepherds, and charmed their flocks with a reed pipe.  

 Migration comes from a tradition of migration and migrants.  They were wrongly regarded immediately upon arrival in Western Palestine as people "existing" for millennia within the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine.  They were just continuing in 1948 their traditional pattern of moving to an area where they thought their relatives were better treated than they were.  The British made them into instant natives which in turn counted them as instant refugees.  Then they actually had a better life in the UNWRA camp setting than they had as "landless impoverished laborers in the Arab world."

Wrongly counted as refugees were these Arab itinerant workers from  the neighboring countries.   Many of the refugees were fleeing from Israel but the British neglected to realize that they had just recently gone into Israel and then counted them as natives when Israel was the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine.   There they earned better wages and found better living conditions within the Jewish settlements.

On the other hand, German, Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Afghan,  Lebanese and Syrian refugees had to flee and became migrants in order to escape persecution, dictatorship, or certain death.  Syrians and Lebanese have moved right over to Jordan and are in camps.  The land of Jordan, taken illegally by King Hussein, is land meant to be the Jewish National Home.

When the Jewish refugees were lucky enough to arrive on ships to Palestine, the British would not let them into the Jewish communities.  They were refugees fleeing for their lives from Nazis.  Even though The British were given the Mandate to bring about the Jewish National Home, they treated it  as "Arab" land.  So they restricted Jewish immigration and let "illegal" Arab immigrants in.  They were appeasing Arab "discontent." When my 2nd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot left Capetown, South Africa in 1933  at age 18 or 19, his ship put up the Swastika flag in the middle of the ocean and he wasn't sure he'd get to land in Palestine.  Luckily, he did.  A few years more and it would have been impossible.  At this time there were also restrictions on Jewish immigration into the USA.

On January 12, 1938 the Poseidan ship came to Palestine with 65 Jewish illegal immigrants.  By then 8,000 had entered illegally with the help of Jewish Agency in Palestine. The Aliya Bet worked from 1939 to 1942  and then from 1945 to 1948, trying to get illegal Jews into the country.  "No country was willing to take Jewish immigrants. However, some countries would give them transit visas."

The ship "Exodus" from France carried 4,500 Jewish refugees including 600 orphans  that were Holocaust survivors on July 11, 1947 and the Jews were considered illegal so couldn't disembark.  "Displaced person camps run by American, French and Italian officials often turned a blind eye to the situation, with only British officials restricting movement in and out of their camps. In 1945, the British reaffirmed the pre-war policy restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine which had been put in place following the influx of a quarter of a million Jews fleeing the rise of Nazism in the 1930s and had been a major cause of the Arab revolt of 1936-1939."

  • "Exodus was attacked by five British destroyers and a cruiser. Ruth Gruber, a journalist,  left Jerusalem immediately for Haifa and witnessed the Exodus entering the harbor, looking, as Gruber wrote, "like a matchbox splintered by a nutcracker."
  • During the "battle," the British rammed the Exodus and stormed it with guns, tear gas and truncheons. Gruber noted that the crew, mostly Jews from America and Palestine, fought back with potatoes, sticks and cans of kosher meat. The Exodus’s second officer, Bill Bernstein of San Francisco, was clubbed to death trying to prevent a British soldier from entering the wheelhouse. Two orphans were killed, one shot in the face point blank after he tossed an orange at a soldier.
  • When she learned that the prisoners from the Exodus were being transferred to Cyprus, she flew there overnight. While she waited for the Exodus detainees, she photographed earlier Jewish prisoners living behind barbed wire in steaming hot tents with almost no water or sanitary facilities. "You had to smell Cyprus to believe it," she cabled the New York Herald."

  • Half of 142 attempts to enter by Jews were stopped and the people were sent to internment camps in Cyprus.  50,000 ended up in such camps.  1,600+  Jews drowned at sea.  About 2,000 Jews actually entered Palestine.
     This was in violation of the International League of Nation Mandate.  They were, in fact, facilitating Arab settlement onto Jewish-settled land.  They just thought that Arabs had always been there which has caused the lies of today.  Here we have the case that Arabs came to Western Palestine because they were attracted by the superior economic conditions created by the Zionists.   No wonder Churchill could point out in 1939:
    • Far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied until their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up (increase) the Jewish population.
    Why were the British so pro-Arab besides being obviously anti-Semitic?  "Since the British relied on the Arab (or Arab-supporting) regimes of the Middle East, a pro-Arab policy in Palestine served them best to protect rights to Arab oil, the Suez canal, and British interests in India and beyond."  Since they had been in Palestine fighting against the Ottoman Empire during WWI and had solicited TE Elliot to help get Arabs to fight with them, they were the ones given the mandate.  Let us not forget that Jews fought against the Ottoman Empire as well with the British.  

    Book:  From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters page 392-393
    Book: Exodus by Leon Uris
    Movie:  Exodus with Paul Newman
    The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain


    1. ON APRIL 23, 1948 Jamal Husseini, acting chairman of the Palestine ArabHigher Committee (AHC), told the UN Security Council: "The Arabs did not want to submit to a truce ... They preferred to abandon their homes,belongings and everything they possessed."

      ON SEPTEMBER 6, 1948, the Beirut Daily Telegraph quoted Emil Ghory, secretary of the AHC, as saying: "The fact that there are those refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agreed upon this policy unanimously..."

      ON JUNE 8, 1951, Habib Issa, secretary-general of the Arab League, wrote in the New York Lebanese daily al-Hoda that in 1948, Azzam Pasha, then League secretary, had "assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade ... Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes and property, and to stay temporarily in neighbouring fraternal states."

      IN THE MARCH 1976 issue of Falastin a-Thaura, then the official journal of the Beirut-based PLO, Mahmud Abbas ("Abu Mazen"), PLO spokesman, wrote: "The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but, instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live."

      ON APRIL 9, 1953, the Jordanian daily al-Urdun quoted a refugee, Yunes Ahmed Assad, formerly of Deir Yassin, as saying: "For the flight and fall of the other villages, it is our leaders who are responsible, because of the dissemination of rumours exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs ... they instilled fear and terror into the hearts of the Arabs of Palestine until they fled, leaving their homes and property to the enemy."

      ANOTHER refugee told the Jordanian daily a-Difaa on September 6, 1954: "The Arab governments told us, 'Get out so that we can get in.' So we got out, but they did not get in."

      THE JORDANIAN daily Falastin wrote on February 19, 1949: "The Arab states... encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies."

      ON OCTOBER 2, 1948, the London Economist reported, in an eyewitness account of the flight of Haifa's Arabs: "There is little doubt that the most potent of the factors [in the flight] were the announcements made over the air by the Arab Higher Executive urging all Arabs in Haifa to quit ... And it was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades."

      THE PRIME Minister of Syria in 1948, Khaled al-Azem, in his memoirs, published in 1973, listed what he thought were the reasons for the Arab failure in 1948: " ... the fifth factor was the call by the Arab governments to the inhabitants of Palestine to evacuate it and leave for the bordering Arab countries ... We brought destruction upon a million Arab refugees by calling on them and pleading with them to leave their land."

      "FOLLOWING a visit to refugees in Gaza, a British diplomat reported the following: 'But while they express no bitterness against the Jews...they speak with the utmost bitterness of the Egyptians and other Arab states: 'We know who our enemies are,' they will say, and they are referring to their Arab brothers who, they declare, persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes." -

      British Foreign Office Document #371/75342/XC/A/4991

    2. Example of inconsistencies of Refugee status as told by a friend: "I spoke to an Arab Christian from Nazareth whose family was originally from Baram, a town in the Gallillee, who had to leave and resettle in Nazereth. He told me that he considers himself a Palestinian refugee. When I asked him how he could be a Palestinian refugee living in Israel, he defined himself as "a refugee in his own country"...."