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Old 01-23-2008, 06:54 PM
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Arrow Arab Refugees Versus Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries

Arab Refugees Versus Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries
H. Maverik
Posted on Netanyahu's Website

The following is well-known : One will not be able to change a warped mind... and, one cannot straighten a bent tree... The Arabs by nature, are an incited/deluded lots from womb to maturity! Apart from the words of their Qur'an who orders them to kill the non believers, myths, chimeras and exaggerations are most of the information they get from their respective elders who in turn, have received it from their elders... This continuous hate generated at the crib will never end towards the Jews until THE TWO PEOPLES ARE SEPARATED FOREVER! Now as far as the refugees is concerned‚_ One has to understand that the existence of these refugees is a direct result of the Arab States' opposition to the partition plan of 1947 and the reconstitution of the State of Israel. The Arab states adopted this policy unanimously, and the responsibility of its results, therefore is theirs. There is no more apt expression than this on the origin of the Palestinian Arab refugee problem in 1948.

These are the words of Emil Ghory, secretary of the Arab High Council, in an interview published on 6 September 1948 in the Lebanese daily Al-Telegraph, soon after the events occurred and before this topic became an important theme of Arab propaganda‚_

The flight of Arabs from the territory allotted by the UN for the Jewish State began immediately after the General Assembly decision at the end of November 1947. This wave of emigration, which lasted several weeks, comprised some thirty thousand people, chiefly well-to-do-families.

They knew that a war was imminent; they didn't doubt that the Arab armies would quickly win a sweeping victory, and they wanted to be as far as possible from the battlefield. The second wave of emigration came in the spring of 1948, after fighting had erupted between Arab irregulars and Jewish defense forces. This time the urban population was involved, and in far greater numbers - for example, some seventy thousand from Jaffa and sixty thousand from Haifa. An estimated total of over two hundred thousand Arabs emigrated in this wave, despite strenuous efforts of the Jews in various parts of the country to dissuade them from leaving. The Haifa Workers' Council, for example, published, on 28 April 1948, the following plea: "...our city flourished and developed for the good of both Jewish and Arab residents ... Do not destroy your homes with your own hands; do not bring tragedy upon yourselves by unnecessary evacuation and self-imposed burdens. By moving out you will be overtaken by poverty and humiliation. But in this city, yours and ours, Haifa, the gates are open for work, for life, and for peace, for you and your families." This appeal, however, and many similar ones, were of no avail. Most of the local Arab leaders had already managed to take flight, and directly or indirectly, they encouraged the Palestinian population from across the border to "temporarily" leave their homes.

But the largest wave of Arab refugees, three hundred thousand or more, followed the massive Arab invasion of 15 May 1948, the day after Israel's declaration of independence. The large majority of these emigrants were of the poorer strata of the Arab population, both urban and rural, the former group including day laborers such as the thousands of port workers who had come to Palestine from Syria. John Bern Castle, chief assessor in the mandatory government, in a report to the Conciliation Commission (comprising representatives of the United States, France, and Turkey) appointed by the UN in the fall of 1948, assessed the property abandoned by the refugees at 200 million pounds sterling -considerably less than the value of the property the nine hundred and fifty thousand Jewish refugees from Arab countries had left behind.

In a discussion of the Arab refugee problem in the UN Security Council on 4 March 1949, the Soviet delegate virtually confirmed the words of the secretary of the Arab High Council previously cited. He said: "Statements have been made on the Arab refugee question, but why should the State of Israel be blamed for the existence of that problem? When seeking to determine responsibility for the existence of the problem of the Arab refugees, we cannot fail to mention the outside forces ... They pursue their own selfish interests which have nothing in common either with the cause of peace and international security or with the interests of the Arab and Jewish peoples, and which only correspond to the aggressive designs of the leading circles of some states." The fact is that the Arab attack on Israel created two parallel refugee problems - one Arab and the other Jewish.

Analogous to the approximately four hundred and fifty to six hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1948 and found refuge in parts of Arab-controlled Palestine and in various Arab countries was a somewhat larger number of Jews who emigrated from Arab countries to the Jewish State in the first years of its existence.

Thus the Middle East saw, at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s, what amounted to a population exchange between the Arabs who left Israel and the Jews who emigrated there from the various Arab countries. These two phenomena are bound together historically, politically, and ethically, and we cannot deal with one problem (and its solution) without the other, although one of the problems has virtually been solved.

The Jewish refugees never received any compensation from the Arab countries they were forced to leave and which confiscated all their property when they fled. Nevertheless, their social and economic absorption in Israel is a fait accompli, since this absorption was the clear desire and goal of the Jews of Israel and their government. In theory and in practice, these immigrants were never treated as refugees but rather as fellow members of the same people. With a sense of common national fate, rescue and assistance were extended to the immigrants, and the Jews of Israel granted the newcomers the same rights they themselves enjoyed. Such was not the attitude toward the Arab refugees from Israel in most of the Arab world.

Jordanian King Hussein described this attitude in an interview with an Associated Press correspondent in January 1960: "Since 1948 Arab leaders have approached the Palestine problem in an irresponsible manner. They have not looked into the future. They have no plan or approach. They have used the Palestine people for selfish political purposes. This is ridiculous and, I could say, criminal."

Hussein is perhaps the only Arab leader who had the right to express such judgment. His artificial country, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan which is in reality 77% of the "Mandate for Palestine", is the only one of the Arab states which not only granted the Palestinian refugees citizenship, but also absorbed them socially, economically, and politically, allowing them to work and become integrated into all aspects of the national life. The attitude of the other Arab states toward the Palestinian Arab refugees was, as noted, completely different. This attitude was succinctly described by Ralph Galloway, a former head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in Amman, capital of Jordan, in August 1958: quote:-

"The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die." Unquote...

In a study of the refugee problems by the British writers Terrence Prittie and Bernard Dineen (The Double Exodus: A Study of Arab and Jewish Refugees in the Middle East), this aspect of the problem was summarized as follows: "In general, one can say that Arab governments regarded the destruction of the State of Israel as a more pressing matter than the welfare of the Palestinian refugees. Palestinian bitterness and anger had to be kept alive. It was clear that this could ensuring that a great many Palestinians Arabs continued to live under sub-normal conditions, the victims of hunger and poverty, do best. No Arab Government preached this as a defined policy; most Arab Governments tacitly put it into practice."

850,000 fled Arab states: $1-billion in property confiscated, Jewish study finds (24.6.03)
Steven Edwards (email), National Post
CanWest News Service

UNITED NATIONS - Newly discovered documents show Arab states orchestrated the persecution of their Jewish citizens after the creation of Israel, then kept more than US$1-billion in property belonging to the 850,000 who left, Canadian experts said yesterday.

The study, carried out for a Jewish rights group, is published as Arab countries launch a new push for the "right of return" of millions of descendants of up to 600,000 Palestinian refugees to lands now inside Israel, or a deal that will compensate them generously.

It argues Jews who left the Arab lands deserve equal redress and their plight should be recognized, as efforts to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict unfold.

Canada chairs the Refugee Working Group established under the peace process launched in Madrid in 1991, but the group has never counted the displaced Jews as refugees.

The new study was produced by the group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), whose honorary chairmen are Irwin Cotler, a Liberal MP, and Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"We now need a more inclusive, equitable and fair approach to the issue of refugees," Mr. Cotler said in New York yesterday as he joined Mr. Holbrooke at the study's launch.

Arab demands to resettle millions of Palestinians in Israel remain a major potential stumbling block on the road map for peace, which calls for an "agreed, just, fair and realistic solution to the refugee issue."

Israel, whose Jewish population is six million, says admitting so many Palestinians would be tantamount to creating a fifth column that would destabilize the Jewish state.

The JJAC study, Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: The Case for Rights and Redress, aims to show Palestinian refugees are not the only "victim population" of the conflict. It cites newly collected Arab government decrees and reports that point "to collusion against Jews" after Israel was created in 1947.

Jews had never been more than "second-class citizens" under Arab rule, the report says, but their life became "simply untenable" after Israel appeared.

"Jews were either uprooted from their countries of residence or became subjugated, political hostages of the Arab-Israeli conflict," it says.
For example, in 1947, pogroms in Syria drove 7,000 of the 10,000 Jewish residents of Aleppo from their homes. In Iraq, "Zionism" became a capital crime, while bombs in the Jewish quarter of Cairo killed 70 Jews.

After Algeria gained independence from France, it "issued a variety of anti-Jewish decrees prompting nearly all of the 160,000 Jews to leave the country." In Aden and Yemen, at least 82 Jews died in pogroms.

"If we look at the concerted pattern of state sanctioning of repression, and of systematic legislation which criminalized and disenfranchised Jews and sequestered their property, then what happened belongs in the annuls of ethnic cleansing," Mr. Cotler said.

In 1948, there were 856,000 Jews living in Arab countries; this number was halved within 10 years and has continued to fall, most noticeably after periods of conflict or tension between the Arab world and Israel. Today there are only 7,800 left, mainly in Morocco (5,700) and Tunisia (1,500).

The study does not estimate the number who left primarily because they wanted to help build the world's first and only Jewish state.

Arab countries attacked Israel in 1948, leading to the exit of 475,000-600,000 Arab residents of the former British mandate of Palestine, which the United Nations divided into Jewish and Arab areas.

They and many of their descendants, who now number about four million, have lived ever since in refugee camps, often in squalor, and devoid of national rights.

Arab countries hosting camps have refused to address the refugees' plight independently of other issues in their dispute with Israel.

A Canadian government official explained yesterday the Refugee Working Group of the Madrid peace process never had a mandate to place the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries on par with that of Palestinian refugees.

"It was not considered relevant because the Jewish refugees were not seeking to return in numbers that would markedly affect economies and population structures," the official said.

David Matas, a Winnipeg lawyer and one of the report's authors, agreed descendants of many of the displaced Jews had prospered elsewhere despite losing the equivalent of US$1-billion.

"That's why this is not primarily about money," he said. "It is about looking for the truth, about righting history and about acknowledging the failure to recognize these people."

Mr. Matas wrote the report with fellow Canadian Stanley Urman executive director for the New York-based Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Co-operation.

The Forgotten Jewish Refugees

What happened to the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab lands?

by David G. Littman,
Courtesy of National Review Online

Last Thursday, a new terrorist group calling itself, "The Government of Universal Palestine, the Army of Palestine" claimed responsibility for a murderous jihadist terror attack against Kenyans and Israelis in Kenya. The attacks were timed to mark the eve of the anniversary of the November 29, 1947 decision by the United Nations to partition Palestine and allow the creation of the Jewish state.

The next day, in New York and Geneva, the United Nations hosted its annual "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" -- without a hitch
Amid this ongoing savagery and carnage worldwide, some basic truths need to be reaffirmed about the Middle East tragedy. Aside from the thorny Jerusalem issue, the major stumbling block has always been the question of the return of -- or compensation for -- Arab refugees from Palestine in 1948 and 1967. But Israel's steadfast refusal by the Arab Palestinian leadership and Arab countries since the 1920s also led to another great refugee tragedy.

In 1945 there were about 140,000 Jews in Iraq; 60,000 in Yemen and Aden; 35,000 in Syria; 5,000 in Lebanon; 90,000 in Egypt; 60,000 in Libya; 150,000 in Algeria; 120,000 in Tunisia; and 300,000 in Morocco, including Tangiers. That comes to a total of about 960,000 -- and more than 200,000 in Iran and Turkey

Jordan covered 78 percent of Palestine as designated by the League of Nations in 1922. Turning a blind eye to article 15 of the League of Nations Mandate, Great Britain decided in 1922 that no Jews would be authorized either to reside or buy land in what was now the Emirate of Transjordan. This decision was ratified by the kingdom of Jordan in its law No. 6, sect. 3, of April 3, 1954 (reactivated in law no. 7, sect. 2, of April 1, 1963), which states that any person may become a citizen of Jordan if he is not a Jew. Even when Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994, this Judenrein legislation remained.

In these ancient Jewish communities, which date from Biblical times, less than 40,000 Jews remain today -- and in the Arab world there are fewer than 5,000, one-half of one percent of their number at the end of World War II.

During the 20th century, thousands of Jewish men, women, and children, young and old, were brutally massacred in the Maghreb, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Aden -- even under French and British colonial rule -- and also in Palestine after the British conquest and during the Mandate (1918-48).

"Jews in Grave Danger in all Moslem Lands. Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia Face Wrath of Their Foes".

As to why and how these countries became Judenrein ("cleansed" of Jews), the heading of an article from the New York Times of May 16, 1948 -- a day after Israel declared its independence -- says it all: "Jews in Grave Danger in all Moslem Lands. Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia Face Wrath of Their Foes".

On January 18, 1948, the president of the World Jewish Congress, Dr. Stephen Wise, appealed to U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall: "Between 800,000 and a million Jews in the Middle East and North Africa, exclusive of Palestine, are in 'the greatest danger of destruction' at the hands of Moslems being incited to holy war over the Partition of Palestine... Acts of violence already perpetrated, together with those contemplated, being clearly aimed at the total destruction of the Jews, constitute genocide, which under the resolutions of the General Assembly is a crime against humanity."

Already in Iraq (1936 and 1941), Syria (1944-45), Egypt and Libya (1945), and Aden (1947) -- all before the state of Israel's founding -- murderous attacks had killed and wounded thousands. Here is a description from the official report in 1945 by Tripoli's Jewish community president, Zachino Habib, describing what happened to Libyan Jews in Tripoli, Zanzur, Zawiya, Casabat, Zitlin, Nov. 4-7, 1945: "The Arabs attacked Jews in obedience to mysterious orders. Their outburst of bestial violence has no plausible motive. For fifty hours they hunted men down, attacked houses and shops, killed men, women, old and young, horribly tortured and dismembered Jews isolated in the interior... In order to carry out the slaughter, the attackers used various weapons: knives, daggers, sticks, clubs, iron bars, revolvers, and even hand grenades." (1)

A recent example of such murderous acts was seen on April 11, 2002 when the jihadist bombing of the ancient al-Ghariba synagogue of Djerba in Tunisia killed 17 and badly wounding many others, most of them elderly German tourists. A spokesman for al Qaeda claimed they had been behind the bombing. Now Tunisia's remaining Jewish community will seek security in Israel and elsewhere -- like 99 percent of their coreligionists before them.

Pogroms and persecutions, and grave fears for their future, regularly preceded the mass expulsions and exoduses of the Jews, whose ancestors had inhabited these regions from time immemorial, a millennium and more before the successive waves of Arab conquest and occupation from the 7th century. Beginning in 1948, more than 650,000 of these Oriental Jewish refugees were integrated into Israel -- even as the country was being threatened with annihilation by neighboring Arab League states, which, for over 40 years, refused the U.N.'s 1947 Palestine Partition Plan. Approximately 300,000 more Jews found refuge, and a new homeland, in Europe and the Americas.

Roughly half of Israel's 5 million Jews -- from a population of 6.2 million, of whom roughly 20 percent are Arab, Druze, and Bedouin Israelis -- is now composed of those refugees and their descendants, who received no humanitarian aid from the United Nations, and who indeed did not ask for it. It was Jews worldwide, just emerging from the Shoah, who worked together with Israel to achieve this integration.

Yet it was this defiance of international legality by the Arab League in 1947-1948 -- maintained decade after decade in unsuccessful attempts at politicide -- that led to the ongoing Arab-Palestinian catastrophe. A parallel commitment on behalf of the less numerous Arab refugees of Palestine (in 1948 they numbered about 550,000, although a figure of 750,000 is often claimed) for their integration into some of the 21 Arab states (covering 10 percent of the world's land surface) was considered too great a symbolic and monetary sacrifice, even despite their immense oil resources.

George Orwell's remark about everyone being equal -- but some being more equal than others -- could well be applied to refugees since the 1940s: Apparently some refugees are considered more equal than others. But the forgotten million - Jewish refugees from Arab lands -- were not helped by the U.N. , nor were they kept for over half a century in refugee camps, breeding hopelessness, frustration, and -- under U.N. auspices -- a culture of hate and death, in which jihadist bombers thrive today.

One should question today the real motivation of a selective, historically flawed memory which systematically spotlights the Arab-Palestinian refugees but conveniently forgets the Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

The transfer of populations on a large scale, as a consequence of war or for political reasons, has always been a characteristic of human history, particularly in the Islamic Orient. Deportations, expropriations and expulsions of dhimmis -- Jews, Christians, and other indigenous peoples -- recurred throughout the long history of dhimmitude, including in Palestine. One should question today the real motivation of a selective, historically flawed memory which systematically spotlights the Arab-Palestinian refugees -- suffering from the Arab League's own policy -- but conveniently forgets the Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 -- also adamantly refused then by the Khartoum Arab League Summit Conference with the formula: "No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiation with Israel, no concessions on the questions of Palestinian national rights" -- refers to "a just solution to the refugee problem". This term applied implicitly also to Jewish refugees from Arab countries -- who had been obliged to seek security outside their native lands -- and not only to the Arab-Palestinian refugees who are not specifically referred to in the resolution.

The dire hardships endured by the great majority of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries have never been considered by the United Nations, nor has the loss of their inestimable properties and heritage dating back over 3, 000 years. The time has surely come for this great injustice to be addressed seriously, within the context of a just and equitable global solution to the ongoing Middle East tragedy, once the Palestinian leadership ends its jihad-war of attrition and takes the democratic path to peace.

On April 24, 2002, at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, we referred to this matter as a representative of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Speaking in a "right of reply," the delegate of Iraq (Saad Hussain) stated, unashamedly, that he was "responding to the lies that we heard in the statement of the gentleman called David Littman, known for his animosity toward the Arabs, Muslims, and Islam. The Arab history, the Arab and Islamic history for fourteen centuries, has not witnessed any harm to the Jews -- quite the contrary. The Jews have lived, and continue to live in peace, and their sacred places and their property have been protected until today (...) They live in Arab countries today in perfect safety, despite the events -- the horrible events taking place in Palestine." (2)

Not surprisingly, the truth is very different. Jews have always been forbidden to reside in Saudi Arabia and Jordan; there are now no Jews in Libya; under 100 in Egypt and Syria; and only 17 remain in Iraq! We shall again briefly raise the question of the forgotten million Jewish refugees from Arab countries at the next session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights -- when the chairperson will be the lady ambassador from Libya! At the last six-week session (March-April 2002), more than 50 percent of the commission's time was taken up by Palestinian issues -- to the dismay of very many observers.

(1) Renzo di Felici, Jews in an Arab Land: Libya, 1835-1970 (University of Texas, 1985, pp. 193-94., n. 19, p. 365)
(2) U.N. English interpretation, as recorded verbatim from the statement delivered in Arabic.
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