Know Your History: The ‘Palestinian Refugees’ (NY Times May 19, 1957)
A series where I bring to you news from the archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
On May 19, 1957, James A Pike, a self-confessed non-Zionist, wrote a piece in the New York Times describing the palestinian refugee issue and possible solutions. It is a revealing and important read, given it acknowledges the situation is not as the haters claim (that Israel expelled the palestinian Arabs).
Note in particular:
- The quoted number of refugees – way less than UNRWA’s number of 5 million that is based on a definition including descendants
- The reasons for the Arabs fleeing Israel – including threats by their fellow Arabs, and hopes they could return after Israel was vanquished
- Those who were scared of Israel based it on the actions of Jewish fighters not acting in an official capacity, who acted partly due to fear of a fifth column
- The Arabs who stayed in Israel fared well
- Arab opposition to resettlement of the refugees and the use of the refugees as political pawns
- An acknowledgement that Israel could not take in the refugees, given our size and the fact they would be a fifth column
- The instability refugees caused Jordan
- Israel’s efforts in resettling 400,00 Jews from Arab lands
Note: I cannot provide a link to the full article since it is only available to those who have purchased a NY Times subscription. But I have provided screenshots below.
Click on the images to enlarge.