June 11, 2005
Why Palestinians fled
Editor -- In the article, "KPFA pair give young Palestinians a voice" (East Bay Life section, May 27), the writer referred to an event that never occurred: "the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians" in 1948. While it is true that certain estimates place the total number of refugees at about that figure, only a portion of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war were expelled, according to all credible sources.
The vast majority fled on their own accord, often at the urging of Arab leaders. Even historian Benny Morris, a critic of Israeli conduct in 1948, concludes that "most of the Arab movement out of Haifa's border areas was due to the fighting"; that the "exodus from Jaffa ... was triggered by the start of hostilities.... No doubt, many of the inhabitants foresaw that the situation would deteriorate"; that Arab villages in the countryside "were abandoned or partially abandoned as a result of pressure or commands by Arab irregulars," and other villages were abandoned "due to fear."
Others, including scholar Efraim Karsh, have shown that allegations of Israeli responsibility for the Palestinian refugee problem are based on "a deliberate attempt at historical distortion" by revisionist historians and anti-Israeli partisans.
Committee for Accuracy
in Middle East Reporting