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1948 Exodus Uncovered:
Arab Media Reveals Leaders Advised Departure

(May 16, 2024)

Historians have found that one of the reasons Palestinians fled their homes in 1948 and became refugees was that they were urged to do so by their community leaders and Arab officials. However, Palestinian leaders have vehemently denied this fact over the years. Below are some examples of Palestinians admitting the truth.

“I remember someone, an Israeli officer, named Monjo. He was from Kibbutz Ein HaMifratz. He was in contact with people from [the Arab village of] Manshiya, with the village chief. He [the Israeli] told the chief: “Tell them that no one has to leave the place.” But what did they [Arabs] start to say? The chief is a traitor. And people began to flee.”

[Ahmad, Israeli citizen, Displaced from Manshiya, Official PA TV, July 24, 2023]

“This is all painful. These people defended themselves in 1948... In the end, they were told [by Arab leaders]: ‘Leave and go to Jordan.  It's just for a few weeks all in all and you'll return.’”

[Official PA TV, Ali Hussein Ali Alyan, Refugee from Khirbet Al-Amour, Oct. 2, 2022]

“The armies of several Arab regimes had a hand in persuading the people and the villages to leave and to abandon their homes, on the pretext of protecting [the villages] and fighting the Zionist gangs. The Palestinians believed and trusted them and the families left, hoping that the Zionist gangs would be defeated and their strength would be broken…”

[Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, Gazan journalist, 15 May 2022]

“The Jews were nearing our village, the Arab [Salvation] Army - may Allah protect them, they said: ‘Leave, but don't go far from the village because they [the Jews] will make a short visit to the village, leave, and then you’ll return to the village.’ The people left with nothing, even without bread, and went to the mountains, and pitched [tents].”

[Ali Muhammad Karake, Refugee from Allar, Palestinian daily Al-Quds YouTube channel, May 17, 2016]

“Cars with microphones roamed the streets [of Jaffa], demanding that people leave so the fighting would succeed. They called to us in Arabic to leave our homes: ‘We - the Palestinians, the fighters - want to fight, and don’t want you to impede us so we ask you to leave the city immediately" ... All of us – me, my family, and the others – left any way we could. We went to the port and boarded a ship.”

[Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Refugee from Jaffa, Official PA TV, Oct. 2, 2014]

"We left, I mean, the one who made us leave was the Jordanian army, because there were going to be battles and we would be under their feet. They told us: ‘Leave. In 2 hours we will liberate it and then you’ll return." We left only with our clothes. We didn’t take anything because we were supposed to return in 2 hours. Why carry anything? We’re still waiting for those 2 hours to this day."

[Fuad Khader, Refugee from Bir Ma'in, Official PA TV, May 15, 2013]

“What they said at the time: ... ‘By Allah, in a week or two, you’ll return to Palestine.’ The Arab armies entered Palestine, along with the [Arab] Salvation Army. We left - we and those who fled with us - and we all headed for Lebanon.”

[Sadek Mufid, Refugee from Dir Al-Qasi, Official PA TV, Feb. 9, 2010] 

“The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: ‘Get away from the frontline. It's a matter of ten days, or at most two weeks, and we'll bring you back to Ein Karem [in Jerusalem].’ And we said to ourselves, ‘That's a very long time. Two weeks is too much.’ That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by.”

[Refugee from Ein Karem, Official PA TV, July 7, 2009]

“The Arab Salvation Army told the Palestinians: ‘We have come to you in order to exterminate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you’ll return to them safely in a few days.’”
{Palestinian Media Watch narration of newspaper}

[Jawad Al Bashiti, Journalist, Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008]

“The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the Nakba in 1948 that the duration of the exile would not be long, and that it would not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees would return to their homes, which most of them did not leave until they believed the false promises made by the leaders and the political elites.”
{Palestinian Media Watch narration of newspaper}

[Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Chairman Advisor, Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 13, 2006]

“We were told that the Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return after the battle is over. And indeed there were among us those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flocks of sheep, and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours.”
{Palestinian Media Watch narration of the newsletter}

[Asmaa Jabir Balasimah, Refugee from central Israel, Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]

“You [Arab leaders] are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack, or like the armies of your predecessors in 1948 who forced us to emigrate, on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians.”
{Palestinian Media Watch narration of newspaper}

[Fuad Abu Hajla, PA daily columnist, Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 19, 2001]

“The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife, throughout history until Resurrection Day.”

[Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Official PA TV, April 30, 1999]

“My grandfather and my father told me that during the Nakba, our district officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdal is a traitor...”

[Refugee from Majdal (Ashkelon), Official PA TV, April 30, 1999]

“The Arab government told us: Get out so that we can get in. So, we got out, but they did not get in.”

[Refugee, Jordanian newspaper Ad Difaa, September 6, 1954]

“The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade. He pointed out that they were already on the frontiers and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean....Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes and property and to stay temporarily in neighbouring fraternal states, lest the guns of the invading Arab armies mow them down.”

[Habib Issa, New York Lebanese paper Al Hoda, June 8, 1951]

“The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies.”

[Jordanian newspaper Filastin, February 19, 1949]

Their leaders had promised them that the Arab Armies would crush the ‘Zionist gangs’ very quickly and that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile.”

[George Hakim, Greek Orthodox Catholic Bishop of Galilee, Beirut newspaper Sada al-Janub, August 16, 1948]

Sources: Itamar Marcus, “PMW video documentary: “Leave: The origins of Palestinian refugees” (in their own words),” Palestinian Media Watch [translation from Arabic], (May 15, 2024).
Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, “The Nakba from a Different Perspective,” [Arabic], (May 18, 2022).