What began slowly soon developed into a mass exodus, especially following the death in battle of the Palestinian leader Abdel-Qader Al-Husseini and the Deir Yassin Massacre. After the Jewish victories at Haifa and Jaffa in the last ten days of April, the pressure of war forced the Palestinians to relocate. At first they moved internally, to "safer" areas within exposed cities and in Arab-dominated areas of Palestine, as they sought to get out of harm's way. The relentless pressure of the Jewish militias (the Haganah, the Irgun, and others), together with the random but deliberately orchestrated bombardment of the largely civilian population, lay behind this initial exodus.
To restate, the initial flight of Arabs was caused by Jewish violence.
a. the Arabs began the violence on November 30th.
b. "initial exodus" refers to what period? By mentioning Deir Yassin, April 9th, he creates a problem because up until then, the Jews were losing all over. The major battles had not yet started.
c. and if you continue reading there, you'll find this about Jaffa:
...there was a belief that the Jews were generally cowards. Thus the people of Jaffa, as well as the members of the National Committee, believed that if they made ready a bit, and if the British army did not interfere on the side of Jews, as it had done previously, then they were sure to emerge victorious.
During the first three weeks following the UN Partition Resolution people began to evacuate the frontline district, and by the end of December 1947 all these areas had become a no man's land.
At the beginning, those who left Jaffa were the affluent. They were ashamed of their desertion, and gave various excuses for leaving, such as that they were going to Cairo for a honeymoon (my family squatted in a flat of a newly-wed couple who never returned from their honeymoon); that they were having to go abroad for medical treatment or for some other personal emergency; and so on. We young ones used to view these people with disdain and talk about how typical their desertion was of the behaviour of the rich and well-to-do.
I arrived in Beirut on 4 May, I believed that we would be returning to Jaffa in a couple of weeks.
So, the basic Zionist claim, that the majority of Arabs who left actually did flee, thinking they were to return after a great Arab "victory", and those who felt forced were the result of their own iniated violence and expectations.
Oh, the writer of this is Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University, Evanston, and Professor of International Studies at Birzeit University.