Friday, September 21, 2018

Jewish Palestine Refugees - I Am Corrected

For years I have trying to promote the simple historical fact that Jews were also Palestine refugees.

(For previous posts see here; and here)

As per UNRWA's own definition, that Agency has decided that a refugee is a needy person, who, as a result of the war in Palestine, has lost his home and his means of livelihood

Arabs and Jews, both.

How "Palestinian refugee" crept in there I do not fully know.

But how many Jews.

My figure, based on what I read was between 17,000 to 20,000.

I was a minimalist.

Benny Morris’s book "1948 A History of The First Arab Israeli War", puts the number of Jewish refugees at 70,000.

According to a new book mentioned in the JPost, the number is at least 60,000 Jewish refugees.

The book, published in Hebrew

is titled "Jewish Refugees in Israel's War of Independence" and is authored by Nurit Cohen-Levinovsky who holds a PhD in history and heads the Educational Department at the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Center in Tel Aviv.

As David Shayne notes,

according to Dr. Levinovsky, some 97 Jewish villages were attacked and damaged: 11 of these were destroyed entirely, 6 were conquered and lost – until after the 1967 Six Day War, when those conquered were re-established...Fully one quarter of Jerusalem’s Jews fled, mostly to the relative safety of the coastal plain.

Jerusalem's Jewish population numbered 100,000 in 1948. 

I stand corrected.

But I correct the record: as a result of the Arab terror ethnic cleansing campaign of 1920-1947, the true number of Jews who became refugees during the Mandate era, even if UNRWA limits the term "refugee" to the 1946-1948 period, is several thousands more, as we need include those who were driven out of Hebron, Gaza, Shchem, Jenin, Jericho, Tul Karem and Jerusalem.

The exodus from the Old City began in 1920, increased after Nov. 1921, after August 1929 and then during 1936-39 all due to Arab rioting and terror.
We know the British forced Jews out too.
At the beginning of the 20th century, 20,000 Jews lived in the Old City. In 1948, 1700 were left.
Thousands of Jaffa's Jews were forced out due to most of the same circumstances (in 1936, 10,000 Jews still lived in Jaffa. In 1920, 8740 Jews lived in Jaffa, by the British count, and that number increased until 1929.

Hundreds of Jews from Hebron.





Joe in Australia said...

“Palestine refugees” includes people (e.g., agricultural laborers) who lost their livelihood due to the conflict, whether or not they also lost their homes. By my estimation more than one-third of Palestine refugees must have been recognised due to loss of livelihood. This vastly inflated the Arab numbers relative to the number of Jews, because Israel was less willing to accept UNRWA welfare; the need for national reconstruction meant it could provide many jobs; and most Jews had been pushed out of Arab areas either long before or after the period of UNRWA eligibility terminated.

YMedad said...

Joe, Israel halted UNRWA assistance handouts in mid-1952. Until then some 19,000 Israelis were aided.

Joe in Australia said...

I'm aware of that :-)

My point is that UNRWA (and its predecessor) never recognised most Jewish refugees because its criteria favored Arabs. Even if Israel chose to not accept UNRWA aid, UNRWA should fairly have recognised that these Jews suffered as much as many Arabs, and for the same reason.

UNRWA's definition includes Arab refugees from the 1967 conflict, but not Jews of Egyptian, Syrian, etc., background who were forced out due to the 1948 and '67 wars. A fairer view of the conflict would have recognised that it started many years before 1948, and that many Jews had already lost their homes and livelihoods as a consequence of the conflict. It would also have recognised Jewish refugees from Arab countries, because their expulsion was a secondary consequence of the conflict. Consequently, people imagine that 850,000 Arabs were refugees and only (say) 19,900 Jews – but in fact UNRWA's own figures show that only around 450-550,000 Arabs fled the 1948 war; consequently, the rest must be people who either list only their livelihood, or who were falsely accepted onto UNRWA's rolls.