Arabs became refugees following leaders' promise:
"A week, two weeks... and you'll return to Palestine"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
An Arab refugee in Lebanon described in an interview on Palestinian Authority TV how he and other Arabs left for Lebanon from Israel during the 1948 war, after Arab leaders said their absence would be temporary:
This refugee's testimony is yet another example of how Palestinian leaders, writers and refugees themselves have begun to speak out in recent years and openly blame the Arab leadership for the creation of the Arab refugee problem. Mufid describes a large departure to Lebanon from Israel, which led to the creation of "11 or 15 refugee camps." He does not place the blame on Israel. As Palestinian Media Watch has previously reported, other recent Palestinian accounts likewise describe a deliberate exit from Israel under orders by Arab leaders, which contradicts the Palestinian leadership's charge that the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who left in 1948 were expelled by Israel.
"They [Arab leaders] said: 'A week, two weeks, approximately, and you'll return to Palestine,'" said Sadek Mufid.
Sadek Mufid, who left Dir Al-Qasi (Acre region) in 1948, was interviewed on PA TV's weekly program entitled Returning. Each program focuses on a different refugee camp.
The following is from the text of the interview with the refugee Sadek Mufid:
"We headed first from Dir al-Qasi [northern Israel] to Rmaich [Lebanon], considering what they (Arab leaders) said at the time: 'By Allah, in a week or two, you will return to Palestine.' The Arab armies entered Palestine, along with the Arab Liberation Army. We left - we and those who fled with us - and we all headed for Lebanon. Some people came to Rmaich and others came to the villages on the border, such as Ein Ibl and also to Bint Jbeil. People scattered. And we have about 11 or 15 [refugee] camps in Lebanon."
[PA TV (Fatah), Feb. 9 and Feb. 12, 2010]
To view PMW's earlier bulletin citing Palestinians blaming the Arab leadership for the refugee problem, click here.
To view statements on Arab leadership's responsibility for the refugee problem on PMW's website, click here.