Written by Eli E. Hertz
Starting a civil war in 1947 after the Arabs rejected the United Nations Partition Plan, Palestinian Arabs became belligerents in the conflict. Rather than accept a Jewish state after five-and-a-half months of warfare, Palestinian Arabs called upon their brethren from seven surrounding countries to invade and crush the nascent Jewish state.
The Arab League's April 10, 1948 decision to invade on May 14 to "save Palestine,"as the British Mandate ended, marked a watershed event, for it changed the rules of the conflict. Accordingly,
The new Jewish state found it imperative to eliminate all potential pockets of Arab resistance in key areas if it was to survive. Dislodging all Arab inhabitants from sensitive areas in proximity to Jewish settlements, establishing territorial continuity between blocs under Jewish control, and ensuring control of key transportation arteries were a military necessity. As May 14 approached,
"The Arabs have taken into their own hands, the Final Solution of the Jewish problem. The problem will be solved only in blood and fire. The Jews will be driven out."
Three years after world Jewry had lost a third of its people in the Holocaust, Israelis were not about to test whether Al-Husayni's words were merely rhetoric or a real threat, and so they prepared for the worst.
The cost to
Objectively, the claim that Palestinian Arabs were innocent bystanders ignores the facts: The sides in the conflict were not two rival empires - outsiders, or rival caliphs. It was a conflict between two national or ethnic groups. Palestinian Arabs represented one side in the conflict - and in fact the side responsible for starting the war.
The Palestinians were respon
"One of the characteristics of the Palestinian national movement has been the Palestinians' view of themselves as perpetual victims of others: Ottoman Turks, British officials, Zionists, Americans - and never to appreciate that they are, at least in large part, victims of their own mistakes and iniquities."
The United Nations Charter, international law, humanitarian law, and conventions such as the 1949 Geneva Convention for the Protection of Victims of War make no mention of a "Right of Return." The claim of innocent refugee status does not apply.