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Historically important
Arab responsibility for refugees
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Historically important
Confusion about Israel-Arab affairs is often the result of incomplete or false historical information. This section clarifies some of the pressing questions of Israeli-Arab history by showing actual events, eye witness accounts, and other documentation of historical significance.
Arab responsibility for refugees
In recent years known Palestinian leaders, writers and refugees themselves, are speaking out and candidly blaming the Arab leadership for the creation of the refugee problem. According to these Palestinian accounts the massive departure of Arabs from Israel was willful, the result of orders by the Arab leadership. This contradicts the Palestinian charge that the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who ran in 1948 were expelled by Israel.

In this interview, an elderly Arab resident of a refugee camp, recounts the reason his family left Israel during the war and became refugees:

"This picture was taken a week before we left Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem] in June 1948, in front of our house. The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: "Get away from the battle lines. It's a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we'll bring you back to Ein-Kerem." And we said to ourselves, "That's a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That's a lot!" That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by." [PATV, July 7, 2009]
 
Another aspect of Arab refugee history is that the PA intentionally restricts the rights of refugee camp residents, both political and humanitarian rights, in order to prevent their natural absorption into society.

The following are more examples clarifying this important period of history:
Refugee: Arab regimes told us to leave 
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), July 7, 2009
Arab resident of a refugee camp recounting the reason his family left Israel during the war and became refugees:
     "This picture was taken a week before we left Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem] in June 1948, in front of our house. The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: "Get away from the battle lines. It's a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we'll bring you back to Ein-Kerem." And we said to ourselves, "That's a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That's a lot!" That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by." [PATV, July 7, 2009]
Refugees told: leave so we can destroy Israel 
Source: Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008
Jawad Al Bashiti, Palestinian journalist in Jordan:
     “The reasons for the Palestinian Catastrophe [establishment of Israel and the refugee problem] are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing our catastrophes today... The first war between Arabs and Israel had started and the "Arab Salvation Army" told the Palestinians: 'We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely. Leave them so we can fulfill our mission (liquidate Israel) in the best way and so you won't be hurt.' It became clear already then, when it was too late, that the support of the Arab states (against Israel) was a big illusion.”
Refugees left homes because of Arab promises 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), Dec. 13, 2006
Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Palestinian Journalist:
"The leaders and the elites promised us [refugees] at the beginning of the "Catastrophe" in 1948, that the duration of the exile will not be long, and that it will not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees will return to their homes, which most of them did not leave until they put their trust in those Arkuvian* [worthless] promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events.."
[*Term "Arkuvian," is after Arkuv - a figure from Arab tradition - who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies."]
Refugee: Arab leaders told us to leave 
Source: Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006
Refugee who fled Israel in 1948, Asmaa Jabir Balasimah:
“We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the "Catastrophe" [1948]. They [Arab leaders] told us: 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 [who fled Israel] those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flock [of sheep] and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours."
PA denies camp residents housing rights and democracy 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), June 29, 2004
Refugee camp residents not permitted to integrate into better housing or vote in elections, in order to preserve their “unique status”
     “The Supreme National Committee for the Protection of the Right of Return, announced yesterday that it opposes the participation of the refugee camps in the local elections that are expected to take place in the Palestinian territories. The committee justified its objection as protecting the unique status of the refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank, considering them testimony to the crime that the occupation state made against our nation for 56 years. The committee warned of the dangers of integrating the refugee camps into the urban housing units.”
Palestinian writer blames Arab leaders for refugees 
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), Mar. 19, 2001
Palestinian Authority columnist:
"I have received a[n imaginary] letter from a Palestinian prisoner in Acre [Israeli] prison, to the Arab summit leaders:
'To the [Arab] Kings and Presidents: Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you 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 the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians.'"
Arab MK curses leaders who told Arabs to leave Israel 
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), Apr. 30, 1999
PA TV: Question by refugee’s son to Arab Muslim leader, Ibrahim Sarsur
Son of refugee: "Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]: I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the "Catastrophe" [in 1948], our District Officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor."
Ibrahim Sarsur, then Head of Islamic Movement in Israel, now MK:
"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."

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