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HISTORY

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The most lasting and enduring fact of Palestine is that Palestinians have lived through the vicissitudes of history since time immemorial and remained a nation and a people. Palestinians who comprise of Muslims, Christians and people of other faiths and non faiths endured the forces of change and remained connected to their ancestral land until they were forcefully displaced by a colonial enterprise. Unlike the imperialist of the past the new Zionists settlers dispossessed them of their land turning them into refugees who further denied their right to self determination and national sovereignty.

 

In the imagination of the Zionist, the Jewish characteristic of Israel is the prime and postulate aim. Before any bullets were fired a plan to transfer the indigenous population had been forged in order to realise this Zionist dream. In light of the obstacles that faced them, principal Zionist leaders, strategized a massive exodus to clear the way through a number of para-military organizations that would sow fear and intimidate the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine to flee.

 

 

For the Palestinians, full realization of their Nakhba -catastrophe- came following the outbreak of 1947/48 Arab/Israeli war. Following Israeli aggression, terror tactics and intimidation many Palestinians were uprooted from the territories conquered by Israeli forces forced to abandon their homes and properties. Terrified by the advancing Israeli army entire communities left their village seeking refuge in other neighboring villages that had not been conquered, or in larger towns believing they would be safe from further Israeli aggression. But most of these villages and towns were taken and its inhabitants uprooted.

While some found refuge - up to 25, 000- within Israel to later become its unwilling citizens the vast majority -Just over 800,000- were driven out over the borders to other neighboring countries in order to prevent them from ever returning. Some eventually moved to countries further away but the majority was compelled to settle in camps in and around Palestine. With the cessation of violence most wished to return to their home, but contrary to international law, Israel barred their entry and compounded their misery as refugees, who now, in opposition to all moral and legal standards, have been denied, for over Sixty Years, the right of return to their ancestral homes and reclaim their property.

At the beginning of 2007 there were approximately 7 million Palestinian refugees and 450,000 internally displaced Palestinians, representing 70% of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (10.1 million).

A tragic feature of Palestinian refugees is the multiple forceful displacements that were experienced by some Palestinians. Many, after 1948, were displaced again in 1967 then again by Israel through its policy of house demolition and its Apartheid System.

CATEGORIES OF REFUGEES

There are five primary groups of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons. The largest group as mentioned above is comprised of those Palestinians expelled from their homes in 1948. This includes Palestinian refugees who receive international assistance from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), i.e., ‘registered refugees'; and Palestinian refugees not eligible for international assistance.

The Second major group of Palestinian refugees is comprised of those Palestinians displaced for the first time from their places of origin in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, referred to as 1967 displaced persons

The third group of refugees includes those Palestinian refugees who are neither 1948 or 1967 refugees and are outside the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 and are unable due to revocation of residency due to the Israeli Law of Return, denial of family reunification, deportation, etc., or unwilling to return there owing to a well-founded fear of persecution.

There are two further groups of internally displaced Palestinians. The first includes internally displaced Palestinians who remained in the area that became the state of Israel in 1948 but who was forced to abandon their home in 1948 and even till now have not been returned to their original homes and villages. The second group of internally displaced Palestinians includes Palestinians internally displaced in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip because of Israel's apartheid system and its policy of house demolition.

HISTORICAL MISCONCEPTIONS

There is a widespread misconception which lays the blame for the displacement of refugees on the Arabs who, according to the Israeli narrative, began the war of aggression in 1948 to wipe Israel out and in the process sent a radio broadcast to all the Palestinians to abandon their homes in order to begin their military onslaught. This fabrication was exposed by Erskine B. Childers, a British Journalist. As a guest of the Israeli Foreign Office, Mr Childers investigated the Israeli statement about the alleged broadcast ordering the evacuation, and could find no dates, names of stations or text messages. He even checked British and American monitoring units of all Middle Eastern broadcasts throughout 1948. ‘There was not' he concluded, ‘a single order or appeal or suggestion about evacuation from any Arab radio station inside or outside Palestine, in 1948. The Israelis also attempted to disclaim liability for the exodus of the Palestinians by alleging that the refugee problem was the result of the war, there is nothing further from the truth. The Palestinian refugee tragedy was the result of Zionist terrorism and intimidation.

There is now unequivocal evidence to show that the forceful expulsion began before the 1948 Arab Israeli war. Several Israeli historians - new historians - like Illan Pappe, have shown through uncovering official Israeli governments archives, that the plan to transfer Palestinians from what would become Israel was forged before that war and implemented with great efficiency. The creation of a Jewish State, the primary goal of the Zionists, required the forceful  transfer of Palestinians in its design in order to tackle the demographic imbalance, as Palestinians constituted nearly 70% of the population, and make Israel a state for Jews. Zionist Terrorist like the Irgun, committed savage massacres like Deir Yassin but also in milder forms by the Hagana terrorist group who forced Arabs to leave the areas the Jewish state wished to take over for strategic or demographic reasons. They tried to make as much of Israel as free of Arabs as possible.

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