In 1948, many Arab nations convinced Arabs living in Israel to leave. They propagated the false news that the Jews would exterminate them. History is proof that the Jews did not set out to murder the Arabs living in Israel. That false propaganda eventually led to the ongoing Palestinian refugee crisis. But many people do not know about the conveniently forgotten refugees from the same time period. In her significant work “From Time Immemorial,” Joan Peters wrote,
“For every refugee – adult or child – in Syria, Lebanon or elsewhere in the Arab world who compels our sympathy, there is a Jewish refugee who fled from the Arab country of his birth. For every Arab who moved to neighbouring lands, a Jew was forced to flee from a community where he and his ancestors may have lived for 2,000 years.”
In order to show retaliation against the rebirth of the Jewish nation in 1948, Muslim nations made life miserable for the Jews living in those nations. Those Jews lost their property, security, dignity, and basic human rights. They faced persecution and death. They were forced out from the lands of their birth. In 1948, there were more than 850,000 Jews living in the Arab world. Today in 2018, there are fewer than 29,000 Jews living in the Arab world. Where are those Jews now? What happened to their property and financial resources? Joan Peters wrote,
“The Arab world [was] virtually emptied of its Jews, and the fledgling Jewish state would bear the burden of its hundreds of thousands of Jewish Arab-born refugees almost in secret.”
The situation of those refugees are never mentioned in the Palestinian refugee debate. Few people even know their story. That may be because every single one of those refugees was accepted, resettled, and provided for by the struggling Jewish nation. And they receive it without question or hesitation. Joan Peters again wrote,
“When the question of the ‘Middle East refugees’ is raised, almost without exception the response is, ‘You mean the Palestinians – the Arabs, of course.’ It is as though the sad and painful story of the Arab-born Jewish refugees had been erased, their struggle covered over by a revision of the pages of history.”
In order to understand the true picture, one must look at a brief history of the modern Middle East. The brutal Ottoman Empire existing for almost seven centuries, collapsed at the end of World War I.
That is the time when the League of Nations entrusted Great Britain with the Mandate for Palestine (July 1922). Instead of giving the land to the Jews as they had promised, the British set aside 75% of the land for modern Jordan. That was the area east of the Jordan River. The remaining 25% of the land was designated for “Eretz Yisrael” (Land of Israel).
Israel was given all the land west of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Obviously, the land west of the Jordan River includes the West Bank. That area known to Jews as Judea and Samaria, was then part of Israel. Jordan eventually became an independent nation in 1946, Israel in 1948. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Jordan took the West Bank by force. During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel took it back. Somehow, the world thought that it was all right for Jordan to take the West Bank by force, but they saw it as a crime when Israel took it back. One should remember that the Six-Day War was forced on Israel. Israel fought that war to defend its very existence. The original “two-state solution” was to create the nation of Jordan for the Arabs, who did not want to live with the Jews in Israel, and “Eretz Yisrael” for the Jews. Somehow, that “two-state solution” has been lost to history, and the world does not even bother about it.