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</table> The 1949-1956 Palestinian exodus was the continuation of the 1948 1949 exodus of Palestinian Arabs from Israeli controlled territory after the signing of the Cease fire agreements. This period of the Exodus was characterised predominantly by forced expulsion during the consolidation of the state of Israel and ever increasing tension along the cease fire lines ultimately leading to the Suez crisis.
Between 1949 and 1950, according to historian Benny Morris, Israel displaced and expelled between 30,000 to 40,000 Palestinians and Bedouin. Many villages along the cease fire lines and the Lebanon border area were also levelled, many emptied villages were resettled by new Jewish immigrants and demobilised Israeli military forces.
Israel argued this was motivated by security considerations linked with the situation at the borders. During the consolidation period Israel was more intent on gaining control of the demilitarised zones on the Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian fronts than on her image abroad.
"We have begun the operation of cleansing, removing the rubble and preparing the villages for cultivation and settlement. Some of these will become parks"
Immediately after the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel started on a process of nation building with the first general elections held on 25 January 1949. Chaim Weizmann was installed as Israel's first President and Ben-Gurion as head of the Mapai party attained the position he had held in the provisional Government of Israel that of Prime minister of Israel. Ben-Gurion emphatically rejected the return of refugees in the Israeli Cabinet decision of June 1948 reiterated in a letter to the UN of 2 August 1949 containing the Text of a statement made by Moshe Sharett on 1 August 1948 where the basic attitude of the Israeli Government was that a solution must be sought, not through the return of the refugees to Israel, but through the resettlement of the Palestinian Arab refugee population in other states.
The Israeli government was of the view that the Armistice agreements gave them 3 indisputable rights:
The Arab nations conversely also saw the General Armistice Agreements as conferring 3 rights:
Israeli security was thought of on two levels general security and daily security. The general security covered the threat of invasion while daily security was to secure Israeli territory from infiltration. This was achieved by three processes. The transfer of Israeli Arabs away from the cease fire lines to urban areas of concentration such as Jaffa and Haifa; the resettlement of the areas cleared, mainly by mizrahim (oriental Jews) in moshavim along the cease fire lines; and operating a free fire policy.
Once the fighting phase of the 1948 Arab Israeli war had ceased with a truce, the Israeli bureaucracy was faced with the overwhelming task of ruling effectively over dozens of severely disrupted Israeli Arab villages and towns, where thousands of displaced Palestinians had taken refuge. Since the Israeli state did not trust its Israeli Arab citizens seeing them as a potential 5th Column, it placed this entire population under a tight military regime supervised by the Central Committee for Arab Affairs. Established in 1954, the committee had representatives from the police and the domestic intelligence agency, Shabak, as well as the prime minister’s consultant for Arab affairs and the commander-in-chief of military rule. In concert, the committee presided over three regional sub-committees (south, center and north), which dealt with the daily business of governance.
The Registration of Residents ordinance of 1949 left those unregistered Palestinian Arabs without legal status and vulnerable to deportation. The abandoned Property law of 1950; where the moveable and immovable property belonging to the refugees was effectively appropriated by the state of Israel applied not just to Palestinian refugees who had left Israeli territory but also to Palestinian Arabs who had remained in Israel but who had left their ordinary place of residence. One quarter of the Arab citizens of Israel are "internal refugees," who until 1948 resided in villages that were destroyed in the war.
The estimates for 1949 to 1956 was that 90% of all infiltration was motivated by social and economic concerns. It was naturally difficult to prevent refugees who were living on a bare subsistence level, from crossing lines beyond which they hope to find fodder for their hungry sheep, or for scarce fuel. Additionally there occurred occasional nightly clandestine smuggling between Gaza and Hebron. The smuggling was largely motivated by the great discrepancy of prices prevailing in the two areas. Most of these complaints in 1950 concerned the shooting by Israelis of refugee civilians and livestock, said to have illegally crossed the demarcation lines. In the most serious case of this kind, Egypt complained that Israeli military Forces, on the 7 and 14 October 1950, had shelled and machine-gunned the Arab villages of Abassan and Beit Hanoun in Egyptian controlled territory of the Gaza strip. This action caused the death of seven and the wounding of twenty civilians. Israel on the other hand complained of infiltration incidents which had resulted in the death of four Israeli settlers and the wounding of twenty others.
The pejorative term infiltrator was also applied to refugee non-residents who had not left Israel as in the case in Nazareth. On the 21 November 1949 the Arab member of the Knesset Mr. Amin Jarjura (Mapai) asked in the Knesset permission for the refugees (6,000) of Nazareth to be allowed to return to their surrounding villages; at the same time the IDF were conducting a sweep through the city of Nazareth rounding up non-residents who the Palestine Post then termed infiltrators.
Arab Countries anti-infiltration policies
The Israeli Government position was that the Arab countries were aiding and abetting the infiltrators in an extension of the Arab Israeli conflict by using the infiltrators as guerillas. This was grossly inaccurate.
The problem of establishing and guarding the demarcation line separating the Gaza Strip from the Israeli-held Negev area, proved a vexing one: largely due to the presence of more than 200,000 Palestinian Arab refugees in this Gaza area. The terms of the Armistice Agreement restricted Egypt’s use and deployment of regular armed forces in the Gaza strip. In keeping with this restriction the Egyptian Government’s answer was to form a Palestinian para-military police force. The Palestinian Border police was created in December 1952. The Border police were placed under the command of ‘Abd-al-Man’imi ‘Abd-al-Ra’uf, a former Egyptian air brigade commander, member of the Muslim Brotherhood and member of the Revolutionary Council. 250 Palestinian volunteers started training in March 1953 with further volunteers coming forward for training in May and December 1953. Part of the Border police personnel were attached to the Military Governor’s office and placed under ‘Abd-al-‘Azim al-Saharti to guard public installations in the Gaza strip.
On the Egyptian cease fire line and DMZ to try to avoid future incidents caused by infiltration the Mixed Armistice Commission finally decided that a system of mixed border patrols comprising officers and enlisted men from each side would decrease tension and lessen infiltration. Initially The mixed patrols along the Egyptian demarcation line worked satisfactorily. The Egyptian Authorities maintained a policy of "incarcerating" the inhabitants of the Gaza strip until 1955.
Free fire policy
A free fire policy was adopted by the IDF. The policy included patrols, ambushes, laying mines, setting booby traps and carrying out periodic search operations in Israeli Arab villages. The "free fire" policy in the period of 1949 to 1956 has been estimated to account for 2,700 to 5,000 Palestinian Arab deaths. During anti-infiltration operations the Israeli forces sometimes committed atrocities with reports of gang rape, murder and the dumping of 120 suspected infiltrators in the Avara desert without water.
Additionally the IDF carried out operations, mainly, in Jordanian held territory and Egyptian held territory. The early reprisal raids failed to achieve their objectives and managed to increase hatred for Israel amongst the Arab countries and the refugees. The disruptive and destabilising nature of the raids put the western plans for the defence of the Middle East in jeopardy, the western powers then applied pressure on Israeli to desist.
Continued displacement and dispossession
From November 1948 through to the summer of 1949 and the signing of the General Armistice Agreements a further 87 villages were occupied; 36 being emptied by force.
From the statistics taken from the official records of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan/Israel Mixed Armistice Commission for the period of June 1949 through December 1952 it is found that Jordan complained of 37 instances of expulsion of Arabs from Israel. For the period 1 January 1953 through to 15 October 1953 it is found that Jordan complained of 7 instances of expulsion of Arabs from Israel involving 41 people.
During Operation Hiram in the upper Galilee, Israeli military commanders received the order: 'Do all you can to immediately and quickly purge the conquered territories of all hostile elements in accordance with the orders issued. The residents should be helped to leave the areas that have been conquered'. (31 October 1948, Moshe Carmel) The UN's acting Mediator, Ralph Bunche, reported that United Nations Observers had recorded extensive looting of villages in Galilee by Israeli forces, which carried away goats, sheep and mules. This looting, United Nations Observers report, appeared to have been systematic as army trucks were used for transportation. The situation, states the report, created a new influx of refugees into Lebanon. Israeli forces, he stated, have occupied the area in Galilee formerly occupied by Kaukji's forces, and have crossed the Lebanese frontier. Bunche goes on to say "that Israeli forces now hold positions inside the south-east corner of Lebanon, involving some fifteen Lebanese villages which are occupied by small Israeli detachments".
An example of the use to which "rumours" were put is given where Glazer comments on the use of psychological warfare against civilians and quotes Nafez Nazzal's description of the Galilee exodus:-
The villages of Ghuweir Abu Shusha were persuaded by neighbouring Jewish Mukhtars to leave to Syria...The villagers heard how ruthless and cruel the Jews were to the people of Deir Yassin and the nearby village of Nasr ed Din. They [the villagers] were not prepared to withstand the Jewish attack and decided to accept their neighbours advice and leave.
The long battle had weaken our forces and before us stood great duties of blocking the routes of invasion. We therefore looked for means which did not force us into employing force, in order to cause the tens of thousands of sulky Arab who remained in the Galilee to flee, for in case of an Arab invasion they were likely to strike us in the rear.
The villages of al Mansura, Tarbikah, Iqrit and Kafr Bir'im in Galilee were entered by IDF forces during late October early November, 1948 after Operation Hiram. The villages being located in an area, 5km deep parallel to the Israel Lebanon border, were to be evacuated of their Palestinian Arab population. The Israeli forces wanted, for security reasons, the villages populated primarily by Jews. On 13 November 1948 the inhabitants of Kafr Bir'im were requested to evacuated by the IDF "temporarily" in expectation of an Arab counter-attack. Emmanuel Friedman an intelligence officer of the 7th Brigade explained the evacuation orders to the villagers, the order having been issued by Bechor Sheetrit. The villagers of Kafr Bir'im initially sought protection in a near by cave. The then Minister of Police Bechor Sheetrit on seeing the elderly, women and children living in the cave suggested that the villagers move to the town of Jish, where there were 400 abandoned houses, further south "until the military operations are over". Approximately 700 of the Kafr Bir'em villagers found accommodation within Israel, the remaining 250 were encouraged to cross into Lebanon. Archbishop Elias Chacour originally a resident of Iqrit relates in his autobiography how IDF in the spring of 1949 rounded up all the men and older boys in the village (including his own father and three eldest brothers), and trucked them to the border with Jordan. There they were let out and ordered to go to Jordan. The soldiers opened fire, aiming just above their heads, meaning to drive them from their homeland for good. However, Chacour's father and brothers managed to make it back three months later. The operation to achieve a Palestinian Arab free Israel/Lebanon border zone came to an end on 15 16 November leaving Fassuta (Christians), Jish (Maronites), Rihaniya (Circassians), Mi'ilya (Christians) and Jurdiye (Muslims) within the 5-7km zone.
The first legal action against the state of Israel was brought in 1951 by 5 men of Iqrit with Muhammad Nimr al-Hawari acting as their lawyer. On 31 July 1951 the Israeli courts recognised the rights of the villagers to their land and their right to return to it. The court said the land was not abandoned and therefore could not be placed under the custodian of enemy property.
In 1953 the (by now former) inhabitants of Kafr Bir'im pleaded to the Supreme Court of Israel to allow them to return to their village. Early in September 1953 the Supreme Court decided that the authorities had to answer to why the inhabitants were not allowed to return home. The result was devastating: on 16 September 1953 the Israeli air force and army in a joint operation bombed the village until it was completely destroyed. At the same time it was announced that 1,170 hectares of land belonging to the village had been expropriated by the state. (Ref. given by Sabri Jiryis: "Kouetz 307 (27. Aug. 1953): 1419")
On 16 January 1949 an attempt to move the remaining Palestinian Arab inhabitants of Tarshiha to the neighbouring towns of Mi'ilya and Majd al Kurum was prevented by UN and Christian clerical intercession. Pressure from Kibbutz and the Military in the Galilee panhandle mounted to remove the Palestinian inhabitants of the area. On 5/6 June the inhabitants of Khisas and Qeitiya were forced into trucks and dumped near 'Akbara just south Safad.
In March 1949 as the Iraqi forces withdrew from Palestine and handed over their positions to the smaller Jordanian legion, 3 Israeli brigades manoeuvred into threatening positions in Operation Shin-Tav-Shin in a form of coercive diplomacy. The operation allowed Israel to renegotiate the cease fire line in the Wadi Ara area of the Northern West Bank in a secret agreement reached on 23 March 1949 and incorporated into the General Armistice Agreement. The green line was then redrawn in blue ink on the southern map to give the impression that a movement in the green line had been made. However, this replacement involved a considerable change of the lines, a change which could not be carried out without inflicting serious hardships upon the population and the affected areas. It was inevitable that thousands of people, in the course of this redrawing of demarcation lines, were cut off from the fields that were their livelihood, cut off from their only resources of water and from the meager pastures on which they used to graze their cattle. It has been estimated that 15 villages were ceded to Israel and a further 15,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees.
During the Lausanne Peace Conference The US consul, William Burdett, reported on a meeting of the Jordan/Israel Armistice Commission which dealt with a case where 1,000 (UN estimates 1,500) Palestinian Arab inhabitants of Baqa al-Gharbiyye had been expelled and forced across the cease fire line. The Mixed Armistice Commission decided, by majority vote, that Israel had violated the General Armistice Agreement by driving the civilians across the demarcation line into the territory of the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom.
In January/February 1949 approximately 700 people from Kfar Yassif were expelled across the Jordanian/Israeli cease fire line as they had moved into Kfar Yassif from the surrounding villages during the period of fighting in 1948.
On 17 August 1950 the remaining Palestinian Arab population of Majdal were served with an expulsion order (The Palestinians had been held in a confined area since 1948) and the first group of them were taken on trucks to the Gaza Strip. Majdal was then renamed Ashkelon by the Israelis in an on going process of de-Arabisation of the topography as described by Meron Benvenisti. Egypt accepted the expelled civilian Palestinian Arabs from Majdal on humanitarian grounds as they would otherwise have been exposed to "torture and death". That however did not mean their voluntary movement. Furthermore, testimony of the expelled Arabs and reports of the Mixed Armistice Commission clearly showed that the refugees had been forcibly expelled.
Ilan Pappé reports that the last gun-point expulsion occurred in 1953 where the residents of Umm al-Faraj were driven out and the village destroyed by the IDF. "
The expulsion at Wadi Fukin led to a change in the Green line where an exchange of fertile land in the Bethlehem area to Israeli control and the village of Wadi Fukin being given to Jordanian control. On 15 July when the Israeli Army expelled the population of Wadi Fukin after the village had been transferred to the Israeli-occupied area under the terms of the Armistice Agreement concluded between Israel and the Jordan Kingdom. The Mixed Armistice Commission decided on 31 August, by a majority vote, that Israel had violated the Armistice Agreement by expelling villagers of Wadi Fukin across the demarcation line and decided that the villagers should be allowed to return to their homes. However, when the villagers returned to Wadi Fukin under the supervision of the United Nations observers on 6 September, they found most of their houses destroyed and were again compelled by the Israeli Army to return to Jordanian controlled territory. The United Nations Chairman of the Mixed Commission, Colonel Garrison B. Coverdale (US), pressed for a solution of this issue to be found in the Mixed Armistice Commission, in an amicable and UN spirit. After some hesitation, an adjustment in the Green Line was accepted and finally an agreement was reached whereby the Armistice line was changed to give back Wadi Fukin to the Jordanian authority who, in turn, agreed to transfer some uninhabited, but fertile territory south of Bethlehem to the Israeli authority.
Israeli forces attacked Jalbun village, with small arms, on the 5 December 1949, they then expelled the inhabitants from their village causing fatal casualties amongst the villagers. The Jordanian government strongly protested against unwarranted Israeli action and call on UN secretary General to notify the security council to take prompt and strict measures to return expelled Palestinians to their village, to hand back their looted belongings, and to compensate the villagers for all losses and damages.
In the lake Huleh area, during 1951, Israel initiated a project to drain the marsh land to bring 15,000 acres (61 km2) into cultivation. The project caused a conflict of interests between the Palestinian Arab villages in the area, consequently 800 inhabitants of the villages were forcibly evacuated from the DMZ.
In 1954 Israel "evacuated" the Palestinian villages of Baqqara and Ghannama in the central sector of the Israel/Syria demilitarized zone the Chief of Staff of the UNTSO made a report in January 1955 to the United Nations where it was decided that:-
30 October 1956 When Israel attacked Egypt across the Sinai peninsula in co-ordination with an Anglo-French attack on Suez. The remainder of the Palestinians living in the DMZs were driven into Syria. The villages of Baqqara and Ghannama now lie as rubble and are empty.
On 7 November 1949, Israeli forces expelled two thousand men, women, children from Beersheba area into the Jordanian controlled sector. Before the Palestinian Arabs were expelled they were severely maltreated, their homes destroyed, their cattle, sheep, belongings looted.
20 August 1950 Israeli authorities expelled into Egyptian territory all the Bedouin living in the demilitarized zone of El Auja in Palestine. United Nations observers "found" that thirteen Arabs including women and children had died during the exodus and bodies of several more had been found crushed by armoured vehicles. By 3 September, the number of expelled Arabs had reached 4,071. These Arabs were genuine Palestinians most of them had lived in the Beersheba area of Palestine during the period of the British Mandate. Driven from their homes for the first time when the Israeli forces had occupied Beersheba. The Bedouin had gone to settle in El Auja area and had been living there for more than two years. The Bedouin made representation to return to el-Auja under United Nations protection.
es-Sani are returned to Israel
From the signing of the General Armistice Agreements in 1949, Jordan and Egypt had complained on many occasions that Israel had been reducing the Arab population of the Negeb by driving Bedouins and even Arab villagers across the cease fire lines into the Egyptian Sinai and the Jordanian held West Bank. Israel had been condemned by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in some instances but had taken no steps to allow the return of the Arabs. On 17 September 1952, the senior Jordan Military Delegate to the Mixed Armistice Commission, Major Itzaq, inform the MAC that the Israelis had expelled ten families of the es-Sani tribe and that they were now situated inside the Jordan border south of Hebron. On 22 September Commander Hutchison USNR of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan/Israel Mixed Armistice Commission (HKJMAC) went into the area and counted over 100 families, nearly 1,000 members of the es-Sani tribe. Sheikh El Hajj Ibrahim informed the MAC that the es-Sani had been forced off their cultivated lands southeast of Beersheba, at El Sharia, to El Laqiya, north-east of Beersheba. On the new area at El Laqiya, for the next three years the es-Sani had made it productive to the extent that Israel then declared a quantity of their grain as surplus crop and demanded that it be sold to the Israeli government at a fixed price. The Military Governor of Beersheba, Lt. Colonel Hermann, informed Sheikh El Hajj Ibrahim that Israel was going to establish a settlement at El Laqiya and that his tribe would have to move to Tel Arad. Sheikh El Hajj Ibrahim had then led the es-Sani over the Jordan/Israel cease fire land rather that move to the inferior land around Tel Arad.
The Sheikh's story of the court action was true. On 28 September 1952, under the heading, * 'Bedouin Tribe Moved/' the Israel press announced that "Tribesmen of the Kiderat El Sana Teljaha tribe were last week moved from their former homes at El Laqiya, east of the Beersheba-Hebron road, to a new site at Tel Arad. ... On 15 September, the High Court in Jerusalem issued an order 'nisi* against the Military Governor and the Ministry of Defence against the enforced move of the tribe."
After negotiations lasting days it was arranged for the es-Sani to return to Israel; although the Israelis wanted the es-Sani transported inside Jordan to a point opposite and closer to Tel Arad which the Jordanians refused to do this and it was finally settled that the transfer would be made at the original point of crossing, on the Hebron-Beersheba road.
The Jewish National Fund under Yosef Weitz actively encouraged Palestinian Arab emigration. In the village of Ar'ara 2,500 dunums (625 acres) were purchased. The Purchase price was paid in Jordanian currency the Palestinian Arabs were then transported to the cease fire line with their luggage and from there transported to Tulkarem.
Israeli internal displacement
In 1953 the villages of Raml Zayta who had been transported from near the city Hadera in April 1949 were again transferred when a Kibbutz moved to Zayta and took over the Israeli Arab village land.