My letter below was published in 1966 in the Long Island newspaper Newsday before the Six-Day War.
Arab Refugees: Political Pawns in the Mideast
1 – The so-called Arab refugees have never left Palestine. They are not camped on the doorsteps of Israel. They are caged in the own home by their Arab brothers.
When Palestine was formed out of the territories of the Turkish Empire, it included the present states of Israel and Jordan, and the Gaza Strip. The British handed the part of Palestine east of the Jordan River to Hussein’s Hashemite family who were exiled from Arabia. The Arab armies that tried to destroy Israel conquered he West Bank and East Jerusalem, which were annexed by Jordan in n1950, and the Gaza Strip, which was occupied by Egypt. It was the Arab rulers in Amman and Cairo, not the Jews, who kept their Arab brethren in refugee camps in Palestine so they could use them as political pawns in their plans to murder the Jews of Israel.
The part of Palestine that Is Israel has an area of 7,993 square miles and a population of 2,624,900, while the part of Palestine that is Jordan has an area of 37,737 square miles and a population of 2,040,000 (including the so-called Arab refugees). Although there are more Jews than Arabs in what was formerly Palestine, the Arabs hold five times as much Palestinian territory.
The 250,000 Arabs who chose to stay in Israel are Israeli citizen who enjoy higher standards of health and education and more political rights than any Arabs in the world.
2 – There are more Jewish refugees from the Arab lands than there are Arabs who chose to leave Israel in the Jordanian and Egyptian parts of Palestine. Under threat of death as demonstrated by the recent hangings in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Jews fled their homes in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and other Arab states during the past two decades since Israel’s rebirth. The Arabs confiscated Jewish property although the Jews have lived there for millennia. There was a flourishing Jewish community in Iraq centuries before Arabs settled there. The Jews who left with only the clothes on their backs were the lucky ones. The fate awaiting the minority of the Jews who now remain captive in Arab states seems grim.
How come Americans never hear about these Jewish refugees? Israel grants automatic citizenship to these fleeing Jews and resettles them in Israel. They stop being refugees the minute they set foot on the soil of Israel.
It is indeed unfortunate that the Arabs exploit their brethren. But it is not the fault of the Jews. The Arab leaders are able imitators of Hitler and all the anti-Semites that every generation of Jews has experienced for the past 2,000 years. The Arabs use the Jews as scapegoats with which to placate their masses’ frustrations over their lack of economic, social, educational and political progress.
Prof. Melvin L. Alexenberg, Dowling College