Ernest Bevin“In an open letter to the Jerusalem Post, the lawyer Elias Kussa, a Haifa Arab Leader, revealed the hypocrisy of Bevin in trying to brush off all responsibility for the flight of the Arabs and blame it all on the Jews:

Although the Israel military forces destroyed certain Arab villages and carried out the wholesale transportation of the occupants, yet the primary responsibility for the panicky flight of the Arabs is the British Government’s.  Whether intended or not, there can be no doubt that the mischief originated from the conduct of the British, and not from the attitude of the Israel Government.

There is ample evidence for this statement. The sequence of occurrences showed that the British Government had no intention or desire to enforce the law and order and that the Palestine administration was laboring to create an atmosphere permeated with fear and alarm…. They allowed a large force of armed Arabs to infiltrate into the country and roam about with impunity.  Palestine was virtually converted into two antagonistic armed camps under the eyes and nose of the Mandatory Power.  Huge quantities of arms and ammunition were openly smuggled in and recruiting and drilling of combatants became commonplace events.  The Authorities tacitly encouraged the inhabitants to carry fire-arms, and to set up barricades and fortifications in towns, villages and settlements….

The idea that the Arabs should quit their homes was advanced, sponsored and propagated by the British.  The Government of Palestine granted its officers three months pay in advance and facilitated the departure on leave of Arab officers to adjacent territories.  British Companies such as the Iraq Petroleum and Steel Brothers & Co. unnecessarily transferred a large part of their offices and the majority of their Arab employees to the Lebanon.  And generally, the attitude of the responsible British authorities was such as to infuse in the minds and hearts of the Arab population a feeling of consternation and the belief that their departure was a logical necessity or, at least a prudent precaution.

Thirdly, it was the British and not the Jews who first put into effect the dislodgement and deportation of Arab population.  When conditions in Tiberias, where the friendly relations between Arabs and Jews formed a bright illustration of the possibility of cooperation, became acute, the British authorities  forcibly transported the Arab inhabitants en masse to Transjordan… they compelled the Arabs to abandon their homes and belongings and seek refuge in the contingent of Arab territory.

… had it not been for the transport facilities spontaneously and gratuitously offered to the Arabs, for the free advice and encouragement to quit made by British responsible and irresponsible officers.. the plight from which the Arabs now suffer would have been avoided.

When history comes to be written in an atmosphere of sober mindedness, the Arabs will realise that that much-trumpeted Anglo-Arab traditional friendship was a curse and not a blessing to them, at any rate as far as Palestine is concerned…”

Source: Israel and the Arab World