June 8, 1951 Palestinian Refugees

“As soon as the British had publicly announced the time for their relinquishment of the mandate and their withdrawal from Palestine, the Arab League began holding meetings and calling conferences, and its general secretary, Abdul-Rahman Azzam Pasha, published numerous reports and declarations in which he assured the Arab peoples and all others that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel-Aviv (the virtual Jewish capital) would be as simple as a military promenade for the Arab armies.  Azzam Pasha’s statements pointed out that armies were already on the frontiers and that all the millions that the Jews had spent on land and on economic development would surely be easy booty for the Arabs, since it would be a simple matter to throw the Jews to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

“As the time for the British withdrawal grew nearer, the zeal of the Arab League was redoubled.  Meetings and conferences took place almost daily and burning calls and appeals were issued.  Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine, urging them to leave their land, homes and property and to stay temporarily in neighboring, brotherly states, lest the guns of the invading Arab armies mow them down.

“The Palestinian Arabs had no chance but to obey the ‘advice’ of the League and to believe what Azzam Pasha and other responsible men in the League told them – that their withdrawal from their lands and their country was only temporary and would end in a few days with the successful termination of the Arab ‘punishment’ action against Israel.

“But victory was not to be the result of this ‘punishment’ action.  Victory is not produced by speeches, reports, and declarations.  Victory is produced by cannons, airplanes, and tanks.  The threats of the Arab League evaporated in the face of the preparedness, good command and superior generalship of the Zionist ‘gangs.’  We saw the ‘military promenade’ become a crushing catastrophe that shattered the prestige of the League and its member states and exposed their inner weakness and deterioration.

“Azzam Pasha and the other responsible Arab leaders now try to excuse the defeat of the Arabs on the ground that their forces were inadequately armed, organized and trained.  In the light of this, we should like to ask Azzam Pasha and his colleagues a simple question: ‘If the Arab armies lacked sufficient arms, organization and training, why did you throw them into a savage war against an enemy who had everything that modern wars require – equipment, good training, unity of command, expert officers who know the arts of war and who had participated in two World Wars?  And why did you jeopardize the lives of a million Palestine Arabs and make them wander from their homes?  Since, as you say, the Arab armies were not adequately prepared for victory, did not he flight of the Arabs, urged by you, amount to the facilitation of Zionist victory?”