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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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The Palestinian Refugees – Reality Test


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The actual number of the 1948/9 Palestinian refugees was 320,000,

The actual number of the 1948/9 Palestinian refugees was 320,000,



According to the British Survey of Palestine, Volume I – cited by Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, Samuel Katz, Bantam Books, 1973, pp. 22-23) – in 1947, there were 561,000 Arabs in the area which became Israel. At the end of the war, 140,000 Arabs were in Israel; thus, there could not have been more than 420,000 displaced Arabs. “At the end of May 1948, Faris el Khoury, Syria’s representative on the UN Security Council, estimated their number at 250,000…. Emil Ghoury, Secretary of the Arab Higher Committee – the leadership of the Arabs in British Mandate Palestine – announced on September 6, 1948, that by the middle of June, the number of Arabs who had fled was 200,000, and by July 17 their number had risen to 300,000…. Count Bernadotte, the UN Special Representative in Palestine, estimated the number of Arab refugees at 360,000, including 50,000 in Israeli territory…”  The Chicago Tribune’s  E.R. Noderer reported on May 10, 1948, that 150,000 Arabs were estimated to have left the areas of Palestine assigned to the Jews in the partition plan.”

Misinformation and disinformation have dominated the diplomatic discourse on the Palestinian issue, misleading Western policy-makers and public opinion molders, thus radicalizing Arab expectations and demands, fueling terrorism and minimizing the prospects of peace.

Yoram Ettinger

About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.


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