Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and United States History at the University of New South Wales-Australia, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of Modern Middle East, Medieval Europe and Judaic Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 book A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, offered the following:
"Israelis long contended that during the Israeli War of Independence the Palestinian Arabs abandoned their homes and villages of their own free will. Not only that, they did so at the urging of the Arab leadership, who, the argument goes, told the Palestinians to leave until the Jewish state was destroyed and then they could return. The evidence, however, is inconclusive. According to some sources, the Arab League and the mufti ordered the Palestinians to remain where they were.
Israeli revisionist historians now maintain that as part of the campaign to evacuate Arabs from the Jewish state, the [Jewish] Haganah deliberately destroyed Arab houses and villages, broadcast false stories in Arabic of the spread of cholera and typhus epidemics, and urged the population to escape the bloodbath while there was still time. On the other hand, some [Israeli] efforts were made to reassure the Arabs, and in some instances Arabs were encouraged by the Jews to stay put, but by the first truce in mid-June 1948, over 250,000 Palestinians had fled, and this exodus had reached 300,000 by July . Arab Palestinians fled in some cases of their own free will, in some cases through fear; in other cases they were expelled.
There were several additional reasons for the Arab exodus. Among the more important was the damage done to the Palestinian political and economic infrastructure by the British during their suppression of the Arab revolt of 1936-1939. Thus, Palestinian leadership was absent just at the time when it was needed most. Further collapse occurred during 1947-1949, as many of the local mayors, judges, communal and religious officials fled."
Mahmoud Abbas, PhD, Palestinian President, in the Mar. 1976 issue of Falastine a-Thaura -- the then official journal of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Beirut, stated:
"The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect
the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but, instead, they
abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their
homeland, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in
which the Jews used to live."
The Palestine Ministry of Information website (accessed Feb. 5, 2004) contained the following:
"During the war of 1948, some eight hundred thousand of the
approximately nine hundred thousand Palestinians who originally resided
in the area that became Israel, were forced to leave their homes to
seek refuge in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon,
Egypt and further afield."
Nuri Said, Former Prime Minister of Iraq, in 1947, as quoted in Nimr el Hawari's 1955 book, Sir Am Nakbah (The Secret Behind the Disaster), allegedly encouraged Arabs to flee to safety before an Arab attack against the Jews:
"The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down."
Dominique Vidal, French journalist and political commentator, in an article entitled "Ten Years of Research Into the 1947-49 War," published in Dec. 1997 by the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, wrote:
agree that the flight of thousands of well-to-do Palestinians
during the first few weeks following the adoption of the UN
partition plan - particularly from Haifa and Jaffa - was
David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, presented the Israeli official "Arab Orders" argument on Oct. 11, 1961 in the Knesset. Quoted by Ilan Pappe in The Palestinian Exodus, 1948-1998, the argument was as follows:
exit from Palestine...began immediately after the UN
Resolution, from the areas earmarked for the Jewish state.
And we have explicit documents testifying that they left
Palestine following instructions by the Arab leaders, with
the Mufti at their head, under the assumption that the
invasion of the Arab armies at the expiration of the Mandate
will destroy the Jewish state and push all the Jews into the
sea, dead or alive."
Moshe Shertok (Sharett), Israel's former Foreign Minister, in a July 30, 1948 letter to the United Nations, wrote:
"The Arab mass
flight from Israel and Israel-occupied territory is the
direct effect of Arab aggression from outside...The plain
fact, however, is that but for the intervention of the Arab
states, ther would have been an overwhelming measure of
local Arab acquiescence in the establishment of the state of
Israel, and by now, peace and reasonable prosperity would
have reigned throughout the territory to the enjoyment of
Jews and Arabs alike."