April 21, 2007

Arabs and erev rav Israelis plan to march against Israel on Yom HaAtzmaut

From INN: On the day most Israelis will be celebrating the 59th Yom Ha'atzmaut, Independence Day, some Arab and left-wing Jewish citizens will march against the foundation of the state.

The Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID) is planning to hold its tenth annual Procession of Return. The march, which last year drew hundreds of participants, is set to take place Tuesday, April 24, in the village of Al-Lajjun, adjacent to the northern Arab-Israeli city of Umm Al-Fahm. ADRID was established with the goal of returning Arabs to the houses and villages they or their families left during and after the 1948 War of Independence.

In the 2006 Procession of Return, Arab and left-wing marchers waved PLO flags and black flags "as a clear and decisive statement in the face of the Independence Day celebrations across other Jewish areas of the country," according to Ido Tzvieli, writing in the website of the Israel-based Jewish-Arab Zochrot organization. Zochrot, which will be taking part in the procession in Al-Lajjun, is dedicated to promoting the Arab view of the establishment of the State of Israel as a "day of catastrophe" (Al-Nakba).

Leading Middle East researchers, however, note statements on the issue made by Arab leaders and spokespeople during and after the War of Independence, indicating that Arabs in the land of Israel mostly fled due to Arab propaganda. The Arab leadership promoted libelous accusations against the Jews of Israel and warned Arab villagers to make way for conquering Arab armies.

For example, the New York-based Lebanese daily Al-Hoda wrote that in 1948, Arab League secretary Azzam Pasha "assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade.... Brotherly advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes and property, and to stay temporarily in neighbouring fraternal states."

Also during the War of Independence, hundreds of Jews were forced to abandon towns and communities that were conquered by Jordanian, Egyptian and other Arab forces, such as in Jerusalem, Gaza, Hevron and other parts of Judea and Samaria. The lands and homes abandoned by Jews were quickly taken over by Arab soldiers and civilians. In most cases, the properties taken over by Arabs have remained in their possession, even after the 1967 Six Day War, when Israeli forces returned to the areas in question. In addition, in the aftermath of the War of Independence, acts of official and unofficial retaliation against Jewish communities in Arab countries forced upwards of 700,000 Jews to flee their homes and emigrate to Israel and the West, in most cases leaving their possessions behind.