The Causes of Exodus from Palestine 1947-1949: Argumentative Essay

Since the occurrence of the Palestine exodus in 1948, contradictory explanations have remained pervasive in the historical debate on the main causes of the event. Historians and scholars alike have failed in many instances to agree on what really led to the massive exodus of about 700000 Arabs from Palestine. The Arab explanation is that the preplanned Jewish war and its resulting effects instigated the need for them to flee their homes. On the other hand, the Zionists argue that the exodus occurred after the UN announced the formation of two states. The official explanation of the Zionists is that Palestinian leaders ordered their troops to move away from the newly created Jewish state in order to embarrass the incoming government. Agreeing with the arguments of the Arabs, Benny Morris in his writing argues that the exodus of Palestinians was a product of the war. While the critics  focus on the inadequacy of historical data to label Morris’s claim as inaccurate, most of the records are now accessible for clarifications to be made (Avi and Rogan 39). According to Morris, further review of historical data, both from the civilians and the military, affirms that the war initiated by the Jews and the weak leadership of the Palestinians that failed to fight back contributed to the massive exodus of Palestine.

Morris argues that the war between the Arabs and the Jews was the major cause of the massive exodus witnessed after the war. According to him, the shooting and bombing witnessed during the war forced Palestine Arabs to seek refuge in the neighboring Muslim nations. Fears and the need to protect their lives further forced them out of the hostile places (Avi and Rogan 39). During the flight, massive destruction of properties and agricultural farms made the region uninhabitable for Palestinians. There were increasing cases of unemployment, inadequate supply of food, and a heightened level of poverty that forced people to move to other safer and habitable grounds. The emergence of the war and its resulting adverse effects thus forced Palestine Arabs to move to other safer Islamic nations.

Morris also claims that the weak Palestine leadership contributed to the massive exodus. According to him, the leaders of the country did not prepare adequately for the war, leading to most people becoming major targets of the Jews. The inability of the leaders to access sophisticated weapons led to them fleeing the region at the initial stages of the war due to the fear of being wiped out by the enemy (Avi and Rogan 38). In case a proper plan was in place to fight back, Palestine Arabs would have remained in their native land. If anything, the population of the Palestinians was higher than that of the Jews; as such, they would have performed better in the war if there were effective plants to subvert the enemy. The unpreparedness of the leadership led to a majority of Palestine Arabs seeking refuge out of their native land.

The argument and claims of Morris have been refuted by Zionists critics. According to them, the evidence provided by Morris fails to take into account the transfer thinking exhibited by the Jews prior to 1948. According to them, they had an idea of creating a Jewish state even before the war, and as such, the exodus observed was just the fulfillment of the idea. Most Zionist believed that the conflict and the resulting exodus of the Palestinians occurred as a result of the United Nations plan to separate the countries. The failure of the Palestinians to accept the verdict and their desire to shame the Jews led to their escape to other nations. According to the Zionists, the war with Palestine Arabs did not cause their escape. Rather, it was their failure to accept the partition resolutions made by the UN.

Morris, in refuting the argument made by the Zionists, asserts that the events of 1948 were not influenced by the assertions on transfer thinking. According to him, the desire by the Zionist to create a Jewish state was not communicated in the public domain and remained a secret until 1948 (Avi and Rogan 39). Most Zionist leaders have gone ahead to deny the assertion that they had considered a transfer in the earlier years. While it is true that the Zionist leaders had desired to convert Palestine into a Jewish state, achieving their desire was a daunting task. The region was marred with a high number of Palestinians who could not support such an undertaking. The population of the Jewish community was not even half that of the Palestine Arabs; as such, converting the country into a Jewish state was nearly impossible. Even with the many Jewish immigrants that trooped into Palestine, their number was still much lower than that of the native Arabs in Palestine (Avi and Rogan 39). Arguing that the Zionist had planned for a transfer and conversion of Palestine into a Jewish state is a fallacy that cannot be used in the justification of the exodus witnessed in 1948.

Further analysis of the Israeli records shows that there was no documented plan to remove the Arabs from Palestine before 1948. Claiming that the exodus was systematically unleashed during the war is incorrect because of the lack of an existing master plan. The decision to exorcise the Arabs was undertaken by the Israeli military without adhering to any predetermined policy. Moreover, the pronouncements to prevent any refugee from returning to Palestine by the Defense Committee justify the assertion that ejecting the Arabs was generally a decision of the military that was focused on creating a Jewish state (Avi and Rogan 49). The decision to expel the Arab Palestine emerged during the war and was not pre-planned as claimed by the Zionist.

Proponents of the Zionist claim have also used the minimal number of the Jewish community to argue that the war was not the leading cause of the exodus. According to them, with a population of less than half of the Palestinians, it was impossible for the Jewish community to win the war and drive the Palestine Arabs out of their country. However, as Avi and Rogan assert, the preparedness of the Zionists for the war enabled them to emerge victors irrespective of their lower population (49). The atrocity and expulsion strategy employed by the Jewish military guided by the Yishuv as the leader caused damage to the Arabs of Palestine. Most of the Arabs were targeted for expulsion from their towns, villages, and clusters. The readiness of the Jewish commanders and their willingness to expel the Palestinians led to their win in the war. Moreover, the massacre of the Arabs through burning by the Israelite military intensified the effects of the war on the Arabs, forcing them to seek refuge. Thus, the use of a sophisticated approach to destroy the Arabs contributed to the exodus experience among Palestine Arab who needed to seek safety.

While the Zionists and their proponents still believe that the Palestine exodus was not caused by the war between the Jews and the Palestine Arabs, Morris contends that the war and its aftermath forced the Arabs out of Palestine. Issues such as transfer of thinking have been refuted based on the account that the intention of the Zionists was not communicated publicly and that some of the leaders have refuted having engaged in such discussions. Moreover, it is reported that no policy or plan was in existence to justify the claim by the Zionists that they wanted to expel Arabs from Palestine. Further, the claim that the Israeli could have not succeeded in driving away the Arabs has also been discredited by the fact that they were more prepared and ready for the war. Based on the reasoning and the evidence provided by Morris, it can be deduced that the adverse impacts of the war on Palestine Arabs instigated the massive exodus reported in the 1948.

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