People who know nothing about the topic, still feel strangely confident trotting out this accusation. Indeed, it's becoming a veritable mantra among those who oppose Israel's right to exist. After all, they'll insist, she's 'illegal'.
The most peculiar thing about these 'facts' is that...... well, they're not anything of the sort. They are myths. History disproves them.
So, how about we do some mythbusting?
TRUTH: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A COUNTRY CALLED 'PALESTINE'
Yep, that's right. There was never, in the entire history of Planet Earth, a country called Palestine. It was a region.. Formerly, it was known as Judea; then the Romans conquered it, chucked the Jews out, and in a bid to sever the link between the Jews and the land, changed the name to PALESTINA. They named it after the Philistines, a sea-faring and somewhat warlike people that had already attacked the Jews more than once.
TRUTH: THE TERM 'PALESTINIANS' ORIGINALLY REFERRED TO THE JEWS, AS WELL AS THE ARABS
Again, people often take on trust that the 'native Palestinians' were the Arabs. Wrong. Jews are the native Palestinians. They were living in Jerusalem before Islam even existed. There has been a Jewish community in what was Palestine, for thousands of years. It was certainly NOT a case of the Jews just rocking up in '48 and demanding a state!
The term 'Palestinian' referred to the Jews, and also to the others living in the region; Arabs and Christians.
In 1854 a report in the New York Tribune reported that Jews made up two thirds of the population of Jerusalem.
A travel guide to Palestine and Syria, published in 1906 by Karl Baedeker, illustrates the fact that even when the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region, the Muslim population in Jerusalem was minimal. The book estimates that there were 7,000 Muslims, 13,000 Christians, and 40,000 Jews.
TRUTH: 82% OF THE REGION OF PALESTINE ALREADY BELONGED TO THE ARABS IN 1948
Absolutely correct. The British had the mandate on the region of Palestine. And they had already already given a whopping 82% to the Arabs - today we know it as JORDAN.
So that left 18%. And in 1947, the British in their wisdom declared they were going to divide this part between the Jews, and the Arabs. This, of course, was the Partition Plan. A tiny sliver went to the Jews - they accepted, and began celebrating. The rest went to the Arabs - they rejected it, and immediately declared war on the new Jewish state.
I'm sure you've picked up on the key point? Yes, that's right: it was the ARABS who REJECTED a Palestinian Arab state! They would not even agree to the idea of a democratic Jewish nation in the Middle East.
And on May 15, 1947, when Israel was less than 12 hours old, the armies of FIVE Arab nations attacked her: EGYPT, SYRIA, JORDAN, LEBANON and IRAQ. Terrified of being caught in the crossfire, the Palestinian Arabs looked to their Arab brethren for instructions.
Also on May 15th, 1947, the ARAB LEAGUE secretary general, AZZAM PASHA called for 'jihad' and said: 'This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and the crusades.
TRUTH: IT WAS THE ARABS WHO ORDERED THE PALESTINIANS TO FLEE
Here's where it gets really interesting. It is a matter of public record that the Israelis pleaded with the Palestinian Arabs to stay; indeed, those that did, are today Israeli citizens.
So what happened to the rest? How did they end up as refugees?
The Economist, an intense critic of the zionist movement, reported on October 2 1948: 'Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa, not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remain. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight... the most potent one being the announcements made over the air by the HIGHER ARAB EXECUTIVE urging the Arabs to leave... It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and who accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.'
Time magazine's report was similar. On May 3, 1948: 'The mass evacuation, prompted partly by orders of the Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city.'
THE ARAB NATION COMMITTEE in Jerusalem, ordered women, children and the elderly to leave their homes: 'Any opposition to this order is an obstacle to the holy war and will hamper the operations of the fighters in these districts.'
HAG AMIN AL-HUSSEINI, the Mufti of Jerusalem, declared: 'I declare a Holy War, my Muslim brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!'
And the invading Arab armies also sometimes ordered entire villages to depart, so as not to be in their way.
BENNY MORRIS, the historian who documented the Palestinian exodus, states that in early May, the ARAB LEGION ordered the evacuation of all women and children from the town of BEISAN.
Even Jordan's KING ABDULLAH, in his memoirs, blamed the Palestinian Arab leaders for the refugee problem:
'The tragedy of the Palestinians was that most of their leaders had paralyzed them with false promises that they were not alone; that 80 million Arabs and 400 million Muslims would instantly and miraculously come to their rescue.'
In March 1976, MAHMOUD ABBAS, of the Palestinian Authority recalled: 'The Arab armies abandoned the Palestinians, 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.'
And what kind of response greets Arabs who confirm what really happened?
Arab American writer, Joseph Farah, has received death threats from his fellow Arabs for stating facts about the creation of Israel. He says:
'Let me state this plainly and clearly: the Jews in Israel took no one's land. Many historical records show that the Jews urged the Arabs to stay and live with them in peace. But tragically, they chose to leave. 54 years later, the sons and daughters and grandchildren of those refugees are all too often still in refugee camps - not because of Israeli intransigence, but because they are misused as a political tool of the Arab powers.'
And he adds: 'At no time did the Jews uproot Arab families from their homes. When there were title deeds to be purchased, they bought them at inflated prices. When there were not, they worked the land so they could have a place to live. It's a GREAT BIG LIE that the Israelis displaced anyone - one of a series of myths and lies that have the world on the verge of committing yet another great injustice to the Jews.'
The Birth Of The Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited: Cambridge University Press, 2994, page 590, author BENNY MORRIS
Middle Eastern Studies, January 1986
King Abdullah: My Memoirs Completed, 1978
Arab Attitudes To Israel, by Yehoshofat Harkabi, 1972, page 364
Mahmoud Abbas, as quoted in Falastin a - Thaura