The Birth of the Pales­tin­ian Refugee Prob­lem, 1947 – 1949

Ben­ny Morris
  • From the Publisher
March 1, 2017

The first full-length study of the birth of the Pales­tin­ian refugee prob­lem. Based on recent­ly declas­si­fied Israeli, British and Amer­i­can state and par­ty polit­i­cal papers and on hith­er­to untapped pri­vate papers, this book traces the stages of the 1947 – 9 exo­dus against the back­drop of the first Arab-Israeli war and analy­ses the var­ied caus­es of the flight. The Jew­ish and Arab deci­sion-mak­ing involved, on nation­al and local lev­els, mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal, is described and explained, as is the crys­tal­liza­tion of Israel’s deci­sion to bar refugee repa­tri­a­tion. The sub­se­quent fate of the aban­doned Arab vil­lages, lands and urban neigh­bor­hoods is exam­ined. The study looks at the inter­na­tion­al con­text of the war and the exo­dus, and describes the polit­i­cal bat­tle over the refugees’ fate, which effec­tive­ly end­ed with the dead­lock at Lau­sanne in sum­mer 1949. Through­out the book attempts to describe what hap­pened rather than what suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions of Israeli and Arab pro­pa­gan­dists have said hap­pened, and to explain the motives of the protagonists.

Discussion Questions