“Nakba survivor” admits she fled without seeing a single Jew
Every year, on “Nakba Day,” Arab newspapers scramble to find old people who can act as eyewitnesses to the horrors of how Israel treated their people who would become to be known years later as “Palestinians.”
Al Watan Voice published an interview with 80-year old Mrs. Kalhout, who lived in a village called Ni’ilya which was near Gaza.
She describes how her family fled the town – and makes an interesting admission.
Residents of the village and surrounding areas tried to prepare themselves battle. Leaders gave them clubs to go out and attack the Jews. But they didn’t find any, and returned to their homes.
Then, she says, after hearing about the massacre by Israel in Deir Yassin and in other Arab towns and villages up north, home towns of the northern region and carrying out massacres there, everyone fled to Gaza without seeing a single Jew enter their towns.
In fact, this happened in November 1948, many months after Deir Yassin, and the IDF fought with Egyptian forces in the area. Mrs. Kalhout says that they thought they would be able to return after a day but they couldn’t.
In fact, this was the pattern for the large majority of the Arab refugees – they left their homes based on wild Arab rumors or direction from Arab leaders, promising that they would return in no time. But the vast majority of Arabs who left what became Israel were not expelled and never even saw an Israeli soldier.
I don’t recall ever seeing a first-hand account of Arabs who were told to or forced leave their homes by Israeli soldiers. It definitely happened in some cases, especially where the areas were critical for Israel’s defense, but that was by far the exception rather than the rule.
And that goes as well for none other than Mahmoud Abbas, who admits that his family left Safed voluntarily:
“Until the nakba” (calamity in Arabic – the loaded synonym for Israeli independence), he recounted, his family “was well-off in Safed.” When Abbas was 13, “we left on foot at night to the Jordan River… Eventually we settled in Damascus… My father had money, and he spent his money methodically. After a year, when the money ran out, we began to work.
“People were motivated to run away… They feared retribution from Zionist terrorist organizations – particularly from the Safed ones. Those of us from Safed especially feared that the Jews harbored old desires to avenge what happened during the 1929 uprising…. They realized the balance of forces was shifting and therefore the whole town was abandoned on the basis of this rationale – saving our lives and our belongings.”
When people say that the Nakba is the anniversary of the Arabs being expelled from Palestine, they are lying.