The ‘Five Million Palestinian Refugees’ Hoax
Feb 6, 2021 10:00 am By Hugh Fitzgerald
The negotiation affairs department of the PLO tweeted on May 15, 2020, “Every nakba commemoration day, we mark the catastrophe that befell our people in 1948, when 957,000 Palestinians became refugees.” The truth is that number was concocted, as is the current figure of 5.7 million used by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The actual number is more likely less than 30,000.
Palestinians typically claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees between 1947 and 1949. The last census was taken in 1945. It found only 756,000 permanent Arab residents in Israel. On Nov. 30, 1947, the date the United Nations voted for partition, the total was 809,100. A 1949 Government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the war, which meant no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine (as of September 1948) arrived at an even lower figure: 360,000. The CIA estimate was 330,000. In 2011, historian Efraim Karsh analyzed the number of refugees by city and came up with an estimate of 583,000 to 609,000.
When the United Nations created UNRWA to assist the Palestinians, a refugee was defined as “a needy person, who, as a result of the war in Palestine, has lost his home and his means of livelihood.”
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