New York Post


The Arab Refugees

The Invaders Get International Help that
May be Converted into Military Aid


(EDITOR’S NOTE: On Saturday the United States Delegation at Paris pledged a minimum of $13,000,000 from the U.S. to the fund for Arab refugees in Palestine. While approving assistance for refugees, Arab, Jew, or gentile, anywhere, T.O. Thackrey, coeditor of the New York Post Home News, suggests that the  $13,000,000 available be applied as the first installment on the United States' promised loan to Israel. . . and that the $13,000,000 for Arab relief be raised as follows: $ 8,000,000 from Great Britain in place of the $ 8,000,000 she paid Abdullah to invade Palestine this year, thereby causing the Arab refugee problem; say $ 2,000,000 from King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, also a Palestine invader, from his subsidy from the American-Arabian oil company: the remainder from Great Britain by eliminating the cost of maintaining Foreign Minister Bevin’s 1948 Dachau at Cyprus!)

If you have visited one of the Arab countries, you certainly have seen Arab beggars—men, women and children—blind or decrepit—crying for alms. If you have watched them, you must have been impressed by the fact that almost no Arab gives anything, not even the smallest coin, to the poor; and you may have wondered. Why do they then ask for alms? An occasional foreigner, a European or an American, who passes along the street, may drop a coin; but an Arab who begs in the precincts of a mosque visited by Arabs only will not collect enough for a loaf of bread no matter how much he may display his infirmities.

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There are hundreds of thousands of Arabs who, following the commencement of hostilities in Palestine, left their domiciles at the call of Arab leaders from outside. The case of Haifa is especially well authenticated. When the British prepared to leave the city, they practically suggested that the two sides contest for it. After a day or two of battle, the Arab leaders appeared before the British General with a request that he negotiate the surrender.

The conditions offered by the Jewish forces included full freedom and all civil rights for the Arab residents of Haifa; the Arabs who came from foreign countries to fight were to leave Palestine; and the surrender of only the German (Nazi) officers of the Arab “irregulars” was demanded. The Arab emissaries accepted the conditions transmitted to them by the British General.

A few hours later, however, they returned and, wiping the sweat from their brows, informed the General that they had received orders from abroad not to go through with the agreement and to alert the Arab population that they should hurriedly leave the city. An exodus followed.

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Transjordan has, according to Arab sources, one hundred thousand refugees, and in all there are over three hundred thousand. You never can trust figures coming from an Arab source. According to the Egyptian and Syrian war communiqués, they have killed more Jews than there are in Israel. Neither can your rely on figures on refugees, especially if help from abroad is asked. But if there are one hundred thousand refugees in Transjordan, they must constitute a great burden on this country unless they are fit to work.

Abdullah approached Ibn Saud, the owner of the Arabian oil fields and the recipient of fabulous royalties from Aramco. In answer to Abdullah’s appeal, Ibn Saud declared that he would donate $50,000, a few hours’ income from his royalties. Actually, Abdullah probably did not receive anything from Ibn Saud, for the promise did not specify whether the help would be given to the refugees in Transjordan or elsewhere.

Seven Arab countries that boast that hundreds of millions of Moslems throughout the world stand solidly behind them appeal to international organizations, private groups, and various governments, asking for help to care for the refugees from Palestine.

From Europe and America hands eager to help stretch toward the Arab refugees. But unless the distribution is placed in the hands of some organization, the food, clothing, and tents will not reach them. They will most certainly reach Arab armies; and just as certainly they will enrich some private pockets.

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To lend a neutral character to the appeal, 7,000 Jewish refugees are included with the 300,000 Arab refugees. On this point I have my doubts. Are these Jewish refugees from pogroms in Cairo and Bagdad? There are no Jewish refugees in Israel who would accept help from international organizations. Will the help be delivered to the imprisoned Jews in Arab countries?

There are hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, since 1933, and since 1937 (Anschluss of Austria), since 1939, and since V-E Day in 1945. Jewish organizations have taken care of them as well as they could. They were not among their own people as the Arabs are, but among hostile, anti-Semitic populations.

Israel, a state that was born into war, manages to keep its entire able-bodied population mobilized and on the front; at the same time it brings within its borders every month ten thousand destitute refugees, mostly women and children. How can this be done? Only at the cost of great sacrifices, and only in the spirit of great cooperation. And only because Israel is really a nation: a people who do not leave their land in war; who share among themselves whatever they have.

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The International Red Cross and other organizations that consider it their duty to alleviate suffering and right the wrong are invited to join the Committee for the Forgotten Million, Inc., to care for the imprisoned Jews in Arab countries—Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria in the first place—and to give help to the victims of pogroms.

The United Nations is invited to send investigation commissions into these countries, or at least to demand a report on existing conditions from the respective Governments.