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LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights

The Myth of ethnic cleansing

There has never been ethnic cleansing
by there has never been ethnic cleansing Tuesday, Jun. 03, 2008 at 4:18 PM

One of the big lies told by anti-Israel agitators, is that Israel's existence as a Jewish state is uniquely unacceptable in today's world. Another fabrication is that of "ethnic cleansing" of Arabs, both in 1948 as a result of Israel's War of Independence and also after 1967, when Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza from their previous occupiers (Jordan and Egypt, respectively); this claim gets even more fantastically metamorphed into charges of "genocide" begin committed by Israel. Doing an internet search with either one of those terms and "Israel" yields a lengthy list of websites, many of which claim to be "antiwar", trumpeting such charges.

Interestingly enough, it's actually quite simple to rebut these lies using some rather simple arithmetic. All of the statistics used here are from Israeli-Palestinian ProCon, which is a neutral site that does not take positions on the issues and is not run by advocates with either a pro- or anti-Israel position. (Of course, you can hear the screams of "if you're not obviously against the racist-colonialist-Zionist-occupiers then we can't trust anything you say" from those who promote the big lies. Just ignore them and focus on the facts.)

In 1946 "Palestine" (the British Mandate, comprising what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza) had 608,000 Jews and 1,237,000 Arabs (all statistics rounded to the nearest thousand). As a result of the war of extermination launched by 5 Arab countries against the nascent state of Israel, there was a population exchange-- the Arab population mostly ended up in the West Bank and Gaza, to be imprisoned in refugee camps there. The Jewish population that had lived outside the borders of the state of Israel either fled as refugees to Israel or were killed. By 1949, Israel had 159,00 Arab citizens and 1,014,000 Jewish citizens. In 1950, the nearest year for which population statistics are available, the West Bank and Gaza had 1,005,000 Arabs and no (living) Jews-- it was a thoroughly ethnically cleansed area. Some towns like Hebron that had Jewish populations for uninterrupted centuries were actually ethnically cleansed long before the UN Partition Plan, as the result of pogroms. Some, like the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the kibbutzim of the Etzion Bloc, were conquered by Arabs and the survivors forced to flee for their lives.

You can learn more about the ethnic cleansing of Jewish communities in Palestine here .

Now let's see what happened after 1967. The population of the West Bank in 1970 (prior to the re-establishment of any Jewish population in that area, outside of Jerusalem) was 677,000 Arabs--and no Jews (except for a few hundred of the ancient Samartian cult living near Nablus). By 2003, the Arab population was 2,300,000 and the Jewish population was 219,000. Yes, that's right. The Arab population more than TRIPLED over that time. In Gaza there were 368,000 Arabs in 1970; by 2003 there were 1,337, 000. Yes, that's not a typo. Under the supposedly genocidal and tyrannical rule of Israeli occupation, the population of Gaza went up FOURFOLD. The Jewish population of Gaza in 2003 was 7,500. Now, of course, it is down to one: Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier who has been held incommunicado by Hamas terrorists for nearly a year and denied access to Red Cross representatives.

Oh, but certainly in Jerusalem the Arabs are getting pushed out of their neighborhoods and ethnically cleansed, right? Sorry, once again those pesky facts get in the way:

1946: Population of Jerusalem --34,000 Muslims, 31,000 Christians (probably not all Arab), 99,000 Jews

1967: 58,000 Muslims, 13,000 Christians, and 197,000 Jews

2000: 197,000 Muslims, 14,000 Christians and 440,000 Jews

Once again, the Muslim population more than tripled since Israel re-unified the city!

Those crafty Zionists-- conducting ethnic cleansing but hiding it so well that the Arab population doubles every 20 years. How do they pull it off?


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