Recently PCG reprinted HWA's Autobiography (with a few additions of their own). One wonder how many of them noticed that it contains a reference to the Palestinian refugees who fled from the forces of the State of Israel during the Israeli War of Independence of 1947-9.
In 1956 HWA and Loma Armstrong went on a tour of the Middle East. During this tour they visited Syria and witnessed just a few of the approximately 750,000 Palestinians who had been expelled by the forces of the State of Israel. The Palestinians yearned to return to their homes but by 1956 the Israeli government refused to let them return. To this day the vast majority of Palestinians are not allowed to return to the land that they were expelled from in 1947-9 while at the same time the Israeli government allows any Jewish person to migrate there and quickly gain citizenship.
Here is Loma Armstrong's account of seeing some of the Palestinian refugees in Syria in 1956.
We were then driven by an Arab to a refugee camp-the most miserable place we had yet seen. We saw one-hundred thousand Arabs living in huts made from old oil cans or anything else they could find. The dust was thick under our feet and the people were filthy and sickly and ragged. They were covered with flies. Most of them were beggars.
We were told that they had been driven out of Palestine by the Jews but Palestine does not seem large enough to hold the thousands of Arab refugees we saw in all the different places which the Arabs claim were driven out by the Jews from Palestine. America had an “Atoms for Peace” display in Damascus while we were there but there was any thing but a feeling of peace toward Americans or English. The clerks in the Hotel were sullen and very unfriendly as were those in other cities of the Middle East. (Loma Armstrong, Mrs. Armstrong's Diary, Plain Truth, November 1956, p. 12.)(Warning: The November 1956 issue contains Holocaust related imagery that some readers may find disturbing.)
Loma Armstrong referred to these Palestinian refugees as Arabs. But the Palestinians are not interchangeable with any other Arabs. They are not Syrians or Lebanese or Jordanian or Iraqi. They are Palestinians.
Lome Armstrong writes, "We were told that they had been driven out of Palestine by the Jews" absurdly implying that the fact they had been expelled by the forces of the State of Israel might not be true.
Furthermore it is simply not true and it is a crude stereotype to say "the Jews" had expelled these Palestinians into Syria. The forces of the State of Israel such as the Palmach, the Irgun and the Lehi had done this mass expulsion. Many Jews in fact disagreed with the idea of making a Jewish state from the moment this nationalist dream became a political movement in the 1880s partly in response to deadly anti-Semitic pogroms in Tsarist Russia. Many Jews had nothing to do with this mass expulsion of Palestinians. It is morally wrong to write as though all Jews bear responsibility for this. Simple justice shows that is simply not true.
Astoundingly she seems to want to believe that there were too many Palestinians implying that they were somehow fake refugees. This is bizarre nonsense.
Let us take a look to note just how many Palestinians who been expelled outside of the 1949-1967 borders of the State of Israel during the Israeli War of Independence of 1947-9.
Statistics for refugee figures have been as high as 935,573 according to UNRWA registrations, to as low as 530,000 according to some Israeli sources. The British Foreign Office estimated the total number of refugees to be 810,000 in February 1949 and then issued a revised estimate of 600,000. The UNCCP Technical Office gave a figure of 760,000. The US government estimated a total refugee population of 875,000 as of 1953. [It states elsewhere that the consensus figure is now about 750,000.] (Beyond Occupation, 2011, p. 292.)How could Loma Armstrong say that the land that used to be Mandatory Palestine was too small to contain all these Palestinian refugees. It is astonishing that she should say something so ridiculous and fanciful. It is little wonder that some editor in WCG got rid of this absurd statement of hers in later printings of this work.
Here is the relevant passage in the 1987 version of HWA's Autobiography.
We were then driven by an Arab to a refugee camp -- the most miserable place we had yet seen. We saw one hundred thousand Arabs living in huts made from old oil cans or anything else they could find. The dust was thick under our feet and the people were sickly and ragged. They were covered with flies. Most of them were beggars.It is strange to see how certain parts of the original narrative had been sanitized. The absurd claim of Palestine being too small had been removed by some editor in WCG.
America had an "Atoms for Peace" display in Damascus while we were there. (Volume 2, Chapter 65.)
Of course those Palestinian refugees yearned to return to their homes. Even today they wish to return to the land they or their ancestors had been expelled from in 1947-9.
Sadly today many of those Palestinian refugees in Syria have no doubt been afflicted by the ongoing Syrian Civil War that has been raging since 2011 after the regime launched a violent crackdown on an initially peaceful protest movement that provoked a full scale insurgency which was later exploited by the terrorists and murderers of ISIL to seize power for themselves in large parts of Syria.
One suburb of Damascus is Yarmouk which has long been a focal point of Palestinian society within Syria. Since December 2012 Yarmouk has been besieged by the regime after rebels seized control of it. For years aid had been blocked from getting into Yarmouk. In April 2015 the terrorists and murderers of ISIL attacked rebel held Yarmouk and gained control of about ninety per cent of rebel held Yarmouk. The situation is most dire and terrible in Yarmouk as well as all of Syria. May peace soon come to Syria.