THEY MUST GO Page 228
Chapter 10: Separation—Only Separation
 
 
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228 THEY MUST GO

bThe exodus became a wild and irrational flight. Haifa Jews bfaced the joyful prospect of a Jewish city, free of tension and bcommunal war. Their reaction was recorded on April 26, 1948, bby the British chief of police of Haifa, A. J. Bridmead: “Every beffort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace bto stay and carry on with their normal lives. . . .” It had become ba race between two irrational groups, each working against its bown interests. The question was: Who would win by losing?

bOn April 28 the Jews made a determined effort to prove bthat they were madder than their enemies. The Workers’ Coun- bcil printed thousands of fliers to be distributed to the fleeing bArabs which read, in part: “Do not destroy your own homes bwith your own hands and do not bring unnecessary tragedy bupon yourselves by unnecessary evacuation and self-imposed bburdens. By moving out you will be overtaken by poverty band humiliation. But in this city, yours and ours, Haifa, the bgates are open for work, for life, and for peace, for you and your bfamilies.”

bNo amount of Jewish suicidal tendencies could help them. bHaifa’s Arabs were determined to destroy themselves, and they bfled with no one in pursuit. Marie Syrkin, writing in Commentary bmagazine (January 1966), described the incredible scene: b“. . . 60,000 Haifa Arabs began to flock wildly toward the port, bseeking to escape by any craft available. Families crouched for bdays on the docks. . . . This was a headlong stampede in which bpeople seem to have jumped suddenly from a dinner table, from bbed, or from their work, driven by an impulse to flee.”

bIn town after town, the glorious, irrational Arab flight oc- bcurred. Tiberias’s 6,000 Arabs stunned the 2,000 Jews on April b18 by suddenly fleeing. The Jewish community council issued a bstatement declaring: “We did not dispossess them; they them- bselves chose this course. But the day will come when the Arabs bwill return to their homes and property in this town. In the bmeantime, let no citizen touch their property.”

bHal Lehrman attests to this general Jewish attitude: “In bthe beginning, no one could conceive of a new Israel without a blarge Arab population. Even when they were already in full bflight, the eventual return of most of the Arabs was taken for bgranted.” Indeed, every official Israeli information sheet and all bthe Zionist writers go out of their way to emphasize that the b 

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THEY MUST GO Page 228
Chapter 10: Separation—Only Separation