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October 14, 2013 9:44 am

Abbas: Arabs of Safed Left Israel by Their Own Choice

avatar by Aryeh Savir / Tazpit News Agency

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Screen shot of U.S. President Barack Obama and PA President Mahmoud Abbas holding a joint press conference in Ramallah March 21, 2013. Photo: Youtube

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, during his address at the UN (on September 26, 2013) claimed: “I am personally one of the victims of the Nakba, among the hundreds of thousands of my people uprooted in 1948 from our beautiful world and thrown into exile.”

However, watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) documented that earlier this year, when describing why he and other Arabs left their hometown of Safed, Abbas did not say that he was “thrown into exile.” Instead, he explained that the Palestinian Arabs left on their own accord.

According to Abbas, there had been a “most severe” massacre of Jews in the cities of Safed and Hebron in 1929, and Arab residents of Safed feared the Jews would take revenge once the State of Israel was established. Accordingly, Abbas explained, they left Safed on their own, “overcome with this fear,” which “caused them to begin to leave the city in a disorderly manner.”

During the 1929 massacres 65 Jews were killed in Hebron and 18 in Safed. Three Arabs from these cities were subsequently executed by a British Court for “brutal murders.”

PMW explained why Abbas’ statement is important. The official Palestinian Authority policy is to deny Arab responsibility for Palestinian Arab refugees and to claim that Israel expelled all the Arabs who left Israel.

However, as noted, Abbas’ statement to the UN about the Arabs of Safed being “thrown into exile” contradicts his earlier statement on PA TV.

Abbas’ interview on PA TV can be seen here.

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