3rd time’s a charm: CiF Watch prompts correction to Telegraph “correction” on refugees


On Aug. 20th we posted about a report at The Telegraph by their Middle East correspondent, Robert Tait, which grossly inflated the number of Palestinian Arab refugees from the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war.  

Here’s the passage in question:

On the table are the familiar sticking points that have defied several previous peace-making attempts — namely borders, Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, the fate of almost five million Arab refugees expelled to neighbouring countries during Israel’s 1948 war of independence, and the status of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

We complained to Telegraph editors, explaining that the number of refugees from the war was actually, per UN figures, 711,000 (of whom only 30,000 remain today), while the 5 million figure only represents those who presently qualify for “refugee” benefits (which includes the descendants of refugees) under UNRWA’s bizarre guidelines.

Shortly after our complaint, the passage was amended as follows:

On the table are the familiar sticking points that have defied several previous peace-making attempts — namely borders, Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, the fate of almost five million Arab refugees and their descendants expelled to neighbouring countries during Israel’s 1948 war of independence, and the status of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

Unfortunately, the ‘revised’ passage (as we noted in a new post) was still extremely misleading, as it would likely be understood to mean that there were 5 million refugees from the ’48 war plus an additional number of descendents from these 5 million. 

So, we again contacted Telegraph editors, and recently saw the following new revision to the passage:

On the table are the familiar sticking points that have defied several previous peace-making attempts — namely borders, Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, the fate of 700,000 Arab refugees and their descendants (a number that has now swelled to almost five million) expelled to neighbouring countries during Israel’s 1948 war of independence, and the status of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

Though it took a while, we commend Telegraph editors on finally getting it right on the number of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war.

21 comments on “3rd time’s a charm: CiF Watch prompts correction to Telegraph “correction” on refugees

  1. Whilst it is good to see this change (although I have not received a reply to my email about the incorrect first change), it is still only a change to the text and not a properly noted correction.

  2. 700,000 Arab refugees and their descendants (a number that has now swelled to almost five million)

    or e.g. “the fate of Arab refugees and their descendants (a number now totalling almost five million)

    … or various other alternatives.

    Was it really that difficult to find an accurate way pf putting it?

  3. Better, but still not quite right, since many of the original 700,000 Arab refugees have since died. Nor were all of them expelled to neighbouring countries, some of them having fled on the promise of being able to return after the hoped for Arab victory. More accurate wording would be “…the fate of the five million descendants of the original 700,000 Arab refugees who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war…”. I guess that is too much to ask, especially as it hints at the absurdity of the Palestinian refugee situation.

  4. How about the Jewish refugees from ten Arab League countries 1948 etc:850,000 then, more than half the Jews of Israel today, hundreds of thousands in France, etc! The Jews were actual refugees given no choice with all their assets stolen. The PalArabs had a choice: listen to the Brits and Jews and stay or listen to the Arab League and rumor terrified neighbors and flee (called deserters). Yes, there were Jewish outrages but much magnified and unmatched by Arab outrages committed against Jews in Arab countries. This is the past; now let’s have a good peace.

  5. I’m a fan of any factual observations that drive home the salient point about how every refugee situation in the history of the world has been classified differently than the Palestinian one. The “descendents” of the Palestinians who left Israel/Jordan/Egypt after they started and lost the 1948 War have no right of return under international law as it has been codified in all situations not involving the hoped-for destruction of Israel and dispersal at best/mass murder at worst of Jews. Honestly, if there IS any precedent for a non-citizen’s family to demand and receive citizenship from a sovereign state, I would love to hear about it and do research about it. If not…well, that’s where the entire Palestinian RoR issue is dead on arrival.

  6. While the last rewording of Arab refugees is better than the last two, CiF Watch completely ignored the Telegraph’s incorrectly stating that Jewish “settlements on occupied Palestinian lands” rather than their using the less biased “disputed territories,”

    • You are correct, whale, but that is a dispute about terminology and expression – important, of course, but on a completely different level than the provably factually incorrect reference to 5 million 1948 refugees.

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  9. One ridiculous aspect of “Palestinian refugee” is that some Arab guy could’ve moved to Israel from Yemen in 1947, lived there one year, fled during ’48 and never returned. He would be classified as a “Palestinian refugee,” as would his son (who never was within 1000 miles of Israel) and his grandson.

  10. Now that I’ve revealed my funding sources, perhaps someone at this hatesite will be good enough to reveal theirs?

    • Hate site? I would say this site exposes hate and bias. It doesn’t create hate. I hate anti-Semitism, but the anti-Semitism created my hate, not the other way around. If you really are interested in hate sites, log onto the Facebook page for Fatah or just about any other Palestinian “freedom” page.

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