Causes of The 1948 Palestinian Exodus - Psychological Warfare - Intimidation

Intimidation

According to Pappé intimidation by various means was used. For instance in Haifa since December 1947 Jewish troops engaged in sniping, shelling, rolling barrels full of explosives and huge steel balls down into Palestinian neighborhoods and pouring oil mixed with fuel down the roads, which they then ignited. Yoav Gelber considers that the "Haganah, IZL and LHI's retaliations terrified the Arabs and hastened the flight".

According to Pappé the Haganah engaged in what it called "violent reconnaissance": "Special units of the Haganah would enter villages looking for 'infiltrators' (read 'Arab volunteers') and distribute leaflets warning the people against cooperating with the Arab Liberation Army. Any resistance to such an incursion usually ended with the Jewish troops firing at random and killing several villagers." Khalidi mentions "repeated and merciless raids against sleeping villages carried out in conformity with plan C", i.e. in the period before April 1948.

In some cases threatening leaflets were distributed, containing wordings like: "if the war will be taken to your place, it will cause massive expulsion of the villagers, with their wives and children."

Various authors give examples of instigation of whisper campaigns. Childers cites the fact that rumours were spread by the Israeli forces that they possessed the atomic bomb. Morris cites Yigal Allon, the Palmach commander, describing such a campaign: "I gathered the Jewish mukhtars, who had ties with the different Arab villages, and I asked them to whisper in the ears of several Arabs that giant Jewish reinforcements had reached the Galilee and were about to clean out the villages of the Hula, to advise them, as friends, to flee while they could. And the rumour spread throughout the Hula that the time had come to flee. The flight encompassed tens of thousands. The stratagem fully achieved its objective."

Read more about this topic:  Causes Of The 1948 Palestinian Exodus, Psychological Warfare

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