The Hamas announcement emphasizes the justness of terrorism against Israel, as well as the unyielding nature of its demand for the return of millions of Arabs to Israel. It repeats, several times, the claim that the Arabs were cruelly thrown out of their homes by Israel in 1948 - when in fact the largest number of Arab refugees fled only at the urging of their own leaders, who promised them a swift victory over the fledgling Jewish state and a quick return to their homes.
- Arab League Secretary-General Habib Issa said in June 1951 that his predecessor Azzam Pasha had "assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade ... and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean ... "
- In addition, the Research Group for European Migration Problems found in 1957 that "as early as the first months of 1948, the Arab League issued orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries, later to return to their abodes ... and obtain their share of abandoned Jewish property."
- Abu Mazen himself - now the chairman of the Palestinian Authority - wrote in 1976, "The Arab states succeeded in scattering the Palestinian people and in destroying their unity. They did not recognize them as a unified people until the states of the world did so, and this is regrettable."
- Time Magazine, on May 3, 1948, described the Arab flight from Haifa: "The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by order of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city.... By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa."
- Monsignor George Hakim, the Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, said in 1949 that the Arabs of Haifa "fled in spite of the fact that the Jewish authorities guaranteed their safety and rights as citizens of Israel."
- Even a British police commander in Haifa said in April 1948, "Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe."
Excerpts from the Hamas Nakba announcement:
"Ho, sons of the Palestinian Jihad-fighting nation... Modern history has never seen a crime equal to that of the eviction of the Palestinians from their homes in 1948 by the Zionist conquerors...
"In these days of the month of May each year, the nation recalls the bleeding wound of the Nakba, which has a special place in our nation's heart. For the refugees, the Nakba means homeland, home, orchard, fig tree, harvest, and everything that is connected to the land from which they were evicted... The bitter memories and the painful days of the Nakba did not occur only in that year, but rather their impressions continue on historic dates written in the red blood that was shed in tens of acts of slaughter... from Kfar Kassem and Dir Yassin, Sabra and Shatila and the Jenin slaughter, and up until today's daily slaughter perpetrated by the Zionist conquest on our Palestinian compatriots.
"Ho, sons of our Palestinian nation, despite the Nakba, the Palestinian nation remains steadfast in its strong stand, its self-sacrifice, its pride and its determination to grasp onto its just rights, especially the right of the refugees to return to their homes and property. On the 58th anniversary of the accursed Nakba, we emphasize that:
"The resistance - all forms of the struggle [i.e., terrorism - ed.] - is a legitimate right as long as the conqueror sits on Palestinian land and as long as he continues his aggression against the Palestinian nation and arrests thousands of its sons. All talk of stopping the resistance or of its illegality is unacceptable for as long as the world ignores the legal and just Palestinian rights.
"The right of the return of the Palestinian refugees and the refusal to negotiate it is something that we must not retreat from, no matter what the circumstances. All talk of an agreement or negotiations is not acceptable as long as the return of the refugees has not occurred...
"Sons of our Palestinian nation, the commemoration of the Nakba and its grave consequences teach us that we must adhere even more strongly to the Jihad, to resistance, to the strong stand, and to the non-concession of the right of return, self-definition and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. Without all this, there will never be peace or security in the entire region...
"The Hamas Movement"