When I saw that Benny Morris, well-known historian and professor of history at the Middle East Studies Department of Ben-Gurion University, was writing about Abbas and Safed, I was very interested. I lived in Safed from 1981 to the end of 1985 and learned a lot about it as I was teaching English at the junior high on David Eleazar Street.
Prof. Morris tells that when Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah, was 13 he was "forced " and "driven" out of his home in Safed by the Zionists. To his friends on July 6, 2009 he told the true facts; that his family ran out of Safed on their own because they feared Jewish retribution for a massacre they had committed against the Jews 20 years before. Prof. Morris comments that the Haganah troops entered on the 9th and 10th of May 1948 and there was no expulsion.
In Genesis 1948 by Dan Kurzman we learn that there was a British General in Haifa, General Stockwell, and when Haifa fell, the British decided to help the Arab Legion reconquer that city after their troops had already departed. The General liked to drink whiskey a lot and celebrate with the Jews, and he drank tea with the Arabs of Safed in eastern Galilee which he also commanded. He told these Arabs that he was going to cooperate with the Haganah capture Haifa. All the time he figured the Arabs would take Safed. So he offered to turn over major strongholds to the Arabs when the British withdrew from Safed. He told them not to attack the Jews until the British withdrew on April 16th. Syrian Col Adib Shishekli agreed. The deal was that the Arabs would have to permit British intervention in the fighting if the Jews requested it, and they had to treat the Jews humanely when they captured the town. Oh, yes, Shishekli promised. The Colonel didn't care that Safed was to go to the Jews under the UN partition plan, but after all, there were only about 1,500 Jews to the 12,000 Arabs and the Jews couldn't win. He had it all figured out. The stubborn Jews would ask the British to mediate a truce agreement and then they would give Safed to the Arabs.
The story goes on but after 14 hours of shelling and battle, peace came to Safed with the Jews holding out and like the Jews had forewarned their Arab comrades, a unit of Palmach soldiers came through the Arab blockade to help the Jews of Safed. The leader was 30 year old Yigal Allon. The story is never boring. Unknown to the Jews, the Arab Liberation Army units had left Safed right after the British did with only about 20 soldiers remaining to support the local Arab fighters. The Arabs wound up under seige and surrendered. In the rukus, an Arab man told a Haganah officer that 6 days ago he was with his wife and children in Syria and knew nothing about Palestine and then they came and asked me if I wanted 30 pounds and a white woman. I said, "Yes, of course, and so I came here to Palestine." He looked up and saw a Jewish female soldier standing there listening and then added, "Now I see my first white woman--just before I die. The world is made of!@#$ I tell you." She looked at him and then told the officer not to touch him, and cried. After that the Arabs escaped and every other Arab in Safed had fled the town.
The refugees of Safed went down the road and came to 3 large parked cars. Mayor Kaddoura asked the men in the first car what they were waiting for. They answered that they were waiting for Haj Amin (the Mufti) to guide him into Safed. The mayor could hardly keep from laughing.
My Hebrew teacher was a native of Safed. She spoke English very well, I suppose because of the British soldiers there. James Mitchener lived there while he was doing research for his book, The Source. She was the lady who sent material secretly to the Russian Jews in Russia to learn Hebrew. It was against the law to do this. Well, people who are against our good Jewish people never do well, do they.
Abbas is the man we are to work with and yet he doesn't tell the truth about his history or the history of Safed to people who need to know the truth. Knowing he was making up a story must have bothered him to finally be honest with his friends, but it doesn't do any good in making his people stop hating Jews. The British were such devious overseers, manipulating everyone to their liking and feathering their own nests. They sold the Jews out and found they really didn't know them at all. With all those Arabs, I find it wonderous that they had Syrians in command and had to lure other Syrians in to help with the fighting against Jews.
Resource: from Daily Alert: firstname.lastname@example.org Professor Benny Morris
Genesis 1948 by Dan Kurzman