UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
Letter dated 4 May 1949 addressed to the Chairman of
the Conciliation Commission by Mr. Howard Wriggins,
Geneva Representative, American Friends Service
Committee, Enclosing an Analysis of Palestine Population
S/ Howard Wriggins
American Friends Service Committee
(2) I do not think these figures necessarily suggest that there are over 200,000 “refugees” receiving aid from UNRPR who are not bona fide refugees. The bulk could have fled from areas close to the Israeli lines, areas threatened by the Israeli advance. Although sections of the Jewish press has apparently asserted that these persons fled before the pillage and burning of “Arab mercenaries” or were lured to flee by Abdullah’s propaganda, the simple fact that 200,000 left areas not under control of Israeli’s forces does not exclude fear of Israeli’s extremists as the chief motivation for their flight.
(3) The figures do suggest, however, that future increases in numbers of refugees should be viewed with scepticism, since they are probably composed of destitute local inhabitants rather than of refugees from Israel.
(4) These figures suggest the following questions:-
Since perhaps as many as one third of UNRPR’s refugees may come from so-called “Arab Palestine”, the political future of this area is by no means irrelevant as far as the refugee problem is concerned:
(2) The annual rate of Arab natural increase for the years of 1944-1947 is estimated at 28 per 1,000 (c.f. B(5) below for derivation). The percentage of Arabs not included in the earlier figures, which were based solely on the numbers of “Settled Moslems”, has been calculated at 18.5% (c.f. B(6) below for derivation).
(3) Below are figures for the relevant areas, with corrections:
Table 6, p. 144, Vol. I — 28 an estimate, on basis of constantly increasing Arab rate; slightly declining Christian rate of natural increase.
(6) Percentage of Arabs not included in “Settled Moslems” 18.5%
Table 5, p. 143, Vol. I. While all detailed figures are given in “A Survey of Palestine in terms of religion of those with settled residence, we are real concerned with a racial problem. “Comparing the total “Arabs” in 1944 (1,179,000) with the total “Settled Moslems” in 1944, (994,720) it is seen that 18.5% of the latter figure is needed to makeup the total of Arab inhabitants. This total is estimated on an extrapolation of the 1931 census, and is taken directly from “A Survey of Palestine.”
(7) Arabs normally in areas acquired by Israel as result of War. 248,376
(Source: Estimate by H. Wriggins. Areas acquired by Israel, based on comparison of Map No 82 (U.N: Presentation 529, September, 1947, “Plan of Partition with Economic Union”, Majority Proposal, delimiting area containing B (3) a) above with Israeli War Map, January 1949, made available by Israeli representative Geneva. Estimates of population in areas acquired by Israel based on population estimates as of 1944, provided by the Government of Palestine to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 1946. (Vol. I Pages 151, 152). The relevant areas and population figures are as follows:
a) “Settled. Moslems” normally in areas acquired by Israel:
From Israel Representative to the United Nations, based on census made prior to March Israel election.
(6) above — While this is an accurate figure, based on official information available, there may be an error, since the figure 1,179,000 Arabs in 1944 is based on the assumption that the population of Arabs among Moslems, Christians and Others has remained constant since the 1931 census.
(7) above — a), b), c) and d).
Taken together, these possible, and probable errors suggest that the figure of 700,000 is more likely to be the correct conclusion than the 660,000 figure.
1/c.f. U.N. Special Committee on Palestine A/364/September 1947, P. 54.
2/Estimate by H. Wriggins; c.f. para 7, below for derivation.
3/Correction of error in earlier figures.
4/ Jerusalem Sub-district not previously considered. Jerusalem City still excluded.
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