Analysis of Palestine population statistics (refugees receiving UNRPR assistance) – UNCCP – Letter/Analysis from American Friends Service Committee


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

Statistics.

Enclosed please find an analysis of Palestine population statistics which I prepared in an effort to estimate the proportion of Arab refugees receiving UNRPR assistance, whose homes were in areas now under Israeli control. The guess work of course is considerable but I believe these are as firm figures as is possible to prepare from the information available in Geneva.

Yours sincerely,

S/ Howard Wriggins

Howard Wriggins

Geneva Representative

American Friends Service Committee

Origin of UNRPR Refugees — Revised Analysis I.

A. CONCLUSION.

(1) After helpful criticism by several persons here and in England, and a more detailed analysis of population statistics and trends, my conclusion is that no more than 660,000 – 700,000 refugees could have come from areas now controlled Israel (with the statistics of the City of Jerusalem left out of account). The balance of over 200,000 UNRPR refugees have come therefore from areas outside of Israel.
(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:-
a) Why did these more than 200,000 flee their homes which were not in Israel?
b) From which localities did they flee?
c)What steps would be necessary/possible in order to arrange prompt repatriation of this group, regardless of Israel’s policy toward re-entry into Israel of the other 660,000 to 700,000 refugees?
(5) Relevance of “Arab Palestine”.
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:

B. THESE CONCLUSIONS HAVE BEEN REACHED AS FOLLOWS:-

(1) The original figures used accounted for “Settled Moslems” in Palestine, up to 1944. It has been possible to correct these figures so as to include, in addition, an estimate of Arabs who are not Moslems and Arabs who are nomadic; and to bring the 1944 figures up to date; i.e., through 1947, the last war year.
(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:

a) Settled Arabs in area attributed to Israel in U.N.’s partition plan

Nomadic Arabs

407,000

 90,000

497,0001/

b) Arabs added to Israel as a result of war in Palestine:

“Settled Moslems” normally in areas not assigned to Israel by Partition Plan but at present under Israel control

222,508

Minus “Settled Moslems” normally in areas assigned to Israel by Partition Plan, but not at present under Israel control: one-fifth rural population Tulkarm.

 

12,908

Total of “Settled Moslems” added to Israel as result of war in Palestine

 209,600

Plus Total Arabs other than “Settled” Moslems added as a result of the war: (18.5% of 209,000)

38,776

c) Total Arabs with homes normally in areas now controlled by Israel normally in areas acquired by Israel.

248,376

248,3762/

d) Total Arabs at present in Israel.

 75,000

e) MAXIMUM REFUGEES WHO COULD HAVE COME FROM AREAS OCCUPIED BY ISRAEL.

670,376

(4) ESTIMATED TOTAL OF ARABS NORMAL LIVING IN PALESTINE 1947.

1,278,000

ESTIMATED TOTAL OF ARABS LIVING IN AREAS INCLUDED IN “ARAB PALESTINE”

533,000

(5) Natural Increase of Arab population: 28 per 1,000

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:

Name of Sub-district

1944

Three

Times

Annual

Increase

Sum

Total

ACRE

City and Sub-district

47,290

3,972

 51,262

NAZARETH

Town and half rural pop.4/

16,525

1,386

 17,911

RAMLE

Lydda and Ramis towns and three-fifths rural population

63,860

5,364

 69,224

HEBRON

One fifth rural population

12,600

1,056

 13,656

GAZA

Majdal and half rural population

48,995

4,116

 53,111

JERUSALEM5/

One quarter rural population

16,000

1,344

 17,344

TOTAL

222,508

Total carried forward

222,508

b) “Settled Moslems” normally in areas assigned to Israel by Partition Plan, but not at present under Israel control. Tulkarm: one fifth rural population.

12,908

c) Total “Settled Moslems” added to Israel as result of war in Palestine.

209,600

d) Total Arabs other than “Settled Moslems equal 18.5% of (c)

 38,776

(8) Total Arabs at present in Israel.

 75,000

From Israel Representative to the United Nations, based on census made prior to March Israel election.

C. ERRORS:

(5) above — An error of 2 per 1,000 either way is not improbable.
(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).
(i) Non-inclusion of part of Jerusalem city now occupied by Israel might make for an error of from 15/20,000 more expected Arab inhabitants of Israel.
(ii) Fractions of sub-districts acquired by Israel have been estimated very roughly.
(iii) Rural population may not be evenly scattered over a full sub district, therefore dividing the sub-district’s total rural population by the proportion of its area acquired by Israel may lead to errors, especially in the case of Nazareth, Tulkarm and Hebron.
(8) above — This figure is believed to be high, since after the events which accompanied the evacuation of Faluja, some Arabs in Israel have been reported to have left.

SUMMARY OF PROBABLE ERROR

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.

Footnotes

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.


2019-03-12T20:13:57-04:00

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