The Israeli military played on Arabs' fear resulting from
reports of these atrocities. Yigal Allon, a Palmach leader in 1948 and
later a member of the Israeli cabinet and a deputy Prime Minister, is quoted
as having written:
We saw a need to clean the inner Galilee and to create a Jewish territorial succession in the entire area of the Upper Galilee....We therefore looked for means which did not force us into employing force, in order to cause the tens of thousands of sulky Arabs who remained in Galilee to flee....We tried to use a tactic which took advantage of the impression created by the fall of Safed and the (Arab) defeat in the area which was cleaned by Operation Metateh - a tactic which worked miraculously well!
I gathered all the Jewish mukhtars, who have contacts with Arabs in different villages, and asked them to whisper in the ears of some Arabs, that a great Jewish reinforcement has arrived in Galilee and that it is going to burn all the villages of Huleh. They should suggest to these Arabs, as their friends, to escape while there is still time (Yigal Alon, The Book of the Palmach, vol. 2, p.286)
After May 14 the IDF continued to expel Arabs from the area allotted to Israel. In many cases it would start shelling a village late at night, without warning. Lt. Col. Yosef Tahenkin, the commander of Harel, one of three Palmach brigades, wrote a description of a typical plan for a night attack on a village by a Palmach unit during the 1948-49 war. According to the plan a detachment of sappers - explosives experts - joins the Israeli force attacking the village. As soon as the village is captured the sappers begin to destroy positions and buildings. "A unit specially chosen by the command, and no one else, begins to collect the booty." (Yosef Tabenkin, “Doctrine of Raids”, quoted in Y.Allon, pp.193f) . When the attack is finished the force completely withdraws. As examples of how the plan had worked in action, Col. Tabenkin cited the capture of the villages of Biddu and Belt Surik.
Thus, testimony regarding yishuv actions is given not only by Palestinians but also by yishuv. These villages were near Abu Gosh on the Jerusalem-Lydda road, an area of several strategic villages.
Israelis sometimes destroyed strategic villages they could not hold because they did not want them reoccupied by Arab military.
Nafez Nazzal interviewed many eyewitnesses of yishuv and Israeli military actions. Although he perhaps did not always obtain corroborating witnesses of the same incidents, the experiences told by the refugees reveal a pattern of actions by members of the yishuv military and the Israeli military.
On March 28, 1948, villagers from Kabri in western Galilee destroyed a yishuv armored convoy. On May 21, in the ensuing battle for Kabri itself, yishuv soldiers took Amina Musa and her husband, with other captured villagers, to an officer. The men were then led away and at least her husband was shot dead. The prisoners' wives were abandoned on the Kabri-Tarshiha road. The next morning Amina Musa found her husband's body; she and another woman buried him. She stayed in the village six days without eating and then left. (Nazzal Nafez, The Ziionist Occupation of Western Galilee, 1948, Pp.70f).
On the night of July 9/10 the IDF surrounded three sides of the village of Kuweikat, a few kilometers cast of Acre, and attacked it with artillery. A villager recalled: "We were awakened...shells exploding and artillery fire...the whole village was in panic. ...Most of the villagers began to flee with their pajamas on. The wife of Qassim Ahmed Sa'id fled carrying a pillow in her arms instead of her child. (Nazzal, pp.72f., quoting Hassan Ahmad Abdullatif, inerviewed 2.13.1973) In the panic and confusion of fleeing, especially in the middle of the night, it was common for families to become separated and children to get lost. (Rosemary Sayigh, Palestinians: From Peasant to Revolutionaries p.84).
Interviewees told Nazzal that although old people were sometimes allowed to stay on in their villages or in nearby caves, this was not always true. In December 1948 Israelis ordered villagers, including the elderly, into an open truck and drove them in the rain to Zububa, near Jenin. "When they reached the border thc Israelis ordered them to cross to the Arab side. Many of the villagers were too sick to walk and were left behind in the rain. No one knows what happened to Nimr's parents." (Nazzal, p.90, citing interview with Nimir Ayoub, 3.11.1973)
These are a few of many eyewitness accounts of atrocities.
In what sense can one claim that these people left their homes and lands