Medhat Credi's claim (April 4 letter) of similarities between the Palestinian refugees of 1948 and the plight of the Kosovars today is an outrageous distortion and simplification of history.
There was absolutely no master plan to expel Arabs then, and that war has no parallel in the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo now.
The fact is that although Israel's statehood was approved by a two-thirds majority vote in the United Nations in 1948, it was immediately attacked by the surrounding Arab states. The subsequent war caused people on both sides to become refugees- for different reasons.
The Israelis urged the indigenous Muslim and Christian Arabs to remain in 1948, promising to guarantee their safety. The Arab League and Lebanon distributed leaflets, however, encouraging their flight; broadcasts continually predicted that after the Jews were killed and thrown into sea, Arabs would return with booty retrieved from them.
Mr. Credi neglected to mention thousands of Jews who fled from Egypt
and Iraq at this time, because of the extremely hostile environment there.
A fledging Israel absorbed these refugees, while the Arab
states, by contrast, deliberately maintained the Palestine refugee camps for almost 50 years as a bargaining tool.
Israel sent equipment and medical supplies to Macedonia last week, and is sending a medical team to set up field hospitals. Several Jewish organizations, including AJC, have already committed substantial funds to the International Rescue Committee.
Marjorie R. Lissy, Mamaroneck
April 8, 1999
(The writer is president, Westchester Chapter, American Jewish Committee.)
For a rebuttal see