Abbas: Arabs of Safed left Israel by choice in 1948, becoming refugees
PA TV hosted PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on its Personal Meeting program. Abbas himself was raised in Safed, and he spoke about the town during the 1948 war. He reported that the Arabs were afraid that the Jews might want to avenge the Arab riots of 1929 and the massacres that took place then.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "The [Arab] Liberation Army retreated from the city [Safed in 1948], causing the [Arab] people to begin emigrating. In Safed, just like Hebron, people were afraid that the Jews would take revenge for the [Arab] massacre [of Jews] in 1929. The 1929 massacre was most severe in Safed and Hebron (Note: 65 Jews were killed in Hebron, 18 in Safed). Let's mention the 3 men from these cities who were executed (by the British Court, for "brutal murders"): Ataa Al-Zir, [Muhammad] Jamjoum and Fuad Hijazi. Hijazi from Safed and the other two from Hebron. The people (of Safed in 1948) were overcome with fear, and it caused the people to leave the city in a disorderly way."
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Note: Muhammad Jamjoum, Fuad Hijazi, and Ataa Al-Zir "committed particularly brutal murders [of Jews] at Safed and Hebron," according to the report by British Government to the League of Nations. They were convicted of attacking British soldiers and murdering Jews in the 1929 Hebron Massacre, in which 65 Jews were murdered. They were executed by the British in 1930.
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