A Daily Telegraph story on John Kerry’s peace plan contains the following:
Mr Kerry’s acceptance of Israel’s demand to be recognised as a Jewish state is a blow to Mr Abbas, who argues that it would compromise the position of the country’s 1.5 million Arab citizens. The Palestinians say it would also mean surrendering on the demand of a “right of return” for five million refugees and their descendants who fled their homes at the time of Israel’s 1948 war of independence.
It appears that journalist Robert Tait has got his figures mixed up. The sentence above implies that 5 million Palestinian refugees were created around 1948. As the Jewish Virtual Library notes:
Many Arabs claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1947–49. The last census taken by the British in 1945 found approximately 1.2 million permanent Arab residents in all of Palestine. A 1949 census conducted by the government of Israel counted 160,000 Arabs living in the new state after the war. In 1947, a total of 809,100 Arabs lived in the same area. This meant no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine arrived at an even lower refugee figure—472,000.
A request for a correction has been sent to the Daily Telegraph. Watch this space.
The Telegraph story has also been republished in the Irish Independent. We are now also seeking a correction from this media outlet.
The Palestinians say it would also mean surrendering on the demand of a “right of return” for five million refugees who include those who fled their homes at the time of Israel’s 1948 war of independence as well as their descendants.