Egyptian Policy Toward the Palestinian Refugees, 1948 to 1952: Incorporating Arab Sources into the Historiography of the 1948 War for Palestine
134 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2012 Last revised: 5 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2012
The academic or scholarly record of the events of 1948 has largely been fashioned via the lens of Israeli and Western sources. The historiography of the 1948 War for Palestine was challenged beginning in the late 1980s with the emergence of the self-proclaimed Israeli “New Historians,” who inter alia challenged the inherited and dominant historical narrative of the state of Israel, or the “old history.” While the work of the New Historians provided new insights into the events of 1948, the New Historians — like the “old historians” — failed to fully cull primary and secondary Arab sources in their examinations into the historiography of the 1948 War for Palestine.
This study utilizes the Egyptian press — particularly, al-Moqattam and al-Ahram, the two leading Cairo dailies, as well as a number of Egyptian weeklies — to examine the events of 1948 as they unfolded in Egypt and other Arab states. Specifically, this study examines Egyptian policy towards the Palestinian refugees during the time period spanning from April 1948, when the first wave of destitute refugees arrived in Egypt, to July 1952, when the liberal era was brought to an abrupt close at the hands of Gamal `Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers Movement. By relying on the Egyptian press, this study seeks to incorporate more fully primary and secondary Arab sources into the historiography of the 1948 War for Palestine. In addition to providing distinctive insights into what took place in Cairo during the events of 1948, the Egyptian press also facilitates a more nuanced assessment of what transpired in Israel/Palestine during and subsequent to the 1948 War for Palestine.
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