Telegraph revision to false claim on Palestinian refugees is still misleading

On Aug. 20 we posted about an article published at The Telegraph by their Middle East correspondent, Robert Tait, which grossly inflated the number of Palestinian Arab refugees from the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war.  

Here’s the passage in question:

On the table are the familiar sticking points that have defied several previous peace-making attempts — namely borders, Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, the fate of almost five million Arab refugees expelled to neighbouring countries during Israel’s 1948 war of independence, and the status of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

We complained to Telegraph editors, explaining that the number of refugees from the ’48 war was actually 711,000 (of whom only 30,000 remain today), while the 5 million figure represents those who qualify for “refugee” benefits (which includes the descendants of actual refugees) under UNRWA’s bizarre rules.

Yesterday the passage was amended, and now reads:

On the table are the familiar sticking points that have defied several previous peace-making attempts — namely borders, Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian lands, the fate of almost five million Arab refugees and their descendants expelled to neighbouring countries during Israel’s 1948 war of independence, and the status of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

However, the new passage is still extremely misleading, as it could easily be understood to mean that there were 5 million refugees from the ’48 war plus an additional number of their descendents. 

We will continue communicating with Telegraph editors until the passage clearly conveys the correct number of refugees.

(See Update to this post, here.)

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