Abstract & Full Text

This article chronicles the way in which Israel’s main institution for the dissemination of information (the national Publications Agency) described, between the early 1950s and 2004, the causes of 1948 Palestinian exodus which led to the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. This is done by analyzing all the Agency’s publications that address these causes and were produced during this 50-year period. Generally, it was found that throughout the years, the publications presented the Zionist narrative of the causes of the exodus (willing flight of the refugees). Only three publications presented a narrative that slightly deviated from the Zionist narrative (Zionist-critical), addressing insignificant expulsions, while using euphemism and Softening References. In addition, the chapter describes (based on interviews with key figures in the Agency) the modus operandi of the Agency, and the reasons why self-censorship was practiced in addressing the exodus causes. Four main reasons for not addressing the 1948 expulsions of Palestinians were observed: 1) The wish to present Israel in a positive manner for domestic and international reasons; 2) Identification with the Zionist ideology; 3) Abiding by institutional norms; 4) Concern of sanctions.