May 04, 2006

Palestinians recall expulsion

From Al-Jazeera's website.
Nakba day

Millions of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza and in the camps in neighbouring Arab states will officially commemorate the Nakba on May 15; but the smaller number of refugees inside Israel have traditionally staged their own event to coincide with Israel's Independence Day, the date of which varies according to the Hebrew calendar....

Internal refugees

Today, about 250,000 Palestinians in Israel - a quarter of their total number - are believed to be internal refugees. All are refused the right to return to their original homes and villages. The lands of Umm al-Zinat, as with many other destroyed villages, were planted with a forest of fir trees by the Jewish National Fund in an attempt, according to historian Meron Benvenisti, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, to camouflage the ruins. Other lands belonging to Umm al-Zinat were handed over to a rural Jewish community, Elyakim, for it to farm.

Palestinian political and religious leaders in Israel, as well as the refugees themselves, used the event to denounce Israel's occupation and to demand the right of the refugees to return to their villages....


Although for many years Israel's expulsions of Palestinian communities like Umm al-Zinat went by without remark, a new generation of Israeli historians has begun bringing to light evidence of at least two dozen massacres as well as rapes and murders of Palestinians.

The historians have found among papers in state and military archives proof that Israel encouraged the mass flight of Palestinians through well-publicised massacres such as one near Jersualem in the village of Deir Yassin. They have also unearthed a series of documents, such as Plan Dalet, that suggest it was the army's intention to ethnically cleanse the new state of as many Palestinians as possible.

The stories of Umm al-Zinat's refugees confirm these findings. Badria Fachmawi, who was 14 when Israeli soldiers advanced on the village, says she remembers the sound of Israeli gunfire and fleeing with her parents and siblings.
Here's Ha'aretz with what it calls "countrywide celebrtions before noting the demonstration by Israel's internal refugees which was supported by many Israelis including Ilan Pappe.

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