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Villages of Palestine

 

 

 

1. Introduction

 

 

1-1            Objectives                          

1-2            Seeds of Ethnic Cleansing Administrative Divisions of Palestine

1-3            Ethnic Cleansing

1-4            Others are hell

1-5            The Right of Return

1-6            Note on documentation 

 

 

                           

 

 

 

 

1.1   Objectives:

 

 


   This web site, the “ villagesofpalestine.com ”, (VOPC) is a private, independent website unaffiliated with any political party or governmental organization. The VOPC aims to bring the information about the villages of Palestine from books, shelves, live memories and any other available source into the Internet. This will introduce the tragedy of the Palestinian people to a larger global audience, on the one hand, and ensures any easy accessible reference for those Palestinians who are born in Diaspora, namely in the non-Arab countries, on the other hand.

 

My ambition is to collect, compile and disseminate information – via the Internet - about the villages of Palestine whether destroyed or in existence.  Our referential guide in identifying these villages is the Supplement No.2 to the Palestine Gazette No.1415 of June 7, 1945 published by the Government of Palestine then.  This supplement contains the administrative divisions of all Palestine and the names of the cities, towns, villages and Bedouin tribes, which existed in the country in 1945(1)

 

 

 

1.2   Seeds of Ethnic Cleansing:

 

   In the early years of the Zionists efforts to secure support for their enterprise, they propagated the idea of “ a land without people for a people without a land.” a slogan coined by Israel Zagwill, a prominent Anglo-Jewish writer. (2) Even Bin-Gurion, one of the Founding Fathers of Israel, writes in his “Memories” negating the very existence of the Palestinian people in Palestine:

 

“I believed then, as I do today, that we held a clear title to this country [Palestine]. Not the right to take it away from others (there were no others)[emphasis added], but the right and the duty to fill its emptiness, restore life to its barrenness, to re-create a modern version of our ancient Israel.”(3)

 

Despite such propaganda, the Founding Fathers from the outset were well aware that not only there were people on the land, but also that people were there in large numbers. (4) The facts and figures presented below regarding the villages of Palestine refute this fallacy of empty barren land, “ a land without people “ and show the magnitude of the premeditated Israeli ethnic cleansing committed against the Palestinians in 1948 and later on up to this moment.

 

1.3   Administrative Divisions of Palestine in 1945:

 

   According to the Proclamation of the High Commissioner for Palestine published in the Palestine Gazette no, 1415 of the 7th of June 1945, there were six districts and 16 sub-districts in Palestine(5)

Galilee District composed of the five sub-districts of Acre, Beisan, Nazareth, Safad and  Tiberias.

1.     Haifa District, coextensive with Haifa sub-district.

2.     Samaria District, composed of the sub-districts of Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm.

3.     Jerusalem District, composed of the three sub-districts of Hebron, Jerusalem and Ramallah.

4.     Lydda District, composed of the sub-districts of Jaffa and Ramle;

5.     Gaza District, composed of sub-districts of BeerSheba and Gaza.

 

 

                                                                                                                          

 

 

“British Mandate officials translated the Ottoman Arabic term qada’ as “sub district” and called the larger unit encompassing it, the liwa’, “district”. . . .Government statistics about villages were gathered at the level of qada’ and were recorded under this heading; hence the qada’ is the most important unit for data on village life.  We translated the term as ‘district’ in preference to the more precise but clumsier sub district.”(6)

I will be using “district” as is used in All That Remains i.e. as a translation of qada’.

 

1.4   Ethnic Cleansing:

 

   The following summary shows the number of towns and villages in each district in 1948; the Arab towns and villages occupied by the Israelis; the number of Arab towns and villages destroyed; the number of Arab towns and villages still in existence in Israel; and the number of Arab towns and villages which exist in the West Bank and Gaza.(7)

 

 



Sub-Districts and villages

No of Arab towns and villages in 1948, excluding Bedouin localities

Arab towns and villages occupied by Zionists 1948-49

Arab Towns and Villages destroyed

Arab Towns and villages still existing in Israel

Arab towns and Villages in the West Bank and Gaza

1.Acre

50

50

23

27

00

2. Beisan

30

30

27

3

00

3. Nazareth

27

27

8

19

00

4. Safad

78

78

73

5

00

5. Tiberias

31

31

26

5

00

6. Hafia

58

58

42

16

00

7. Jenin

67

19

7

12

48

8. Nablus

106

5

2

3

101

9. Tulkarm

87

35

25

10

52

10. Hebron

37

18

18

None

19

11. Jerusalem

85

43

42

1

42

12. Ramallah

39

None

None

None

36

13. Haffa

24

24

24

None

00

14.Ramle

59

59

59

None

00

15.Beersheba

2

2

2

None

00

16. Gaza

56

47

47

None

9

Total

833

526

425

101

307

 

 

 

 

   As shown above, about 81% of the occupied villages were demolished and evicted by force. The population was uprooted, expelled to other places, and condemned to estrangement, poverty, illness and endless human sufferings caused by expulsion.  This ethnic cleansing, indeed, took place according to a very well prepared plan executed without mercy. Yosef Weitz, member of the Jewish Agency’s First Transfer Committee, wrote in his diary (entry dated 12 January 1948):

 

     The Land of Israel is not small at all, if only the Arabs will be removed  and if its frontiers would be enlarged a little; to the north all the way to the Litani[River in Lebanon], and to the east by including the Golan Heights…While the Arabs should be transferred  to northern Syria and Iraq. (8) [Emphasis added]

 

Even a list of the villages to be cleared out was ready in 1930 according to Weitz transfer Plan. I made a summary of a list of the Arab villages, which in my opinion must be cleared out in order to complete Jewish regions. I also made a summary of the places that have land disputes and must be settled by military means. (9)

 

According to Mr. Weitz , the Palestinians and the Israelis are mutually exclusive in the same land.  He is firmly convinced that there is no room for the Israelis and Palestinians living togather in Palestine as he writes in his dairy entry dated 20 December 1940:

 

Amongst ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country.[emphasis added]. No ”development” will bring us closer to our aim to be an independent   people in this small Country.  After the Arabs are transferred, the country will be wide and open for us; with the Arabs staying the country  will remain narrow and restricted…. There is no room for compromise on this point….land purchasing….will not bring about the state;….The only way is transfer the  Arabs from here to neighboring countries, all of them, except perhaps Bethlehem, Nazareth, and old Jerusalem.    Not a single village or a single tribe must be left.  And the transfer must be done through their absorption in Iraq  and Syria and even in Trans Jordan.  For that goal money will be found- even a lot of money.  And only then will the country be able to absorb millions of Jews…. There is no other solution.(10) [emphasis added]

 

 

 

  

 

1.5   “Others Are Hell”

 

   It is evident that the Palestinian refugee crises is, indeed, a result of design not war.(11)

It is the substitution of one people for another by force of arms,(12) the endless long columns of refugees fleeting toward the Lebanese borders before  we joined them in Lebanon are still vivid in my memory.  The strong feeling of being uprooted and expelled from our homeland is the driving force in our daily life, hence, the relentless determination to return to our homeland, rebuild our destroyed villages and embrace its sacred soil. We were forced to leave our homeland 52 years ago. Time has been entrapped in the moment of our expulsion.  Thus we live in continuous tragic human sufferings.  This is a Promethean image of the Palestinian refugees with one exception: We did not steal fire from gods.  The Israelis took our land from us by force and condemned us to this everlasting torture.  In addition to this, the Israelis and their allies want us to legalize their act of ethnic cleansing and unlawfully possession of our homes and land. What a tragedy of human consciousness!!!  No language can capture the tragic dimensions of our human sufferings. “ Others are hell.”…”Others are hell”. .” Others are hell”.

 

1.6   The Right of Return

 

   One of the hard facts facing the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis is the “Right of Return”. The right of return and /or compensation as provided for under UN Resolution 194 of 1948 is the only feasible option for reconciliation and peace acceptable to the 4.5 million alienated refugees living in Diaspora in the Arab world and beyond. They are prey to poverty, illness, misery, torture, oppression and worst of these sufferings and grievances: fragmentation. The right of return is an individualistic right.  It is nontransferable to others, can’t be annihilated, despised, or confiscated by any authority The sanctity of private ownership supersedes any legislation”.

No one, even Arafat, has the authority to relinquish our holy right of return to our homeland.

Any Palestinian Authority who may do a deal with Israel on the refugees and betrays the right of return is, indeed, without real legitimacy and will be condemned and isolated by the Palestinians.  Mr. Asaad Abdel-Rahman, the PLO’s minister in charge of the refugee question for the peace process shares millions of the Palestinian refugees their worries about this matter as Professor Edward Said tells us:

 

Asaad Abdel-Rahman, the PLO’s minister in charge of the refugee question for the peace process, has recently made some excellent strong statements about the absolute right of return for Palestinians evicted by Israel: these statements express the right kind of resolve and the right kind of moral indignation.  After all, Abdel-Rahman says, a UN resolution (number 194) has been affirmed annually since 1948; it allows Palestinians the right of return and/or compensation. Why should there be a compromise by Palestinians given the world community’s unanimity? Even the US has supported the resolution, with Israel the lone dissenter. The troubling thing, however, is that Abdel-Rahman hints that the PlO leadership may do a deal with Israel on the refugees behind his back which, in view of the long history of shabby Arafatian compromises whose net effect have been to sell out his people, is an allowable, not to say perfectly well-founded worry. (13)

 

The Palestinian exodus of 1948 is the Heart of the Palestinian question. “ If the Palestinian Diaspora, which is composed of a majority of refugees is not the beneficiary of this ‘peace process,’ why must it acquiesce in it by conceding all its rights? To ask the Diaspora  and the refugees to sacrifice their right, hopes, and dreams,  so that some meager political  benefits can accrue  to native West Bank and Gaza Palestinians is to ask the Diaspora  and refugees more generally, to commit national suicide.” (14)

 

United Nations Partition of Palestine (29th November 1947) gave 46% of Palestine to the Palestinians and gave 52% of Palestine to Israel. In the 1948 war, Israel occupied the Upper Galilee, and the total area occupied by Israel became 79% of Palestine.  On the 5th of June 1967, Israel occupied the rest 21% of Palestine known as Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Palestinian State proposed by the Palestinian Authority is on the 21% of Palestine (Gaza Strip   and the West Bank). Total population of Gaza and the West Bank is 3,215,889.  1,327,920  are refugees registered with UNRWA.  The number of the local population ( non refugees status) is 1,887,969.  Simple calculation shows that the proposed state will be for 22% of the Palestinian people on 21% of Palestine as the following tables show (Shaml Website-Palestinian Refugees Distribution) :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFUGEES REGISTERED WITH UNRWA
3,521,140

Field

No. of Camps

Refugees Inside  Camps 

Refugees Inside Camps
(%)

Refugees Outside Camps

Total No. of Refugees

Refugees' proportion of local population

JORDAN

 10

 269,749

 18,4

 1,193,315

 1,463,064

 33,3 %

WEST BANK

 19

 147,015

 26,5

 408,042

 555,057

 29,7 %

GAZA

  8

 423,881

 54,9

 348,982

 772,863

 75,7 %

LEBANON

 12

 198,931

 54,6

 165,620

 364,551

 10,4 %

SYRIA (SAR)

 10

 106,748

 29,2

 258, 857

 365,605

 2,5 %

Total all Fields

 59

1,146,324

 

 2,374,816

 3,521,140

 

 

Source: UNRWA in Figures, UNRWA HQ, September 1998

 

 

Distribution of Palestinian Population Worldwide

 

PALESTINE

 



West Bank
Gaza Strip
WBGS residents living abroad
Areas Occupied since 1948

 

 

1,869,818
1,020,813
   325,258
   953,497

Total Inside Palestine* 

4,169,386

DIASPORA

 



Jordan
Lebanon
Syria
Egypt
Saudi Arabia
Kuwait & Gulf area
Libya & Iraq
Other Arab countries
The Americas
Other countries

 

 

 

2,328,308
   430,183
   465,662
     48,784
   274,762
   143,274
     74,284
       5,544
   203,588
   259,248

Total Outside Palestine**

 4,233,637


TOTAL Palestinian Population Worldwide 

8,403,023

 

* Source: PCBS, Population Census, 1997
** Source: Palestine 1948-50 years After Al-Nakba, Palestinian Return Centre, London, 1998


 


 

 

 

Let us hope that the Palestinian Authority remains steadfast  to our  “ Right of Return” and will never  offer the  “ Palestinian Refugees ”  as a burnt sacrifice in the temple of the Israelis arrogance of power. Our homes and lands in Jaffa, Haifa, Safad,  Kafr Biri’m and other towns and villages have the same sanctity as Jerusalem.   “ No claim dies as long there is someone to keep up that claim,” as an Arab proverb says.  The Palestinians in Diaspora and in Palestine will keep up this claim until the  “Right of Return” is implemented. 

 

 

 

1.7   Note on Documentation:

 

The core of data has been extracted from the following sources:

All that Remains, al-Mawsu’a al-Filastinya (Encyclopedia of Palestine), Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, al-Dabbagh’s Biladuna Filastin, and the Palestinian Oxodus from Galilee 1948.

 

The extracted passages from these sources will not be specifically identified in the text itself. The source(s) will be referred to at the end of each village text..  The original authors preserve all the copyrights of these texts.   In presenting data I will start from the upper north i.e. Safad District,then Acre  District and so on…

 

 

 Windsor, this 24th of August, 1999

 

Footnotes:

 

1.     Issa Nakhleh, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, vo.1, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. 1993, p.293.

2.     Nor Masaliha, Expulsion of the Palestinians, The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought 1882-1948. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies,1992, p.5

3.     David Ben-Gurion, Memoirs, New York and Cleveland: the World Publishing Company,1970, P26

4.     Masalha, Expulsion, p 6

5.     Nakhleh, Encyclopedia, vol.1, pp 305-306

6.     Walid Khalidi, Editor, All that Remains: the Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948.Washington D.C.: Institute of Palestine Studies,1992.p xx

7.     Nakhleh, Encyclopedia, Vol.1, p. 332

8.     Masalha, Expulsion, p. 134

9.     Ibid, p.186

 

 

10.    For a different  point of view see: Benny Morris, the Birth of the Palestinian Refugee   Problem, 1947-1949

            11.   Maslha, Expulsion, pp131-132

12.   Rashid Khaldi, Intod., The Palestinian Exodus from Galilee  by Hafez Nazzal Beirut: the Institute of Palestine Studies, 1978, p5

     13   Edward Said, “ the right of return at last.”, Feb 10, 2000 p.2 in Arabic Media Internet Network.

14 Joseph Massad, “ Return or Permanent Exile?  Palestinian Refugees and the Ends of Oslo.”p.5 See the whole paper in  Critique, Spring 1999,pp. 5-23.

 

 

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