Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Arab villages that were: a new Israeli guidebook

8th century Muslim fortress at Habonim
The guidebook offers 18 tours in various locales, including Palestinian villages that were evacuated in the late 1940s, most of which were destroyed. On the back of the book it says, "The tours lead to places that once existed, the remains of which we often encounter even if we do not know their meaning."
The book was published by Pardes Publications and Zochrot (an NGO which, according to its website, tries to explain to Jewish Israelis the significance of the Nakba, the "catastrophe" Palestinians suffered in 1948 with the creation of the state ). My tour followed the chapters on Ein Hod and Ein Hawd al-Jadida, written by Rachel Leah Jones, and the Carmel shore villages of Kafr Lam (Habonim ) and Dor/Tantura, written by Noga Kadman.

I'd visited these places before, but this time went in search of their Palestinian past - to see what remains of that past, which to me had been almost entirely transparent for decades. I looked for what could be found today of the villages that, 65 years ago, stood along the shore.
Regarding the book, let me say straightaway that its importance goes beyond the mere fact of its publication. It contains consistent, systematic historical documentation, with a clear political opinion, of a past we tend to ignore. Indeed, until this visit, I myself had missed the sheikh's tomb at Dor.
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  1. Close to 500 villages have been wiped out in 1948 and upward. The names of these villages can be found on Palestine Remembered, here: