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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER ELEVEN Part 2 of 7

 

DISTRICTS AND SUBDISTRICTS OF PALESTINE

As can be seen from 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 in Palestine, namely:

1. Galilee District, composed of the five subdistricts of Acre, Beisan, Nazareth, Safad and Tiberias;

2. Haifa District, coextensive with the Haifa subdistrict.

3. Samaria District, composed of the three subdistricts of Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm;

4. Jerusalem District, composed of the three subdistricts of Hebron, Jerusalem and Ramallah,

5. Lydda District, composed of the subdistricts of Jaffa and Ramle;

6. Gaza District, composed of the subdistricts of Beersheba and Gaza.

In 1948, there were in Palestine four cities and towns that had a mixed Arab and Jewish population, namely, Safad, Haifa, Tiberias, and Jerusalem. There were also 91 cities and towns inhabited only by Arabs, and there were 837 Arab villages as well as 108 villages and localities inhabited by Bedouins in several subdistricts. There were also six cities and towns inhabited by Jews, and there were 287 Jewish settlements.

The 91 cities and towns inhabited only by Arabs were the following: 1. Acre subdistrict - Acre, El Bassa, Sakhnin and Tarshiha; 2. Beisan subdistrict - Beisan; 3. Nazareth subdistrict - Nazareth, Kafr Kanna and Saffuriya; 4. Safad subdistrict - El Khalisa; 5. Tiberias subdistrict - Lubiya, Maghar and Samakh; 6. Haifa subdistrict - Shafa 'Amr and Et Tira; 7. Jenin subdistrict - Jenin, 'Arraba, Umm el Fahm, Ya'bad and El Yamun; 8. Nablus subdistrict - Nablus, 'Agraba, 'Asira esh Shamaliya, Tammun and Tubas; 9. Tulkarm subdistrict - Tulkarm, 'Anabta, 'Attil, Baqa el Gharbiya, Deir el Ghusun, Qalqiliya, Shuweika, Et Taiyiba and Et Tira; 10. Hebron subdistrict - Hebron, 'Ajjur, Bani Na'im, Beit Jibrin, Beit Nattif, Ed Dawayima, Edh Dhahiriya, Dura, Halhul, Idna, Es Samu', Si'ir, Surif and Yatta; 11. Jerusalem subdistrict - Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahur, 'Ein Karim, Lifta, Silwan, Et Tur and Jericho; 12. Ramallah subdistrict - Ramallah, El Bira, Bir Zeit and Deir Dibwan; 13. Jaffa subdistrict - Jaffa, Beit Dajan, Kafr 'Ana, Es Safiriya, Salama, El Yahudiya and Yazur; 14. Ramle subdistrict - Ramle, 'Aqir, Beit Nabala, Lydda, El Qubab and Zarnuqa; 15. Beersheba subdistrict - Beersheba; 16. Gaza subdistrict - Gaza, Bani Suheila, Beit Daras, Bureir, Deir El Balah, El Majdal, El Faluja, Hamama, Hirbiya, Isdud, Jabaliya, El Jura, Khan Yunis, El Masmiya, Rafah and Yibna.

ARAB CITIES, TOWNS AND VILLAGES OCCUPIED IN 1948

In 1948 Zionist forces occupied the mixed populated towns and cities, namely, Safad, Tiberias, Haifa and all the modem sections and quarters of Jerusalem, namely: Mamilla, Jaffa Gate, El Maskubia, Bab El Jadid, El Musrara, El Baka El Fuka, El Baqa Altahta, Katamon, Greek Colony and Talbieh. Zionist forces also occupied fifty cities and towns inhabited by Arabs only. They are the following:

1. Acre subdistrict - Acre, El Bassa, Sakhnin and Tarshiha; 2. Beisan subdistrict - Beisan; 3. Nazareth subdistrict -Nazareth, Kafr Kanna and Saffuriya; 4. Safad subdistrict - El Khalisa; 5. Tiberias subdistrict - Lubiya, Maghar and Samakh; 6. Haifa subdistrict - Shafa 'Amr and Et Tirq 7. Jenin subdistrict - Umm el Fahm, El Yamun; 8. Nablus subdistrict - none; 9. Tulkarm subdistrict - Baqa El Gharbiya, Et Taiyiba and Et Tira; 10. Hebron subdistrict- 'Ajjur, Beit Jibrin, Beit Nattif and Ed Dawayima; 11. Jerusalem subdistrict - 'Ein Karim and Lifta; 12. Ramallah subdistrict -none; 13. Jaffa subdistrict - Jaffa, Beit Dajan, Kafr 'Ana, Es Safiriya, Salama, El Yahudiya and Yazur; 14. Ramle subdistrict - Ramle, 'Aqir, Beit Nabala, Lydda, El Qubab and Zarnuqa; 15. Beersheba subdistrict - Beersheba; 16. Gaza subdistrict - Beit Daras, Bureir, El Faluja, El Majdal, Hamama, Hirbiya, Isdud, El Jura, El Masmiya and Yibna. The Zionists also occupied 476 villages in the subdistricts of Acre, Beisan, Nazareth, Safad, Tiberias, Haifa, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Hebron, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Ramle, Beersheba and Gaza.

When the Armistice agreements were signed by Zionist authorities, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, the Zionists were in occupation of 80% of the territory of Palestine, which included all of the subdistricts of Acre, Beisan, Nazareth, Safad, Tiberias, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramle, and Beersheba, and parts of the subdistricts of Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Hebron, Jerusalem and Gaza. They occupied the four cities and towns of mixed Arab and Jewish population, namely Tiberias, Safad, Haifa and Jerusalem. They also occupied 50 Arab towns and 476 Arab villages as well as 108 villages and localities inhabited by Bedouins in the aforementioned subdistricts.

The Zionist terrorist organizations, the Haganah, Irgun and the Stern, practically emptied the subdistricts they occupied of their Arab inhabitants. They expelled by force, massacre and threats over 800,000 Muslim and Christian Palestinians. We shall deal in detail with the expulsion of the Palestinian Arab population in the chapter relating to expulsions. But it is important to state that not more than 100,000 Palestinian Arabs remained in the occupied areas. The Zionists immediately set up a military government in the occupied areas whose task was to prevent Palestinians from returning to their homes and to further expel more Palestinians who remained in their towns and villages. The Zionists acted on the racist principle that there is no room for Arabs and Jews to live in the "Jewish State," and therefore, the "Military Government" was doing everything in its power to further empty the areas of their Arab inhabitants. Yosef Weitz stated: "I marked on my map land areas of one village after another and I should like to swallow it all."(1)

After the great majority of the Palestinian Arab population had been expelled, the Zionist terrorist organizations, together with other Jews, looted more than 200,000 Arab homes and apartments and looted all Arab shops, stores, factories and commercial buildings. After the Zionists declared martial law in the occupied areas, they formed a committee for the allocation of Arab homes and apartments Erasing Arab Towns and Villages and Usurping Arab Houses and Apartments 307 for settling Jews. This committee was composed of representatives of the Jewish Agency, war victims' organization, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the provisional government, the military governor of each area and a custodian. It assigned new Jewish immigrants and Jews from other areas to live in Arab houses and apartments.(2)

The Zionists expropriated the private property of Arabs who remained in the boundaries of the so-called Jewish State.

Tom Segev recounts:

Yosef Yaakobson - an orange grower, and later an advisor to the Ministry of Defense - suggested to Ben- Gurion that he expropriate a shoe-making plant from its Jaffa owner and turn it over to the shoe-making enterprise Min'al of kibbutz Givat Hashloshah. Ben-Gurion consulted the Minister of Finance and Kaplan expressed the opinion that the private property of Arabs who remained in Jaffa should not be expropiated. Ben-Gurion disagreed; in his opinion only the property found inside private residences should not be expropriated. Yaakobson told him that the army was removing goods from Jaffa property estimated at 30,000 pounds daily.(3)

The abandoned Arab homes in the occupied Arab towns and villages were dealt with in a similar manner. A committee of the Jewish Agency Settlement Department and the Jewish National Fund was established to survey the 528 Arab towns and villages in all the occupied subdistricts. Those villages that contained houses that could be used to settle Jews were immediately converted into Jewish settlements by bringing new Jewish immigrants or Jews from the Kibbutzim. The villages that had either few houses or houses of different styles than Jews would live in were completely demolished. The bulldozers of the Haganah and the Jewish National Fund were sent to these villages to completely demolish their houses. They were erased from the map of Palestine. New Jewish settlements were immediately established on their sites or nearby. The Zionists completely demolished the mosques and cemeteries in all Arab towns and villages converted into Jewish settlements.

Levi Eshkol of the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency (who later became so-called Premier) and the notorious Yossef Weitz of the Jewish National Fund coordinated the program for Judaization of Arab villages in the latter half of 1948. Eshkol relates in his diaries, "I sent for the engineers, asked the engineer corps for assistance and began to turn the great wheel which enabled us that very winter to transform more than 45 abandoned villages into lively new Jewish settlements."(4)

Yosef Weitz states in his diaries that he had formed a "transform committee" and was travelling about the areas seized by the Haganah working out the implementation of his view on the abandoned villages ... destruction, improvement and settlement.(5)

Tom Segev, a former writer for the Ha' aretz and co-editor of the Israeli Newsweekly Koteret Rashit, describes the destruction of Arab villages and their conversion into Jewish settlements. He states:

In the latter half of 1948, the settlement department of the Jewish Agency prepared a list of several dozen Arab villages which it proposed to repopulate with new immigrants. Most of the villages had been abandoned, but a few were not quite empty. Some were meant to be demolished and their lands to be used for new settlements. Some of the Cabinet ministers criticized the army for demolishing some of the villages it occupied. The subject was brought up time after time by Ministers Shitrit, Bentov and Cizling. "As I travel about I hear rumors about the destruction of property and I should like to know who gave the order to do this," said Cizling at one meeting. "I was in Beit Shean and was told by people I trust that the army commander had received an order to destroy the place .... These are facts about villages which have been destroyed. In the Hefer Valley I saw Arab villages which had been abandoned by their inhabitants and were not destroyed during the campaign. Now they are in ruins and whoever did it should be called upon to explain...." Ben-Gurion replied: "When you say Beit Shean, that is aparticularplace. But when you mention generally 'ruined villages' -I can't send people to look for ruined villages." Cizling asked: "Who destroyed the village of Cherkass in the Hefer Valley? At an earlier meeting I mentioned Moussa Goldenberg who reported an order to destroy 40 villages and named you as the source of that order. I stated then that I did not believe it was really done in your name. I am not speaking now about the political aspect, but about things which seem to be happening by themselves, without control. Even if I agreed with a certain act - I wouldn't accept it being done by itself."(6)

Not everything happened "by itself": in September Ben- Gurion informed the Ministerial Committee for Abandoned Property that the commander of the central front, Tsvi Ayalon, considered it necessary "to demolish partially" 14 Arab villages, for reasons of security, "As it is extremely difficult to convene the committees," Ben-Gurion wrote his ministers, "would you please let me have your opinion (on the destruction of Arab villages) in writing. I shall await your answer within three days ... Lack of response will be viewed as consent." The ministers demanded further information. In September 1949 the Cabinet debated the destruction of the old city of Tiberias. Yigael Yadin was quoted as recommending that the entire city, except for the holy places, be destroyed, in order to prevent the Arab residents from returning.(7)

The authorities also included in their plans lands owned by Jews. They were inclined to emphasize that most of the Arab lands they proposed to expropriate were not cultivated, and that even after the expropriations the Arab villages would still have enough lands to sustain them. The army recommended certain locations and often demanded that they be settled. The assumption was that the new settlements would serve to fortify the country's borders and prevent the return of the villagers who had fled and been driven out in the course of the war and its aftermath.(8)

On June 27, 1948, Aharon Zisling, Minister of Agriculture, who throughout 1948 criticized Ben-Gurion's policy towards the Palestinian Arabs, asked Ben-Gurion "about the rumoured plans to destroy 40 abandoned Arab villages and about the burning of the standing crops of Arabs in various parts of the country. Ben-Gurion apparently did not reply."(9)

The Haganah forces started moving the Arab population from their homes in the cities to different homes abandoned by the refugees in different sections of the towns. Their objective was to segregate the Arab population in the worst sections of each city. An example of these operations is the one conducted in the city of Haifa.

Tom Segev in his book, 1949 The First Israelis, described what happened when Haganah forces moved Arab inhabitants of Haifa from one area to another. He describes the meeting between the Commander of occupied Haifa with representatives of the Arab community. The commander was Rehavem Amir. He met Tewfik Toubi and Bulus Farah and informed them of the order to remove the Arabs from the Camel Ridge and the German colony area and other more well-to-do areas to the area of Wadi Nisnas, where abandoned houses had been prepared for them. The Military Order stated that the operation was to be carried out by July 5, within four days. Mr. Toubi and Mr. Farah protested vehemently against such a measure, but the Jewish Commander told them, "There is no room for argument," and insisted that the 90 Arab families in Stella Maris, the 180 Arab families in the German colony and the 47 families in Wadi Jamal must be removed to the houses in Wadi Nisnas which were homes of Arabs who had abandoned the city.(10)

THE DESTRUCTION AND RESETTLEMENT OF ARAB VILLAGES

The expulsion of the populations of the Christian villages of Iqrit and Kafr Bir'im and the village of El Khisas and the destruction of their homes are examples of the war crimes committed by Zionist leaders against the Palestinians and their villages. The following developments were related by the Mukhtar of Iqrit village to the late advocate Hanna Nakara of Haifa:

(a) IQRIT (ACRE SUBDISTRICT)

Iqrit is an Arab village in Western Galilee next to the Lebanese border with an area of 15,650 dunums. It was occupied by the Haganah on October 3 1,1948. Six days later, on November 5, the villagers were ordered, for "security reasons" and on the pretext of safeguarding their lives, to leave their homes "for two weeks" until military operations in the area were concluded. They refused to cross the border to Lebanon, and hence were advised to take only what they needed for this short period of "two weeks." The Haganah deceived them by providing locks for the houses and handing the villagers the keys. Within three days the villagers were evacuated to Er Rama in central Galilee on the main Acre/Safad road.

Military operations ceased and an armistice agreement was concluded between Israel and Lebanon on March 23, 1949, but still the villagers of Iqrit were not allowed to return to their village, despite what had been promised them. All appeals to Haganah leaders went unheeded or were rejected. After more than two years of unabated applications, correspondence, delegations, meetings and negotiations without avail, the villagers realized that the Israelis had no intention of allowing them to return to their homes and lands. Thus they petitioned the High Court of Justice in High Court Case No. 64/51.

On July 31, 1951, the High Court ruled that "there is no legal obstacle to petitioners returning to their village." The villagers, believing that the authorities would honor the High Court's decision, applied to the Military Governor to implement it. He referred them to the Minister of Defense, who referred them back to the Governor. This seesaw continued for about a month, while the villagers, living in Er Rama and elsewhere impatiently awaited their return. At the end of the month the government, incredibly, gave the people formal orders to leave their village, which they had left about three years before. These orders were purported to be in accordance with the provisions of the Emergency Regulations (Security Zones), 1949.

In spite of the absurdity of these orders, the villagers appealed at once to the military appeals committee, which, after a show-hearing lasting until after midnight, ratified the so-called expulsion orders. The villagers thereupon petitioned the High Court of Justice once again. An order nisi was issued, and the case was fixed for hearing on February 6, 1952. Although the matter was under consideration before the highest court in the country, the Israeli army, following an order from the Military Governor or the Minister of Defense, blew up all the houses of this Maronite Christian Arab village on Christmas Day, 195 1. The High Court was thus presented with a fait accompli.

On August 25,1953 (OfficialGazette No. 309 of September 3, 1953, p. 1446), the Minister of Finance issued a certificate under which the whole of Iqrit, with its area of 15,650 dunums, was requisitioned pursuant to Section 2 of the Land Acquisition (Validation of Acts and Compensation) Law, 1953.

(b) KAFR BIR'IM (SAFAD SUBDISTRICT)

The case of Kafr Bir'im, another Maronite Christian Arab village, is similar to that of Iqrit. The village was occupied on the same day, October 3 1,1948. The inhabitants were ordered to evacuate their village and go to the neighboring village of Jish. Their evacuation was imposed in the same way as that of the people of Iqrit, under the same circumstances, under the same pretexts and with the same promises that they would be allowed to return.

The villagers of Kafr Bir'im petitioned the High Court of Justice in 1953. The court issued an order nisi to the authorities concerned to show cause, if any, why the villagers were prevented from returning to their homes.

Once more the reply was contrary to all principles of justice and equity, and a direct insult to the authority of the judiciary. In a display of force and impudence, the infantry and air force attacked the vacant village on September 16, 1953, bombing and shelling the houses until they were completely demolished.

Kafr Bir'im, with an area of 11,700 dunums, was also expropriated under the Land Acquisition (Validation of Acts and Compensation) Law, 1953. The certificate of the Minister of Finance was published in the Official Gazette No. 307 of August 27, 1953, p. 1419.

(c) EL KHISAS

This is a small village in the Hula basin whose inhabitants numbered 470 Arabs and 60 Jews in 1945. The Arabs owned 1,480 dunums. The village is about six kilometers from the Lebanese border and ten kilometers from the Syrian border. In the area there are a number of Jewish settlements closer to Erasing Arab Towns and Villages and Usurping Arab Houses and Apartments 309 the borders. Only fifty-seven Arabs remained in the village after 1948. They owned three hundred dunums, most of which were fruit orchards. The Arabs had friendly relations with their Jewish neighbors and with the Jewish authorities. Six youngsters had volunteered for the Jewish Army and served eight months fighting side by side with Jewish soldiers and forces.

Israel's peculiar reward for friendly relations and military cooperation came shortly thereafter. On June 5, 1949, before sunrise, the village was encircled by army units, the Arabs were forcibly loaded onto army trucks, their houses were blown up and the inhabitants were transferred to Mount Kan'an, near Safad. They were placed in an open area under the burning June sun.

The people of El Khisas lodged protests against this unwarranted and inhuman treatment. They petitioned and approached several military and civil bodies, as well as many political figures, including the President, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Knesset. Their only demand was to be allowed to return to their village.

After nearly six months of living in the open air, with the approach of the harsh winter months, they were transferred to a desolate place called Wadi el Hammam in the vicinity of Tiberias.

They were assured time and again that their case was under consideration. On one occasion, after they were transferred to Wadi el Hammam, they were told by the Military Governor, Elisha Sols, that their evacuation was a mistake. He expressed his regret at what had befallen them and promised to arrange for their prompt return. Yet, still nothing was done to help them.

At last, feeling that all entreaties had gone unheard and that their stay in Wadi el Hammam was becoming permanent, and seeing that many other Arabs had been allowed to return to their villages under the Armistice Agreements concluded with Lebanon and Syria, the villagers decided to petition the High Court of Justice.

On June 12, 1952, they lodged their petition (High Court Case No. 132152). An order nisi was issued on the same day ordering the Minister of Defense and the Military Governor of Galilee to show cause within twenty days why they did not allow the petitioners (thirteen heads of families) to return to El Khisas.

In their petition the villagers stated inter alia the following:

1. That they were Israeli citizens, held Israeli identity cards, were born in El Khisas and had lived there with members of their families (sixty in number) since their birth;

2. That during the Mandate they had cooperated with the Haganah and the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel Ltd. (Jewish National Fund), and were on the best of terms with the settlements surrounding their village.

The Respondents (the Minister of Defense and the Military Governor of Galilee) were in a very bad situation. There was no lawful order against the petitioners to evacuate their village. There were no legal grounds to remove them from their houses by force, demolish their houses and transfer the people to Mount Kan'an. The petitioners' case seemed unanswerable.

But Israel's government had its own crooked ways and means. The competent authority under the Emergency Regulations (Security Zones), 1949, issued fraudulent orders on July 8, 1952, against all the people of El Khisas to leave the security zone within fourteen days of the date on which the order was delivered. They were served with these orders in Wadi el Hammam on July 7 and 8, 1952.

It was maintained in these orders that on November 2, 195 1 -two and a half years after the villagers' expulsion - the Minister of Defense had published in the Rules Collection No. 215 an order declaring El Khisas to be in a "security zone."

The people of El Khisas, as we have seen, were forcibly removed from their village on June 5, 1949. The area was not declared a "security zone" until November 2, 1951, and the orders to leave the village were issued on July 7, 1952, i.e., three years after the villagers' forced removal. It is obvious that the expulsion was ab initio unlawful and illegal.

When they returned to court on March 3, 1953, the petitioners, finding that their chances of success were weak, accepted the suggestion of the High Court of Justice that they lodge an appeal against the order of July 7, 1952, before the Appellate Commission under the Emergency Regulations (Extension) (Security Zones) (No.2) Law, 1949. The petition before the High Court of Justice stood adjourned pending the decision of the Appellate Commission.

Predictably, the appeal was dismissed on the pretext of "security." Although the High Court of Justice recommended that the authorities concerned should do everything possible to find a suitable solution which would meet security requirements and would also enable the petitioners to go back to their village, nothing was done, and to this day the villagers of El Khisas continue to live in Wadi el Hammam under miserable conditions.

It was clear that the question was not one of security, but one of grabbing the land and "clearing" the Hula Basin and Tiberias area of Arabs.

EXPULSION OF THE INHABITANTS OF OTHER VILLAGES AND TOWNS

Dr. Sabri Jiryis, in his book The Arabs in Israel, describes how Israel expelled the inhabitants of several Arab villages from their homes and destroyed the villages:

One of the first incidents of the expulsion of Arabs from their villages was the evacuation of Iqrit in western Galilee and the transportation of its inhabitants to the village of Er Rama, on November 5, 1948. Three months after that, on February 4, 1949, the inhabitants of Kafr Anan were evicted from their homes; half were sent to the Triangle where they were forced to cross the armistice lines into the West Bank. Three years later, when the villagers submitted a request to the Supreme Court to be allowed to return to Kafr Anan, all its houses were destroyed by the Israeli army.

On February 28, seven hundred refugees were expelled from Kafr Yasif, to which they had fled from nearby villages during the fighting in Galilee. Most were loaded onto trucks, driven to the Jordanian border and forced to cross.

The forced removals continued. On June 5,1949, the army and police surrounded three Arab villages in Galilee - Khisas, Qeitiya, and Yanuh - and expelled the inhabitants to the Safad area. In January 1950 an army unit arrived in the village of El Ghabisiya and told the inhabitants they had to leave within two days or be expelled across the frontier. Seeing no alternative, they left their homes and moved to Sheikh Dannun, an abandoned village. On July 7, after a search in the village of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem, some one hundred residents were rounded up and taken to an "unknown destination."

On August 17, the inhabitants of Majdal in the south (now called Ashkelon) received an expulsion order and were transported to the border of the Gaza Strip over a three-week period. At the beginning of February 195 1, the inhabitants of thirteen small Arab villages in Wadi 'Ara in the Triangle were sent over the border. And on November 17, 1951, a military detachment surrounded the village of Khirbat Buweishat (near Umm el Fahm in the Triangle), expelled the inhabitants, and dynamited their homes.

In addition to these collective expulsions, the Israeli government carried out "selective" expulsions in most of the Arab villages in Galilee between 1948 and 195 1. Several dozen men would be chosen and forced to leave -notably heads of families, the eldest sons of large families, and the breadwinners - no doubt in the hope that they would soon be followed by their dependents.

Wholesale expulsions continued well into the early years of the Israeli State. In September 1953, the villagers of Umm el Faraj (near Nahariya) were driven out and their village destroyed. In October 1953, seven families were expelled from Er Rihaniya in Galilee, despite a Supreme Court ruling that the expulsion was illegal. On October 30, 1956, the Baqqara tribe was forced to cross from the northern part of Palestine into Syria.

As late as 1959 -eleven years after the establishment of the State - Bedouin tribes were expelled to Jordan and Egypt; the action was reversed only after United Nations intervention.

Many other villages were either partly or completely demolished and many of their inhabitants now live as refugees in various pans of Israel. But the incidents described are a fair sample of the "redemption of the land" operations undertaken by the Israeli authorities during the first years after the creation of the state.(11)

Tom Segev testifies to the settlement of Jews in a total of 350 Arab villages. He states:

The press expressed no qualms in reporting the resettlement of the abandoned villages, a total of 350. The reports reflect a solid belief in the right and justification of the resettlement. Davar: "At the sound of the Israeli soldiers marching, the Arabs were seized with a great terror and left their homes, with their heavily loaded camels and donkeys, en route for the border .... And now in Jasmin - renamed Givat Amal-livenew residents, recently arrived viacyprus, survivors of the camps of Europe .... They sit around a long table, with one remnant of the abandoned furniture, and tell their tales ..." Ha'aretz: "...Patches of brilliant green are now surrounding the houses in the abandoned villages, thanks to the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture that helps the new immigrants develop their home farms ..." Davar Hashavua: "...You will not recognize 'Aqir! More than a thousand immigrants have settled in the abandoned village ..." Similar descriptions were published about Deir Yasin. The immigrant camp was later turned over to the Ministry of Health, which converted it to a sanatorium for the mentally ill. Parts of the village became one of the neighborhoods of the new city of Jerusalem, other parts remained deserted.(12)

ZIONIST SETTLEMENTS BUILT ON THE SITES OF PLUNDERED ARAB VILLAGES

The Zionist leadership envisioned the erasing of Arab villages and the settling of Jews on their sites as the way of expanding the borders of the Jewish State. As succinctly. stated by Golda Meir: "The boundary is wherever Jews are living, not a line on the map,"(13)

Levi Eshkol, Head of the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, described the sites of such Jewish settlements when he "went on a tour of the Arab villages which had recently been abandoned and captured. As he put it, he saw 'the traces of what had been and was no longer' -the houses broken into, plundered and burned. 'The sight sank through my eyes and nostrils into my head, brain, blood and he art....'"(14)

Zionist leaders have admitted that the settling of Jews on Palestinian lands was not the colonizing of unpopulated lands, but the colonizing of depopulated lands rightfully belonging to their expelled Palestinian Arab inhabitants. General Moshe Dayan stated in 1969:

We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is, a Jewish State, here. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because those geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahalul; Gevat in the place of Jibta; Sarid in the place of Haneifa; and Kefar Yehoshua in the place of Tell Shaman. There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.(15)

General (Reserve) Rehav'am Zeevi said that "more than 400 Arab localities which were still existence in the late '40s had been replaced by Jewish settlements."(16)

The late Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher, professor of Sociology and Philosophy at the Hebrew University, wrote in 1961 an article in the Hebrew magazine Ner, stating:

Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal our people of their murderous sickness of causeless hatred (for the Arabs). It is bound to bring complete ruin on us. Only then will the old and young in our land realize how great was our responsibility to those miserable Arab refugees in whose towns we have settled Jews who were brought from afar; whose homes we have inherited, whose fields we now sow and harvest; the fruits of whose gardens, orchards and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities that we robbed, we put up houses of education, charity, and prayer while we babble and rave about being the "people of the book" and the "light unto the nations"!(17)

An official publication of the Jewish National Fund stated: "The Jewish National Fund and private Jewish owners possess under two million dunums. Almost all the rest belongs by law to Arab owners, many of whom have left the country. 'Whatever the ultimate fate of the Arabs concerned, it is manifest that their legal right to their land and property in Israel will not be waived. Conquest by force of arms cannot, in law or ethics, abrogate the rights of the legal owner to his present pr~perty."(18)

HOW WE ASCERTAINED WHICH TOWNS AND VILLAGES WERE DESTROYED AND WHICH ARE STILL IN EXISTENCE

The Zionists changed the name of Palestine and changed the names of the sub-districts in the areas they occupied, amounting to 80% of the territory of the country. They changed the names of the localities, completely destroyed the houses and buildings in many villages, usurped the lands belonging to those villages and established Jewish settlements on their sites. All this was done in order to erase the Arab connection to the land and to prevent the Arab refugees from returning to their homes and villages as called for by the United Nations.

In order to ascertain which towns and villages were erased from the map and which still exist, we reviewed the publication entitled The List of Localities: Geographical Information and Population 1948, 1961, 1972, Population and Housing Census 1972 Series, published in Jerusalem by the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel in 1975.

The said list published the following: the name of the town or village, the name of the locality, code of locality, central grid reference, subdistrict, natural region, municipal status, type of locality, organization affiliation, year of Jewish settlement, and the size of the population in 1948, 1961 and 1972. The list refers to the existing Arab localities as follows:
Small village, non-Jewish;
Large village, non-Jewish;
Town, non-Jewish;
Bedouin Tribe.

The following list contains all the names of Arab villages and towns which still exist in Israel.

Having determined the list of towns and villages described as non-Jewish (i.e., Arab towns and villages), we compared that list with the list of towns and villages in the Proclamation of 1945 by the British High Commissioner for Palestine (see the beginning of this chapter) and with the list of Jewish settlements. In this way, we ascertained the names and numbers of Arab towns and villages destroyed.

EXISTING ARAB TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN ISRAEL ACCORDING TO THE
CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING 1972. LIST

Name of Locality

Subdistrict

Population Type

Census 1961

1. Abu Sinan

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,580

2. Bi'na. El

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,496

3. Judeida

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,303

4. Jurde (Khirbat Jurdich)

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

302

5. Jatt (Hagalil)

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

385

6. Deir el Asad

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,938

7. Deir Hanna

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,690

8. Tamra

Acre

Urban, non-Jewish

5,324

9. Yanuh

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

754

10. Yirka

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

2,715

11. Kabul

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,909

12. Kisra

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

675

13. Kafr Yasif

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

2,975

14. Kafr Sumei'

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

576

15. Majd el Kurum

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

2,835

16. El Mazra'a

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

1,049

17. Mak'r, El

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,397

18. Mi'ilya

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

1,120

19. Nahf

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,791

20. Sajur

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

628

21. Sakhnin

Acre

Urban, non-Jewish

5,150

22. 'Arraba (Arabet el Batuf)

Acre

Urban, non-Jewish

3,636

23. Fassuta

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

1,209

24. Buqei'a, El

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

1,494

25. Er Rama

Acre

Large, non-Jewish

2,986

26. Sha'b

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

1,165

27. Sheikh Dannun

Acre

Small, non-Jewish

707

28. Taiyiba, Et

Beisan

Small, non-Jewish

310

29. Kaukab

Beisan

Small, non-Jewish

669

30. Kafr Misr

Beisan

Small, non-Jewish

415

3 1. Iksal

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

2,156

32. Bu'eina

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

745

33. Dabburiya

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

1,931

34. Dahi, Ed

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

175

35. Tamra (Yizre'el)

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

234

36. Tur'an

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

2,304

37. Yafa

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

2,541

38. Kafr Kanna

Nazareth

Urban, non-Jewish

3,549

39. Kafr Manda

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

2,256

40. Mash-had

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

1,308

41. Na'ura

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

381

42. Nein

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

430

43. Sulam

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

567

44. 'Uzeir

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

367

45. 'Hut

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

1,161

46. 'Ein Mahil

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

1,977

47. Reina, Er

Nazareth

Large, non-Jewish

2,861

48. Rummana

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

126

49. Rummat Heib

Nazareth

Small, non-Jewish

419

50. Jish (Gush Halav)

Safad

Small, non-Jewish

1,498

51. Tuba

Safad

Small, non-Jewish

717

52. 'Akbara

Safad

Small, non-Jewish

313

53. Rihaniya

Safad

Small, non-Jewish

346

54. Hurfeish

Safad

Small, non-Jewish

1,222

55. Yamma (Yavneel)

Tiberias

Small, non-Jewish

375

56. Kafr Kama

Tiberias

Small, non-Jewish

1,202

57. Maghar

Tiberias

Urban, non-Jewish

4,010

58. 'Eilabun

Tiberias

Small, non-Jewish

1,011

59. Beit Gan

Tiberias

Large, non-Jewish

7581

60. I'billin (Khirbat)

Haifa

New, non-Jewish'

399

61. Bayada (Khirbat el)

Haifa

Small, non-Jewish (1972)

127

62. Bir El-Maksur (Khirbat Bir Almaksura)

Haifa

Small, non-Jewish

1,292

63. Basmat Tab'un

Haifa

Small, non-Jewish (1972)

974

64. Daliyat el Kannil

Haifa

Urban, non-Jewish

4,124

65. Kafr Qari'

Haifa

Large, non-Jewish

2,925

66. Maqura

Haifa

Small, non-Jewish

98

67 'Ara (included 'Ar'ara)

Haifa

Small, non-Jewish

1,580

68. 'Ein el Asad

Hai fa

Small, non-Jewish

257

69. 'Isifya

Haifa

Large, non-Jewish

2,903

70. Ar'ara

Haifa

Large, non-Jewish

1,816

71. Fureidis. El

Haifa

Large, non-Jewish

1,953

72. Sheikh Bureik

Haifa

Small, non-Jewish

60

73. Shafa 'Amr

Haifa

Town, non-Jewish

7,225

74. I'billin

Haifa

Town, non-Jewish

3,674

75. 'Arab Gharnameh

Haifa

Large, non-Jewish

1,607

76. Umm el Fahm

Jenin

Urban, non-Jewish

7,492

77. Umm el Qutuf

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

101

78. Barta'a

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

481

79. Jisr Ez Zarqa

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

1,607

80. Zaiafa

Jenin

Large, non-Jewish

721

81. El Mazar

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

283

82. Muqeibila

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

459

83. Musheirifa(Umm Alfahus)

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

578

84. Sandala

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

417

85, Mu'awiya

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

826

86. Musmus

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

738

87. 'Ein Ibrahim

Jenin

Small, non-Jewish

450

88. Kafr Bara

Nablus

Small, non-Jewish

348

89. Salim (Kfersalim)

Nablus

Small, non-Jewish

168

90. Kafr Qasim

Nablus

Large, non-Jewish

2,632

91. Ibthan (Khirbat)

Tulkam

Small, non-Jewish

275

92. Bir es Sikke

Tulkarm

Small, non-Jewish

310

93. Jaljuliya

Tulkann

Large, non-Jewish

1,422

94. Jatt

Tulkarm

Large, non-Jewish

2,233

95. Taiyiba, Et

Tulkarm

Urban, non-Jewish

7,569

96. Tira, Et

Tulkann

Urban, non-Jewish

5,494

97. Marja

Tulkann

Small, non-Jewish

188

98. 'Ein es Sahle

Tulkann

Small. non-Jewish

234

99. Qalansuwa

Tulkam

Urban, non-Jewish

3,006

100. Baqa El Gharbiya

Tulkarm

Urban, non-Jewish

7,566

101. Abu Ghosh

Jerusalem

Small, non-Jewish (destroyed 1976)

102. 'Ein Rafa

Jerusalem New

Small, non-Jewish

116

 

THE FATE OF THE BEDOUIN POPULATION IN PALESTINE

According to the Proclamation published in the Palestine Gazette No. 1415 of the 7th of June, 1945, Supplement No. 2, there were in Palestine villages and localities inhabited by Bedouin Tribes in the following subdistricts: Acre, Tulkarm, Tiberias, Beisan, Haifa, Jerusalem, Hebron and Beersheba. ' The number of localities and villages inhabited by these tribes in 1948 was 108.(19)

In 1947, the Representative of the United Kingdom submitted a note to committee No. 1 of the Ad Hoc committee in the United Nations which was discussing the proposal for the partition of Palestine in which he stated that the total
Bedouin population in Palestine was as follows:(20)

1931 Census

1946 Estimate

Beersheba

48,000

92,000

Nablus

220

400

Hebron

2,000

3,800

Jerusalem

7,070

13,400

Gaza

530

1,000

Ramle

3,780

7,200

Jaffa and Tulkarm

5,000

9,500

TOTAL

66,600

127,300

According to the Census Department of the Government of Palestine, the annual increase of the Arab population in Palestine was about 30.71 per thousand. Therefore, the total Bedouin population in 1948 would have been 135,236. The Bedouins were semi-Nomadic tribes and they had their villages, localities, agricultural lands and grazing lands for their sheep, goats and cattle.

Following the system we employed to locate the Arab towns and villages in the List of Localities, Geographical Information and Population 1948, 1961, 1972 published by the Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel, we were able to locate only 41 villages and localities listed as Bedouin Tribes, with a total Bedouin population of 22,578 in 1961, after 13 years of Israeli occupation. It must be remembered that this figure of 22,578 is one that has been swollen by the natural increase in the population during the 13 years from 1948 to 1961. Given that the Arab population in Palestine was increasing at the rate of 30.71 per thousand, we estimate that the number of Bedouins who originally escaped expulsion would have been 11,250. This would mean that between 1948 and 1961 the Zionists expelled approximately 116,050 rnernbers of these tribes. They destroyed 65 of their villages and localities and usurped all their lands. The town of Arad in the subdistrict of Beersheba was established on 12,000 acres of Bedouin lands.

The expulsion of Bedouins to Jordan, Egypt and Syria was carried out in 1948, 1949, 1951, 1957, 1959, and 1979. Many of the Bedouins in the southern part of Palestine were placed in reservations and were not allowed to leave the area without a permit.

We have dealt with the question of the expulsion of the Bedouin tribes in detail in Chapter Nine. However, we wish to refer to a few instances from the United Nations records. In October and November, 1950, the Security Council discussed the complaint of Egypt regarding the crimes committed by the Israeli authorities against the Bedouins. Dr. Mahmoud Fawzi, representative of Egypt, stated in the meeting of the Security Council of October 16, 1950, the following:

I am instructed by my Government to bring officially to your notice the following events, the great seriousness of which will not escape anybody, and certainly not the authorities and organs of the United Nations.

As long ago as 20 August last (1950), the Israeli authorities undertook a large-scale military operation, using troops, automatic weapons and armoured cars, in order to drive out of the El Auja area of Palestine all the Bedouin settled in that demilitarized zone and its surrounding areas. After being driven as far as the Egyptian frontier by the Israeli forces, which were guided by an Israeli reconnaissance aeroplane, those Bedouin were compelled, on 2 September, to cross the frontier between Egypt and Palestine at a point not far from the locality known as Ain el Qideirat, and to seek refuge in the Egyptian territory of Sinai, where they are now concentrated at El Qusaima, Sabha, Dahra and Ain Qadeis.

On being notified of these acts of violence, the United Nations observers in Palestine proceeded to the spot and found that at least 13 of these new victims of Jewish terrorism, including two women and two children, had died in the course of this tragic manhunt; and the bodies of some of these victims were found crushed by the armoured vehicles of their inhuman pursuers.

Not satisfied with this mass expulsion and the coldblooded manner in which it was carried out, the Jews vindictively set fire to the shelter tents, crops and personal belongings of their victims.

By 3 September the number of Bedouin so expelled had reached 4,071. It is also an established fact that the persons concerned were genuine Palestinians; and that during the period of the British Mandate most of them had lived in the Beersheba area. Driven from their homes by the Jews for the first time when the Jews occupied this important area, they went to settle in the El 'Auja area - since demilitarized - where they had been living for more than two years when these fresh and deplorable incidents occurred.(21)

Israeli war crimes against the Bedouins continued in 1953. The Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine submitted a report to the Security Council on October 27, 1953, in which he stated the following:

South of the Gaza Strip, after a long period of quiet on the Egypt-Palestine frontier, the Israelis started in the early summer intensified action against the few Bedouins who lived in the empty wastelands of the desert on both sides of the frontier, and north of the El 'Auja Demilitarized Zone. Israeli aeroplanes attacked Arabs and their herds of camels and goats.

At the same time, incidents of increasing gravity occurred in the Demilitarized Zone itself. Israeli armed groups patrolled the Zone; they shot at Bedouins at the two main wells; Arabs and their herds were killed by air and ground attacks; armed Israeli forces, up to approximately 30 men, shot the herds and burned the tents of Bedouins.

This appears to have been preparation for the establishment in September of an Israeli settlement at Abu Ruth, just east of the Demilitarized Zone, at about 8 kilometers from the road junction at El Auja. Three weeks later a new and smaller settlement, Rahel, was established in the Demilitarized Zone, at 2 kilometers from the road junction at El Auja.

The Egyptian delegation sent a complaint to the Mixed Armistice Commission concerning these developments. In an emergency meeting held on 2 October, the following draft resolution moved by the Egyptian Delegate was adopted by a majority vote, Israel voting against:


"The Mixed Armistice Commission, having discussed the Egyptian complaint no. 336 decides:

"1. That an armed Israeli force has entered several times the Demilitarized zone and attacked the Bedouin inhabitants in the area, killing them and their livestock and preventing them from having water from the wells in the area, thus constituting a flagrant violation of Article VIII, paragraphs 1 and 5, of the General Armistice Agreement.

"2. That the existence of an Israeli armed force and regular Israeli police in the new kibbutz established in the Demilitarized Zone is a violation of Article IV, paragraph 1, and Article VIII of the General Armistice Agreement.

"3. That the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission is called upon to take such measures as he deems necessary to avoid future violations of the Demilitarized Zone."(22 )

Israel's war crimes against the Bedouins continued, as is evident from the decision adopted by the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission of October 6, 1959.

DECISION ADOPTED ON 6 OCTOBER 1959 BY THE EGYPTIAN-ISRAELI MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSION

The Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission, having discussed complaint No. E-49-59, of the United Arab Republic (Southern Region),

Recalling the resolution concerning the Palestine question adopted by the Security Council at its 524th meeting on 17 November 1950,

Taking into consideration the resolution dated 30 May 195 1 of the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission,

1. Finds that, on 18 September 1959, and on the days following that date, a number of Bedouin estimated at about 350 of the Azazme tribe, have been expelled from the area under Israeli control across the international frontier into the territory of the United Arab Republic;

2. Finds further that the Israeli troops have committed hostile acts against these Bedouin, which include the killing of some Bedouin, burning their tents and depriving them of their property, as a result of which the Bedouin were compelled to flee into the territory of the United Arab Republic;

3. Finds further that those actions were carried out in a harsh and cruel way, contrary to accepted humanitarian considerations;

4. Finds further that firing by Israeli troops resulted in the killing of one of the Bedouin on the territory of the United Arab Republic across the international frontier;

5. Decides that the actions of the Israeli troops, which forced the Bedouin to flee from Israeli-controlled territory into the territory of the United Arab Republic, is contrary to the Security Council resolution of 17 November 1950 and to the Commission's resolution of 30 May;

6. Decides further that the killing of a Bedouin by Israeli troops across the international frontier on the territory of the United Arab Republic is a violation of Article 11, paragraph 2, of the General Armistice Agreement;

7. Decides further that the action of Israeli troops compelling the Bedouin to leave Israeli territory is a violation of Article V, paragraph 4, involved in the crossing of the international border;

8. Condemns Israel for the above hostile acts.(23)

VILLAGES AND LOCALITIES INHABITED BY BEDOUINS WHICH STILL EXIST IN ISRAEL

The following are the Bedouin villages and localities which were not destroyed and in which some Bedouin tribes still live:

Name of Locality Subdistrict Type

Census 1961

1. 'Arab el Hujeirat

Acre

Bedouin Tribe

326

2. Arab es Sawa'id

Acre

Bedouin Tribe

1,106

3. Sawa'd (Shuweiki Hamri y ya)

Acre

Bedouin Tribe

318

4. 'Arab es Samniya

Acre

Bedouin Tribe

140

5. Sa'ayde (Umm el Ghanarn)

Acre

Bedouin Tribe

247

6. Sa'ayde ('Manshiyyet ez Zabde)

Acre

Bedouin Tribe

147

7. Wadi Hamam

Tiberias

Bedouin Tribe

630

8. Subeih

Tiberias

Bedouin Tribe

671

9. Zubeidat

Haifa

Bedouin Tribe

756

10. Tab'un

Haifa

Bedouin Tribe

97

11. 'Amriyye

Haifa

Bedouin Tribe

91

12. Jawamis

Tulkarm

Bedouin Tribe

161

13. Ghazzalin

Tulkarm

Bedouin Tribe

19

14. Ghureifat

Tulkarm

Bedouin Tribe

205

15. Heib Abu Sayyah

Tulkarm

Bedouin Tribe

178

16. Hajajre

Tulkann

Bedouin Tribe

223

17. Khawaled

Tulkann

Bedouin Tribe

196

18 Ka'abiyye

Tul kann

Bedouin Tribe

488

19. Mazarib

Tulkann

Bedouin Tribe

340

20. Mashayikh Sa'adiyye

Tulkann

Bedouin Tribe

187

21. Nujeidat

Tulkarm

Bedouin Tribe

458

22. Abu Ballal

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

310

23. Abu Junei'id

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

1,212

24. Abu Sureihan

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

154

25. Abu Abdun

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

218

26. Abu Am'ar

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

-

27. Abu Amre

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

93

28. Abu Qureinat

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

1,584

29. Abu Rubei'a

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

2,518

30. Abu Ruqayyeq

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

3,063

31. Asad

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

304

32. A'sam

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

1,072

33. Afeinish

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

335

34. Junnabib

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

-

35. Huzayyel

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

2,430

36. Zabbarja

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

-

37. Nasasra

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

-

38. 'Atawne

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

464

39. Qudeirat es Sani

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

1,212

40. Qawa'in

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

242

41. Tarabin es Sami

Beersheba

Bedouin Tribe

383

In 1948 there were one hundred and eight localities and villages belonging to Arab Bedouin tribes in Palestine. Now only 41 of these villages and localities remain. The other 67 Bedouin villages and localities have been destroyed.

Go to part 3

 



Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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