23 thoughts on “Nakba Steals All: Land, Life, Libraries – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. You write of “land theft, expulsion, rape and murder”.

    Land theft was the purpose of the Nakba, mass expulsion was its modus operandi and murder facilitated it when deemed necessary. Most Palestinians’ dignity, collective and personal, was brutally violated. But rape – in its literal sense – was very rare and far between.

    1948’s Nakba was evil enough as it were, no exaggeration does it justice.

    1. How do you know it was rare? There are quite a few testimonies of rape from the Zionists who witnessed them. On the other hand, you won’t find many testimonies from Palestinians as in Arab society rape is considered shameful and it’s unlikely that a woman will report being raped.

    2. If you read Benny Morris (yes, that Benny Morris) you will find documented accounts of rape against Palestinians by Israeli forces during the 48 war. Believe me, I would not add such a detail without knowing it was true.

      1. And you know its true because you were there or because you heard about someone who told someone else that he heard about some that told someone that heard about some jewish people that raped “Palestinians”?
        hmm yeah its “true”.
        Especially when it comes from “Palestinians” who were so nice to those bad zionists who came after the holocaust or came from arab states after all their property was taken from them and for what?
        Just to kill those “Palestinians” and rape all their wives and daughters.
        And one more thing about this thing you called Nakba – if this thing you called Nakba happened to those you keep calling “Palestinians” and those you keep calling “Palestinians” which (according to what those “Palestinians” are saying with pride) were invented only after the six days war (1967) so who were those “Palestinians” that had to suffer this Nakba or whatever you call it?
        and one last thing – those arabs who ran away from here and left all their property weren’t forced to leave israel, they did so because they thought they will succeed to kill all those bad zionists and when they failed to do so they left everything behind.

        1. Israeli historians using archival materials and eyewitness accounts determined there were rapes. They’re trainined historians who wrote their accounts publicly, allowing them to be tested & disputed by other trained historians. But no one has successfully disputed them. Are you a trained historian? Do you have evidence disputing these claims? Because if you do we’d sure like to see it. If you don’t, then stop wasting our time.

          Since you’ve violated the comment rules by denying the existence of Palestinians and Nakba, you are moderated. If you choose to publish another comment you MUST read the comment rules before you do AND RESPECT THEM. Further violations of the rule may lead to termination of your comment privileges.

  2. If I remember correctly, Ilan Pappe also used these books to help put together the narrative of the Nakba in his book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” Of course, his detractors have hoped to stifle Pappe and undermine him by claiming his research is faulty.

    Suppressing the truth is the main reason for keeping these books locked away. They unmask the false narrative of the origins of the Jewish State and expose its hypocrisy.

    1. Thanks for the link, Elisabeth. I must admit most of this stuff is new to me and very hard to digest.
      Having heard, as a kid, veterans of the ’48 war who had fought in Eastern Europe, I remember this topic being mentioned as marking a difference between their service with the nascent Israeli military and what they had witnessed (experienced?) earlier, in wartime Europe.
      I also remember reading Haaretz article about a well known case of gang-rape and murder of a Bedouin teenager in late ’49 and the pursuing trials. They talked to Uri Avneri, who is anything but a Nakba-denier, who attested that such things were out of bounds.
      I’m well aware, though, that if and when such atrocities occurred, perps and victims alike would have had their strong motivations to keep the stories hushed, each side for their own cultural and political reasons.

      1. Thank you for your response Yankel. Rape is one of the hardest crimes to get reliable information on in any society, precisely because so much emotion is involved on so many levels apart from the physical harm. It is so long ago now, and as you said, so much taboo is involved on both sides that we will probably never know. On the other hand: Rape is the first thing you hear mentioned by Indonesians and Koreans when they talk about the Japanese army during WW2 (and I am sure China would be the same) and a raped woman is just as much an outcast in their societies. So my guess is that it was more frequent than we hope but not an accepted practice (such as in the Japanese army) let alone strategy (such as in Bosnia or Zaire).

    2. Rape is a show of force, power and humiliation. I find it one of the most offensive war crimes anyone can imagine. Unleashing this power leads to dehumanizing the “enemy.” It happened in biblical times and these transgressions are happening now in Syria, Congo, Darfour and recently in Iraq and Bosnia (and everywhere). After killing the men, the victors forcing rape so that the women left behind carry the child of the hated oppressor. In the Israeli wars one sees the targeting of children and a bulls-eye on the womb of a pregnant Palestinian woman. In Syria, Muslim clerics declare a fatwa for jihadists to rape young girls not yet of the age to consent in marriage.

  3. I find your reference to Naboth to be misleading if it is to be used as a witness from the Word of G-D used to accuse Israel of Land theft and what G-d will do to judge those who do these things. Naboth was a under G-d’s covenant the King had no lawful reason to take his land as both men were of Israel. Clearly All the land in Israel was given to the Israel through a covenant. Deuteronomy 6-7 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, bthe Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
    Naboth (Hebrew: נבות‎, “fruits”) “the Jezreelite,” is the central figure of a story from the Old Testament. According to the story, Naboth was the owner of a plot on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel.[1] Described as a small “plat of ground”, the vineyard seems to have been all he possessed and lay close to the palace of Ahab,[2] who wished to acquire to “have it for a garden of herbs” (probably as a ceremonial garden for Baal worship). The king promised compensation, based upon the assumption that Naboth’s vineyard was owned in fee simple; Naboth, however, had inherited his land from his father, and, according to Jewish law, could not alienate it. Accordingly, he refused to sell it to the king

    1. What’s important about your racist comment is that you indicate that my comparison of Nakba to the Ahab story is wrong because in the Bible story the two principals are both Jews and no Jew may lawfully steal the land of another Jew. However, the Palestinians are akin to all of those tribes whose names you quote, most of which were exterminated during Israelite conquest of the land. That makes theft of their land OK, somehow.

      The difference between us is that for me passages like this are historical documents, while for you they are models by which to live your life. Unlike you, I cannot adopt genocide as a hallmark of my religious observance.

      Your second paragraph and its interpretation of the Biblical text were quite interesting.

      1. Thank you for your response, I am not advocating harming anyone I was merely reporting to you what the Torah says which I know that you understand. This is the point of my input into this question. Is the Torah just a documentation of the History of Israel and does it carry any weight? As in is it in any Jewish heart that the Law of G-d is an absolute commandment for HIM to possess the Land.

        If it is a command then we know that there are consequences for not obeying and if there are consequences which we know through the study of the Torah are historical in nature and are also telling us what happens when we do not follow the commands of G-d then how do we comply with his Law? And still allow those who live here to control the lands which are His covenant to Israel.

        So if there is a law by him who owns all the land a covenant with Abraham’s seed and we have the Law given by him to Moses and passed on to us, how do we satisfy this law please tell. We know he says judgment will come from him against anyone who stands against his law. The Prophets tell us what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future if we do not obey. However if the Torah is just a book with no divine inspiration or property then we have no right to any of the land called Israel except what we have bought.

        There is a way to solve this an equitable way

        1. Of course, the Torah is a historical document as well as a moral, spiritual and legal guide. But the problem for me is that our notions of legal obligation and our interpretation of the text are quite different in certain passages. I reject any interpretation for today that condemns a Jew for ceding an inch of Eretz Yisrael to a non-Jew. In fact, I believe such a conviction will lead to Israel’s demise in the long-term. So while you may see this as an absolute obligation, I see it as a danger to the existence of Israel. I do not accept an interpretation of Torah that endangers Jews.

        2. Zionist organisations have both bought lands from Palestinians (and others) and have seized them by force. This suggests that they are not sure, either, how best to obey.

          Lands are one thing: treasured personal possessions are another. Many times when the people of ancient Israel conquered a town, they were ordered to lay no hands on the spoil, on other occasions they were allowed to take certain things and not others.

          In the specific case of family libraries and Korans, it isn’t very obvious to me how any Jew is obeying the Torah by taking these.

          One of the shocking things which distinguishes the Nazi holocaust against the Jews from other genocides of the 20th century (and the Japanese killed far greater numbers than the Nazis) was the way in which the Nazis stripped their victims, not only of their land, homes, businesses and lives, but also systematically harvested every possession of value which they had. Indeed, this is the main reason why so many people were transported to their deaths, instead of simply being massacred in their own cities according to Japanese practice in China and Indonesia: it encouraged the doomed victims to take their treasures out of hiding and carry them with them, onto the trains which didn’t stop until they were inside the camps.

          My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that the Nabka was implemented in much too venal a way to be men carrying out a divine command. Even if there had been a command to take the land, surely there was none to take the books, the diaries, the Korans? The rape and individual abuse, too, was the work of a common rabble and not any sort of divine army.

          This is why the commands of the Prophets in Ancient times, about booty and captives, mattered so much. News of how the Jews conducted themselves in such matters, determined the views of neighbouring peoples about whether the Jews were obeying their god, or simply taking what they could. To take everything, even things of no worth to the taker, and a Jew has no real use for an ornamented Koran, since he cannot read it and obey it, is an act of hatred, not obedience.

        3. I have been told the story of Naboth resonates deeply with Palestinian Christians (whose sympathy is with Naboth as anyone will understand). These biblical stories have touched and inspired different peoples in different circumstances throughout the ages. In my opinion these stories and their interpretation do not ‘belong’ to one ethnic group. As if only the British are capable of a meaningful interpretation and staging of Shakespeare’s plays.

      2. I have only just realized the connection between the Nakba, and the account I read a little while ago, of the life of Queen Jezebel, who married King Ahab. I see there are differing accounts. Some say Ahab wanted a plot of land, another said Jezebel wanted it for her husband. In any case, the neighbor did not want to cede his land. One story says the King had Nakba murdered; another, the Queen had him stoned to death, on false charges.
        It was arranged to have Jezebel murdered; and Jehu murdered her son – thereby taking over the throne. I haven’t discovered yet what happened to Ahab; wondering, if he was murdered, first in the plot to dethrone Jezebel, and her sons.
        If it was unlawful to steal the land of another Jew, then trumped up charges might be a way around it – but what of next of kin? did a king, or queen’s desires, in this case, for example, supercede the law, or as long as an excuse could be used to take what was wanted?

  4. 1 Kings 21 says nothing about Ahab returning the stolen property to Naboth’s heirs, if he had any, which would’ve been a more meaningful form of repentance than the donning of sackcloth. So it seems even the contemporary proponents of “shooting and crying” can claim biblical precedent.

  5. The entire documentary “The Great Book Robbery” (59 minutes) by Dutch-Israeli filmmaker Benny Brunner based on the research of Gish Amit for his doctoral thesis. One of the best documentaries on the Nakba, with footage from the looting of the beatuful homes in Talbiyeh and Katamon.
    Ghada Karmi speaks about the Arabic dictionnary that her father had worked on for 30 years (if I remember correctly) and Nasser Nashashibi about the Golden-covered Korans and other unique books that were looted from his family. Yoram Kaniuk, Ilan Pappe and Rona Sela are participating too.
    The destruction of the Palestinian cultural heritage started in 1948 but has never ended. When the Israelis invaded Lebanon in 1982, they destoyed and stole thousands of Palestinians books and historical archives from the PLO- headquarter. To create a”A Land without a People (without culture)…” is a huge entreprise….
    Spread it, please 🙂

  6. It’s worth remembering that God’s mercy on Ahab’s house following the king’s repentance lasted only as long as Ahab was alive. Jezebel copped it in spectacular and yet sordid fashion, shortly after the king’s death.

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