Catastrophe Remembered: Palestine, Israel and the Internal by Nur Masalha

By Nur Masalha

The 1948 Palestine warfare is understood to Israelis as "The conflict of Independence." yet for Palestinians, the warfare is perpetually the Nakba, the "catastrophe."  This booklet makes a speciality of Palestinian inner refugees in Israel and internally displaced Palestinians around the eco-friendly Line. It makes use of oral background and interviews to check Palestinian identification and reminiscence, indigenous rights, overseas security, the "right of return," and a simply answer in Palestine/Israel.

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Meron Benvenisti puts the number at 30,000 to 35,000, or 17 to 20 per cent of all Palestinian residents of Israel. Benvenisti, Sacred Landscape, pp. 200201. The Israeli estimates rely on a document of the Ministry Of Labour of 29 June 1952, Israel State Archives, Ministry of Labour files, 6178/2924, and also a Jewish National Fund census for 1949–50 dated 15 February 1950 from the Central Zionist Archives (Jerusalem), file KKI, 5/18875. Personal communication, dated 4 January 2004. 466. See, for instance, Cohen, Hanifkadim Hanokhahim.

22. 89. 89. 13 Louis Starr, “Oral History”, in David K. Dunaway and Willa K. 4-5. 14 For further discussion see, Esber, War and Displacement in Mandate Palestine. html. 267-9. 35. 18 Daniel McGowan, “Deir Yassin Remembered” in Remembering Deir Yassin: The Future of Israel and Palestine, edited by Daniel McGowan and Marc H. 6-7. 19 See note 2. 20 Sabr is the Arabic name for a type of cactus that flourishes in Palestine. 267. 22 The editor gratefully acknowledges the very useful information provided by Terry Rempel, of Badil Resource Center in Bethlehem, on the various categories of internally displaced Palestinians.

Prior to the 1948 Nakba (“Catastrophe”) the Palestinian community had been overwhelmingly rural; the Palestinians had been the overwhelming majority in the country and had owned much of the land, while the Jewish community in Palestine (the Yishuv) had been (in 1947) about one-third of the total population and had owned about 6 per cent of the land. Hence the quest for land had underpinned the Zionist project in the pre-1948 period. In a sense, in the post-Nakba period the Israeli state’s long-lasting battle against the Palestinian community inside Israel was a battle for “more land”.

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