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Thursday, September 01, 2005

 

'Violation of Democracy Made Zionism Possible'

"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 geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu'a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." Moshe Dayan, Address to the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), Haifa as quoted in Ha'aretz, 4 April 1969) reprinted in All That Remains, Khalidi, Walid.

Other peoples have suffered worse fates in history; to be dispossessed of ones patrimony, dispersed and pauperized, even on such a scale, is still more merciful than wholesale physical annihilation, though no less than 13,000 Palestinians were killed in the process. But what is probably uniquely distinctive of the Palestinan fate is that they were dispossessed of their country as a people, and to this day they continue to be maligned for having suffered such dispossession. At the same time the triumph of the internationally organized and financed dispossessors over the local Palestinian sharecropper, peasant, small holder, and townsman, while causing occasional twitches of conscience in the West, is by and large hailed by Western political elites (if not always by their public opinions) as the vindication of the very principles of democracy the violation of which made the Zionist revolution possible in the first place.

Most of these 418 villages [destroyed in 1947-48] resembled one another in their limited resourcs, their primary dependence on agriculture, and the mixed type of land ownershp made up of smallholdings and communal lands traditionally cultivated in alternate plots annually reassigned among the villagers themselves. But there were also considerable variations in population and wealth, in the rsources, and distance from the district capital. Most of the villages showed an urge for self-improvement and a pattern of expansion and social evolution, particularly in the fieled of education. In many, there were the beginnings of economic diversification (e.g., in the services sector) and of affiliation to rudimentary cooperative marketing enterprises. Each village had its mosque or church, though the vast majority of the inhabitants were Muslims. Perhaps most distinctive of each village were its shrines, named after local saints or benefactors whose reputations were imbedded in the collective memories and traditions of the villagers themselves.

Khalidi, Walid. All That Remains. Washington DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992

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