“a land without a people for a people without a land”
Old Palestinian photos & films hidden in IDF archive show different history than Israeli claims
Looted and Hidden: Palestinian Archives in Israel
by Rona Sela (2017)
Why Are Countless Palestinian Photos and Films Buried in Israeli Archives?
Palestinian photos and films seized by Israeli troops have been gathering dust in the army and Defense Ministry archives until Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and art historian, exposed them. The material presents an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, she says
By Ofer Aderet Jul 01, 2017
Israeli soldiers loot the archive of the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section as well as material from other PLO offices,
September 1982. Credit: Courtesy of Shlomo Arad
Lawrence of Cyberia: Tell Me Again, Who Made The Desert Bloom?
The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
edited by Dr. Issa Nakhleh, Continental Books, P.O. Box 756, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-0756, available at http://www.palestine-encyclopedia.com/:
“In order to create an alleged justification for the crime of genocide they have committed against the Palestinian Arabs, the Zionists have tried to convince the world that Palestine was practically uninhabited, ‘A Land Without People For a People Without a Land.’ They created and propagated the myths that the Palestinian Arabs were nomads or semi-nomads without a culture and a civilization, that the Palestinians had neither a national identity nor existence, that the Palestinians lacked an economic structure and roots in the land.”
The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, edited by Dr. Issa Nakhleh, Continental Books, P.O. Box 756, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-0756, p. 33. available at:
“…In 1882, the Jewish population of Palestine was about 24,000. In 1914, the entire population of Palestine was estimated at 634,133 Muslim and Christian Arabs and 55,413 Jews. In 1920, after the British mandate, the official census showed the Arab population, both Muslim and Christian, at nearly 600,000, still greatly exceeding the Jews, who numbered 66,574. Until 1948 the Arab population continued to exceed the Jewish by roughly 2:1.
“… the last official British census in 1931 found Arabs in Jerusalem outnumbered Jews 2:1 with surrounding areas averaging 98% Arab! The Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question in the United Nations found in 1948 that, except for Haifa, ‘the Arabs have a clear majority over the Jews.’”
Ibid., p. 26.
So much for the Israeli claim that for centuries Jews in Jerusalem and surrounding areas have outnumbered a tiny Arab population!
“During World War I, Arabs fought with the Allies against the Turks in hope of acquiring national independence. After the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the people of Palestine were considered by the League of Nations a ‘provisionally independent nation” very close to sovereignty. By 1947 Palestinian Arabs played a predominant role in government under the British. ‘The total number of government officials was 44,688 persons, of whom 4,314 were British, 30,178 Arabs, 9,276 Jews, and 920 others.’”
Ibid., p. 28.
Arabs also vastly outnumbered Jews in municipal councils and leadership in hundreds of primarily Arab towns and cities throughout Palestine.
“The land of Palestine had been a breadbasket of agricultural plenty going back to the original inhabitants, the Canaanites and later Philistines (for whom Palestine is named). Enjoying a climate similar to California’s, the Old Testament description was a “land that flows with milk and honey.” Certainly, much of Palestine in recent centuries had been over-grazed, particularly the mountainous hill country of Judea surrounding Jerusalem. Such barrenness caused visitor Mark Twain to describe it as barren, with hardly an Arab to be seen. Yet, at nearly the same time, “Lawrence Oliphant, who visited Palestine in 1887, wrote that Palestine’s Valley of Esdraelon was ‘a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands; and it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxurious fertility which it is possible to conceive.’”
Ibid., p. 33.
Numerous pre-20th century accounts, recounted in the Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, describe it as a veritable cornucopia of every kind of agricultural produce, with excess exported by the Palestinians even to the nations of Europe.
The Encyclopedia confirms that before 1948
“these Arab towns and villages were not merely place names on a map. They were developed communities containing farms, factories, stores and schools, with an infrastructure of doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, merchants, mechanics, industrialists, workers, and farmers which would be the envy of any developing country today…Before 1948 they resided in 12 cities, 8 major towns, and 830 small towns and villages. Arab homes in the cities were either luxurious stone villas with beautiful gardens, or apartments with 2-5 bedrooms. These residences were well-furnished with modern furniture and household goods. No Arab home of the middle and upper classes contained less than eight valuable Persian carpets. All these homes and their furnishings were usurped by Israel.”
Ibid. p. 34.
The late Israeli General Moshe Dayan observed:
“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 these 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 Tellshaman. There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
Ibid., p. 34.
“After 1948, Israel took over 12 cities and large towns and 526 small towns and villages. They bulldozed the towns and villages, building new towns with Jewish names.”
Ibid., “INDEX OF CITIES, TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN PALESTINE,” p. 347.
“The Encyclopedia extensively documents from British records that, far from Palestinians depending on Jewish prosperity, the Zionists were permeated with Marxist/collectivist values, resulting in eventual failure of the “kibbutz” experiment. Fairly new to Mideast agriculture, they were largely inefficient, dependent upon regular massive infusion of Western Jewish capital. Despite a general Israeli policy of boycott of Palestinian goods and services, the Palestinians, with a rapidly growing population in 1948 of 1,444,274, were both politically, socially, and economically racing toward UN-sponsored nationhood in 1948.
“Such prosperity came to an abrupt, horrific end after the Deir Yassin massacre by Zionist Irgun terrorists on April 9-10, 1948 and many subsequent Jewish outrages and atrocities, panicking 800,000 Palestinians into flight. “In 1948 the Zionists seized 90% of Arab-owned citrus groves, packaging and storage facilities, as well as that year’s crops, looting the prosperous Arab citrus growers, making them destitute refugees.” The same was true of all aspects of Palestinian industry, including olive oil, weaving, textile, tobacco, leather, dairy, wheat, fishing, and construction. In reality, confiscation of Palestinian resources largely constituted the “miracle” of Israel’s sudden abundant agriculture, of which the new state began boasting soon after expulsion of the Palestinians. This delighted evangelicals worldwide who saw it as stunning fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, making the “desert blossom as the rose.” In reality, Israel now possessed thousands of acres of citrus, olives, wheat, etc. seized from the foremost agriculturists of the Middle East, Palestinian orchardists and farmers. The Encyclopedia: “The economic achievements of Israel today are built totally on the capital base of lands, property, and possessions usurped from the Palestinian Arabs.” Ibid., p. 34.