Although the history of Palestine is indeed long and much studied going back to most ancient days, to Rome and Christianity, Islam, the Crusades and right up to the tumult of the last 100 years. It is this last period of history that is of immediate interest because in it lies the story and the context for today’s problems and tomorrow’s hopes for justice and peace for all peoples of that land. Central to this period is the Nakba (the Catastrophe) of 1948 when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled and 600 villages were destroyed by Zionist forces. Below is an excellent beginning to discovering the Nakba and understanding its role.
Nakba Focus Sites
An immense site with a great wealth of information and resources about the events leading to and including 1948 with details of the 500+ destroyed villages.
(remembering in Hebrew) an Israeli NGO that works to expose the facts of the Nakba in 1948 and and ongoing injustices in Israeli society.
Dedicated to the most infamous event of the Nakba – the massacre at Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, 5 weeks before Israel’s declaration of independence.
entitled “LEST WE FORGET – Palestine and the Nakba” gives a comprehensive view of the Nakba event especially useful discussion of Plan Dalet.
Palestine Land Society is a treasure-trove of history and maps of Palestine, the land and its people. It is centred around the work of the great Salman Abu Sitta.
Israeli site for research and art laboratory for creating tools to understand the past and Nakba to enable people who want to live in the land (Palestine/Israel) to share it.
An encyclopedic site on the Nakba going back in history to the late 1890’s, it contains links to official documents, oral histories, videos, books, timelines and more.
The site for Al-Nakba Awareness Project presents a well-organized chronology and overview of Zionism and later Israel in historic Palestine to the present day.
The video documentaries below are available online on YouTube. Hundreds more can also be found either in entirety or segments of 10 20 minutes or trailers. Many can be seen for under $5 on streaming sites. P lease search on these titles.
Al-Nakba is four full-length episodes produced by al-Jazeera in 2014. Taken together this is the most comprehensive view available on video.
Lost cities of Palestine, a documentary produced by al-Jazeera looking at the fully developed culture and cities before the Nakba.
1948 “The birth of a new specimen of human being“ Veteran British journalist, Alan Hart looks at Zionist leaders and strategy leading to 1948.
The Land Speaks Arabic relies on scholarly research and archival footage documenting the expulsion of Palestinians in lead up to Nakba.
Occupied Palestine (David Koff) Remarkable footage and candid interviews. Met with bomb threats and censorship on US release in 1981.
Deir Yassin Remembered is 33-minute oral history with survivors of the massacre and a tour with Jeff Halper of remains of Deir Yassin.
Selected film or video titles: The Dupes, The Salt of this Sea, When I Saw You, On the Side of the Road, The Great Book Robbery, Budrus, Defamation, 5 Broken Cameras among dozens of titles.
The most comprehensive film/video resource on Palestinian film – www.palestinedocs.net visit to learn more about the film and many can be purchased at www.arabfilm.com. Video browsing: YouTube or Vimeo or topdocumentaryfilms.com search on keywords.
The short documentaries below are available on YouTube Channel – nakba70action.org. Hundreds more can be found via searching.
The Untold History of Palestine & Israel is The Empire Files from the Real News Network looks at the long history of Zionist colonization, expansion and expulsion (23 min).
Planning the Nakba: What They Really Said The secret meetings by Zionist leaders in 1947 following UN Partition Plan to ethnical cleanse Palestine. Quotes from Ilan Pappe’s book (10 min)
Maps, Factsheets & Booklets
(some available as pdf)
zochrot.org/en/site/nakbaMap the map of villages depicted on google maps with full functionality.
Flight and Expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948 a 32-page exhibition guide with excellent history (in pdf)
Nakba: The Process of Palestinian Dispossession, excellent overview of Nakba and the history leading up to it. (24-pages in pdf)
Competition for The Reconstruction of the Destroyed Palestinian Villages, an innovative approach to re-visiting the Nakba and its effects.
The Impact of the 1948 Disaster: The Ways that the Nakba has Influenced Palestinian History – excellent paper delivered to symposium in 2010. (pdf)
imeu.org (not to be confused with ameu.org) has a wealth of factsheets on Nakba, Plan D, and other topics concerning history and present situation.
60 Years after the Nakba: Historical Truth, Collective Memory and Ethical Obligationsby Nur Masakha, one of the great scholars on the period. (55 pages in pdf).
These sites and resources offer new and different ways to think about decolonizing Palestine-Israel.
Jerusalem We Are Here Many cities have a history of displacement, of gentrification, of destruction and rebirth, but in Jerusalem these are the processes of the Nakba, both physical and administrative. Much has been written about the attempts to push out the city’s indigenous Palestinian population, but one filmmaker got together with tour guides, and resurrected the pre-Nakba history of her neighbourhood in digital space.
Transplanting a Palestinian Refugee Camp Palestinian architect Sandi Hill transplants the Daheisha Refugee Camp onto the territory in Israel from which most of the camp’s population was displaced. Through this fascinating experiment, she creates a post-colonial community of the future.
Our Return What if Palestinian youth, with the help of 3D animation, were to design the Palestinian village of the future? In this project, a number of organizations came together to make that possible. With the design of renowned architect Oliver Shalabi, the village of Al Ghabsiya was resurrected and redesigned with a sustainable future in mind. Check out this remarkable simulation on YouTube!
Planning Return What if a group of architects and municipal planners was to come together and redesign the landscape for the return of the exiled Palestinian refugees? Decolonizing Architecture is a collective of exactly such future-thinkers and a few years ago they surveyed the area of the pre-1948 village of Miska and with the help and consultation of internally displaced residents and refugees living in exile, designed what it could look like if they were able to return. Check out this remarkable and revolutionary project on their site.
A Landscape of Return Consider that the Palestinian refugees’ process of return to Israel will take varying forms, then a broad spectrum of options is necessary. Using past and present land use patterns to suggest several possible practices of return to establish their own authentic and grounded relationship with the land once more, Austrian architect Nina Valerie Kolowratnik developed a concept for the redevelopment of the village of Kafr ‘Inan.
Echoing Yafa According to Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, sounds never die, they just grow progressively fainter. Following this thought, we imagine that all the sounds that have resonated in this region still reverberate somewhere, however faintly. The audiowalk Echoing Yafa recovers some of those sounds and relocates them to the place that they originated from.