The Village under the Forest





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In 1948 the Palestinian village of Lubya in the Western Gallilee, Israel was totally


It had been home to some 2700 people

Like Lubya, many Palestinian villages in Lubya had been completely destroyed and the

landscape of Palestine was changed forever


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a film by Mark J Kaplan and Heidi Grunebaum


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I could not talk about the journey as if it were a story with beginning, middle and end.

It was already a ruined story.

Its threads were scattered across many countries. Its foundations strewn as stones across

the forests.

But I begin in a forest that I have walked through before: South Africa Forest in Israel.

Here stones are not rocks. They are the rubble of desecration and destruction.

Cactii are not vegetation. They are markers of a place that once was home.


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The Village under the Forest


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I remember my first visit to South Africa Forest in the Galilee in Northern Israel.

South African teenagers on a class trip at a military museum near the forest, learning

about Israel's 1948 War of Independence.

Afterwards, we at lunch in the forest under the trees I knew had been planted by the

Jewish National Fund with donations from South African Jews, me included.

What I did not know was that between the passing of seasons and layers of pine needles

lay the remains of the Palestinian village called, Lubya.

I remember the JNF Blue Boxes. They form memories of childhood shared by Jews the

world over.

Our coins would plant forests of trees across the land. We would make it green like a

modern European country.

Our coins in the Blue Boxes would redeem the homeland of the Jewish people; my land,

my heirs and my ancestors.


Former committee member

Women's Zionist Org. & Jewish National Fund

Tel Aviv

00:03:26:18 - 00:04:07:16

The early days. 1947. The beginning of the state. Learning how to shoot and to know what

to do. The Jews in South Africa were very conscious of Israel and there was a lot of trouble

when we came in 1947. We filmed it because we wanted to be able show everything that

was going on in Palestine. And I travelled South Africa with this film and I was very

involved in the Jewish community; I was very active in the Bnoth Zion-WIZO and I also

was involved in Keren Kayemeth.


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Growing up in apartheid South Africa I learned to be prepared for "terrorist" attacks in white


I was taught to fear black people, except for the woman who took care of me.

I was taught that the police, the government and the armed forces would protect me; keep

my fear in the shadows.

I did not know why there was an anti-apartheid struggle.

For many white people in South Africa the prospect of apartheid's end raised fear of being

chased into the sea.

The negotiated political settlement brought the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into

being; a compromise between Nuremburg-style trials and blanket amnesty.

For some, it prompted a personal inquiry. And I began to unthread all of the narratives of

my history; a history where I had one foot in South Africa and one foot in Israel. Now I

found myself questioning both.

Years later, I returned to South Africa Forest to look for the remains of Lubya. It was

difficult to find.

Houses, holy shrines and wells; a school, coffee house and cultural clubs; a mosque, a

burial ground, and travellers' inn. All took shape in the story of the stones. Yet still it was

impossible to see the grains of time that make Lubya remarkable: from Salahadin's routing

of the crusaders on Lubya's lands, to Napoleon's defeat on his way to Acca. From the

uprising of the mid-1930s during the British Mandate, to the three fierce battles when the

Jewish military forces attacked it in 1948 and the Arab coalition forces at the village stood




West Bank

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My father and grandfather used to

describe the village

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as very rich and lively

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and they stressed its unmatched readiness

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and willingness to resist occupation.

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That made it a model for resistance

and steadfastness at the time.


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I learned that the birth of the state of Israel was a miracle; that after the UN partition of

Palestine in 1947 war was inevitable; that during the 1948 war for Palestine a small, badly

armed David, the Jewish military forces faced a well-armed and fierce Goliath, the Arab

armies of the region.


Arhus, Denmark

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We rejoiced when the Arab Liberation Army came.

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Back then, we said, Arabs are finally

showing some chivalry

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but as one woman said,

it was only a futile showing off.

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These are our Arabs; they sold us

damaged bullets and broken guns


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Museum VO

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Shalom. We are now at the most difficult stage. Beyond the sandbags, the enemy awaits,

well-armed and fortified. The black helmets symbolise the Golani soldiers poised and

ready to attack the outpost with determination and courage. This is the moment of climax

for which the infantry man has trained for throughout his entire service.

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At that time, the Hagganah, Stern

and Irgun Jewish militias

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focused their attacks in the

whole Galilee region on Lubya.

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Because it was a thorn in their backs.


Yarmouk Refugee Camp



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We sat there. At 1 o'clock, the Jews came.

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They opened fire in one burst.

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And now fire was opened against them too.

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After a while, I heard a

rustling in the bushes

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as if someone was creeping nearby.

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So I opened fire in the direction

of the noise I heard.


Israeli Historian

Oxford University


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If you look at the Arab coalition facing Israel in 1948, it's one of the most disorganised,

deeply divided and ramshackle coalitions in the annals of modern warfare.

If you take into account all the five or seven Arab armies who invaded Palestine and the

local Palestinian irregulars, what you get is roughly twenty two thousand troops. Whereas,

on the 15th of May, 1948, the Hagana, the Jewish Defence Force, fielded thirty thousand

troops. There was a UN arms embargo which the Arabs respected and the Jews violated.

But they imported a lot of arms. And that turned the military balance in their favour.

Israel had the military edge in all the battles and that the final outcome, the final victory,

was not a miracle. In this war as in most wars, the stronger side won.


Deir Hanna


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There was an attack with planes that came from

Yamma east of here, just above Tiberias.

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One month, two months, three months,

the planes kept dropping bombs on the village


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Before the attack they spread rumours

that if they captured the village

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they would rape and slaughter

women and children.

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The battle of Deir Yassin and the

massacre that was committed there

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was still fresh in the people's minds.

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So prior to the final battle,

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the men took the women and children

out of the village.

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A group of fighters withdrew from

the frontline to the back

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to fill the gap that the absence of women left.

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The battle moved to the village's center.

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The fall of Deir Yassin and Qastal

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and the massacres that took place there,

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were a major blow to people's morale.

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We lost the locations where

the Arab armies retreated from.

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The treason was more evident by now.

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The battle was happening anyway,

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but the spirit was broken.

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My father said, "We didn't enter

the last battle lion-hearted this time,

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but rabbit-hearted, broken and fearful."

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Inside the village there was a battle,

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with cold weapons, knives, swords, etc

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but it was completely unbalanced.

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My father said,

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"I hid in a tree, I was surrounded

and didn't know where to go

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because I was supervising

the battle and the withdrawal,

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so I stayed in the tree, and watched

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when they entered the village.

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How they hysterically took revenge

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against people and houses."


Golani Military Brigade

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You can bomb a house with a small amount

of explosives placed in the middle of the room.

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It's also less dangerous. We found that half

a kilo is enough for an entire house.

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Three of us did the bombing, the others guarded

the area to make sure no one was there.


Israeli Historian

Exeter University


00:14:03:33 - 00:14:32:00

In Hittin, near Lubya, the commander thought that the idea was to get rid, physically of the

people. That's what he understood and that's what he did. There was no strategy of

genocide, of massacres. Massacres were not part of the plan. In fact, when the plan did

not go well massacres occurred. The plan was to get rid of people by getting them out of

the state, not by killing them.


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All of the Lubya Arabs fled.

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And I was ordered to destroy the houses quickly

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to prevent their return after the conquest.

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I had more soldiers here,

almost an entire platoon.

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This platoon tore it down

one after the other.

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One house, another and then another

until they were all gone.

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There were more than 1,000 houses.


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Whilst we were walking to the north,

trying to escape to Lebanon,

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at that point, I looked behind and

saw Lubya in the distance.

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Its houses were in flame

and smoke covered the sky.

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I was crying since the

moment I left Lubya

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but at that point, I realized that

it is over, we lost everything.


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Suba now Kibbutz Tsova

Jerusalem district


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From the very beginning, the leaders and main activists of the Zionist movement could see

no way in which to reconcile the idea of a Jewish state and the presence of so many

Palestinians in Palestine.


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Across the land some 530 Palestinian villages and 11 urban areas shared the same fate

as Lubya.

For Palestinians, what took place in 1948 and has unfolded since their expulsion is called,

the Nakbe. It means catastrophe.

I learned that the Nakbe was a fiction, invented by enemies of the Jewish people.

I was told that Palestinians chose to leave.

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But 750 000 Palestinians refugees did not choose the long twilight of exile across many

borders and oceans.


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I wish we had stayed in Palestine.

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We came to this country (Denmark)

and it is a good country.

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But still I regret having left Palestine.


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Here we are, expelled and scattered in this world.

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That year there was heavy snow,

and we are not used to snow

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because in Palestine the weather is warm.

In fact we never even knew snow.

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My dear sir, six old people died

because of the snow that year.

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I was alone, because I had to find a job first,

while my mother and family were still in Ba'aalbak.

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Looking for work, I went to al-Hijaz station.

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I stood there and looked around,

"Oh God, where would I go?"

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"I don't know anybody here, where will I go?"

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"Oh God, oh God..." I decided

to go and look for Palestinians.

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I asked and was told that I

would find them in mosques.

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Someone came out and I asked him,

"Are there any Palestinians here?"

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He said, "Yes."

So I asked, "Is there anyone from Lubya here?"

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He said, "Yes there is."

I asked, "Would you please call one for me?"

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And he did, then one man came out

who turned out to be my relative.

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We greeted, "Salaam, salaam, salaam."

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He said, "Do you know who is here with us?"

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I said, "No, who?"

He said, "Your aunt."

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I was surprised, and we went inside,

and there she was with her children.

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We greeted each other, then she

asked me, "Where have you been?"


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It takes them about six to nine months to take over 80% of Palestine, expel most of the

people who live in those 80% and build over there, over their villages and towns, a new

kind of state, a new identity.


00:21:16:09 - 00:21:21:14


West Bank


00:21:30:50 - 00:21:35:21

Deir Hanna



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After the war, Palestinians displaced inside Israel, were under military administration. New

laws named them, "Present Absentees" and took all their properties and lands.

Destroyed villages like Lubya were declared closed military zones.

Returning there was made a crime. Internal refugees became trespassers in the lands that

had been home.


00:22:33:23 - 00:22:42:04

He would rather go to Lubya to pray

than to the mosque.


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If I didn't love this place would I keep coming

back here on my tractor all the time?

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They made it into a forest.

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To claim that there was no village here.

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But you can see the cactus,

which proves that Arabs lived here.

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This is the map that was drawn by this man from Syria


Deir Hanna


00:24:25:19 - 00:24:30:06

We weren't able to visit the village

in the previous period.

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Until 1967 it was under total martial law,

like all Arab villages.

00:24:37:00 - 00:24:41:16

Anyone in the Galilee

who wanted to move around

00:24:41:16 - 00:24:44:09

had to get permission

from the military commander.

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The first time they were able

to visit the village was in 1975,

00:24:47:17 - 00:24:50:17

and only then they saw

that it was destroyed.


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These villages were Arabs, and the whole landscape around them was Arab. And that sent

a very annoying message to the Zionist movement and they write about it, they wrote

about, that they really didn't like the fact, Ben Gurion called it, that the country still looked

Arab, it still looks Arab, it's too Arab. Despite the fact that the Arabs are not there anymore,

it looks Arab.

And in the rural area he was very clear. The villages had to be wiped out so that there was

no memory.

They started doing it intensively already in August 1948. They flattened the houses, the

land. Nothing was left. And there were two ways in which they wanted to hide the

existence. One was to plant recreational forests over the villages with European pine

trees. So in most cases when the villages were huge and the lands were quite widespread

you can see both: you can see the new Jewish settlement and you see next to it, a pine

tree, recreational forest.

The second method that they used was to establish a Jewish settlement over it with almost

the same name as the Arab village but giving it a Hebrew version. That's two purposes:

one to show that it was originally Jewish and now it's back to its original ownership. And

also to send a sinister message to Palestinians on what happened there.

The main agency was the Jewish National Fund.


00:26:57:15 - 00:27:18:04

The Jewish National Fund was founded as a private company in 1901 by the Zionist

movement; mandated to acquire lands across historic Palestine --exclusively for Jewish

people in Israel and throughout the world -- in perpetuity.

00:27:20:13 - 00:29:00:07

When I was growing up, the Jewish National Fund cultivated the idea of a Jewish

homeland through tree-planting. Over the last one hundred years it has planted 260 million


I see now that the small map of greater Israel on the JNF blue box was not just a symbol.

It was an expression of intent to claim all of the land as Jewish.

I remember my first visit: the still shores of lake Tiberias in the Galilee, the terracotta plains

of the Negev, the Red Sea reef at Eilat. I believed that all this beautiful land was mine.

But entire villages were demolished. Maps were redrawn. Arabic place names wiped into

amnesia by the Naming Committee established by the JNF. Eighty six JNF forests over

destroyed villages. Villages like Lubya ceased to exist. It became Lavie. A new history was

written - the one I learned.

Today the JNF promotes itself using a new language: That of environmentalism and eco-



00:29:12:00 - 00:29:52:05

We were always raising money and my husband was in charge of committee who asked

people to leave their money in their wills to Israel.

We encouraged people to pay for a forest. I don't know if it cost ten thousand Rand or ten

thousand Dollars but they gave money and it was called in their name: The Manual and

Phyllis Sachar Forest. You know whoever paid it, it became there and when they came to

Israel they went down there. And when we had the dedication of the forest, we invited

busloads of people to come down and to encourage them to do the same.


00:29:53:07 - 00:29:58:09

Emwas (destroyed 1967) now Canada Park



00:29:54:13 - 00:30:51:00

Each coin became a tree in a forest; each tree, roots in the land for us in the diaspora.

Coins for trees became facts on the ground. A new landscape arranged by the JNF

through forests, Jewish settlements, recreation parks, roads, dams and infrastructure. The

contributions to the JNF are from South Africa, America, Canada, Australia, Britain,

Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Argentina, Bolivia,



00:30:51:11 - 00:31:31:05

If the JNF is registered as an owner of the land, according to its own charter, it's not

allowed to sell it to non-Jews, not allowed even to lease it to non-Jews. And its mission is

to make sure that this piece of land is Judaized.

So the state can play a game here. It can say, "Of course, when we have state land or

when we have responsibility of the state for equality, of course we will fulfil it. But,

unfortunately, this land does not belong to us, it belongs to the JNF and therefore they

have a different role and rules."


00:32:05:02 - 00:32:08:21

Yes, we were all peasants, but loving one's

homeland is part of our faith and religion.

00:32:08:21 - 00:32:13:03

It is part of our souls, it is even

more precious than our souls.

00:32:13:03 - 00:32:15:24

Whoever does not have it, has nothing.


00:32:43:01 - 00:32:47:01

Of course we are sad, we left our village

and properties, how can we not be sad?

00:32:47:01 - 00:32:49:23

Would anyone in that situation not be sad?

00:32:49:23 - 00:32:53:02

Everyone would be sad!

00:32:53:02 - 00:32:55:14

But this is what happened.

What can we do?


00:32:57:01 - 00:33:00:11

I won't hesitate to strangle them if I could.

00:33:00:11 - 00:33:05:24

I don't care what the world would say

because they took my land.

00:33:05:24 - 00:33:08:14

Is that not fair?


Human Rights Activist


Tel Aviv

00:33:09:18 - 00:33:13:16

Israelis are taking it, "So if this memory comes,

where am I?

00:33:13:16 - 00:33:19:16

My memory but also my existence."

It's going immediately to the existence.

00:33:19:16 - 00:33:23:09

The very existence of Israel is the

everyday life here, in this land,

00:33:23:09 - 00:33:25:11

which is of course irrational.

00:33:28:17 - 00:33:34:22

Whenever you challenge it,

by bringing this memory back,

00:33:34:22 - 00:33:41:22

immediately it goes to this fear and feeling

of being threatened and also a lot of guilt.

00:33:45:13 - 00:33:52:07

Just two weeks ago, an Israeli friend told me

she has a very interesting story to tell

00:33:52:07 - 00:33:56:15

about her uncle who was one of the occupiers -

people of the Palmach,

00:33:56:15 - 00:34:00:05

that expelled the village of Caesarea.

00:34:00:05 - 00:34:04:19

And she told me, "Can you take from me

this heavy burden and have this story?"


00:34:06:02 - 00:34:42:13

He never talked about the expulsion of Arabs from Caesarea until just before he died. One

of the things he mentioned was an order to expel the residents of the little fishing village

located on the sands of Caesarea.

We knew if you destroyed the roofs of their homes, the Arabs would leave. So, a group of

us guys, we destroyed the village roofs and they left. Like that. So easy. As if people's lives

weren't involved. My aunt, Shoshana, shifted uncomfortably.


00:34:46:03 - 00:34:50:22

His wife said to him, "Motkele, you don't think

you should shut up? Some things we don't tell."

00:34:50:22 - 00:34:56:02

And he said, "Shoshanke, and if I don't tell,

it didn't happen?"

00:35:03:24 - 00:35:07:12

But the Nakbe is something that is there somehow.

00:35:07:12 - 00:35:10:16

We as Israelis knew almost nothing about it.

00:35:10:16 - 00:35:16:08

When I was 18, I never heard the word, but also

nothing about Palestinian refugees, nothing.

00:35:16:08 - 00:35:20:00

"There was an Israeli Independence War,

they attacked us,

00:35:20:00 - 00:35:23:06

they didn't accept the partition resolution

00:35:23:06 - 00:35:29:11

and there was a war, and they lost the war,

and there is no problem for us whatsoever.

00:35:29:11 - 00:35:35:01

There was a very justified war..."

Nothing about their story, their other stories,

00:35:35:01 - 00:35:39:02

of course not stories of massacres.

"Okay, there was the Deir Yassin massacre

00:35:39:02 - 00:35:41:12

that was quite known but

that was very much an exception."

00:35:41:12 - 00:35:43:16

This is the story, how the story goes.


00:35:44:20 - 00:36:07:20

After the destruction of European Jewry a new kind of Zionism emerged, fighting Zionism.

There was a desperate attempt to proceed to statehood by force of arms, at any cost, so

that there will never be another Holocaust.


00:36:10:05 - 00:37:24:17

I thought that to be Jewish after the Shoah means to live in perpetual fear of annihilation,

that only Israel would protect Jews, and that we should defend its actions at any cost.

So the Shoah and Israel became two sides of the same coin: cause and effect; fear and

defence; the shame of weakness and the pride of strength.

I was taught that to challenge Israel's actions or its narratives of history is to challenge the

right of Jews to exist.

I grew up believing that Israel fought 6 just wars to prevent it being wiped out and that to

challenge Israel's actions, is to challenge the right of Jews to exist.

In the diaspora, we continued to cling to Israel's official version of a Jewish past. Yet the

heroic story of David who triumphs over Goliath began to crack for many Israeli Jews

during Israel's first war on Lebanon.


00:37:25:12 - 00:37:39:00

Unlike Israel's past wars, the Lebanon war was regarded not as a defensive war but as an

aggressive war. It was widely seen, not as a war of no choice, but as a war of choice.


00:37:46:03 - 00:38:51:03

It was 1982, the outbreak of the first Lebanon war which for people like me was the first, at

that moment, war of option, as we used to call it, of choice, that it was not warranted, it

was not justified. There was a TV presentation of that war. For the first time I could see, at

least, how it looked on the civilian side. And I was outside the country. So the first time I

saw it from the outside. And I was asked by the Israeli embassy to represent Israel

wherever I can, defending its actions in Lebanon. And I refused. And I had to ask myself

why I refused. And this suddenly connected to '48 so it was as if I could see what

happened in 1948 because I could see with my own eyes what happened in 1982. And it

suddenly turned the dissertation from something very dry and very still into a very vivid

picture and a very clear mapping of who was the criminal, who was the victim.


00:38:59:03 - 00:39:04:02

Back then I was a very good soldier

I never disobeyed anything.

00:39:04:02 - 00:39:09:19

And it was okay, that was my duty and that's

what I felt and that's what I have to do.

00:39:11:18 - 00:39:17:17

In artillery as you don't see who you shoot.

You don't see, you shoot by computer.

00:39:23:08 - 00:39:29:04

At the moment they started to shoot, I puked.

I vomited, a lot. I felt so sick.

00:39:29:04 - 00:39:32:19

I took everything off, my helmet, everything

and it's not allowed, when you're shooting

00:39:32:19 - 00:39:39:19

but I took it because I felt so bad.

And I was vomiting, it was very surrealistic.

00:39:41:11 - 00:39:46:03

Even in this situation, that I oppose

very much the war since the first moment.

00:39:46:03 - 00:39:49:14

I didn't really question whether to refuse or not.

00:39:49:14 - 00:39:52:20

When it was the first reserve,

I hesitated much more,

00:39:52:20 - 00:39:59:21

and I refused to go and I was jailed,

I don't remember, if 28 days, I'm not sure.

00:39:59:21 - 00:40:09:15

And this was really politically

the most important time in my life.

00:40:09:15 - 00:40:15:14

It was the first time I draw a line and I said

there are things that I am not going to do.

00:40:15:14 - 00:40:19:24

It was not refusing to serve in the army,

it was only refusing to serve in Lebanon.

00:40:19:24 - 00:40:25:13

It's a kind of selective refusal,

I refused certain things, but not everything.

00:40:25:13 - 00:40:34:00

Now, I think, refusing is a very, very

important civil duty or responsibility

00:40:34:00 - 00:40:37:13

that we have to take as civilians.

00:40:44:22 - 00:40:50:20

Today I'm very proud to tell, I like to tell,

on cameras also

00:40:50:20 - 00:40:55:08

that my two first sons

refused to serve in the army.

00:41:02:21 - 00:41:07:09

My second son just now got his exemption

from the army.

00:41:07:09 - 00:41:13:08

and for me it's really amazing that he did it...

00:41:21:17 - 00:41:26:22

We as Israelis, we are not really living

here as normal people,

00:41:26:22 - 00:41:31:10

we are occupying the place, we are all the

time afraid because we might explode everywhere.

00:41:32:06 - 00:41:35:19

We cross checkpoints everywhere,

okay, not as Palestinians,

00:41:35:19 - 00:41:40:00

but every bank we enter, every supermarket

we enter, we go through a checkpoint.

00:41:40:00 - 00:41:44:17

We're being checked all the time.

We are living in this fear of everyday life.

00:41:44:17 - 00:41:49:12

And we are trained to be soldiers all the time.

Every one of us is a soldier.


00:41:52:1 - 00:42:12:15

In the diaspora, we are told that we have no right to speak out because we do not live

there, because we do not understand that state of fear. Largely, we have complied. We

have lived our silence in the shadow of consent.


00:42:16:04 - 00:43:04:05

We won't belittle the real fears of many Jews and of many Israelis. The issue was trading

land for peace and Israel has not been willing to trade land for peace with its Arab

neighbours. It keeps banging on about security. Israel doesn't have security on the West

Bank because it wouldn't tell us where its border lies. And it's absurd to want security and

peace if you wouldn't say where your border is and if you keep expanding settlements and

confiscating more and more Arab land.


00:43:19:07 - 00:43:54:01

The Wall being built on the West Bank is not a security measure as it is presented. It's a

means of segregation the two communities and of appropriating large chunks of

Palestinian land to Israel. It's a means of continuing the policy of territorial expansion and

having the largest possible Jewish state with the smallest possible of Arabs within it.


00:44:09:10 - 00:44:14:13

El Qaba now Menachim Begin Park

Jerusalem District


00: 43:56:02 - 00:45:04:00

Our coins from the diaspora have not only planted Jewish trees, uprooted Palestinian

ones, they have contributed to a forest of a very different kind. A vast forest of bureaucracy

where the force of law is a weapon. Regulations rules, procedures, permits, planning bylaws

-- all regulate the tiniest minutiae of everyday life for Palestinians who are slowly

choked, inched off the remainder of their lands. I see God's warriors occupying roofs and

roads; land and sky.......checkpoints and crossings; tunnels and ditches; bridges and

barriers; permits and passes... The guardians of the gates chew gum, hold semiautomatics.

They look like my daughter, my uncle, my brother.


00:45:18:20 - 00:45:38:20

The JNF has expanded its focus beyond the internationally recognised boundaries of

Israel. The JNF through its subsidiary, Himanuta, is developing Jewish settlements in the

West Bank and the heart of East Jerusalem...



East Jerusalem

00:45:41:18 - 00:45:44:23

The settlers want to take over al-Aqsa mosque

and want to seize my house,

00:45:44:23 - 00:45:48:14

and the house next to me, and the house

after that and the house after that,

00:45:48:14 - 00:45:51:04

and the Bostan neighbourhood.

They want to take all of Silwan.

00:45:51:04 - 00:45:54:24

I say today they start with me,

tomorrow with my neighbour

00:45:54:24 - 00:45:59:12

and my next door neighbour the day after.

- A war on the entire Jerusalem.

00:45:59:12 - 00:46:01:22

They want to occupy all of Silwan.

00:46:01:22 - 00:46:04:24

Because it is close to the Haram al-Sharif/Al Aqsa.

00:46:06:03 - 00:46:14:04

The settlers came back in 1990 and harassed us

but we managed to fight them off.

00:46:14:04 - 00:46:19:07

And they came again in 1991,

with the special forces.

00:46:19:07 - 00:46:26:16

After midnight, I heard a noise and opened the door

and saw them put up a barricade on our property.

00:46:26:16 - 00:46:33:09

Even though we owned the land and had trees,

crops, chickens and everything in it.

00:46:33:09 - 00:46:38:19

My children used to play in it.


00:47:13:12 - 00:47:17:15

Nakba Day 15 May 2012

University of Tel Aviv


00:47:14:15 - 00:47:29:11

What happened in 1948 has not ended. It continues. So to acknowledg the Nakba is both

an act of memory and a protest against what is still happening.


00:47:36:14 - 00:48:07:04

"Nakba Day Remembrance Prayer"

"We are gathered here today,Jews and Arabs,

to remember the Palestinian catastrophe,the Nakba...

This is the catastrophe which has created the state of war in which we live.

This is the disaster we were forbidden to recognize.

We refuse to forget the refugees.

Our human obligation is to remember, not forget.


00:48:13: 22 - 00:48:20:22

The state has outlawed the Nakba as a day of mourning. So commemorating it has been

made a crime.


00:48:35:17 - 00:48:49:07

Against prohibition and the force of violence, Lubya's ruins are a fragile house of memory

where resistance to the speech of conquest are the voices of poetry and return.



00:48:57:24 - 00:49:07:11

I sometimes write poetry and it is mostly

about the village Lubya.

00:49:07:11 - 00:49:14:05

The morale is strong, people will come back,

they were forced out a long time ago.

00:49:14:05 - 00:49:20:17

They went for two or three days,

generation after generation...

00:49:20:17 - 00:49:25:14

As for returning, it will happen.

00:49:28:12 - 00:49:33:13

"I heard Lubya crying in sadness

I'm waiting for you... come back my children

00:49:33:13 - 00:49:38:13

You deserted me more than sixty years ago

And since then I knew no happiness

00:49:38:13 - 00:49:43:13

Bring your children to know me

And point at me and say, 'Our land'

00:49:43:13 - 00:49:49:15

Its wheat cried, 'Why did you plant me

and allow others to harvest me?'

00:49:49:15 - 00:49:54:16

Its trees cried, 'Why haven't you burnt me

in the face of the enemy so he'd turn into ashes?'

00:49:54:16 - 00:50:02:16

The darkness of injustice, no matter how long,

will no doubt be wiped by the brightness of dawn."


00:50:35:00 - 00:50:39:03

It's not a Palestinian history,

as if we would say the Shoah is a Jewish history,

00:50:39:03 - 00:50:44:03

it's also a German history, it's a European history,

it's a human history, history of humanity also

00:50:44:03 - 00:50:47:15

and for us as Israelis

the Nakbe is our history too...

00:50:47:15 - 00:50:53:17

and it's not easy, it's not a pleasant one to study

sometimes, but okay, it's our own history

00:50:53:17 - 00:50:59:19

and I'm sure that if we

think in terms of living here

00:50:59:19 - 00:51:05:21

in peace and reconciliation with the

people from this land, the Palestinians,

00:51:05:21 - 00:51:10:17

there's no way it can happen without

the acknowledgement

00:51:10:17 - 00:51:17:04

and responsibility taken by Israelis

to what happened in 1948,

00:51:17:04 - 00:51:25:14

including the support of the Right of

Return of the Palestinian refugees.


00:51:27:23 - 00:52:08:13

The problem with Israel today is that most Israelis will tell you, "We have done so much to

the Palestinians that they will never forgive us". So it's a kind of seeking the magic formula

that Desmond Tutu has found in truth and reconciliation. I don't know if it worked in South

Africa well or not, but at least I know what the impulse was. And the impulse was for my

mind it was the right one. It's a dangerous transition. Nobody should tell them that it's easy.

But it's the best way forward despite all the risks.


00:52:19:12 - 00:53:38:11

What do I do with what I know now? For those, like me, who kept silent in South Africa

during apartheid, who were too afraid to speak against a state that acted in our name, we

now have the opportunity to honour those who resisted and those whose humanity we

denied. To do this, is also to humanise ourselves.

To challenge the way things are is always difficult. Yet many people in Palestine-Israel, the

diasporas, live the courage to reclaim another future. They refuse to abide by actions

committed ‘in their name', ‘in our name', ‘in my name'. They show us another way. We too

can find the courage. We too can dare to walk that path: through the forest, in between the



00:53:39:10 - 00:54:09:13


Mark J Kaplan


Stiaan van der Merwe


Heidi Grunebaum


Gabriella Kaplan


Mahmoud Issa


Zivia Desai Keiper


Kevin Kriederman


Heidi Grunebaum

Fady Aslah


Moses März


Izette Mostert


Eckard Groenewald


Gerrit Karg


Heidi Grunebaum


Shifra Jacobson


Gilad Atzmon

Desert Rose


Mouad Khateb

Shaheed Mathee

IN PALESTINE - Collage Productions


Dima Abughoush


Muayad Alayan


Muntami abu Arab


Tariq Elayyan


Raed Abughoush


Fadi Aslah


Abeer Dahbour



Karen Neuman


Buza Tzoran


Tomer Blair

IN SOUTH AFRICA - Grey Matter Media cc


Mark Kaplan



Jonathan Bloom

IN SYRIA - George Baghdadi


Palestine Media and Communications - PMCC


Transfax Film Production

Mark Kaplan & Steven Markovitz

1947 Palestine, filmed by Manual and Phyllis Sachar


Mark Kaplan

Heidi Grunebaum

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio


Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape


Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive

Na'eem Jeenah

Moss Ntla

Eilert Rostrup

Yazir Henry

Premesh Lalu

Naazier Osman

Sara Bas-Youny

Shifra Jacobson

Oddveig Sarmiento

Alexander Kondakov

Ingrid Jaradat

Noga Kadman

Lia Tarachansky

Max Blumenthal

Hayley Galgut

Mieke Zagt

And to everyone who extended their hospitality




This film was made with the assistance

of the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa


© 2013


© 2019 Journeyman Pictures
Journeyman Pictures Ltd. 4-6 High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom

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