The Village under the Forest
00:00:00:15 - 00:00:27:24
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
00:00:30:14 - 00:35:00:00
a film by Mark J Kaplan and Heidi Grunebaum
00:00:40:18 - 00:01:35:12
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
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.
00:01:36:15 - 00:01:46:11
The Village under the Forest
00:01:52:16 - 00:03:16:00
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
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
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.
00:04:10:03 - 00:07:09:03
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
00:07:08:15 - 00:07:13:17
My father and grandfather used to
describe the village
00:07:13:17 - 00:07:16:23
as very rich and lively
00:07:16:23 - 00:07:21:01
and they stressed its unmatched readiness
00:07:21:01 - 00:07:25:03
and willingness to resist occupation.
00:07:25:03 - 00:07:27:20
That made it a model for resistance
and steadfastness at the time.
00:07:35:50 - 00:08:02:24
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.
AMINA NABOO KAHLEEL ZU'AITIER
00:08:04:13 - 00:08:08:17
We rejoiced when the Arab Liberation Army came.
00:08:08:17 - 00:08:13:23
Back then, we said, Arabs are finally
showing some chivalry
00:08:13:23 - 00:08:18:02
but as one woman said,
it was only a futile showing off.
00:08:18:22 - 00:08:26:18
These are our Arabs; they sold us
damaged bullets and broken guns
00:08:28:30 - 00:08:33:15
GOLANI MILITARY MUSEUM
00:08:31:06 - 00:08:51:00
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.
00:09:15:11 - 00:09:18:22
At that time, the Hagganah, Stern
and Irgun Jewish militias
00:09:18:22 - 00:09:22:19
focused their attacks in the
whole Galilee region on Lubya.
00:09:22:19 - 00:09:26:09
Because it was a thorn in their backs.
Yarmouk Refugee Camp
00:09:29:21 - 00:09:32:20
We sat there. At 1 o'clock, the Jews came.
00:09:32:20 - 00:09:35:24
They opened fire in one burst.
00:09:35:24 - 00:09:40:21
And now fire was opened against them too.
00:09:41:08 - 00:09:48:19
After a while, I heard a
rustling in the bushes
00:09:48:19 - 00:09:54:14
as if someone was creeping nearby.
00:09:56:20 - 00:10:03:06
So I opened fire in the direction
of the noise I heard.
00:10:07:18 - 00:11:20:15
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.
00:11:21:12 - 00:11:27:21
There was an attack with planes that came from
Yamma east of here, just above Tiberias.
00:11:27:21 - 00:11:33:06
One month, two months, three months,
the planes kept dropping bombs on the village
00:11:34:16 - 00:11:40:07
Before the attack they spread rumours
that if they captured the village
00:11:40:07 - 00:11:44:08
they would rape and slaughter
women and children.
00:11:44:08 - 00:11:49:24
The battle of Deir Yassin and the
massacre that was committed there
00:11:49:24 - 00:11:52:03
was still fresh in the people's minds.
00:11:52:03 - 00:11:53:24
So prior to the final battle,
00:11:53:24 - 00:11:57:16
the men took the women and children
out of the village.
00:11:57:16 - 00:12:05:01
A group of fighters withdrew from
the frontline to the back
00:12:05:01 - 00:12:09:18
to fill the gap that the absence of women left.
00:12:09:18 - 00:12:15:05
The battle moved to the village's center.
00:12:15:05 - 00:12:19:07
The fall of Deir Yassin and Qastal
00:12:19:07 - 00:12:22:05
and the massacres that took place there,
00:12:22:05 - 00:12:25:06
were a major blow to people's morale.
00:12:25:06 - 00:12:28:04
We lost the locations where
the Arab armies retreated from.
00:12:28:04 - 00:12:32:02
The treason was more evident by now.
00:12:32:02 - 00:12:36:04
The battle was happening anyway,
00:12:36:04 - 00:12:39:14
but the spirit was broken.
00:12:44:10 - 00:12:50:14
My father said, "We didn't enter
the last battle lion-hearted this time,
00:12:50:14 - 00:12:56:09
but rabbit-hearted, broken and fearful."
00:13:00:19 - 00:13:05:12
Inside the village there was a battle,
00:13:05:12 - 00:13:07:17
with cold weapons, knives, swords, etc
00:13:07:17 - 00:13:09:07
but it was completely unbalanced.
00:13:11:04 - 00:13:14:17
My father said,
00:13:14:17 - 00:13:20:04
"I hid in a tree, I was surrounded
and didn't know where to go
00:13:20:04 - 00:13:23:18
because I was supervising
the battle and the withdrawal,
00:13:23:18 - 00:13:28:03
so I stayed in the tree, and watched
00:13:28:03 - 00:13:31:06
when they entered the village.
00:13:31:06 - 00:13:33:10
How they hysterically took revenge
00:13:33:10 - 00:13:36:02
against people and houses."
Golani Military Brigade
00:13:40:02 - 00:13:45:19
You can bomb a house with a small amount
of explosives placed in the middle of the room.
00:13:45:19 - 00:13:51:16
It's also less dangerous. We found that half
a kilo is enough for an entire house.
00:13:51:16 - 00:13:58:01
Three of us did the bombing, the others guarded
the area to make sure no one was there.
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.
00:14:32:01 - 00:14:35:14
All of the Lubya Arabs fled.
00:14:35:14 - 00:14:39:02
And I was ordered to destroy the houses quickly
00:14:39:02 - 00:14:42:15
to prevent their return after the conquest.
00:14:42:15 - 00:14:46:03
I had more soldiers here,
almost an entire platoon.
00:14:46:03 - 00:14:49:16
This platoon tore it down
one after the other.
00:14:49:16 - 00:14:53:04
One house, another and then another
until they were all gone.
00:14:53:04 - 00:14:55:22
There were more than 1,000 houses.
AMINA NABOO KAHLEEL ZU'AITIER
00:15:02:09 - 00:15:08:03
Whilst we were walking to the north,
trying to escape to Lebanon,
00:15:08:03 - 00:15:12:21
at that point, I looked behind and
saw Lubya in the distance.
00:15:12:21 - 00:15:16:16
Its houses were in flame
and smoke covered the sky.
00:15:16:16 - 00:15:19:02
I was crying since the
moment I left Lubya
00:15:21:05 - 00:15:24:23
but at that point, I realized that
it is over, we lost everything.
00:15:34:15 - 00:15:37:18
Suba now Kibbutz Tsova
00:15:38:19 - 00:15:51:13
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.
00:15:53:00 - 00:16:31:19
Across the land some 530 Palestinian villages and 11 urban areas shared the same fate
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.
00:16:45:05 - 00:16:55:10
But 750 000 Palestinians refugees did not choose the long twilight of exile across many
borders and oceans.
AMINA NABOO KAHLEEL ZU'AITIER
00:16:56:21 - 00:16:59:22
I wish we had stayed in Palestine.
00:16:59:22 - 00:17:06:05
We came to this country (Denmark)
and it is a good country.
00:17:06:05 - 00:17:13:06
But still I regret having left Palestine.
00:17:19:24 - 00:17:25:02
Here we are, expelled and scattered in this world.
00:17:25:02 - 00:17:32:02
That year there was heavy snow,
and we are not used to snow
00:17:32:02 - 00:17:40:07
because in Palestine the weather is warm.
In fact we never even knew snow.
00:17:40:07 - 00:17:46:17
My dear sir, six old people died
because of the snow that year.
00:17:46:17 - 00:17:55:15
I was alone, because I had to find a job first,
while my mother and family were still in Ba'aalbak.
00:17:58:11 - 00:18:03:12
Looking for work, I went to al-Hijaz station.
00:18:03:12 - 00:18:08:17
I stood there and looked around,
"Oh God, where would I go?"
00:18:08:17 - 00:18:12:00
"I don't know anybody here, where will I go?"
00:18:15:01 - 00:18:24:20
"Oh God, oh God..." I decided
to go and look for Palestinians.
00:18:27:07 - 00:18:30:20
I asked and was told that I
would find them in mosques.
00:18:30:20 - 00:18:34:12
Someone came out and I asked him,
"Are there any Palestinians here?"
00:18:34:12 - 00:18:38:21
He said, "Yes."
So I asked, "Is there anyone from Lubya here?"
00:18:38:21 - 00:18:44:23
He said, "Yes there is."
I asked, "Would you please call one for me?"
00:18:44:23 - 00:18:54:24
And he did, then one man came out
who turned out to be my relative.
00:18:54:24 - 00:18:58:16
We greeted, "Salaam, salaam, salaam."
00:18:58:16 - 00:19:02:08
He said, "Do you know who is here with us?"
00:19:02:08 - 00:19:05:23
I said, "No, who?"
He said, "Your aunt."
00:19:05:23 - 00:19:12:13
I was surprised, and we went inside,
and there she was with her children.
00:19:12:13 - 00:19:19:04
We greeted each other, then she
asked me, "Where have you been?"
00:19:38:19 - 00:19:57:18
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
00:21:30:50 - 00:21:35:21
00:21:41:09 - 00:22:27:01
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.
00:22:46:24 - 00:22:52:17
If I didn't love this place would I keep coming
back here on my tractor all the time?
00:22:54:09 - 00:22:55:23
They made it into a forest.
00:22:55:23 - 00:22:59:08
To claim that there was no village here.
00:22:59:08 - 00:23:02:22
But you can see the cactus,
which proves that Arabs lived here.
00:24:20:08 - 00:24:24:11
This is the map that was drawn by this man from Syria
00:24:25:19 - 00:24:30:06
We weren't able to visit the village
in the previous period.
00:24:30:06 - 00:24:37:00
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.
00:24:44:09 - 00:24:47:17
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.
00:24:54:20 - 00:26:57:10
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
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?
EITAN BRONSTEIN APARICIO
Human Rights Activist
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.
EITAN BRONSTEIN APARICIO
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
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...
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.
MOHAMMAD AHMED IBRAHIM
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."
EITAN BRONSTEIN APARICIO
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
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
DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
Mark J Kaplan
Stiaan van der Merwe
WRITER & NARRATOR
Zivia Desai Keiper
IN PALESTINE - Collage Productions
Muntami abu Arab
IN SOUTH AFRICA - Grey Matter Media cc
IN BRITAIN & DENMARK
IN SYRIA - George Baghdadi
Palestine Media and Communications - PMCC
Transfax Film Production
Mark Kaplan & Steven Markovitz
1947 Palestine, filmed by Manual and Phyllis Sachar
Eitan Bronstein Aparicio
WITH GRATEFUL THANKS TO
Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape
Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive
And to everyone who extended their hospitality
This film was made with the assistance
of the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa