What if Palestinians suddenly disappeared from Israel and Palestine? That is the premise of Ibtisam Azem’s mystical story in “The Book of Disappearance.” And yes, at first Jewish Israelis see it as a great miracle.
From April 1st to May 14, 1948 — before Israel was declared, before the British left, and before any Arab soldier entered Palestine to save it — Zionist militias essentially conquered Palestine. Salman Abu Sitta says this critical period leading to Al Nakba has rarely been looked upon in this light, and shows how massacres that took place during this period were pivotal in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
In a far-ranging interview, Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh relates how annoyed he is when American media read from the Zionist script and demand that he defend Hamas. He also talks about how difficult it is to maintain human relationships with Israelis when Israelis cannot confront the past of ethnic cleansing. And how the late Amos Oz patronized him…
A New York Times travel piece about Jaffa describing it as an “ancient neighborhood” of Tel Aviv now revived by Israeli chefs so erased Palestinian history that the paper had to issue a correction about its lapses. But the Debra Kamin article still says there are “accusations” that the city’s Palestinian history is being erased, an implicit denial of the Nakba.
“It’s us or them”, says a new Israeli election poster by Netanyahu’s party, Likud, suggesting that Jaffa can be either a “Hebrew city” or one taken over by the “Islamist movement”. The bus shelter ad in Tel Aviv features a fearful image of an Arab.
A professor visits two of her Palestinian students in Ramallah and together they sneak into Jerusalem for a joyride to Jaffa: “Our car never stopped but took a pause, then zoomed forth. Malak announced, ‘I would like to notify you that we’re in Jerusalem right now.’ The two of them suddenly yelled with sheer elation, ‘We made it! We’re going to Yaffa!’ I had seen Malak on celebratory highs before, having seen him accomplish truly amazing things as an undergrad. But I had never witnessed the degree of outpouring of elation I was seeing from him now. I knew what Yaffa meant to him, as he had written about it and spoken about it on more than one occasion. He loved the sea, and he loved Yaffa. It had been taken from him. It was his home, his family’s home. At 22 years old, he had only seen the sea from Yaffa a handful of times – he had never swum there.”