The generations of the Nakba – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Posted By on May 17, 2020

By: Zahran Maali

JENIN, Sunday, May 17, 2020 (WAFA) The 15th of May 1948 was an extraordinary day for the Palestinian people, the day when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homeland with all their belongings and became refugees, as Zionist militias were attacking the country to make way for Jewish migrants to replace the indigenousPalestinian population.

Two months following the most heinous event in the history of the Palestinian people, a new chapter of suffering and displacement began for nearly 1500 Palestinians from the abandoned village of Tirat Dandan, in the then district of Lod. The displacement and suffering have been going on for 72 years now, with no imminent end seen in the near future.

Omar Saeed al-Tirawi, who hails from the said abandoned village, was 14 years old at the time his family and he were forced to leave their village to the West Bank, fearing the barbarity and massacres of the invading Zionist militias.

Al-Tirawi, 87, who accompanied his family to the Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus where he lives now as a refugee, recounts the events that led to the forceful emigration of his village's residents, saying "the spread of rumors was the cause for loss of our homeland and our displacement".

The beginning of the displacement of the village's population started with the news of the Deir Yassin massacre by Zionist militias west of Jerusalem in April 1948, but soon after most of the village's residents were forced to flee to nearby mountains after the Zionist militias embarked on an attack on the village amid heavy gunfire, according to Al-Tirawi.

Like the rest of the population, Al-Tirawi, carrying his four-year-old brother, fled with his family and the people of the village on foot towards the nearby village of Deir Tarif, then to the village of Deir Ammar. Following the displacement, he says all families became homeless and were forced to sleep in the open.

Farming and raising livestock were the main source of livelihood for the village's residents, like the rest of the Palestinian population in the countryside. Al-Tirawi says he tried to return to the village to bring the seven sheep that he had used to graze on the lands and mountains of the village, but says he wasn't able to do so due to the intensive bombing by the attacking militias.

Al-Tirawi, also known for his kunya Abu Nabil, describes his father's land, confiscated by the new state of Israel, as a paradise that was planted with wheat, cactus, olives, figs, corn and grapes. His father was a well-known cattle merchant, yet "he joined us barefoot on foot with only a small amount of money on his possession."

"If I were to choose between a palace in the refugee camp and a tent in Tirat Dandan, I would choose the other way around in my hometown. For 72 years, I have never felt comfort. Our whole life is full of fatigue. We have not breathed the fresh air of our land for 72 years," he continues.

The 87-year-old man sighs, "The story of displacement is inherited from one generation to another. We were a five-member family when we were displaced, but today we have dozens of children and grandchildren. My children and grandchildren today are 83 individuals, and we must return one day."

In Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, the belief that the refugee issue is inherited across generations is confirmed by Mr. Rashid Mansour, 64, who is from the second generation of the Nakba, and whose family took refuge in the camp in 1948 after they were displaced from the village of Ijzim, near Haifa.

"We rose up with our grandmothers talking in the evening about the displacement, killing and destruction that befellupon our people in our stolen country," Mansour adds.

Mansour says that Ijzim was known for its livestock and agriculture industries, and that his grandfather had 500 sheep at the time of the Palestine fall, in addition to 50 dunums of land.

Mansour returned to Ijzim twice, the first was in 1983 after he was released from the Israeli occupation's prisons, and the second was in 2012 when he visited the abandoned village with his wife, children and mother but only as a visitor not as a citizen. He believes that the return of the Palestine refugees will take place one day, saying he believes in the return as he believes in God.

Mansour also believes that the refugee camp, inhabited by about 11 thousand people who took refuge there from 70 villages after being displaced in 1948, is only a "return" station, and that the right to return is inherited and established from one generation to another.

M.N

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The generations of the Nakba - WAFA - Palestine News Agency

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