Where to Go?

The destroyed villages of Palestine

Review date: 01-05-2018

Dispersed throughout this issue that commemorates Al-Nakba, you will find a number of Bruno Fert’s beautiful yet haunting images of destroyed Palestinian villages. These photos take the place of our “Where to Go” section but are spread throughout the issue to give them the prominence they deserve.

Al-Ghabisiyya
33°00′02″N 35°09′00″E – 05.1948

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Al-Ghabisiyya was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Like many Arab villages, it had a non-aggression pact with nearby Jewish communities. In the early months of the 1948 War, the villagers provided the Jewish militia Haganah with intelligence and ammunition in return for an agreement not to enter the village or harm the inhabitants. On the other hand, some of the villagers joined in an attack on a Jewish convoy in March 1948. On May 21, 1948, the Zionist forces captured Al-Ghabisiyya. The villagers fled or were expelled to nearby villages, where they remained until the complete Jewish conquest of Galilee in October of that year. Since then, all attempts by the villagers to return or to renovate the mosque have been prevented by the Israeli authorities.

Al-Bassa
33°04′34″N 35°08′27″ E – 05.1948

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Despite the fact that Al-Bassa was inside the territory allotted to the Palestinian state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan, it was captured and depopulated by Zionist forces on May 14, 1948. Some of the 3,000 residents were gathered in the village church before being deported to Lebanon. Their descendants still live in Dbayeh Refugee Camp near Beirut. The Orthodox church of the former village of Al-Bassa is today located on an industrial estate in Shlomi, close to the Lebanese border.

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Majdal Yaba
32° 04′ 51″ N, 34° 57′ 24″ E – 07.1948

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A bride is photographed in the castle of Mirabel, close to the town of Rosh HaAyin. This Crusader castle is one of the last remnants of the village of Majdal Yaba, which was totally destroyed during the 1948 War. About 1,500 inhabitants fled when the village was captured from Iraqi troops by Zionist forces on July 12, 1948. Majdal Yaba Village was within the territory allotted to the Palestinian state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

Tantura
32°36′34″N, 34°55′04″E – 05.1948

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A stone seawall facing the site of the former village of Tantura in the current location of Dor Beach, between Caesarea and Haifa. In 1948, Tantura had a population of 1,490. It was captured and depopulated by the Zionist forces on May 9, 1948.

Al-Qubayba-Ramle
31°53′41″N 34°46′17″ – 05.1948

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Located west of the present-day Israeli town of Rehovot, Al-Qubayba-Ramle was cleared of its 1,720 inhabitants on May 27, during Operation Barak in the 1948 War.

Bisan
32°30′48.2″N 35°29′34.4″ E – 05.1948

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Remains of the Bisan train station are located on the old Jezreel Valley railway that connected Haifa to Darra in Syria between 1905 and 1946. The town of Bisan fell to Zionist forces on May 4, 1948, and was renamed Beit She’an after the creation of the State of Israel.

Suba
31°47′5″N 35°7′26″ E – 07.1948

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A hiking path that crosses the former Palestinian village of Suba. Suba was built on the ruins of a Crusader castle that was reconquered by Saladin in 1187. In July 1948, the Zionist forces, which were attempting to reach Jerusalem, had fought a hard battle against units of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who were defending the place. Suba’s 720 inhabitants were forced to flee. Today, the Tzova kibbutz is located close to the ruins of Suba.