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All That Remains

The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948

All That Remains

Walid Khalidi, editor

Published by the Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992

Hardcover, 636 pages, US$49

A review by Michael James, PhD

The great orator and freedom fighter Malcolm X said that a book can change a person’s life. All That Remains, if not changing lives, can liberate readers from the mental slavery of the Zionist narrative that claims that Palestinians willingly left their homes in 1948. This Israeli or Zionist narrative dominates in Western corporate media, presenting Israelis as eternal victims, trying to bring civilization to a savage land and Palestinians as terrorists driven by irrational Jew hatred. All That Remains will open minds and hearts to an understanding of why Palestinians resist and how the current war on Gaza is actually just the latest step in the genocidal Zionist settler-colonial project, which comprises land theft, expulsion, destruction of homes and villages, occupation, and ethnic cleansing, and which led to Israeli statehood in 1948.

Author Ilan Pappé has termed the ongoing Israeli treatment of Palestinians an “incremental genocide.” Readers of All That Remains will see this incremental genocide revealed, village by village, home by home, brick by brick. But could a people targeted in a recent Nazi Holocaust actually turn around and do it to another people? Indeed, it is “one of the most dreadful ironies of modern history that European Jews – themselves horribly victimized by a genocide of unprecedented scope and intensity – became the aggressors in a new land.”

Enlightened observers recognize the new slaughter in Gaza, carried out with unbelievable hutzpah for TV cameras, as the latest Nakba, as mass murder presented to the world as legitimate because it is carried out by state actors (Israel and America), and as “genocide in real time.” The charge of genocide is not new.

“[T]here is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion…that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians.” And Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American with “fresh eyes” also saw genocide when she was in Rafah in 2003 as an idealistic activist with the International Solidarity Movement, hoping to prevent Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes. In a letter to her parents shortly before her death, she wrote “I am in the midst of a genocide…for which my government is largely responsible.” She was crushed by an Israeli D9 Caterpillar bulldozer – made in America.

All that Remains is a resource manual that uses field research to form a “snapshot” of each destroyed village. Khalidi describes the book as “an attempt to breathe life into” each village, to honor the unique nature of each village, so that the description of each village is a kind of “in memoriam.” The book is a “rescue” of the 418 Palestinian villages that were depopulated in 1948 and “literally…wiped off the face of the earth.”

Along with homes and villages, other assets were lost: schools, hospitals, banks, mosques, churches, and parks, as well as personal valuables that include  furniture, carpets, libraries, and family heirlooms. Place names were Hebraicized to erase genocidal crimes and conceal Palestinian history. The introduction quotes Moshe Dayan from a speech in 1969: “There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” And the destruction of these 418 villages is best understood as a desperate attempt to conceal the murderous and genocidal nature of Israel’s genesis.

And the people themselves? The 1948 flight of the Palestinian people is perhaps best understood by simple reference to the terms Nakba, Exodus, and Diaspora. It is hard to find words to capture the heartbreak at the loss of home and homeland, the overwhelming sense of injustice, the longing for world moral and legal authorities to intervene and relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people by confronting criminal Zionist aggression, and the fading hope of generation after generation that they might ever realize the right of return.

And yet, Walid Khalidi displays monumental grace by closing his introduction on a kind and generous note: “Retrospective as this book is, it is not a call for the reversal of the tide of history, nor for the delegitimization of Zionism.” He simply cautions with the strikingly obvious observation, “In the absence of a modicum of justice for the Palestinian people,” the conflict will continue into the future.


*1 Ilan Pappé, Ten Myths about Israel, Verso Books, 2017, p. 262.

*2 Walter L. Hixson, Israel’s Armor: The Israel Lobby and the First Generation of the Palestine Conflict, Cambridge University Press, 2019, p. 9.

*3 US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

*4 “The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective,” Center for Constitutional Rights, August 25, 2016.

*5 Joel Kovel, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2007, p. 125.

*6 Rashid Khalidi, The Hundred Years’ War On Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2020, p. 207.

2 Comments

  1. Aboussouan/ Tyson

    One of the sadest thing about this Palestinian situation is the fact that for over VII centuries the Arabs in Spain treated the Jewish community with respect and they blossomed.
    When the Arabs were defeated and had to leave, most of the Jewish population left with them and settled in North Africa and the Middle East all the way into Iran and, lived peacefully with their Christian and Moslem neighbors.
    The Arabs were definitely NOT antisemitic. A poorly known fact is that 80% of Israel’s population is non Semitic. They are converts from central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    Reply
    1. Sani Meo

      You’re absolutely right. Historically, Arab/Muslims were far more accommodating to Jews than the Christian West.

      Reply

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