Gaza, 11 Jumadil Akhir 1434/20 April 2013 (MINA)- Israeli group Zochrot (‘remembering’ in Hebrew) unveiled the first Hebrew-language map, detailing hundreds of Palestinian villages that were destroyed in historic Palestine from the beginning of the Zionist movement until the war of 1967.

      The map also includes Jewish and Syrian villages that were destroyed, dating as far back as the late 1800s, according to Alray.ps report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

      Each former village and town is marked with a dot – red, blue, yellow, pink, purple or green – to indicate its type, and when and how its residents were displaced. The names of the Israeli communities that were built over the Palestinian ones are also marked.

      “It’s about time,” Zochrot founder Eitan Bronstein explained why the organization decided to create a Nakba map in Hebrew.

      “For us, it’s very important not only to show the destruction, but to show it as the background of what’s happening today. It’s crucial to acknowledge that where we live today is close to that (former Palestinian) town, or village, or so on,” Bronstein said.

        The Palestinian Nakba (‘catastrophe’ in Arabic) refers to the 750,000 Palestinians who were forcibly expelled or who fled from their homes and villages before and during the foundation of the state of Israel in 1947-48.

         Israeli forces depopulated and destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages during this time, and in the years that followed. Palestinian refugees have been barred from returning to their homes ever since; today, Palestinians constitute the largest refugee population in the world, and many still live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

        Israeli activist Rivka Vitenberg stressed the importance of discussing the Nakba, especially in a society where only the Israeli narrative is taught in schools, and the Palestinian experience is all but ignored.

       “I want people to remember the Nakba. It’s a very important part of history. We have to know it.” He said.

        Still, according to Eitan Bronstein at Zochrot, there has been a gradual shift in Israeli society towards discussing the Nakba more openly, thanks in part to the increased visibility of Palestinian refugees’ demand to return home, and Israeli government efforts to suppress the Nakba.

        Eitan Bronstein pointed out that they are going to distribute (the map) to university teachers, high school teachers, headmasters, libraries, journalists, “I really hope that it will open more places for discussion,” he said. (T/P02/E1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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