Mass Grave of Palestinians Killed During 1948 Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Unearthed in Tel Aviv
A mass grave containing the remains of Palestinians killed during the war that followed the 1948 Israeli declaration of independence has been unearthed in Israel’s largest city.
Agence France-Presse reports that the skeletal remains of dozens of Palestinian Arabs were discovered when the earth subsided as workers renovated a Muslim cemetery in the Jaffa district of Tel Aviv. Mondoweiss identifies the burial ground as the Al-Kazkhana cemetery.
Atar Zeinab, a Palestinian fisherman who helped collect the Arab dead during the 1948 war, told AFP that he “carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months.”
“We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn’t know who they were,” Zeinab said, explaining that the danger of being shot or blown up left him and others who collected bodies with no choice but to pile them atop each other in existing family crypts in violation of Muslim custom.
“We carried them early in the morning or in the night,” Zeinab told AFP. “We put women, children and men in the same place… nobody prayed for these people.”
Al Akhbar reports that the victims were killed by Israeli bombing and shelling of residential areas or by Israeli snipers.
“The Kazkhana cemetery has exposed the historical facts that Israel has tried to hide and erase for over 65 years relating to the massacres committed by Zionist gangs,” a statement from the al-Aqsa Foundation, an international charity considered “a critical part of Hamas’ transnational terrorist support infrastructure” by the United States, read.
Jaffa, which was an Arab city before its residents were expelled or fled during the 1948 war, was later incorporated into the city of Tel Aviv.
More than 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes or fled in the years 1948-49, a violent period known among Arabs as the Nakba, or catastrophe. The Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign resulted in the destruction of more than 400 Arab villages. The displaced Palestinians and their descendants, who now number some five million, have been prohibited from returning to their homeland. This, despite a 1948 United Nations resolution declaring that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”