The palestinians

01A_(1)-1.pngMother and child, in traditional dress, taken by Palestinian photographer Khalil Raad around 1920.  Given that few urban women dressed in traditional garb at that time, it is likely that Raad’s model donned this dress specifically for the photo. Raad is known for photographs in which his subjects smile and appear relaxed – quite unusual for this period – and likely due to the fact that Raad personally knew many of the individuals who posed for him.  Raad’s photos contrast markedly with photos taken by foreign photographers of his time, who frequently presented Palestine in a Biblical or Orientalist light.

02A_(1)-1.pngThe coastal city of Jaffa (photo taken between 1898 and 1914) has existed for at least 3500 years.  The city was a key center of Palestinian commerce prior to the partition of Palestine, with a population of about 70,000 by 1948, and an export economy based on oranges, sesame products, soap and other raw materials.   

02B-1.pngWorkers cut soap blocks in a Nablus factory surrounded by towers of drying bars of soap.  

02C-1.pngPalestinian women paint pottery according to centuries-long traditions with distinct regional characteristics.  

02D-1.pngGlass-blowing in Hebron in 1945 was a tradition dating back to Phoenician influences from 100 BC.

03A_(1)-1.pngPalestinian agriculture was always extremely rich and diverse. The Jaffa orange was a variety developed in the 19th century by Palestinian cultivators.   For decades prior to the partition of Palestine, Jaffa oranges were Palestine’s #1 export. 

03B-1.pngA family harvests olives around 1920.  At this time, the olive groves were 99 percent Palestinian-owned and harvested.  

03C-1.pngA Palestinian farmer with his vines, around 1920.  During this period, 86 percent of the area planted with vines was Palestinian-owned and cultivated. 

03D-1.pngThe bounty of Palestinian agriculture is evident in this photo of a Palestinian vegetable stand, taken in the 1930s.

04D-1.pngThe detention camps like the one photographed were established by the British government in Palestine as a punitive measure in response to the Revolt of 1936-1939, when Palestinians rebelled against autocratic British rule and massive Jewish immigration to Palestine. The Revolt expanded when the British proposed partitioning Palestine into two states, one for Arabs and one for Jews. Several thousand Palestinians were killed during the uprising, and several thousands more were detained. First man on left is Hanna Asfour, Greek Catholic lawyer and legal adviser to the Arab Labour Society in Haifa. Traditional dress was worn by urban detainees as a gesture of defiance.

04A_(1)-1.pngPalestinian leaders assemble in Jerusalem, prior to sending a delegation of five – seated in foreground – to negotiate in England.

04B_(1)-1.pngA delegation of Palestinian women returns from a conference on the Palestine question in Cairo in 1938.

04C-1.pngPalestinian members of the Arab Women’s Union (AWU), one of many women’s groups in Palestine which supported the nationalist struggle against the British.

05A_(1)-1.pngMale residents of Abu Ghosh, a town west of Jerusalem, hold a meeting to declare their allegiance to the Arab Higher Committee, a political council of local Palestinian leaders that was formed on April 25, 1936.  The Arab Higher Committee included representatives of all the major political parties and religious groups.  The allegiance of such men was not just to the Committee, but to the broader cause of Palestinian independence and resistance against the British.

 06A_(1)-1.pngPalestinian anxiety skyrocketed in the 1930s with increased Jewish immigration from Europe and related developments: the Jewish purchase of large tracts of land from absent owners;  the creation of Jewish militias; and the creation of independent Jewish institutions. In October, 1933, British soldiers crush a demonstration at Jerusalem’s New Gate.  

06B-1.pngBritish soldiers search Palestinians for weapons near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.  The British crackdown focused on destroying Palestinian resistance to the British Mandate  – possession of a firearm was punishable by death.

06C-1.pngA Palestinian man is searched for arms near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. 

06D-1.pngBritish soldiers with clubs assault demonstrators in Jaffa in October, 1933.

 07A_(1)-1.pngThe Palestinian residents of Jaffa flee by way of the Mediterranean Sea in April and May, 1948, carrying what personal effects they can.  According to the UN Partition Plan of 1947, the city of Jaffa was to have become part of the future Arab [i.e. Palestinian] state.  Despite this plan, Jewish militias attacked the city from mid-April until mid-May, 1948.  After three weeks of siege and assault, Jewish soldiers finally took the city on May 13th. 

07B-1.pngWith all roads blocked, thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee by sea – mostly on fishing boats – to exile in Gaza, Egypt and Lebanon.  By May 14, only 4000-5000 Palestinians remained in the city which had once been home to 70,000. 

08B-1.pngThe UN Partition of Palestine and the ensuing conflict had catastrophic implications for the Palestinians. Palestinians fled their homes with very few possessions, frequently with the mistaken assumption that they would be returning in a matter of weeks if not days.  The members of this family were among at least 700,000 Palestinians who became – and whose millions of descendants remain today – refugees. 

08E-1.pngFlies hover over a Palestinian girl and her grandfather as they rest in a refugee camp in late 1948.

08D-1.pngCivilian inhabitants of Acre being herded into prison after the fall of the town, 17 May 1948.  Like Jaffa, Acre too was to have been part of the Arab [i.e. Palestinian] state under the UN partition plan. 

08C-1.pngRefugee Palestinian girls sleep shoulder-to-shoulder in a convent, probably in Lebanon. 

08A_(1)-1.pngA Palestinian family flees al-Faluja, east of Gaza, in February, 1949, when Israeli forces threaten the town despite a recent armistice agreement with Egypt.

09A_(1)-1.pngAs a result of the conflict of 1948-1949, at least 100,000 Palestinians ended up fleeing to Lebanon, 470,000 to the West Bank (controlled at the time by Jordan), about 84,000 to Syria, and about 120,000 to Gaza (controlled at the time by Egypt.)  In 1967, a new wave of Palestinian refugees was created when Israel invaded and occupied the West Bank and Gaza, causing around 300,000 Palestinians to flee.  Of these, approximately 180,000 were first-time refugees, while the remainder were 1948 refugees uprooted for the second time.  Pictured above, the beginnings of the the Souf camp established for Palestinian refugees fleeing to Jordan in 1967.  About 5 million Palestinian refugees are registered with the UN today, many of them still in camps that were first established in the year or two following the conflict of 1948.     

10A-1.pngA Palestinian woman’s home in the city of Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, August 2011. Israel’s blockade impedes reconstruction of homes that Israeli forces destroyed in the 2008-09 bombardment.

10B-1.pngAugust 2006. Palestinian Bedouin, forced off their ancestral lands in the Negev by the Israeli army in the 1950s, resettled in Jahalin, near East Jerusalem, West Bank, occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), but may be facing another forced relocation by the Israelis.

10E-1.pngA family from the community of Um Al-Kheir (South Hebron Hills, oPt) at their shack, demolished twice by Israeli authorities. April 2011. In the background is a new housing development in the illegal Israeli settlement of Carmel. In 2013, 100 Canadian writers co-signed an open letter opposing the forced relocations of the Bedouin in Israel and the Palestinians of the South Hebron Hills.

10C-1.pngDistribution of flour in a Palestinian refugee camp in the early 1950s.  Following the massive land loss and expulsions of 1948, many Palestinians—previously food exporters—needed food assistance.

10D-1.pngAccording to the UN, at least 80% of Gaza's 1.8 million people depend on aid, with a 10-20% rise in demand in 2014 expected.

11A_(1)-1.pngPalestinian woman confronting an Israeli policeman during a Nakba Day demonstration, Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem, May 15, 2013. The Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) commemorates the 1948 flights and expulsions of Palestinians from what became the State of Israel in 1948. 

11B-1.pngArafat Khawaja, 22, is evacuated after he was injured with live ammunition shot by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Ni’lin during a demonstration in solidarity with the people of Gaza, Dec. 28, 2008.  He died three days later.  

11E-1.pngPalestinian children demonstrators from the West Bank village of Maasarah scuffle with Israeli Army soldiers during a demonstration against Israel’s wall. At the end of January, 2014, 183 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners.  

11D-1.pngMembers of the Israeli Army approach villagers from Al-Arakib, February 2011. Israeli authorities have demolished Al-Arakib—a Palestinian Bedouin village in Israel that the government arbitrarily refuses to recognise—at least 59 times in the last few years.  

11C-1.pngIsraeli police threaten and assault Nakba day demonstrators in 2013.

11G-1.pngOn December 27, 2008, Israeli authorities initiated Operation Cast Lead, a 22-day aerial and land attack on Gaza that killed 1398 Palestinians, injured thousands more, and destroyed Gaza’s water and sewage systems, thousands of homes, and many schools and clinics - Palestinian civilians and medics fleeing during air strike over a UN school where 1600 civilians had taken shelter. According to Human Rights Watch, Israel used white phosphorus, which burns through flesh to bone, in a “reckless” manner during the operation.

11H-1.pngPalestinians return January 20 to their devastated neighbourhood, razed as the assault ended.

11I-1.pngBurial of Lama Hamdan (5), one of 345 Palestinian children killed by Israeli military during the operation.

11F-1.pngA Palestinian man mourns over the loss of a loved one due to an Israeli air strikes on GazaCity on the first day of the operation. According to the UN’s Goldstone Report, “The timing of the first Israeli attack, at 11:30 a.m. on a weekday, when children were returning from school and the streets of Gaza were crowded with people going about their daily business, appears to have been calculated to create the greatest disruption and widespread panic among the civilian population.”

12A_(2)-1.pngPalestinians, Israelis and international guests mark nine years of weekly demonstrations against the Wall in Bil’in, West Bank, February 28, 2014.

12B-1.pngIn this May 2010 demonstration against the Wall, Palestinian men carry a gigantic key symbolizing the loss of their homes in 1948.  

12D-1.pngPalestinians display photos of jailed relatives on Palestinian Prisoners Day, Ramallah, April 17, 2012. According to Israeli human rights group B’tselem, as of January 31, 2014, 4881 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons: 3095 were serving sentences, 962 for simply being in Israel “illegally”; 1376 were being detained until the conclusion of legal proceedings; 175 of the detainees were being held without charge or trial; 183 were under 18. Jailing Palestinian prisoners inside Israel violates the Fourth Geneva Convention.  

12C-1.pngPalestinians protest the Wall (which will block access to their farms) and in solidarity with prisoners at Al Ma’sara, West Bank, September 14, 2012.  

12E-1.png15,000 mourners attend the funeral procession of three Palestinians assassinated by Israeli forces in a pre-dawn raid in the Jenin refugee camp on March 22, 2014.  The raid brought to 60 the number of Palestinians killed by Israel since the start of peace negotiations in the summer of 2013.  

13A_(1)-1.pngAt 5am every day, hundreds of Palestinians from Bethlehem and the southern West Bank begin lining up in order to cross the Wall, pass through the checkpoint and multiple inspection procedures and reach their jobs in Jerusalem. The process can take hours. Rather than following the border between Israel and the oPt, the Wall juts deep into Palestinian territory, annexing de facto major swaths of it.

13B_(2)-1.pngAs depicted in the maps, since 1946, Palestinians have lost access to more and more of historic Palestine.  The process continues today, as Israel continues construction of its Wall, seizes land to build more Israeli “settlements,”  and confiscates land for “bypass roads,” military zones, and nature preserves, among other mechanisms.  Today, Palestinians freely access only about 12% of historic Palestine.  

14A_(1)-1.pngBeit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, August 28, 2011. A Palestinian family breaking the fast during Ramadan outside their tent, where they have been living since their house was burned down during Operation Cast Lead, a 22-day aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military initiated December 27, 2008. According to data compiled by Israeli human rights group B’tselem, the assault killed 1398 Palestinians—the majority of them non-combatants—including 345 children and 110 women. It also injured thousands and destroyed thousands of homes, as well as  Gaza’s sewage and water systems and many clinics and schools. Israel’s sweeping blockade of Gaza, in effect since 2007, has impeded reconstruction.