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Ben-Gurion letter sheds new light on Nakba

Research on historical Palestinian and Zionist documents has shed new light on the details of the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were driven by the homes in 1948. According to Hossam Shaker, who is leading the research team looking at the documents, they reveal the deliberate policy adopted by the nascent state of Israel to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes.

Shaker issued a number of press statements to explain the details of the find. One letter signed by the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, supports the conclusions reached by a number of historians, especially regarding the policy of preventing Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes, adopted by Israeli forces during and immediately after the 1948 war.

The typewritten document signed by Ben-Gurion and dated 2 June, 1948 is written in Hebrew. It confirms the order to prevent Arab residents of Haifa from returning to the city. “Until the war ends,” Ben-Gurion stresses, “we are not concerned with the return of the enemy and all institutions must act accordingly.”

“The document also sheds more light on Britain’s role, after the end of the mandate, as it refers to Cyril Marriott, the British Consul-General in Haifa,” Shaker pointed out. The expert analyst suggested that internet leaks alone are enough to prompt demands for investigations into Zionist and Israeli documents that are hidden or kept in the archives, or are owned by individuals and organisations.

The Ben-Gurion letter is being auctioned off on 3 June and, said Shaker, “It reveals the details of the roles of Israeli institutions in creating the Nakba, especially since it is written to Aba Houshi, head of the Haifa Workers’ Council.” Houshi became Mayor of Haifa in 1948.

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