The Register of Depopulated Localities in Palestine

The Register of Depopulated Localities in Palestine


The Palestinian Nakba is unsurpassed in history.For a country to be occupied by a foreign minority, emptied almost entirely of its people, its physical and cultural landmarks obliterated, its destruction hailed as a miraculous act of God and a victory for freedom and civilized values, all done according to a premeditated plan, meticulously executed, financially and politically supported from abroad, and still maintained today, is no doubt unique.


Today, there are more than five million refugees whose families were expelled from their homes and not allowed to return.For half a century, they endured a life of suffering and destitution, some forced to be refugees again and again, most have been active in trying to remove this colossal injustice, all have a relentless desire to return home.

If there is a single lesson to be learnt from the last 50 years of war and strife, it is that the Palestinians will not just disappear and that they are the only people who have no where to live, nor wish to live, except in Palestine.

At the fiftieth anniversary of their Palestinian Holocaust, this Register, first published in 1998, is an attempt to put in print what is already engraved in the minds and hearts of millions of refugees.This second revised edition of the Register is part of an ongoing project to document the collective memory of the ‘unchosen’ but determined people.This and similar projects attempt to draft the blue print for the Return Plan.

S. A. S. September 2000


A Brief Guide to the Register

The following notes are intended to assist the reader to make use of this Register.Although the tables may appear to be designed only for the specialist, the ordinary reader, who wishes to find out basic facts about a Palestinian village, can do so easily.It is preferable if these tables are read in conjunction with the map: Palestine 1948, available separately from PRC.There are 24 columns, but the essential items are only 11: village name, district, date and reason for depopulation, by which Israeli military operation, massacres (if any), level of destruction, village land area, population in 1948 and in 1998 and how many refugees are registered from this village.

Col. 1 to 4

These columns indicate the reference number of listed localities (towns, villages, tribes).Col. 1 is a serial number for identification of rows.Col. 2 is a reference number for the depopulated villages as per this study (AS No.).Col. 3 is a reference number for the depopulated villages as per the work of Benny Morris, 1987 (M. No.).Col 4 is a reference number for the depopulated villages as per the work of the research team led by W. Khalidi, 1992 (K. No.) - as shown on his end map.

Most of this Register is based on Morris and W. Khalidi.Morris listed 369 villages and towns and described the circumstances of their depopulation based on recently released Israeli files.Khalidi, in a detailed group effort, listed 418 villages which are: villages or hamlets (only) listed in the Palestine Index Gazetteer of 1945 falling inside the Armistice Line of 1949 (including no man’s land), which have a core of permanent structures, have their own names, have Arabic - speaking Palestinians, have Arab land and have been depopulated after the hostilities began.Khalidi’s list of 418 villages excludes: all towns, bedouins, villages which lost their land but not their homes, localities of villagers who lived on Jewish or German land and villagers who left before hostilities.

The AS list includes both Morris and Khalidi localities and adds tribes in Beer Sheba District, which are equivalent in population to 125 typical villages and in cultivated land to about half the registered land in the rest of Palestine.Although subsequently repopulated, less than half a dozen other villages were added for various reasons, e.g. occurrence of massacres.The total is 531 localities.The sequence of AS No is according to the depopulation date.Table 1 shows the summary of the three listings.

Col. 5, 6

Name of locality in Arabic and English.As per Khalidi, the name in Arabic is taken from Palestine Index Gazetteer but revised according to the Palestinian Localities Directory (Jerusalem 1973).Names in Col. 21, 22 are taken from UNRWA records.The reason for their inclusion is explained under Col. 21, 22.The name in English is transliterated.The definitive article, al, is added at the end, so is K (for Khirbet) and A for Arab.Examples: Dhuhayriyya al K = Khirbet al Dhuhayriya; Samniyya al K A = Arab Khirbet al Samniyya.Towns and Cities are in bold type.Names in this format are in alphabetical order for each District.


Col. 7

Area (geographical location) of the depopulated locality according to Morris.

Col. 8

The District (more correctly: Sub-District, qada) according to the administrative boundaries of Mandate Palestine (latest 1944).

Col. 9

The date of depopulation of the locality.The date may coincide with the date of the Israeli onslaught on the village or follows that date by 1 to 2 days when the Israeli troops completed the occupation of the village and started expelling the population.If the village is depopulated more than once, such as in cases where the villagers were expelled then returned after a lull in the fighting, but were expelled or left again, the first date of depopulation is entered.Few dates are not precise; they are entered as ‘early November’, say.There are listed dates on which the bulk of population, especially women, children and old men have left, while a dozen young men remained fighting or protecting their property until they were expelled, captured or killed as “infiltrators”.By the end of the British Mandate on 15 May 1948, more than half the refugees, 414,000 from 213 villages became homeless.Except in Jaffa briefly, the British have not protected the population from Jewish attacks, even when appeals for help were made, as in Dayr Yassin.

After 15 May 1948, regular Arab forces entered Palestine to restore and rescue what is left.In the following 16 days, 86,700 refugees were expelled, making a total of 500,000 refugees from 291 localities before the Arab ‘defenders’ could have any impact.Unprepared and disorganized, the Arab forces failed to rescue the remaining 300,000 refugees in 239 localities.Since most of the refugees were expelled before the Arab forces entered Palestine, the story of Israel’s “self-defence” against seven Arab armies is a myth.

Col. 10

Notes:Indicate other dates of depopulation, uncertain dates or location, or if population or village land is included in another locality; also indicate when the terrorist gangs : Irgun (IZL), Stern (LEHI) are reported to take an active part in the attack; also indicate the number of population remaining in the cities if known.These small numbers remaining in cities are not subtracted from Col. 14, due to uncertainty and underestimation of other figures.For Beer Sheba, the circumstances of the expulsion are noted.DMZ = village in a Demilitarized Zone in 1949.

Col. 11, 12

The causes of exodus as classified by Morris.See Table 2.A numerical number is given for each symbol for purposes of analysis.If two symbols are indicated by Morris, the more severe symbol is given the equivalent number.The same classification is applied to the localities in AS list, which are not covered by Morris (M No), in which case no symbol but a reference number is given.Table 3 shows the number of localities depopulated as classified by Morris (a) and extended to other localities(b) for each district.


From this analysis, the following results are obtained.Of 330 villages assessed by Morris, 41 (12%) had left because of “expulsion by Jewish forces”, 195 (59%) by military assaults, 46 (14%) by imminent Jewish attack after the fall of a neighbouring village.This gives a total of 282 (85%) villages depopulated by direct military action.Extending the same method of assessment to the expanded list (AS), the equivalent figure is 441 (89%) villages.The psychological warfare (‘Whispering Campaign’ or fear of attack) accounts for 50 (10%) villages.Five villages (1%) left on orders of a local leader or ‘mukhtar’.Thirty five villages could not be determined.As Morris confirmed, the claim that refugees left on Arab orders is a myth.

The pattern of depopulation/expulsion is very clear and consistent.As has been reported by the refugees and Palestinian writers decades ago, now confirmed by the ‘new’ Israeli historians and the reports of United Nations Truce Observers, the pattern goes like this:

After the military occupation of the village or after the surrender of the population carrying a white flag or submitting a written petition, men are gathered in the main square or nearby woods and women and children are gathered in a separate place.The village is surrounded from three sides, leaving the fourth side open for escape.Three or four dozen young men are shot dead.Others are ordered to dig their graves.The cycle of shooting and digging graves continues all day.The number of victims in a village is typically 50 – 200 (see more details later).The rest are taken to labour camps for several months up to two years (usually in Ijlil).The women are stripped of their jewellery and money and ordered to run towards Arab lines with shots over their heads.The village houses are looted, or else belongings destroyed.Later most village houses were rased to the ground.

Col. 13

PGR = Palestine Grid Reference.This grid can be related to the longitude and latitude, which are noted on Palestine 1:100,000 series.It can be also transformed into the modern UTM, Zone 36, centered on 330 East Longitude, which is assigned the value of 500 km. PGR is 6 digits : a b c x y z, the first three (a b c) for Easting and the next three (x y z) for Northing.

The latitude for any PGR is :30034’47” N+(xyz/1.83) minutes.The longitude for any PGR is :33026’17” E+(abc/1.60) minutes.

PGR is located in the centre of the locality; for a village, it is the centre of a small area, for a city, the centre of a larger area and for a tribal land, the centre of a very large area.Thus, for a village, the error in location may be  1 km.Cities are well-defined and there should be no problem in defining their location.For tribes, PGR is the centre of the tribal land or at the largest population concentration.Tribal lands are well-defined by “Customary Law”.

For more fertile areas, i.e., north and west of Beer Sheba, a tribe’s land ownership is confined to a particular well-defined location.In less fertile areas, more than one location is shared by more than one tribe, while keeping private property separate.In grazing area (least fertile), south of gridline 40 roughly, large tracts are assigned to each tribe.


Col. 14

Arab (Palestinian, non-Jewish) Population in 1948.This is an upgraded figure from Village Statistics of 1944 prepared by the Palestine Government.J. Abu-Lughod examined the Mandate figures for the natural growth of Muslims, Christians and Jews.W. Khalidi assumed reasonably that the natural growth for the refugees is that of the Moslems since they were both the majority of the population and larger majority of those who became refugees.Thus, Col. 14 is 1944 figures multiplied by 1.16 (i.e. 3.8% annual increase).

For Beer Sheba, the number of the population is obtained as follows :first, the number of District population was estimated from Arif, augmented by Dajani and correlated with other sources.Second, the numbers of those remaining in Israel are collated from Israeli and other sources.The figures shown in Col. 14 are the difference between the two, i.e. refugees outside Israel.The total number of 1948 refugees is therefore 804,465 as per AS list of villages in Col. 5, 6.The excluded villages are already indicated in notes to Col. 1 to 4.So this is not the total number of refugees.For further information on this point, see notes to Col. 20, 21, 22.

Col. 15

The total land area of the locality, both Arab and Jewish, according to ‘Village Statistics’.The total of this column is 17,184,463 donums, which is the total land of depopulated villages, as defined in Col. 1 - 4.From this, we must subtract the Jewish land inside these Palestinian villages and add the following:(1) land of the Palestinian villages whose inhabitants remained in Israel (two-thirds of whose lands are now confiscated by Israel),(2) the village lands that came under Israel’s control while the village houses were in Gaza Strip and the West Bank (border villages), and(3) Palestinian land inside Jewish areas.

The most accurate and logical way to determine the area of Palestinian land is to subtract the area of Jewish land from the part of Palestine that became Israel.The Jewish land consists of:

Full possession:1,449,958 donums.About half this land is officially registered.The rest has incomplete records such as a two-party sale agreement, Promise to Sale or mortgage foreclosure.

Partial possession:56,628 donums.This represents a Jewish share in undivided land.Obviously the Jewish share-owner cannot identify his share.This means the land is in joint ownership and the Palestinians have an equal legal right of access to it.

Concessions granted by the British government:175,000 donums.

The lease term for these lands has expired, not only because of lapse of time, but because the grantor, the British mandate government, has been dissolved.This matter was raised during Jordan river diversions in al Hula concession in 1951, at which time the British government determined that the concession has expired.These lands must therefore revert to the Palestinian people.

The Zionist invasion of Palestine was intended to occupy as much as land as possible and remove its people by expulsion and other means.Thus the first stage of Plan Dalet was to occupy Palestinian land located between Jewish colonies.After gaining such continuity, occupation extended to areas allotted to the Jewish state (54% compared to 6% Jewish ownership).This was extended further, particularly towards Jerusalem, leaving only 22% of Palestine in Arab hands.If the land occupied is plotted against dates of Israeli occupation, the following is observed :

-Before hostilities began, Jews had possession of about 1,500 km2, excluding public land, that is, Jewish property is 5.5% of Palestine.The Jewish land includes concessions granted by the British Government and shared land.The registered Jewish land is 3% of Palestine.

-By the end of the Mandate and while Palestine was under the protection of the British Government, Jews occupied a total of 3,700 km2, or 14% of Palestine.On this land, the state of Israel was declared on 14 May 1948.Israel was given de facto recognition by some Western countries on this land only.Any further expansion was inadmissible conquest.

-By the Second Truce on 18 July 1948, Jews occupied a further 9% of Palestine; in Galilee, Central Sector (Lydda and Ramle) and South of Jaffa.

-By 31 October 1948, the Jews got bolder and made a thrust against the Egyptian-defended South and occupied a further 13% of Palestine.

-Thereafter, the Jews completed the occupation of Galilee and entered Lebanon.A truce was signed with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria (in order).After signing the Armistice with Egypt, the Jews attacked the south and occupied 42% of Palestine.

Thus Israel took control of 78% of Palestine within the Armistice Line classified as follows:Total Palestinian land:18,641,000 donums(92%)

which is,Land of depopulated villages17,166,831d.Land of remaining Palestinians1,474,169d.Total Jewish land:1,682,000d(8%)Total Israel:20,323,000 (100%)(donum=1000 m2)


Col. 16

The Israeli military operation directly related to the depopulation of the village.This column is incomplete and needs further expansion.No entry does not necessarily mean no influence of military assault.The effect of Israeli operations is seen clearly in the geographical area which combine clusters of villages.There is hardly any village which has not been depopulated without the effect of some operation.A diagram (shown later), which plotted date of village depopulation against the date of Israeli operations, showed complete correlation.If there was a lull in the fighting, however short, no villagers left.This is remarkable and shows direct cause and effect.Villagers usually circled around their village, waiting for a chance to return.When they did they were shot as “infiltrators”.They then sought refuge in the next village.When attacked, both villages would find a new haven nearby.The exodus took a snowballing effect.Except for those who fled by sea, refugees took a circuitous route to their final place of refuge, showing their reluctance to leave home.Table 4 gives a list of Israeli operations and the symbols used here.It is clear that all operations are offensive, designed to occupy land and expel its people.None is defensive as the Israeli myths or the name IDF would have it.The ethnic cleansing motive is clear in naming at least 4 operations by such a name.

Col. 17

The defenders of the village.No entry means the defence (if any) is undertaken by the villagers themselves.ALA = Arab Liberation Army, AL = Arab Legion (Trans-Jordan), EG = Egypt, SYR = Syria, LEB = Lebanon.Estimates of local defenders do not exceed 2500 in total, poorly trained and armed, and dispersed among a dozen towns and several hundred villages.These were disarmed by 15 May 1948.In the first 6 months of 1948, Jewish forces numbered 65,000.In the same period, the Arab Liberation Army, a force of 3155 assorted Arab volunteers, led by Fawzi al Qauwqji, entered Palestine, but was largely ineffective.When the Arab forces entered Palestine on 15 May 1948, their number was much smaller than Israeli forces.The latter reached a peak of 121,000 against Egypt (9,000 to 28,500), Trans-Jordan (4,500), Syria (2,000), Lebanon (700), Iraq (2,500), Saudi Arabia (1,100), Sudan (1,675) and assorted others who never worked under one command.In individual battles, Israel outnumbered Arabs by up to 4:1.

Col. 18

Massacres committed.The massacre is defined here as “the killing of a group of civilians with intent”.M = Massacre, MM = Two massacres at different times e.g. at Sa’sa, M+ = big massacre, e.g. Ad Dawayima.Table 5 lists 35 reported massacres.

This list excludes the following :

-wanton killing of individual civilians.-mass killing of civilians during air-raids, especially in Oct - Nov 1948.-killing of prisoners of war.-massacres committed immediately after 1948, e.g. against Azazema and Ataiqa (atArgoub) in Beer Sheba.

Seventeen massacres were committed during the British Mandate (Plan Dalet), 16 thereafter.Massacres were concurrent with Israeli operations :3 during Yiftach in April, 7 during Hiram in October (to occupy Galilee).The north has been hit worst (23 massacres) because many Galilee villages refused to leave,while 5 were in the centre and 5 in the south.

New evidence, revealed by Yitzhaki and Milstein, indicates that atrocities were committed in ‘almost every conquered village’ and that 10 major and more than 100 smaller massacres were committed.There is now overwhelming evidence that massacres were used as a weapon of total war against the Palestinians.The following is a brief description of some of these massacres.

•Testimony by Israeli historian, Aryeh YitzhakiLecturer in Bar Ilan University, Faculty of Eretz Israel Studies.Senior lecturer in military history, IDF.

He collected evidence about massacres.

“In almost every conquered village in the ‘War of Independence’, acts were committed, which are defined as war crimes, such as indiscriminate killing, massacres and rape”.“There are 10 major massacres (over 50 victims each), 100 smaller massacres with enormous impact on the Arabs”.“Me’ir Pa’il (Israeli military historian) does not consider such as massacres”.

•Israeli historian, Uri Milstein corroborates above.“Even before the establishment of the State, each battle ended with a massacre”.

Dayr Yassin

On Friday 9 April 1948 Deir Yassin was the scene of an unprovoked and premeditated massacre which has since symbolized the inhumanity and savagery of political Zionism.

Armed with explosives and machine guns provided by the terrorist Stern and Irgun Gangs, a combined force of over 120 men attacked the sleeping village at 4.30 in the morning in what was then code-named “Operation Unity.”It was so called to demonstrate the unity between the official Zionist leadership on the one hand and the two terrorist groups on the other.Within a matter of hours, the Zionist terrorists murdered 120 (some say 254) Palestinians.They blew up more than fifteen houses with explosives.

•Lyddaby Guy Erlich, Ha’ir, 6 May 1992:

“Moshe Kalman, Palmach’s 3rd Battalion commander gave an order to shoot the people who sought refuge in the mosque.They were shot against the wall.Twenty to fifty were brought to clean the mosque and bury the remains.They themselves were ordered to dig graves in which they were shot.”

[Nimr Al Khatib: 1,700 casualties; Aref Al Aref: 170 prisoners in mosque were killed.][IDF report: casualties 40: 11 July and 250, 12 July.][Moshe Dayan: 89th Battalion commander]

Sixty thousand people were expelled on orders of Rabin.Three hundred and fifty lost their life on the way, through dehydration in July (also Ramadan).Those who find water were shot by Israelis.Many had to drink their urine.

•Tel Gezer (Abu Shusha)by Yitzhaki

A soldier of Kiryati Brigade captured 10 men and 2 women.All were killed except a young woman who was raped and disposed of.(Testimony from Kheil Mishmar (Guard units), IDF files).

At the dawn of 14 May, units of Giv’ati brigade assaulted Abu Shusha village.Fleeing villagers were shot on sight.Others were killed in the streets or axed to death.Some were lined up against a wall and executed.No men were left; women had to bury the dead.Four hours later, the state of Israel was proclaimed.

•Ashdodby Yitzhaki

An Israeli plane crashed and the Arabs killed eight passengers.Giv’ati soldiers in jeeps collected fellahin and shot them (at least 10).This was in the end of August by Giv’ati Brigade in Mivtza Nikayon (cleansing operation).

•Ayn Zaytoonby Uri Milstein

A soldier named Aharon Yo’eli:“3 Israelis came from Safad and took 23 men from Ayn Zaytoon, stripped them of watches and wallets, took them to a hill and shot them.Israelis were looking for other Israelis to kill Arabs; many Jews in Safad were Hassidis (strictly observant).Other Arabs were expelled towards Germak mountain”.

•Har Kna’an/Rosh Pinaby Uri Milstein

A soldier named Yitzhak Golan:“The Intelligence Unit told us they were finished with the Arabs (after interrogation).We were told to take them to Rosh Pina.On the way we were afraid they would escape, so we shot them.It is possible they were killed while being chained (!).Next morning a platoon was sent to bury them”.

•Caesariaby Uri Milstein

In February 1948, the 4th Batallion of the Palmach, under the command of Josef Tabenkin, conquered Caesaria.All those who did not escape were killed, according to testimony collected by Milstein from Battalion members.

•Wadi `Ara area, near Giv’at Ada

A member of Kibbutz Be’eri, assigned to the Guard Milices testified:“We were in Wadi `Ara.We raided a nearby Palestinian post and brought a prisoner for interrogation.A soldier beheaded him and scalped his head by knife.He raised the head on a pole to strike fear among Palestinians.Nobody stopped him”.

•Al Kabri by Dov Yirmiya, company commander in 21st battalion of Karmeli Brigade.

“On 20 May 1948, we conquered Kabri without a fight.Almost all inhabitants fled (expelled?).One soldier, Yehuda Reshef, got hold of about seven youngsters who did not flee and ordered them to fill up some ditches, then lined them and shot them with a machine gun.Reshef was a brave soldier who rose to be Brigadier General.”

•The North towards Nahariyaby Yehuda Reshef

“When the action ended, the batallion commander Dov Tchitchiss, ‘Education’ Officer Tzadok Eshel, the driver and myself, drove towards Nahariya.On the way we saw refugees escaping to the North.One of them was escaping with his daughter, an eight year old girl.The commander stopped the car, and went with the Education Officer and the driver.I heard shots.The commander returned and said “we killed them”.I asked “All and the girl?”“No, not the girl”, he said”.

•Beer Shebaby Habib Jarada

“On the evening of 20 October 1948, the Jews attacked us first from the south-west.But the main attack, with much superior weapons to ours, came from the North.We fought for 6 hours without new supplies.Anwar Al-Alami was on the wireless calling the Egyptian commander and Arab states for help.No one came.The city fell 8:00 a.m. on 21 October.

The Palmach entered the town and started shooting the people in the street, no mercy for children or women.Others were held captive in the Government house.I was hiding in a shelter in the north of the city with 15 others.When we were discovered, they machine-gunned us.

Next to me, my grandfather, my cousin and Sheikh Ali Bseiso were killed instantly.Also four others were killed including a mother whose 2 children sat crying next to their mother.I was shot in the leg and miraculously escaped.They collected young men in the mosque.In the morning they discovered that one escaped.They took the two young men next to him and starting hitting their heads with hammers till they died.”

•Safsafbased on Yosef Nahmani, JNF-Galilee – as reported by Morris, JPS.

“The inhabitants had raised a white flag.The (Israeli) soldiers collected them and separated men and women, tied the hands of 50 – 60 fellahin, shot and killed them in a pit.Also, they raped several women.”


Same as Safsaf, but the victims were 60 – 70.

•Abbasiya (Yehudiyah)

On 13 December 1947, Israelis, disguised as British soldiers came to calm the villages after the Jews killed 12 Palestinians the day before.They came in 4 cars, stepped out in front of the local café and sprayed it with bullets from machine guns.Others tossed grenades and blew up Arab homes.Seven civilians were killed, before a real British patrol saved the village.

•Al Khisas

On 18 December 1947, two carloads of Haganah terrorists drove through the village, firing machine guns and throwing grenades.Ten civilians were killed.


On 19 December 1947, Jewish terrorists blew up houses including the Mukhtar’s house killing 5 children.

•Balad El Sheikh

On 1 January 1948, two hundred Jewish terrorists attacked the village from the south, with machine guns and grenades, killing 40 women and children inside their homes.

•Nasser El-Din

On 13/14 April 1948, a contingent of Lehi and Irgun terrorists entered the village dressed as Arab fighters.When people went to greet them, the terrorists killed every single one.All houses were rased to the ground.Only 3 dozen people survived from the village.

•Beit Daras

On 21 May 1948, the Zionist attacked the village after many failed attempts.The villagers decided to evacuate women and children.While moving out, they were met by Jewish soldiers who massacred them, although it was plain they were women and children fleeing the fighting.

•Dawaymaby B. Morris based on a soldier’s testimony.

On 29 October 1948, Israelis killed at least 80 – 100 men, women and children.(The Mukhtar listed 500).They fractured children’s head with sticks.No home was left without corpses.Some were killed in the mosque or hiding in a cave.One commander ordered two women to enter a house before blowing it up.The massacre was perpetrated by the 89th Battalion.

•Houla (Lebanon)

On October 31, 1948, Jewish soldiers dressed in Arab dress entered the village.They were greeted with cheers.They rounded up 85 people, detained them in a number of houses and fired at them killing all but three.Then they blew the houses with corpses inside.

•Al Tira (Haifa)

On 12 December 1947, the terrorist Irgun gang, dressed in British uniform, killed 12 Arabs and wounded 5.




On 25 July 1948, 60–80 old people from Tira were taken in buses to be expelled towards Jenin.At Lajjun, they were rounded up in a circle, petrol was sprayed on them (they asked for water to drink at end of a Ramadan day).They were set on fire.They were screaming and crying for help.The Jewish soldiers were laughing.Fifty five people died.


Testimony of Marwan Iqab Al-Yihiya, reported by Mohamed Nimr Al Khatib, in his book, “Al Nakba Events”, 1951.The story was “discovered” by Israeli researcher, Theodore Katz and reported by Reuters and Ma’ariv on 19.1.2000.

“At midnight of 23 May 1948, the Jews attacked the village from 3 sides.The people resisted till dawn.In the morning, the corpses were strewn about in the streets.The Jews gathered women and children to see a heap of dead bodies of their relatives.Men were gathered in another place.First they selected 40 young men, took them in groups of 4, shot them and ordered the next group to carry them to a pit by the cemetery and so on.Shooting went on all day.As my turn came, they ordered us to board a truck to Umm Khalid (Netanya).We were about 300.We were packed in a cellar for 15 days not seeing the light of day, then were moved to Ijlil labour camp where we had to transport the stones of the Arab houses they demolished, all day with little food.We stayed there 5 months, then moved to another camp where people from Lydda and Ramleh were held captive.There each group was put in a cage.Then we were moved to Atlit.After a few more months I was set free.”Victims of this massacre are estimated to exceed 200.




On 18 September 1948, the Irgun gang assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN mediator.He was about to propose a “peace” plan, calling for the return of the refugees.Yitzak Shamir, later a prime minister of Israel, was one of the murderers.

•Al Arqoub (near Beer Sheba)by Suleiman Ataiqa and Ibrahim Abu El-Latif.

In December 1948, Israeli patrol attacked bedouin village near Kuhla, south east of Rahat.They collected people in a house and shot 14 people dead.Israelis went to fetch petrol to burn the corpses.The people took the dead away to bury them.They were afraid to talk about this massacre for years for fear of reprisals.

•Unit 101

During WW II, the Nazis established unit 101 which is dedicated to slaughtering the Jews.

After 1948, a similar unit (101) under the leadership of Ariel Sharon was established.It committed many massacres, including those at al Azazema, Qibiya, Bureij refugee camp and Nehhalin.They were allowed to dress in civilian clothes, drink cognac on patrol and consume any amount of ammunition.The unit, says Gideon Spiro of Paratroopers’ 890th Battalion, “was an early, more primitive prototype for more sophisticated liquidation units – Duvdevan and Shimshon (established during Intifada).Lots of killing of civilians, little real combat”.

Col. 19

Destruction of villages after occupation and depopulation to prevent return of the refugees.As per the field research of 418 villages conducted in 1987 - 1990 and reported by Ghazi Falah, the level of destruction is shown in Col.19 and summarized in Table 6.

Cactus fences are still visible today in most village sites.Palestinian towns were not destroyed; instead, they were occupied by Jewish immigrants.Remaining Palestinians were not allowed to repair or improve their property.

Col. 20, 21, 22

As indicated under Col. 1 -4, this Register includes only main localities in which the locality and all its land are within Armistice line of 1949 (Israel).Exclusions are already cited.When compared with UNRWA records, the exclusions become clear. The number of UNRWA-registered refugees from the main localities under the main AS list are shown under Col. 20.It is clear however that UNRWA records lists many more localities than shown in the main AS list (Col. 5, 6).These ‘extra’ localities are given in Col. 21, 22, roughly in alphabetical order and as close as possible (if applicable) to the name(s) in the main list.The extra (UNRWA) villages from which refugees came can be grouped into the following:



(1)Villages whose land is taken over by Israel in 1948, while the village houses are in the West Bank or Gaza.

(2)Jewish villages or lands in which refugees used to live and work.

(3)Palestinian villages which remained in Israel, while some of their inhabitants became refugees.

(4)Villages or sites which are satellites or extensions to listed villages.

The number of such extra villages is shown in brackets for each District, just before the sub-total, e.g. 52 for Acre.For each District, the number of registered refugees as on 9 April 1997 in the list is shown in Col. 20, for extra villages in Col. 21, the total in Col. 22 at the end of District group.

The grand total (S No. = 565) is 2,919,377 registered refugees in the list, 474,513 (16% of primary registered refugees) in extra villages, making a total of 3,393,890, as per UNRWA records on 9 April 1997.

The total number of extra villages is 662, which is larger than the number of villages in the Register (531).The refugees therefore come from a total of 1,193 localities.Fourteen percent of the total registered refugees come from secondary unlisted origins.This fact has not been previously observed.Thus, it is clear that published lists of depopulated villages generally underestimate the number of villages, the number of the refugees and the area of their land.

Col. 23, 24

In Col. 23, we upgrade the registered refugees, at 3.5% p.a., from 9 April 1997 to end of 1998, which is the fiftieth anniversary of the Palestinian Holocaust (Al-Nakba).The total number of registered refugees is 3,602,887.

Note that the figure upgraded is that of Col. 20, except at the District subtotal level, where the upgraded figure is the total of registered refugees, i.e. Col. 22.In Col. 24, we estimate the number of total refugees, i.e. the net expelled inhabitants of the villages in the Register, in 1998.In a separate study, the variation of the natural increase of the refugees with time (50 years) and with location (5 areas of UNRWA operations) is taken into account.This is applied to Col. 14, and the result is shown in Col.24, where the total refugees from the listed localities is estimated to be 4,940,269 in 1998.

This means there is 1,337,382 unregistered refugees.By comparison of Col. 23, 24, it is evident that the unregistered refugees come from :

(1)inhabitants of the main towns, (by far the largest).

(2)unlisted refugees, e.g. in Beer Sheba District, a large percentage of the population is not registered.

(3)refugees who were not eligible for registration for some reason.

(4)closing UNRWA records or not updating the records.

In few cases, the registered refugees in a particular locality is larger than the total for the locality.This is due to the difference in the definition and/or identification of the refugees’ origin by themselves and in this Register.

At the close of half a century after Al-Nakba, enduring the ravages of expulsion, occupation and destitution, the Palestinians are dispersed in the world in1998as shown in Table 7 (the minimum estimate).

The maximum estimate of the Palestinians in 1998 is 8,415,930, of which 5,477,745 are refugees.



A Note on the Number of the Refugees

We have shown above that, according to UNRWA records, the place of origin of the refugees is not only the official localities as per the administrative division of the British Mandate government in 1944, but their origin is in many ‘extra’ localities, such as border villages, Jewish areas or satellite locations.While the number of the official depopulated localities is 531 (not 400 as frequently quoted), the number of extra localities is 662, making a total of 1,193 localities.The number of the refugees from the extra localities is 16% of the main localities, or 14% of the total.The total number of registered refugees from all localities is 3,602,000 as on 31 December 1998.

Now, this number does not represent all the refugees.As indicated under Col. 24, upgrading to 1998 the population from Village Statistics of 1945, prepared by the Mandate government, the total refugee population is 4,940,000.This leads to an important fact, often neglected, that is, there are some 1,300,000 unregistered refugees.The explanation is indicated under Col. 23, 24.

All this analysis hinges on the number of refugees in 1948.Estimates vary a great deal and are loaded with political motives.

In this study, we have estimated the population of each depopulated village in 1948 based on British records and subtracted the number of those remaining in Israel.The net refugee population from the official (main) list is 804,465.This excludes the extra villages indicated in the above four groups under Col. 20, 21, 22.Using UNRWA records as a guide, the refugees from ‘extra’ villages is 16% or 130,806, giving a total of 935,000 for the 1948 refugees.

To test the accuracy of this figure, let us compare the result with studies by J. Abu-Lughod.She made a careful analysis of British figures and concluded that the refugee population is in the range of 770,000 and 780,000.But her figures include the 1931 figure of 66,000 for Beer Sheba.Curiously this figure has remained static at 66,000 for most studies.If we use the corrected figure of 90,507 in this list as the net refugee population for Beer Sheba, we get 804,000 which is close to our figure.Adding ‘extra’ villages, we get 935,000.

Let us now compare this result with other estimates, quoted by Morris, p. 297.The Israeli estimate is 520,000, which is incredibly low and cannot be substantiated.It is given in order to avoid “hordes of claimants” as “(We) are eventually obliged to accept the return of the refugees”.According to Morris, the Israeli Foreign Ministry admitted that “the real number was close to 800,000”.

The Conciliation Commission on Palestine estimated the number to be 766,000 and the British Foreign Office between 600,000 – 760,000.A figure which is still widely quoted is 750,000.This figure is an approximation of the figure of 726,000, often found in documents.This figure is patently incorrect.It is based on UN Conciliation Commission document (A/AC.25/Com.Tech/7/Add.1) of 1 April 1949, entitled: Appendix B: “Non-Jewish (sic) Population within the Boundaries held by IDF”.This document gives the figure of 726,800, but it suffers from two basic defects: (1) it quotes the official Village Statistics of April 1945, i.e. it is 4 years behind, and (2) it quotes for Beer Sheba the ever-decreasing number of 53,550.It has therefore to be adjusted for these defects.When so adjusted, it will come to 875,000 and, with the ‘extra’ villages, to about one million.

According to Morris, Arab spokesmen at the time spoke of 900,000 to one million refugees, which was considered by the Israelis as a wild exaggeration.Although the Arab figure does not appear to be based on a rigorous analysis, it turns out to be, after all, not off the mark.

Further analysis of UNRWA records reveal very interesting results about the dispersion of the refugees upon their expulsion.The village population moved en masse to their place of refuge.They first hovered around their village, then moved to the next safe village.Finally they settled in one of the five UNRWA areas.Tracing the movement of the refugees, it was found that fully 72% of all refugees moved to one UNRWA area, and only 20% moved to two areas.Just 8% are dispersed in more than 2 areas.This indicates the monolithic structure of the Palestinian society based on the village unit.This phenomenon is also remarkable given the wars of 1967, 1970 and 1982.As to be expected, refugee movement was largely confined to a particular area grouping as follows: (West Bank and Jordan), (West Bank and Gaza) and (Syria and Lebanon).More than two thirds of the refugees can be found in one of these groups.

Thus in spite of ravages of war and interminable suffering, the Palestinian refugees remain monolithic and traceable to a large degree.




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