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Nakba, Refugees, and R.O.R. - النكبة وحق العودة : Aljazeera: The Great Book Robbery

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Posted on July 24, 2012
47 min 59 sec
A film by Benny Brunner

When the Arab-Israeli war raged in 1948, librarians from Israel’s National Library followed soldiers as they entered Palestinian homes in towns and villages. Their mission was to collect as many valuable books and manuscripts as possible. They are said to have gathered over 30,000 books from Jerusalem and another 30,000 from Haifa and Jaffa.

Officially it was a 'cultural rescue operation' but for Palestinians it was 'cultural theft'.

It was only in 2008 when an Israeli PhD student stumbled across documents in the national archive that the full extent of the 'collection' policy was revealed.

Using eyewitness accounts, this film tries to understand why thousands of books appropriated from Palestinian homes still languish in the Israeli National Library vaults and why they have not been returned to their rightful owners. Was it cultural preservation or robbery?

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Posted by Webmaster on July 24, 2012 #145268

After watching this movie; especially when the Jewish lady said Israelis have robbed Palestinians of their culture and literature; I was reminded immediately of the first thing Israelis did once they invaded Beirut in the Summer of 1982, they have looted the seven story building which housed the Institute of Palestine Studies.

NYTimes' Tom Friedman was there at the time and wrote about the looting in his book: From Beirut to Jerusalem. He described how the Israeli soldiers wrote on the Institute's Walls: Palestine Doesn't Exists, and Fuck Palestine!!! In other words they were saying: we (the Israelis and Zionists) demand that you don't exists; we can do that because we have the power erase your history.

I guess Old Zionist habits die hard!