Written by: Muna Abu Eid.
A lecture at Tel-Aviv University Pannel, 3.12.03.
؟ Table of contents:
2. meaning of the word Muwannis
؟ The village before occupation.
؟ Complaints in Jaffa.
؟ The bridge occupation.
؟ Occupation of the village.
؟ Blocking the village.
4. The village refugees.
5. A summary.
At the beginning I should thank the "Zokhroot" society for commemoration the Arab sittings, specially Shaykh Muwannis. Thanks for " Lo Shotek" campus for its financial help. Thanks for everyone who shared us.
Meaning of the word Muwannis :
The word means Hospitality. Muwannis is a present participle of the verb WANNASA in second conjugation. So, the verb root is WANISA and not ANISA
The story of Shaykh Muwannis is about loosing motherland. Based on Dr. Waleed El kh'aledi , there had been 1930 souls living in that village during 1945 and 273 houses (in 1931). There was a primary school for boys(1932) and the other for girls(1943).
Most people of the village worked in agriculture. The village had 17,000 dunamas, about of 3,749 dunams - for agriculture. They mainly depended on the stream in their work and other sources like Almattala Wells that belonged to Ibraheem Abu Kheel. In the mandate period, pulling the water became easier because of the help of the generators.
The expanse of the village is 17000 dunams including areas that now belongs to Ramat Gan. From sea in west(except Reading Terminal and Sde Dove air port) to Ramat Hachayal), i.e. Ghabashiye ,( Yisgave ),i.e. Hadrah till Tsahala north east - the zone settlement of Arab El Sawalmeh - including the Najamat area in north i.e. Ramat Aviv Gimel.In south village territory include Jamasin El Gharbi(Bavly) and Jrisha south of the river. Since 1912 to 1936 Arab rebellion there had been many jew efforts to buy lands in the vilage; Zionist organizations like Keren Kayemet , Hakh'sharat Hayeshov, American Zion - Tried to get lands in order to to sit the Jewish immigrants comming from Europe. Because of the huge attempt to get lands, the price of the lands was very high.
Al Alameen Coffee in the north bank( in the right side of the bridge) belonged to the Ibraheem Baydas. That coffee house had a very communicative meaning since it was a kind of meeting house among Arabs and Jews.
The beginning of the occupation:
After the UN decision of dividing the land between the two nations, many commotions burst among Arabs and Jews. The biggest one was in Jaffa that was considered since as the capital city of Palestine. Even it was basic economical and political base for the villages surrounding it. Shaykh Muwannis village depended on Jaffa in terms of Marketing, packaging, and exporting.
After the commotions burst the Jewish military actually had occupied the El Alameen bridge that connected the north and the south of palestine - thus cutting shaykh Muwannis village from Jaffa.
Since the end of 1947, therefore, El Alameen bridge became a blocking spot to Shaykh Muwanis Jamoseen and Greesha. But since Shaykh Muwannis had better economical and survival supplies, many arabs from many little villages left their villages and moved to live in Shaykh' Muwanis. But not for so long people started " dieing" because of the lack of essential supplies, especially that people couldn't longer work in agriculture. Therefore, Ibraheem Abu Kheel, Jamel Eljsr, and Tawfeek Abu Keshick met Ibraheem Shapeera at his house to "release" Arabs from the siege they are put in. The Arab side agreed to confirm the Jewish side about the fighters who come to Shaykh Muwannis. In the other hand the Jewish side made a commitment to take care of Arabs property after the Tran sphere. Based on that Arabs started to leave, but unfortunately the didn't get the chance to carry any part of their property ( as it was agreed). Because of that Arabs realized that they had been betrayed. Later on the village Jamoseen had been occupied and Jewish immigrants were sit there. The situation in Shaykh' Muwanis becme worst and only pupils were allowed to leave as a policy to gain information about what was happening there.
Up from the hill people observed was happening in the other villages. Besides they started to get information about violence against Arabs. And that many Arab Village became Completely empty, in addition to sitting Jews there. So, people in Shaykh' Muwannis new they were next. As a result, group of young fighters organized in order to defend the village. They started to collect whatever they could of firing equipments, and to dig channels around the mosque and Mahmood Baydas house (it was destroyed in 1.12.03) . Then fire exchanging began at 22.2.48. and lasted for one day. Besides, fire exchanging started at the blocking stop. Adnan Elsayeh (was then 12 years old) comment:" we valentered to protect our village, but we had few guns, and when the fire exchanging started the munitions started to run out."
The story of kidnaps:
Group of respectful men ( Mustafa Elzayat, Saleh Eldahnous and his son Ali, Mahmood Abu Diya, and Lutfe Elsayeh) went to Jaleel to bring basic supplies like fuel and food. In there way back home, they were kidnapped. Three days after, two of them(El Zayyat and Dahnus son) were released, and the others might had been killed - rumors indicated. But after two weeks, the rest were released too. Meanwhile, the siege was strengthened, nobody comes in or leaves and people had run out of food and fuel. In addition, fire exchanging was at night and day.All these circumstances forced people to leave their homeland. The Baydass and Dahnous rich families were the first to leave. Later on Abu Eid, Abu Saada and Ibraheem Abu Kheel. This group(about 40) had information that the Jewish military tends to occupy the village soon or later, even by the use of force. One of the women says: "we left such in a hurry so that we left every thing there, I even left the cocking pot on fire."
Many refugees left towards Tera, Jaljolia, Tol-Karm and other places under the king Bed Allah government.
Another external group of refugees lived in tents and started to move from one place to another to fined food and work. Later, many of these families left and moved abroad to live in Jordan, Syria, Gulf states, Iraq, Canada, North Africa, Europe, USA, and Australia. What was awful about these families that they lost not only their properties, but also their homeland and contact with their family and relatives. The third group was those who didn't leave and became Israeli citizens after the Family unification policy that Israel applied in 1949-1950. Their property was under the control of Israeli government.
Dr. Hayeem Fayerberg, investigating the conflict between Arabs and Jews, investigates also the story of Shaykh' Muwanis. He claims that there are no evidence that violence was used against Arabs. And if they didn't leave their villages nothing would happen to them. But, in contrast I'd like to remind him that many Arabs who lived in Safsaf village,Ghabet El Taiba (Shfayeem) , Lod and many other places - where people did not leave and as a result they were killed in cool blood. In Lod ,for example ,people did not leave. there was a massacre . peaple were killed and their bodies were thrown on the roads for a week till they were buried in a burial at the entrance of Lod (without grave stone and without diagnosing their identity).
In addition, having no obvious evidence of military intentions doesn't mean necessarily that relelevant documents does not really exist. As known military documents might be uncover after decades while others documents might not be uncovered at all. To learn about israeli policy and objectives toward Palestinians during the NAKBA - in case of lack of uncovered documents - can be well concluded from examining the jews leaders ground operations policy ,that
establish my following argument.
Another college, Yoval Tamri, claims that Israeli military considered Shaykh Muwanis as strategically point because it had a spotlight on the airport Dove. Indeed!? Mabe Jreeshe village was also strategic? Mabe Jamassine El Gharbi, Summail, Jaffa, Lod< Ramleh and etc. Mabe all the transfered cities and villages were strategic!? sure,they were not.
What happened to Shaykh Muwanis village,therefore,can be understand only as a part of an Israeli general and well planed policy for ethnic cleansing of palestinians from their homeland.
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