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Tuesday, Sep 23 , 2014 ( Thul-Qedah, 1435)

Updated:10:00 PM GMT

Nakba Eyewitness

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"My sons and grandsons will fulfill my dream and get back to their lands. Rights cannot be lost for ever," Yusuf says.
GAZA — It's May 12, 1948.

Nearly one month has passed since Jewish gangs escalated their assaults on the people of Palestine, sweeping villages and towns on their way.

That gloomy day, they came to Bureer, Yusuf Abdul `Al's village.

"A group of Jewish militias equipped with modern arms attacked us," Yusuf, now 80, remembers vividly.

"They started killing people everywhere they found them."  

Remembering Palestine

Palestinian Refugees…Nation in Diaspora 

Sixty years later, Yusuf can never forget the bloody scenes of that black day.

"The number of Palestinians slaughtered on that day exceeded 100," he recalls with his light-green eyes glistening with unshed tears.

As Jewish gangsters kept coming, the village was completely defenseless in the face of their ferocious, barbaric attacks.

"There were horrible scenes of death in the village in the second day."

Palestinian villagers were not even able to carry the bodies of their slain loved ones to the cemetery.

"We couldn't bury people in the cemetery because it wasn't safe. We only threw a few piles of sand on the corps," remembers Yusuf.

Palestinians the world over commemorate today the "Nakba Day," when Israel was created on the rubble of their country.

On April 18, 1948, Palestinian Tiberius was captured by Menachem Begin's Irgun militant group, putting its 5,500 Palestinian residents in flight. On April 22, Haifa fell to the Zionist militants and 70,000 Palestinians fled.

On April 25, Irgun began bombarding civilian sectors of Jaffa, terrifying the 750,000 inhabitants into panicky flight.

On May 14, the day before the creation of Israel, Jaffa completely surrendered to the much better-equipped Zionist militants and only about 4,500 of its population remained.

Exodus

May 12 was the day Jewish gangsters entered Bureer and the last day Yusuf and fellow villagers saw their homes and lands.

"All of us fled and those who couldn't flee were killed," he says.

He recalls how people used camels to carry their families and some of their properties as they fled to the neighboring city of Al-Majdal.

"We thought we would be able to return to our village a few days later. Sizty years later, we still can not," he added, growing tearful.

"In only days, the Jewish militias leveled the village, destroyed the houses and uprooted the trees. Later on, they established a cattle farm in its place."

Like the rest of his fellow villagers, Yusuf had to find a place to settle.

"After three months, we left Al-Majdal on foot towards Gaza City. My family and nine others rented an old dilapidated yard, divided it with jute curtains and lived there for a while," he remembers.

"Later on, we moved to a makeshift house in Gaza cemetery where we lived for about thirty years."

Yusuf says though the Jewish militias had destroyed his family's home and usurped their land, the memory of Palestine and the determination to go back live on.

"It’s still vivid and alive in my head and will always be," said the white-bearded old man, who has been the muezzin of Al-Mujamaa Al-Islami mosque in Gaza for decades.

Now a widower with 8 sons, 5 daughters and more than 60 grandsons, Yusuf has one dream.

"I hope to return to Bureer, die there and be buried in the village cemetery.

"But If I died before that, my sons and grandsons will fulfill my dream and get back to their lands. Rights cannot be lost for ever."

Related Links:
Palestinian "Return Key" Memorial
Homes Tell History of Nakba
For Israel Arabs, 60 Years Adrift
Palestinian Mural Commemorates Nakba
Nakba Day…Palestinians Yearn For Homeland
 

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