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Living Memories: Testimonies of Palestinians’ displaced in 1948

The testimonies of the Palestinians displaced from their homeland in 1948 consistently confirmed that the Zionist forces resorted to systematic forced displacement of entire Palestinian families through various means. These included bombarding people, homes and communities from planes, tanks and armored vehicles and involved forced displacement of entire villages, killing of civilians and massacres. These massacres were not only admitted but were exaggerated as a means of intimidation and spreading panic amongst the Palestinian population to further their exodus. This evidence confirms that what happened was ethnic cleansing par excellence.

From the narrators' descriptions of their beautiful, blissful lives in their villages and towns, it is clear that they had not thought of leaving: “We were in Iraq al-Manshiyeh, fortunate, happy and living on our land, and oh, how good life was!" “everything was beautiful and everything was sweet. People would gather together to chat. Weddings were fun; they would spend a whole week celebrating before the wedding. Everything, everything was beautiful.”

It is likewise clear from their descriptions of how they fled, that they had planned to leave their homes for only a short period and had intended to return home after the end of the sudden attacks. "We were among those who went out there, waiting for it to end – now it will end, a bit longer and it will end, another half hour and it will end, and so on. It didn't end. At 3:30 in the morning the town was occupied."