Oral testimonies, archival sources, and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War: A close look at the occupation of a Galilean village

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Abstract

This article explores the (still) possible and significant contribution oral history can make to the study of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its purpose is to create a constructive "dialogue" between archival sources and oral testimonies. By weaving the information contained in written documents together with that conveyed through spoken words-the two sources simultaneously support and cast doubt on each other-it bridges a gap between the path generally followed by Israeli historians and that taken by many Palestinian scholars. To illustrate the potential embodied in the proposed "dialogue" to improve our understanding of the war, the article presents a historical close-up of Fassuta, one of the Arab villages occupied by Jewish forces during the war. Cross-checking Israeli documents in Hebrew against Palestinian memories conveyed in Arabic, this article seeks to explain how and why that particular village remained intact while many of the neighboring villages were depopulated and destroyed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-61
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • 1948 War
  • Fassuta
  • Israeli Arabs
  • Nakba
  • Operation Hiram
  • Palestinian memory
  • oral history

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