“WE NEVER FINISHED 1948”
A new project by the photographers collective Activestills and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
“WE NEVER FINISHED 1948”
THE CONTINUING CAMPAIGN OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
A new project by the photographers collective Activestills
and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
“We never finished 1948,” a slogan commonly heard in Israel and attributed to Moshe Dayan, refers to the fact that half the population of what some Israelis refers to as the “Great Israel” is now Palestinian.
The violations of international law inherent in internal displacement, a form of forced population transfer, is especially egregious in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories since it is mainly people who were already made refugees in 1948 and 1967 that are being displaced for the second or even third or more times. In 1948 and through subsequent years, more than 530 Palestinian villages, towns and urban neighborhoods were systematically demolished by Israel, and 150,000 Arab citizens of Israel continue to live in 100 so-called “unrecognized villages”, susceptible to ongoing and repeated demolitions (The Bedouin community of Al-Arakib in the Negev, one of the subjects of our exhibit, has been demolished 23 times.) Demolitions occur in Lod, Ramle, Jaffa and the Galilee as well, while in the Occupied Territory some 25,000 homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. In the Gaza Strip alone, 90,000 people, including 50,000 children, were displaced in the 2008 Israeli attack. More than 115,000 Palestinians have been internally displaced in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last four decades. The Palestinian organization Badil sets the overall number of internally displaced Palestinians at 450,000.
In this exhibit we see an entire population displaced, de-culturalized, brutalized and impoverished, their fundamental right to freedom and a country of their own denied by Israel, the Occupying Power, the strong party in the conflict, which continues to occupy and further colonize even the 22% of the country the Palestinians wish to claim for a state of their own. Nor, as the pictures show, do the Arab citizens of Israel fare any better. The photos presented should serve as a mirror. Few Israelis venture into the Occupied Palestinian Territories except as soldiers and settlers, and few have any interest in what happens to the people living under our occupation, be it the external occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, or the internal occupation that characterizes Arab life inside Israel to this very day.
For us, the ongoing Occupation is not merely an event arising out of the 1967 war, but a continuation of 1948, conceptually and militarily.