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Books destroyed by Israel

Tens of thousands of Palestinian books destroyed after Israel’s establishment, Ben-Gurion University researcher says

Ynet | January 28, 2010

Israel plundered and destroyed tens of thousands of Palestinian books in the years after the State’s establishment, according to a doctoral thesis to be submitted next month by a Ben-Gurion University researcher.

In an interview with the researcher published on al-Jazeera’s website Thursday, he claimed that Israel destroyed the Palestinian books in the framework of its plan to “Judaize the country” and cut off its Arab residents from their nation and culture.

According to the doctoral dissertation, Israeli authorities collected tens of thousands of Arab books in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, and other towns that were home to Arabs. Israeli officials proceeded to hand out about half the books, while destroying the second half, characterizing them as a “security threat,” the researcher said.

In his al-Jazeera interview, the researcher claimed that, based on Israeli archives, IDF troops plundered the books from the homes of Palestinians expelled during the “Nakba” and handed them over to authorities. The State proceeded to establish a library in Jaffa and other towns for the books, he said.

‘Cultural massacre’

The researcher told al-Jazeera that according to documents he possesses, Israel destroyed 27,000 books in 1958, claiming that they were useless and threatened the State. Authorities sold the books, most of them textbooks, to a paper plant, he said.

“This was a cultural massacre undertaken in a manner that was worse than European colonialism, which safeguarded the items it stole in libraries and museums,” the researcher charged.

He added that some books were sold at discounted prices to Arab schools, while the others were transferred to the Hebrew University’s library in Jerusalem.

The researcher estimated that about 6,000 Palestinian books are currently available at the National Library at Hebrew University. However, he claimed that many other books in Arabic, English, and French were not recorded, charging that most of them are being held in the library’s warehouses and cannot be accessed.

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