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My home is Beit Daras: our lingering Nakba

16 5 21

When Google Earth was launched in 2001, I rushed immediately to locate a village that no longer exists on a map, which now delineates a whole different reality. Although I was born and raised in a Gaza refugee camp, and then moved to and lived in the United States, finding a village that was erased from the map decades earlier was not, at least for me, an irrational act. The village of Beit Daras was the single most important piece of earth that truly mattered to me.

However, I could only estimate exactly where it had once stood. Beit Daras was located 32 kilometres north-east of Gaza, on elevated ground, perched gently between a large hill and a small river that seemed never to run dry.

A once peaceful village, Beit Daras had existed for millennia. Romans, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans ruled over and even tried to subdue Beit Daras, as with all of Palestine, yet they failed. True, each invader left their mark – ancient Roman tunnels, a Crusaders’ castle, a Mamluk mail building, an Ottoman khan (Caravanserai) — but they were all eventually driven out. It wasn’t until 1948 that Beit Daras, that tenacious village of merely 3,000 people, was emptied of its population and then destroyed.

The agony of the one-time inhabitants of Beit Daras and their descendants lingers on after all these years. The tragic way that Beit Daras was conquered by invading Zionist forces has left behind bloodstains and emotional scars that have never healed.

Israel to lift planning conditions to allow US embassy to open on Nakba Day

Three battles were fought bravely by the Badrasawis, as the people of Beit Daras are called, in defence of their village. At the end, the Zionist militia, the Haganah, with the help of British weapons and strategic assistance,........

© Middle East Monitor