Cohen Hillel - Army of shadows

Author : Cohen Hillel
Title : Army of shadows Palestinian collaboration with zionism, 1917–1948
Year : 2008

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Introduction. The large pine tree in Abu-‘Atiyyah’s vineyard, not far from ‘Ayn Yalu in southern Jerusalem, was in the mid-1970s a meeting place for Palestinian fellahin from the surrounding area. Some of them, like Abu-‘Atiyyah, were refugees from the former village of al-Maliha. The tree also attracted roaming boys, like me, from nearby Jerusalem neighborhoods and passersby on their way to or from one of the local springs or the Palestinian villages of Beit Safafa, Walaja, and Battir. There was always a jerry can of drinking water waiting in the shade, embers were always glowing and ready for brewing a pot of tea, and the visitors conducted lively conversations about any and every subject. But the fellahin were especially fixated on telling stories from the period of the British Mandate. They analyzed the Arab defeat by Israel in 1948 and how they were uprooted from al-Maliha. Time after time, they spoke of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Fattah Darwish. In the 1940s, Darwish was the chief of a nahiya, a cluster of villages southwest of Jerusalem. In the stories told by the men under the tree, he appeared as a hugely powerful man who lorded over the region’s villages and became a prominent figure in Jerusalem as well. They told of his American automobile, the first car in al-Maliha, and pointed out his home-cum-castle, which still stood, occupied by Jewish families. ...

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