THE STORY OF BEIT NUBA
Amos Kenan, an Israeli journalist who partecipated in the war*, tells the story of Beit Nuba(=palæstinensisk landsby):
We were ordered to block the entrances of the village and prevent inhabitants returning to the village from their hideouts after they had heard Israeli broadcasts urging them to go back to their homes.
The order was to shoot over their heads and tell them not to enter the village.
Beit Nuba is built of fine quarry stones; some of the houses are magnificent. Every house is surrounded by an orchard, olive trees, apricots, vines and presses. They are well kept....
At noon the first bulldozer arrived and pulled down the first house at the edge of the village.
Within ten minutes the house was turned into rubble, including its entire contents; the olive trees, cypresses were all uprooted...
After the destruction of three houses the first column arrived from the direction of Ramallah.
We did not fire into the air, but took cover, some arabic-speaking soldiers went over to notify them of the warning.
They were old people who could hardly walk, murmuring old women, mothers carrying babies,small children.
The children wept and asked for water. They all carried white flags.
We told them to go to Beit Sura. They told us that they were driven out everywhere, forbidden to enter any village, that they were wandering like this for four days, without food, without water, some dying on the road.
They asked to return to the village, and said we had better kill them.
Some had a goat, a lamb, a donkey or camel. A father ground wheat by hand to feed his four children. On the horizon we could see the next group arriving. A man carrying 100 lbs of flour in a sack - he had walked like that, mile after mile. More old people, more women, more babies.
They dropped down exhausted where we told them to sit. Some had a cow or two, a calf; all their property on earth. We did not allow them to enter the village and take anything.
The children cried. Some of our soldiers started crying too. We went to fetch the Arabs some water. We stopped a car with a major, two captains and a woman. We took a jerrican of water and distributed it to the refugees. We also handed out cigarettes and candy. More soldiers burst into tears.
We asked the officers why those refugees were sent from one place to another and driven out of everywhere.They told us, that this was good for them, they should go. "Moreover", said the officers, "why do we care about the Arabs anyway...?"
More and more columns of refugees arrived, until there were hundreds of them. They failed to understand why they had been asked to return, yet not permitted to enter. We could not stand their pleading. One asked why we destroyed their houses instead of taking them over ourselves.
We drove them out. They go on wandering in the south like lost cattle. The weak die. In the evening we found that they had been taken in, for in Beit Sura the bulldozers had begun to destroy the place and they were not allowed to enter.
We found out that not only in our sector was the border straightened out for security reasons but in all other sectors too.
The promise on the radio was not kept; the declared policy was never carried out.
*Der er tale om en episode fra 6-dages krigen (juni 1967)
Kilde: David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch, 2003, s.352
Relateret link: Inger Støjberg - en afstumpet duks