Senior Research Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
In August 1948, Qustantin Zureiq (1909–2000) published his seminal book The Meaning of the Nakba. Arab elites in Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Cairo read the macro picture of the Nakba but away from these Arab capitals, the Palestinians experienced the repercussions of the catastrophe on their kin and skin. The challenges of resistance and survival facing the people living in the rural area of the Galilee were rarely noticed by the Palestinian leadership in Jerusalem. This paper, proposes to shed light on daily experiences of Palestinians during the later stage of the Nakba.
The village of Majd al-Krum, located 18 kilometers east of Acre (‘Akka) on the main road to Safad, became an active frontline in the 1948 War from mid-July until the end of October. The people of the village were supported by volunteers from the neighboring villages as well as the Salvation Army (jaysh al-inqadh). Some volunteers were locals from the neighboring village of Sha‘ab and others came from afar (Iraq and elsewhere). The cooperation between the local Palestinians and Arab volunteers enabled administration of a normal life during the 100 days of the second truce (19 July–29 October 1948).
This paper relies heavily on a broader research recently published in Arabic and Hebrew (2016 and 2017 respectively) titled Nakba and Survival: The Story of Palestinians Who Remained in Haifa and the Galilee, 1948–1956. It aspires to delve into the realities of the people of Majd al-Krum before its surrender to the Israeli Army on 30 October 1948. The author interviewed dozens of eyewitnesses from the village. This is a valuable source for understanding the people’s experiences, hopes and fears during that critical period. Another important local source for this paper is the diary of “Abu Jameel” that spans decades and includes the Nakba.
Adel Manna is a historian specializing in the history of Palestine during the Ottoman period and the Palestinians in the twentieth century. Manna has taught history of the Middle East in several Israeli and Palestinian universities since the early 1980s. Currently, he is a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. His book Nakba and Survival: The Story of Palestinians Who Remained in Haifa and the Galilee, 1948–1956, was published in Hebrew by the Van Leer Institute in 2017.