JAFFA - Bringing backs memories to terror and fear that spread in 1948, six mass graves have been found in a Muslim cemetery in Jaffa that included the remains of Palestinians killed by Jewish militias during the Nakba.
I carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months, Jaffa fisherman Atar Zainab, 80, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn't know who they were.
The grisly find occurred on May 29, 2013 when ground subsided as workers carried out renovations in a Muslim cemetery in Jaffa, revealing six chambers full of skeletons.
The remains were believed to be the remains of dozens of Palestinians killed during the Israeli-Palestinian war of 1948.
Zainab, who was a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948, said he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa.
Carrying them under severe attacks from flying bullets and grenades, they could not arrange proper burial for the victims in the cemetery, the area's main graveyard.
So they had to dump bodies one on top of the other in existing family crypts in the cemetery, contrary to Muslim custom.
We carried them early in the morning or in the night, he added.
We put women, children and men in the same place... nobody prayed for these people.
During 1948 war, Jaffa was yet a Palestinian town.
Facing targeted attacks from house to house by Israeli army and Jewish militias, many of the Arab families had to leave their homes to escape imminent death.
Around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the Nakba, which marks the creation of Israel on the rubble of Palestine.
In 1950, the city was incorporated into the city of Tel Aviv which was renamed Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Each year on May 15, Palestinians mourn the loss of Palestine and creation of Israel on its rubble in 1948.
On April 18, 1948, Palestinian Tiberius was captured by Menachem Begin's Irgun group, putting its 5,500 Palestinian residents in flight. On April 22, Haifa fell to the Zionist mobs and 70,000 Palestinians fled.
On April 25, Irgun began bombarding civilian sectors of the Palestinian city of Jaffa - the largest city in Palestine at that time, terrifying the 750,000 inhabitants into panicky flight.
On May 14, the day before the creation of Israel, Jaffa completely surrendered to the much better-equipped Zionist gangs and only about 4,500 of its population remained.
Millions of Palestinians are still living in neighboring countries since the creation of Israel.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, defines as refugees the descendants of Palestinians who fled or were forced out of their homes in 1948.UN resolutions guarantee the right of return of Palestinian refugees, many still holding the keys and titles of their homes in what is now Israel.