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Acre's Fall Source: Institute for Palestine Studies, Photograph Collection

The Poisoning of Acre

The massacres did not only take place against human beings, but also against its homes, trees, and animals, who were not beyond murder and abuse.

After the fall of Haifa on April 22, 1948, thousands of refugees flooded from Haifa to AcreThe city, still under British control, began to crowd. Zionist forces surrounded the city in the first week of May and fired at it with a barrage of mortar bombs.

At the time, drinking water used to reach the city from a canal that would run from the northern village near al-Kabri, 10 kilometers from AcreThe canal is also known as the al-Basha canal. En route to Acrethe canal would pass through several Zionist colonies. At one of those points, the Zionists infected the water with typhoid, and soon enough typhoid fever spread among British soldiers and residents. In a report, Red Cross doctor, Dr. Domiron, says: “The situation is serious, and the outbreak of the disease has included civilians, military personnel and police.” Moreover, the Brigadier, Bafardaj, who was the director of military services, said that “this is the first time that this pandemic happens in Palestine,” despite the displacement and panic of residents across Palestine at the time. The greater fear was the spread of the plague with the refugees heading to Lebanon.

Acre’s Fall

Source: Institute for Palestine Studies, Photograph Collection

Preliminary surveys show the number of those infected to be 70 civilians and 55 British people. However, many others were afraid to report their illness out of fear of being detained. It is enough to say that the number of Acre’s residents during that period decreased from 25 thousand to 8 thousand people, due to displacement. As with the case of the other villages where massacres took place, the goal was the same: to expel people either through displacement or murder.

The mayor of Acre was absent at the time, which weakened the efforts to contain the epidemic. Despite the insistence of the ICRC, the municipality was not able to rehabilitate the water canal, “the source of the epidemic.” It doubled the emigration of residents and prevented them from returning to their homes out of fear of getting ill. The main objective of the epidemic was to “prevent residents from returning home.” At the time, as a continuation of the attack, the Haganah intensified its attacks on the city with mortar bombs and artillery. Moreover, Israeli vehicles would circle and call out via loudspeakers: “your choice is to surrender or commit suicide. We will exterminate you until the last man.”

When a number of the city’s dignitaries signed a peace treaty, Acre fell. With its fall, Zionist terrorism began to take over the city. Every young man and sheikh was arrested, all considered prisoners of war despite being civilians. Looting operations spread across the city and the women and children were cast out, with neither food nor shelter.

Lieutenant Petit, who monitored the truce, stated in a detailed report upon visiting the city after its fall: “a systematic operation of looting homes occurred to prevent the residents from returning. A massacre was committed, resulting in the death of 100 civilians, especially from the new city’s residents that refused to decamp to the old city based on Israeli orders.” This testimony brings to mind the story of Mohammad Fayez Sufi, one of the residents that refused to move. Mohammad had miraculously survived while three of his colleagues died after being forced to drink cyanide poison, and had their bodies thrown into the sea.

Acre was not the only city to fall, and poison was not the only weapon used to empty the land of its inhabitants. Those who have read the work of historians and eyewitness accounts of the Nakba massacres will know the role of many cases of rape in instigating Palestinian flight. For rape was also used as an instrument to spread terror among residents to force them to abandon their lands. Meanwhile, approximately 50 thousand men and women were forced to leave Lydda and Ramla in what became known as the March of Death.  They were forced to walk for several consecutive days in the most torrid areas, many dying on the road from thirst and exhaustion.

This is how the land was emptied of its inhabitants and how the story of exile, diaspora, and the Nakba began. Palestinians kept their country, their homes, their villages, and their memories in their hearts forever.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Pappe. Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
  • Abu Sitta. A Study of Usurped Lands.
  • Pappe. Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, pp. 195 – 198.
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Dead sea fact

10 Dead sea facts you didn’t know
Almost everyone knows that The Dead Sea, a salt lake shared between Palestine and Jordan, is one of the world’s most unique sites in the world, but did you know these interesting facts about it? Check yourself

Dead sea

Planning a trip to Palestine? You probably won’t miss the Dead Sea. But what do you really know about it? Here are some interesting facts about this natural wonder:

  1. Why is it salty?
    The Dead Sea’s salinity is 34.2% (compare with the Mediterranean’s 3.5%). It is the fourth saltiest body of water in the world, ranking behind Antarctica’s Don Juan Pond and Lake Vanda, and Djibouti’s Lake Assal. One of the reasons for the high salinity is that the Dead Sea doesn’t pour out. Additionally, the arid desert climate causes evaporation, increasing salinity.
dead sea
  1. Is it possible to drown in it?
    Although whoever enters the water immediately floats, you should keep in mind that it is still possible to drown in the Dead Sea. This happens when swimmers get caught in strong winds, flip over and swallowing the salty water. Always make sure to only enter proclaimed beaches, in the presence of a lifeguard.
  2. Can you dive in it?
    Believe it or not, you can also dive in the Dead Sea! It takes unique diving skills, and those who possess them will enjoy spectacular geological salt formations.
  1. Why is it called The Dead Sea?
    The high salinity means that no life can evolve in the Dead Sea, which gave it the moniker “Sea of Death”. But are there absolutely zero life forms in the Dead Sea? Not exactly. Some bacteria and fungus can survive in these waters.
  2. Does it have other names too?
    The Dead Sea has the most names of any other place in Palestine. It is known as the Sea of Death, Sea of Salt, Sea of the Arabah, the Primordial Sea, and many others.
  3. How low is it?
    The beaches of the Dead Sea are located 430 meters below sea surface, making it the lowest place in the world.
  1. How big is it?
    The Dead Sea stretches over 51 KM and is 18 KM from side to side at its widest.
  2. Why is it so popular?
    The Dead Sea is a popular tourist destination for many reasons, one of which is its medicinal values. The water of the Dead Sea contains 26 beneficial minerals, and the air contains minimal amounts of dust and allergens compared to other places in the world. , many rub themselves with the black mud found at its banks, which is said to relief different skin issues.
  3. Is it one of the Seven World Wonders?
    Due to its unique qualities, the Dead Sea was a finalist in the Seven World Wonders contest.