Historians retell stories of Palestinian detainees during Nakba

Prisoners without Bayonets: The Palestinian Prisoners and the First Israeli Detention Centers, 1948-1949, authored by professor Mustafa Kabha and journalist Wadih Awawdeh and published by the Institute for Palestine Studies, documents and analyzes the detention centers established by Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians and Arabs detained in the 1948 war.

A lecture on March 20, 2017 sponsored by the Deanship of Student Affairs featured the book’s authors. Thousands of Palestinians able to carry arms were arrested for 12 to 18 months by Jewish forces, the book found.

Kabha said that the book examined a number of archived documents available in Israel and at the International Committee of the Red Cross, books and diaries written by those who were in prison, and their oral statements.

Awawdeh said that during the years 1948-1949, thousands of Palestinians were detained, even though most of them were without bayonets and did not participate in any military action. “Detainees and their families were displaced after the major wave of displacement in 1948, as part of the process of subjugating the Arab minority that stayed within the borders of Israel after its establishment.”

Mustafa Kabha is a university professor and history and media researcher. He was born in Umm Al-Qatf village in the Northern Triangle and serves as chair of the Department of History and Philosophy in the Open University and member of the Arabic Language Academy in Haifa. His works focus on modern Palestinian history and Arab press history.

Wadih Mahmoud Awawdeh is a writer and journalist from Kafr Kanna in Nazareth. He holds an MA in Middle Eastern History from the University of Jerusalem. He has been working for more than two decades on documenting oral Palestinian accounts. He is the editor-in-chief of Hadith el-Nas newspaper (Nazareth) since 2007, and former editor in Kul al-Arab newspaper (1991-2001).