Culture  Art&Culture
Palestinian books sit in Israeli library
Published: 01.04.13, 07:58
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16 Talkbacks for this article
1. Now I get it: they mourn books, not suicide-children!A-ha!
tom ,   tel aviv   (04.01.13)
Such a sensitive, intellectual and gentle bunch they are, the Arab usurpers of Israel.
2. We should give back the books
an Israeli   (04.01.13)
As an Israeli I think we should give back the books. I haven't read the full article but I suspect there is a substantial reason why we don't give these books back - maybe in order not to create a precedent for other things. I don't believe that it's because the national library wants to keep these books for research or something. Another thing is that I don't think that thew Palestinians ever looked at their behavior of their elite in 1948 in an honest and critical way. Fact it that while the Jews fought and behaved as this land is the only land they have. They had nowhere to run to and intended to run nowhere but stay and fight for their survival, the Palestinian elite - and not just elite, proved in their behavior in 1948 that this land is not their only home. Most of them run away to their brothers in the neighboring countries and waited for the Arab armies to finish the job - kill all the Jews and give them all of Palestine on a plate. Just come to show how for the Jews this land is the only home they have while the Arabs (Palestinians) can have many other homes - in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria etc.
3. Don't Give Them Back Now
EGGM ,   Petah Tikva, Israel   (04.01.13)
There's no problem to give back these books eventually, but there are many good reasons not to give the books back now, and few (if any) to do so. Here are some of the reasons: 1) There's no peace yet—neither practical nor in agreement, and giving back abandoned property would set a dangerous precedent. This is in fact one of the issues going to be discussed in a peace agreement, and so far Israel's position has essentially been not to give back anything, so we shouldn't weaken our bargaining position. 2) Left-wing Israelis and Palestinians can use all kind of hyperbole, but the fact is, the National Library of Israel (NLI), at least according to the article, has preserved these works incredibly well. It is unclear how the Palestinians would have preserved them, but we know that Palestinian libraries lack the resources of the NLI for such projects, and if the families themselves had the works, they would likely disappear without a trace through their migrations and generational changes (this is normal all over the world). 3) The NLI is making a great effort to digitize its unique collections, and it is likely that this collection will be digitized as well, to the benefit of the public (this will actually benefit the Palestinians the most!). Palestinian libraries won't do this any time soon, so very few would be able to enjoy the collections. Speaking of open access, while the article makes these materials sound difficult to access, if you read carefully you realize that they're not, and difficulty of access for Palestinians only stems from the political situation (the NLI itself is permissive and not restrictive). Who knows what would happen if the books were moved, and we can be sure that if they were given to individuals/families, no one else would be able to see them. 4) It is likely that many of these materials will become Public Domain in 2019–2020. Israel should keep the materials at least that long to enable public access so that everyone can enjoy the collections on the Internet (requires digitization obviously, but it alone isn't enough). There are probably other reasons I forgot about. Also I resent.the notion that someone in the article raises that the NLI doesn't keep the materials for research. The NLI itself doesn't do much research, but it is one of the top enables of research for other Israelis, including for left-wing and Arab Israelis like Zahalka. Moving them to a smaller library or to individual families can only hurt this. The bottom line is, even the AFP (not known for being pro-Israel) notes that the properties were essentially abandoned, so it's not actual theft, and the current claimants should take this into account. We all know that the Arabs started the war of 1948 and it didn't go as well as they had hoped. Israel spent countless resources rehabilitating itself, we shouldn't also be paying the Arabs to do the same.
4. Usual story is Islamists burning their own books!
Carl ,   USA   (04.01.13)
Seems this story is much more positive than the usual narrative whenever Islam takes over an area. Preservation of knowlege, not destruction, is the Jewish way. Israel should make every effort to identify the original owners and return the books.
5. Amazing story
Raphael ,   Netanya   (04.01.13)
Usually, rioting muslim mobs loot all the stores on their way, except libraries and bookshops: sure they respect culture.
6. Translation: Reparations for European Jews, but no one else
Steve Benassi ,   Silver Bay, MN USA   (04.02.13)
7. books
Jon   (04.02.13)
While we preserved their books in 1948, they destroyed our books in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Around 500 Torahs from over 50 synagogues were destroyed and thousands of books were destroyed too.
8. Palit has a strange concept of justice
jackstraw   (04.02.13)
If the books were " abandoned", does that also go for Jewish property left behind in Germany or occupied Europe during WWII?
9. What do I need with your 'empathy'
10. You dont need to worry about that #3
jerusalem   (04.02.13)
1) Thats always the go-to card, we've memorized that. Thats why Israel's always 'stuck'! The Palis should have gotten it a long time ago, too late now, all thats really left are the cloths on their back! 2) That is not a reason-that someone else can take better care of your things. If you really want the item, you should attain things with the OWNERS consent. 3) The above also applies here. the only reason it 'benefits' the Palis in this case is because Israel wont give the owners back the books. Why should Palis be happy about this? As for Pali resources and open access- I dont understand why Israel likes to stick its nose in something where its not at least the rightful owners of. either get it fair and square or dont be surprised when your being called thieves. There are plenty of libraries scattered for the public use of such books, each respective of the family who OWNS them. 4) so what? I agree that it is beneficial to digitize the books. and you are actually incorrect to suppose that moving the books to a smaller library would deter from the abilities of a researcher. Roads are open, nothings closed, so what would be the problem? One doesnt have to be 'pro-israel' to state the facts. Its too bad israel incriminates itself so opponents dont even have to bother to look far! AFP isnt pro-Palestinian either! AFP says that its abandoned because this is Israel's official term, and not to mention, obviously, when (back then) a family left its home due to the aggression back then, its essentially 'abandoned'. "So its not actual 'theft'", you cracked me up with that one! right, and elephants are pink! oh yeah, sure, the Arabs started it!'re a funny one...'israel spent countless resources rehabilitating itself"-you're a comedian as a professional, right. You dont need to worry, you're not paying the Arabs to rehabilitate your crippling treatment, so you can rejoice. I hope they continue to be a thorn in your throat!
11. what do I need with your 'Empathy" +Doc. film
jerusalem   (04.02.13)
there is a documentary film called the Great Book Robbery that explores this subject. The guy has 'empathy', oh wow, he solved the occupation! Israel refuses to return the books they stole. Words such as wanted to return, will, etc are just empty promises. To show this in reality, has the Nashashibi family received the books that were stolen? Has the Khalidis? (two of which's families collections are rich and important) nothing but a sick lie for an apartheid occupation
12. #1: Hope they'll be morning you soon!
jerusalem   (04.02.13)
13. #2
jerusalem   (04.02.13)
actually there are articles about this, not to mention the documentary I mention in my previous reply a while ago. You know, the Palis had a life and culture before '48, so dont underestimate something before you see for yourself. As records do show, you know, they actually did have somewhere to run, and had to run otherwise they would be killed (facts are out there if you really wanted to look). Israel in that day had the most up-to-date warfare compared to what was left of their collections. If Palis have many other homes, then why do they still live in refugee camps in their 'brethren's' homelands? Why should Palis pay the price in terms of their homeland because the Jews didnt have one? Why should the Palis pay the price of Hitler and the Western world's atrocities? Do you feel proud that the land was stolen from a 'third party' that had nothing to do with the 1st party's suffering from the 2nd party? What are you really trying to prove? That the world shouldnt feel with Israel's efforts, the outsider, to kick the Palis out of their own? country?
14. 6
what do you call ANRWA for the biggest beggars and dependents for over 6 know who i mean.
15. 13
pals live in refugee camps because no one wanted them, not even your brothers.
16. Abandoned property
Rau   (04.04.13)
"They had abandoned their houses, their whole villages." The fact is that they were chased out of their homes and villages. Where on earth will you find people voluntarily leave their property for nothing.
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