Present Absentees: Palestinian Refugees in Israel Since 1948
Although they constitute an integral component of the Palestinian refugee population, Palestinian refugees inside Israel have not received the same scholarly attention that has been accorded to Palestinian refugees in the Arab states. This book, which was originally published in Hebrew, is the first to be devoted exclusively to the question of Palestinian refugees who have lived within the state of Israel since its establishment in 1948. Its appearance in Arabic is an important event, since it sheds light for the Arab reader on the fate of a forgotten population. These Palestinians, who were displaced from their towns and villages upon the establishment of the state of Israel and were subsequently classified by the Jewish state as “present absentees”, have been the principal advocates of their own neglected cause. Since the 1990s, they have been particularly vocal in drawing attention to the fact that the notorious tale of the two villages of Iqrit and Kafr Bir’im is not a solitary one. Indeed, there are dozens of other villages whose inhabitants live close to their original homes, which were demolished during or shortly after 1948, but are prevented by the Israeli authorities from returning to them. The publication of this important work at this delicate juncture in Palestinian history should contribute to the development of the collective memory of Palestinians living inside their homeland.