Monday, July 21, 2008

Ein Hod - more of the story

I've been doing more research on Ein Hod/Ein Hawd (the Arabic spelling). It turns out there has been quite a lot written about this village over the years the al-Hija family has been struggling to reclaim a village for themselves.

To read more about Ein Hod, see the story, 500 Dunam on the Moon: The Arabs who remained in the vicinity of their village eventually became workers on the kibbutzim and in the artists' colony. Another story from IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, details more of the history:

The villagers trace their ancestry to Emir Hussam al-Din Abu al-Hija, a high-ranking officer in the army of the fabled Sultan Salah al-Din (Saladin). Emir Abu al-Hija, whose title was Isfahslar (Generalissimo), was commander of the Kurdish force that took part in (fellow Kurd) Salah al-Din's conquest (1187-93) of the Crusader kingdom. Jewish author Meron Benvenisti writes about the displacement of Arabs as Jews settled the land that was to become Israel in Sacred Landscape, The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948, translated by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta. Read more about Ein Hod in chapter 5 of the book online: Benvenisti learned about this area as he traveled with his father, a renowned geographer, as he redrew the map of Palestine, transforming the land by changing the Arab names to Hebrew names, one way of claiming the land for Israel.

In 1964 the Jewish National Fund planted trees in the area, which is administered by the Carmel National Park Authority ( When my children were in preschool at the Jewish Community Center in Denver, we used to collect money every June for planting trees in Israel - "reclaiming the desert," they said. I never realized that, while some of these projects did make the land more livable, many of these trees were planted on land that belonged to other people whose families had lived there for hundreds of years. I never knew that some of this land was stolen from Arabs families like the al-Hijas, who had lived there for hundreds of years. The Jewish National Fund still today is in the business of reclaiming land for Israel, solidifying Israel's hold on the land. I wonder how much of the land still being reclaimed is also disputed. Read about the work of the Jewish national Fund, which began in 1901 with a project to raise money for land in Ottoman Empire occupied Palestine. This had been a dream of Theodore Hertzl, the visionary and leader of the movement to establish a Jewish state:

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