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Suhmata, with Zochrot, 57 years later.
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Suhmata is here

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Commemorating the expulsion from Suhmata, with Zochrot, October 29, 2005.

Yair Gil's (a professional's) depiction of the same event

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The cactus fence remains after everything else had been carefully obliterated, as a sign of a demolished Palestinian village. One of 531.

On October 28, 1948, the village of Suhmata was occupied by the Israeli army. Its inhabitants were deported and all of the village houses were demolished.

The people of Suhmata hold their commemoration day every year on this date in October.

This year Zochrot takes part in the commemoration event.

Schedule: 

A tour of the village along accompanied by the Abnaa Suhmata association.

The main event following the tour will take place by the village church ruins located, at the western neighborhood:

1. Greetings

2. An address by Abnaa Suhmata Association's representative

3. An address by ADRID ( association for the defence of the rights of the internally displaced persons in Israel ).

4. An address by Zochrot

The meeting point will be at  the dirt road leading to the village ( Naharyia - Tzfat road, east of Maalot ).

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Suhmata's location: Latitude: 33 0' 0 N Longitude: 35 17' 60 E

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Suhmata, 30 km northeast of Acre, Ethnically cleansed on October 30th, 1948 by the Golani Brigade's First Battalion

Nakba: Disaster [Arabic].
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Zochrot: (We) rememeber [Hebrew].
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feminine, plural.

Suhmata was a Canaanite village, its name originates from Syriac and means light and sunrise. Its known history starts from the Persian attack of 612-627 AD ...

"Sahmatah", by Edward Mast and Hanna Eady, premiered by New Image Theater in Seattle in March 1996.

"Operation Hiram" lasted just 60 hours (October 29-October 31): In "Operation Hiram Revisisted: A Correction," historian Benny Morris argues that orders were given out to clear the Galilee of Arabs. In October 31 Major General Moshe Carmel wrote a telegram to all his division and district commanders under his command: "Do all you can to immediately and quickly purge the conquered territories of all hostile elements in accordance with the orders issued. The residents should be helped to leave the areas that have been conquered." (Benny Morris, The Deportations of the Hiram Operation: Correcting a Mistake)

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Above: Remains of the rainwater collecting pool [Arabic: Birki. Hebrew: Brecha], that was used for irrigation as well as the children's swimming pool.
The area adjacent to the pool was the village square [Arabic: Rakhabi. Hebrew: Rakhava], where weddings and assemblies took place.

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Most of the demolition took place a year or two after the expulsion of the Suhmata residents. It was not done within the "storm of battle". It was a premeditated state vandalism. The crusaders' castle wasn't spared. 

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This is what remains of the village elementary school [Arabic: Madrasi. The Hebrew term Beit-Midrash refers to a Talmudic highschool] .

The population of Suhmata before 1948 was about 95% Muslim and 5% Christian.
That did not prevent a Christian from being chosen as village head, twice in the twentieth century, when a Christian happened to be the most respected candidate.
We need to think about whose manipulation, what sinister motives, are behind the enmity that we are made to believe exists between Muslims and Christians. Whose evil interests does this misrepresentation serve?

Water wells. [Arabic: Bir. Hebrew: Be'er].

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The cemetery [Arabic: Makbarah. Hebrew: Beit Kvaroth].

Name bearing stone plates were removed. Some of then were found in pavements of neighbouring Jewish settlements. Maintenance is forbidden.

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The church [Arabic: Knisi. Hebrew: Knesiya]. The only building not destroyed to the ground.

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Vajiah Sam'an
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Chairman of the Sons of Suhmata Association

"Your presence here is the light of justice that will shine in days to come."

Vaquim Vaquim
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Chairman of the Rights of the Displaced Committee

"Your presence here is an expression of a Jewish-Arab partnership, not only for our sake but for yours as well. Admitting the historical injustice is the first step towards genuine peace."

Marwan Makhoul, reading one of his poems
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Hebrew translation of Marwan's poem
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Iris Bar
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Reading the Hebrew translation of Marwan's poem

Roi, on behalf of Zochrot, Haifa.
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Issam Makhoul, MK (Member of the Knesset)
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"What hypocricy: sparing the church! There is no sacredness in a church without people. Let the internally displaced people of Suhmata, who are part of the "Israeli demography", rebuild their village. The clash is between the insistance to erase the past and the desire to keep it on the agenda, so that justice is restored." 

Mish'al Khirurg
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Neighbour and friend, from Ma'alot

Fauzi Mussah, with daughter Rim and son Adi
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Our host and guide. Thank you, Fauzi.

"Our wish is to revive the village and live in peace with all our neighbours.
Since the nakba we are split. Our body is here, but our soul remains in 1948.
They who had not been refugees will not understand it."

View from the top
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Back to 2005
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Conclusion: What happened in Suhmata at the end of October 1948 was a war crime. The beautiful hilltop site of Suhmata is empty. Nobody will have to be removed in order to allow the internally displaced people of Suhmata, now living in Haifa, Tarshiha and elsewhere within Israel, rebuild it, as a model of peace. There will be ample room for the village residents and their decendents, now living in refugee camps in Lebanon. This act of justice is overdue. Time will not erase this deep moral debt.  

Two people speaking virtually the same language, believing in the same god (if they do), respecting comparable dietary restrictions [Halal, Kosher], loving the same beautiful land, sharing (as Emil Habibi put it) the same amount of stupidity, can learn to live together in peace.