Online Resource on the Nakba

From The Institute for Palestine Studies:

The Institute for Palestine Studies has created a special online resource to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948. “1948: Sixty Years On…” draws on the Institute’s rich archives and its flagship Journal of Palestine Studies to provide wide public access to incisive articles, analyses, memoirs, detailed maps, and chronologies. These materials illuminate the events culminating in the establishment of the state of Israel and the beginning of the Palestinian tragedy.

Readers can download PDF versions of landmark JPS articles such as Walid Khalidi’s 1961 “Plan Dalet: Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine” – the first article in English ever to call attention to a comprehensive Zionist military plan and spell out its details – and a rare memoir by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser about his own participation as an officer in the 1948 war. Scholars, journalists, policy makers and educators will find this online resource timely and useful.

Included among the articles, essays, and debates drawn from JPS are the following:

Memoirs and Reflections

In addition to memoirs of 1948 by actual participants in the events such as Gamal Abdel Nasser and Arab Liberation Army commander Fawzi al-Qawuqji, this section includes eyewitness accounts of the fall of Lydda, the conquest of Nazareth and its aftermath, the Tantura massacre, and the capture of other towns and villages. It also includes accounts of exile, including by renowned author Jabra I. Jabra, and a series of personal reflections on the Nakba by Palestinian writers, analysts, and political figures.

Exodus and Refugees

This section features articles analyzing causal factors of the exodus, by Walid Khalidi, Ilan Pappe, Simha Flapan, and Amnon Kapeliouk, and articles focusing on the refugees themselves, both in terms of policy (Donald Neff) and cases of specific villages. A key feature of this section is a 1961 debate on the causes of the exodus among historians Erskine Childers, Walid Khalidi, and Jon Kimche.

History and Analysis

Scholars address the historiography of 1948 and the crux of the conflict from different perspectives. Read articles by Nur-eldeen Masalha, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Tarif Khalidi, and Joel Beinin.

Legal Dimensions

This section includes articles by Susan Akram on refugee rights; Thomas and Sally Mallison on the right of return; Henry Cattan on the status of Jerusalem; and Michael Fischbach on refugee properties and compensation.

Military Dimensions

Most of the articles in this section focus on specific operations or players: Matthew Hughes on Lebanon’s particpation, Benny Morris on Operation Hiram, Nafez Nazzal on Western Galilee, and Ricky-Dale Calhoun on Haganah’s illegal arms procurement network in the U.S. Also of note is Walid Khalidi’s presentation of never-before-published documents on the war, especially relating to the battles for Qastel, Haifa, and Jaffa.


Diplomatic involvement and the role of international politics are addressed in this section, broadly by British writer Michael Adams and Palestinian Sabri Jiryis, and in more specific aspects by others. Kathleen Christison and Lawrence Davidson discuss the U.S. role in the events of 1948, while Avi Shlaim tackles Britain’s role, and Walid Khalidi analyzes the UN partition plan. The section also presents a unique and little-known document: renowned British historian Albert Hourani’s long statement before the Anglo-American Committee of 1946 entitled “The Case against a Jewish State in Palestine.” Concerning internal Palestinian politics, Walid Khalidi contributes a personal article on the Arab Office and its background, and Avi Shlaim writes on the politics behind the All Palestine Government created in Gaza in 1948.


Today’s ongoing debates about the Palestinian tragedy began immediately after 1948 and picked up steam in the 1980s and 1990s with the advent of Israel’s “new historians.” Read the three-way debate among Benny Morris, Norman Finkelstein, and Nur-eldeen Masalha. Also of note are Morris’ critique of Efraim Karsh and of Walid Khalidi’s Before Their Diaspora (and Khalidi’s detailed rejoinder), as well as critiques of Morris by Ibrahim Abu Lughod and Nur-eldeen Masalha.


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