{mosimage}57 years passed, but Atera Hussein, Um Fu’ad, still remembers with pain and tears, the Nakbe, she still remembers the Israeli planes shelling her village transferring it into ruins.

Um Fu’ad lives since the 1948 war in Dir Hanna village, but still remembers her village, al-Sifsaf which was completely destroyed after a terrorist illegal Israeli organization known as Etzil, killed dozens of residents burnt the homes and the fields.

Most of the residents of al-Sifsaf fled to Lebanon after their village was shelled, attacked and destroyed.

Um Fu’ad moved with her husband to Dir Hanna, and in mid November 1948 she went, as she used to do every year, to visit her family for one month, but even in her worst nightmares, she never expected what was waiting for her.

“The Israeli planes shelled the homes during that evening, we felt the ground shaking and moving beneath us, the residents were just trying to find a place to hide, they didn’t carry anything with them, they just wanted to run away, to run for their lives, and the lives of their children”, Um Fu’ad said.

Um Fu’ad added that the ‘Salvation army’ tried to urge the residents to remain in their lands, managed to convince some, yet others fled to neighboring areas or even to Lebanon, her father was one of them, Um Fu’ad, her sister Sirriya, their brother Mohammad and their mother remained.

“That night the planes and cannons never stopped, they kept shelling al-Sifsaf from the city of Safad, all what we could think off is that we will die now, or soon enough”

As dawn broke, Mohammad went to see what is happening, and found out that the Salvation Army is leaving the village, and rushed back home telling us that they have to leave.

The family could not leave since the Israeli army entered the village, and gathered the residents in al-Ein area.

“The soldiers orders the youth to put their hands on their heads, and shot them, my brother Mohammad survived after he ‘acted dead’, dozens were killed, others were injured”, Um Fu’ad added.

 The relatives of Um Fu’ad were hiding in their home for the whole day, and ran away during evening hours towards Lebanon, which is separated from their village by valleys and mountains. 

“Our village looked like hell, fire all over, shells falling, bullets, nobody could remain their, it was absolute death”, Um Fu’ad added.

After running for several hours, Um Fu’ad found her husband and her father in a Lebanese village known as Maroun al-Ras, dozens of villages were also there.

“We spent several nights sleeping on the sand, nothing above or beneath us, we faced very tough days, we had to hide under some trees in order to run away from the rain”

“Later on we lived in Ein al-Hilwa refugee camp in Lebanon for several months, and returned to Palestine, to the village of my husband, Dir Hanna, sneaking under the darkness of the night, my husband bough a donkey, I rode it, putting one child in front of me and one child behind me, we rode until the borders, and arrived at al-Sifsaf moving towards Beit Jan, and al-Ramma until we reached Wadi Salama, we spent one night there and continued our way to Dir Hanna, a Mukhtar “head of a village’, helped us obtain identity cards, and we remained here”, Um Fu’ad added.

The parents if Um Fu’ad died even before she managed to see them again, her brothers we scattered in several places.

39 years later, Um Fuad went to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage, there she heard that a woman came to her residency asking about her, the sister, Sirriya, asked some people from the Galilee about her.

“After I heard about this woman, I went along with Um Maher, a woman from Acre, we went to every home over there, by the end of the day, there was this woman laying in bed, as we were asking about her, she jumped and hugged me, we hugged and cried for one hour, since then I call her once every year during the feast, she lives there, far away, but at least we met, and I know she is alright”

The village of al-Sifsaf was attacked on October 28, 1948, 70 residents were killed, several women were raped; an Israeli historian wrote about the village saying that the Israeli soldiers tied 52 men of the village and placed them in an empty well before firing at them, and killing them.

Two women, and a 14 years old girl, were begging the soldiers not to kill the men; the soldiers raped and murdered the men.


Wadee’ Awawda, Arabs48