Erased from Space and Consciousness

Erased from Space and Consciousness

Israel and the Depopulated Palestinian Villages of 1948
Noga Kadman, foreword by Oren Yiftachel
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/07/2015
Format: Hardback 30 b&w illus., 9 maps, 15 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-01670-6
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2016 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection, Outstanding Rating

Hundreds of Palestinian villages were left empty across Israel when their residents became refugees after the 1948 war, their lands and property confiscated. Most of the villages were razed by the new State of Israel, but in dozens of others, communities of Jews were settled—many refugees in their own right. The state embarked on a systematic effort of renaming and remaking the landscape, and the Arab presence was all but erased from official maps and histories. Israelis are familiar with the ruins, terraces, and orchards that mark these sites today—almost half are located within tourist areas or national parks—but public descriptions rarely acknowledge that Arab communities existed there within living memory or describe how they came to be depopulated. Using official archives, kibbutz publications, and visits to the former village sites, Noga Kadman has reconstructed this history of erasure for all 418 depopulated villages.

Author Bio

Noga Kadman is a researcher and licensed tour guide whose main interest is to explore the encounter between Israelis and the Palestinian presence in the landscape and history of the country. She is co-editor of Once Upon a Land: A Tour Guide to Depopulated Palestinian Villages and Towns (in Hebrew and Arabic).


“This remarkable book examines how the issue of the Palestinian villages whose inhabitants were expelled in 1948 has evolved in Israeli consciousness. Kadman looks at official Israeli discourse, kibbutz and moshav diaries and records, and the maps produced by the Israeli state to show in disturbing detail how the dispossession of the population of over 400 villages, most of which have since been destroyed, has been largely eliminated from the imaginary of most Israelis.”
 — Rashid Khalidi

“Poignant, sensitive, and compassionate, Kadman’s deeply-informed inquiry exposes graphically the process of 'demographic Judaization' of Palestine, in physical reality and cultural comprehension. It is an invaluable contribution, particularly at a moment of reflection and reassessment that might offer some hope of escape from a further plunge into darknes--if there is an honest and courageous engagement with what has been done and why, and how some measure of healing might yet emerge.”
 — Noam Chomsky

“A very valuable contribution to existing scholarship. While many scholars have referred to the denial of the existence of a thriving Palestinian society before 1948 in Israeli culture, [Kadman] uncovers the 'black box' of the discourse of denial and eloquently demonstrates some major mechanisms of its production. . . . [A]ccessible to readers beyond the field of Palestine and Israel studies, including a general audience beyond academic circles.”
 — Tamir Sorek, University of Florida

“After the 1948 war Jews across Israel settled in dozens of empty Palestinian villages and the state embarked upon a systematic effort of renaming and remaking the landscape, erasing the Arab presence from official maps and histories. This essential reading reconstructs the history of this erasure to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and contemporary Israeli society.”

“An excellent, original, and important work [that] will immediately become a textbook for courses in the US and elsewhere.”
 — Ariella Azoulay, Brown University

“Kadman provides a description of the systematic process of obfuscation, concealment, and erasure of the ruined villages, and the creation of a new map—the Israeli national map, the map of the Jewish country standing upon the ruins of ancient Judea. . . . The publication of Kadman's book is a cultural event of the first rank. (Reviewing the Hebrew edition)”
 — Ariel Hirschfeld, Haaretz

“Crucial reading for understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
 — Publishers Weekly

“Erased from Space and Consciousness is a case study in how geography and demography interact, and how politics and ideology shape material reality, which in turn shapes public consciousness.”
 — The Jordan Times

“...An intelligent, well-researched and fluently translated book that casts new light on the ways in which the State of Israel and its institutions have tried to eradicate the memory of Palestinian habitation of Palestine and the social discourses and narratives which underpin this project.”
 — Electronic Intifada

“In an age when each side to this conflict staunchly holds to its narrative of the past, many Israelis are likely to regard Kadman’s book as an unwelcome reminder of a part of that past they would like to disregard. For students of that history, however, this study adds an important layer to the story. . . . Highly recommended.”
 — Choice

“Until now, the evidence for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine has been available only through websites that record what happened . . . or general historical surveys. Now Kadman has provided an exhaustive treatment. And for historians, this will be the go-to-volume for years to come. ”
 — Christian Research Journal

“[Kadman] has certainly established that any serious discussion of the future must acknowledge the depopulation of 1948 and counter the ongoing policies and practices of erasure and forgetting. If we don't know what happened, we can't understand what is happenning now or figure out what to do next. ”
 — Huffington Post

“Kadman's meticulous account of the physical destruction and subsequent socio-cultural marginalization of the Palestinian villages that were depopulated by the militias that eventually merged into the Israeli Defense Forces makes significant scientific and political contributions. It also raises broader philosophical and epistemological questions with regard to the production, maintenance, and consequences of collective, politically institutionalized amnesia.”
 — Antipode

“This is an excellent book and an important contribution to the field of Israel-Palestine studies.”
 — Reading Religion

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Oren Yiftachel
Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
List of Foreign Terms
1. Depopulation, Demolition, and Repopulation of the Village Sites
2. National Identity, National Conflict, Space, and Memory
3. The Depopulated Villages as Viewed by Jewish Residents
4. Naming and Mapping the Depopulated Village Sites
5. Depopulated Villages in Tourist and Recreational Sites
Conclusion: The Remains of the Past, A Look Toward the Future
Appendix A: Maps and Lists of the Depopulated Palestinian Villages
Appendix B: Official Names Given to Depopulated Palestinian Villages by the Government Names Committee
Appendix C: Mapping the Depopulated Palestinian Villages over the Decades