Following are excerpts from an interview with Sara Jaber, a 92-year-old Palestinian who participated in a Right of Return demonstration on the Jordanian-Israeli border. The interview was aired on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV on May 13, 2011.
Interviewer: “Please tell us who you are.”
Sara Jaber: “I am from Hebron. The Jaber family.”
Interviewer: “What is your name?”
Sara Jaber: “Sara Muhammad ‘Awwadh Jaber.”
Interviewer: “How old are you?”
Sara Jaber: “I am 92.”
Interviewer: “So you remember May 15, 1948, the day of the Nakba.”
Sara Jaber: “Why wouldn’t I remember? May Allah support us. I hope we forget those days. Allah willing, you will bury [Israel], and massacre the Jews with your own hands. Allah willing, you will massacre them like we massacred them in Hebron.”
Interviewer: “What does this day mean to you? You have lived 63 years since theNakba. You have experienced the entire Nakba…”
Sara Jaber: “92 years. That’s 92. I lived through the British era, and I lived through the massacre of the Jews in Hebron. We, the people of Hebron, massacred the Jews. My father massacred them, and brought back some stuff…”
Interviewer: “Thank you very much.”
Gene adds: From an account of the 1929 Hebron Massacre:
For some time, the 800 Jews in Hebron lived in peace with their tens of thousands of Arab neighbors. But on the night of August 23, 1929, the tension simmering within this cauldron of nationalities bubbled over, and for 3 days, Hebron turned into a city of terror and murder. By the time the massacres ended, 67 Jews lay dead and the survivors were relocated to Jerusalem, leaving Hebron barren of Jews for the first time in hundreds of years.
The summer of 1929 was one of unrest in Palestine. Jewish-Arab tensions were spurred on by the agitation of the mufti in Jerusalem. Just one day prior to the start of the Hebron massacre, three Jews and three Arabs were killed in Jerusalem when fighting broke out after a Muslim prayer service on the Temple Mount. Arabs spread false rumors throughout their communities, saying that Jews were carrying out “wholesale killings of Arabs.” Meanwhile, Jewish immigrants were arriving in Palestine in increasing numbers, further exacerbating the Jewish-Arab conflict.
A few Arabs did try to help the Jews. Nineteen Arab families saved dozens, maybe even hundreds of Jews. Zmira Mani wrote about an Arab named Abu Id Zaitoun who brought his brother and son to rescue her and her family. The Arab family protected the Manis with their swords, hid them in a cellar along with other Jews who they had saved, and found a policeman to escort them safely to the police station at Beit Romano.
It’s sad and discouraging that this woman (and others) have held onto their hatred for so many decades, but it’s important to know that other Arabs in Hebron behaved decently and bravely.