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Palestinian victims of 1948 war found in mass grave

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The remains of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israelis in fighting following the 1948 foundation of the Israeli state have been found in a mass grave in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa district.

An official at the Muslim cemetery there told AFP that the grisly find occurred on Wednesday when ground subsided as workers carried out renovations, revealing six chambers full of skeletons.

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Jaffa fisherman Atar Zeinab, 80, says that as a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948 he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa and bring them for hasty burial in the cemetery, the area’s main graveyard.

“I carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months,” he told AFP. “We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn’t know who they were.”

He said that the danger of being hit by flying bullets or grenade fragments was such that bodies were dumped one on top of the other in existing family crypts in the cemetery, contrary to Muslim custom.

“We carried them early in the morning or in the night,” he added. “We put women, children and men in the same place… nobody prayed for these people.”

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Jaffa was at the time a Palestinian town, but there was an exodus of most of its Arab population when it fell to the fledgling Israeli army and rightwing Jewish militias.

In 1950 it was incorporated into the city of Tel Aviv which was renamed Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Today it has a mixed Arab and Jewish population.

Around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in what they call the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” of 1948 and which Israel refers to as its “War of Independence”.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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