Israel's 1948 Tantura massacre: New report identifies four Palestinian mass graves
An investigative report released on Thursday has documented survivor testimonies and specified locations of the mass graves where victims of the massacre in the Palestinian village of Tantura are buried.
The victims were killed in ethnic cleansing operations carried out by Zionist militias during the Nakba of 1948.
The report, entitled "Tantura", is the first of its kind, and follows a year and a half of work carried out by human-rights focused investigative group Forensic Architecture, Adalah Legal Centre, and the Tantura People's Committee.
It includes archival materials, oral history maps, an interactive platform, and pictures of the coastal village, which was situated south of Haifa before the Nakba. Four sites believed to hold mass graves have been identified by the report.
The report was released in the month marking the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in the lead-up to the creation of the state of Israel and scores of massacres were perpetrated.
"We have identified a section of graves, mass graves, and cemeteries that existed before the Nakba. Based on careful investigation by Forensic Architecture, for the first time, it allows us to accurately locate the graves," Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara said.
She demanded that the people of Tantura be "allowed to visit their victims and pray for them in line with their religious customs", and that Israel should "stop violating the sanctity of the graves and the dignity of the dead and their families".
The Tantura massacre itself has drawn increasing attention in recent years, notably last year when the documentary Tantura was released.
It contained oral testimonies from members of the Alexandroni Brigade, which was part of the Zionist paramilitary Haganah forces, who carried out the massacre. The Brigade had until recently denied participation.
“[A] shocking documentary.” #Tantura #TanturaFilm— tantura film (@TanturaFilmCom) May 4, 2022
Jahan Sarhan, who was from Tantura, confirmed that her immediate family members and her uncle were among the massacre's victims.
"Boys from ten to 55 years old were executed. As for the women, they were herded onto the beach and left without water or shelter," she added.
She called on Israel to "recognise the massacre in front of the world, honour the martyrs, identify the mass graves and plant them with flowers so that we can recite the Al Fatiha [prayer] and bury them according to Islamic law".
The massacre at Tantura took place on May 22-23 1948. Today, the Israeli town Nahsholim sits where Tantura used to be, and the former village lands also are home to a hotel and a tourist resort.
This article is based on an article which appeared in our Arabic edition by Nahed Dirbas on 23 May 2023. To read the original article click here.