The Fall of Lydda: Spiro Munayyer, with an introduction and notes

VOL. 27


No. 4
P. 80
Special Document
The Fall of Lydda: Spiro Munayyer, with an introduction and notes

Spiro Munayyer's account begins immediately after the United Nations General Assembly partition resolution of 29 November 1947 and culminates in the cataclysmic four days of Lydda's conquest by the Israeli army (10-14 July 1948) during which 49,000 of Lydda's 50,000 inhabitants ("swollen" with refugees) were forcefully expelled, the author himself being one of those few allowed to remain in his hometown. Although the author was not in a position of political or military responsibility, he was actively involved in Lydda's resistance movement both as the organizer of the telephone network linking up the various sectors of Lydda's front lines and as a volunteer paramedic, in which capacity he accompanied the city's defenders in most of the battles in which they took part. The result is one of the very few detailed eye-witness accounts that exists from the point of view of an ordinary Palestinian layman of one of the most important and tragic episodes of the 1948 war.

Spiro Munayyer, who has lived all his life in Lydda, is currently writing a book on the city's archaeological sites. His eyewitness account of the fall of Lydda was taken from his book Lydda During the Mandate and Occupation Periods, published by the Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut in 1997. The extracts were translated by Jenab Tutunji.
Walid Khalidi, a founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies and its general secretary, has taught at Oxford University, the American University of Beirut, and Harvard University.