In the 1940s, Sheikh 'Abd al-Fattah Darwish Darwish was the chief of a nahiya, a cluster of villages southwest of Jerusalem. In the stories told by the men, he appeared as a hugely powerful man who lorded over the region's villages and became a prominent figure in Jerusalem as well. For villagers who were active in the Arab rebellion of 1936–39, 'Abd al-Fattah was a traitor. But for others he was their leader. This chapter introduces these mixed points of view, briefly describing the scholarly literature on the Mandatory period and the 1948 war. The book aims to retell the stories of Darwish and other local leaders, and thus of the entire Mandate. In addressing local events and putting them in their broader context, it seeks to incorporate into the historical narrative the point of view of the Palestinian Arab “collaborators” with the Jews.
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