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Visual Communication: Gallery and Graduate Works

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation (IL)

Visual Communication: Selected Final Projects 2019
Aya Gov, Archive of Plunder
, 2019, Graduated 2019, Visual Communication
“The door was open, we entered, and on the table we saw pita bread and coffee - probably the
tenants of the house were in the middle of breakfast. And on the floor there were tiny shoes of a
baby. I guess they didn’t have the time to put his shoes on.
The houses were empty, and in them we found all sorts of things. […] Looting incidents occurred all the time. [The soldiers] drove with trucks and took all kinds of things, houseware, washing machines and jewellery, porcelain sets.”
From a video testimony of Hava Keler, a Jewish fighter in the 1948 war.
The interview was conducted and filmed by the team of “Zochrot”.

The ״Archive of Plunder ״ is a project dedicated to the research and documentation of objects found and taken by Jewish soldiers and civilians in houses of Palestinian families. The families fled or were forced to leave their homes with no possibility of return in the course of the Palestinian Nakba and Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and after it.
During the war that erupted a day after the UN vote on the partition of Mandatory Palestine, an
independent Jewish state was declared. About 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their hometowns and villages to neighbouring countries, outside of the new Israeli rule. The vast majority of Palestinian houses remained empty of their tenants and yet full of possessions and property.
Testimonies of Jewish soldiers from the 1948 war reveal a widespread plunder of Palestinian homes, and documents from the National Archive of the State of Israel testify the destiny of the “abandoned property”, most of it being taken over by the new Israeli State, some of the objects ending up in flea markets and some taken directly to Jewish Israeli homes.
And so, despite the Israeli ongoing and persistent attempt to deny and ignore any kind of Palestinian culture that existed in the region prior to 1948, remnants of Palestinian life exist in every corner of the Israeli landscape. Be it ruins of villages on sides of highways, houses that were taken over and renovated, or objects that can be found today in many Jewish Israelis homes - as decorations on libraries and cabinets or in warehouses and cellars - there is very little knowledge about the path that the objects had taken before reaching their current location.
The starting point of the project is a number of objects that, for years, were set on the book cabinet in our grandmother’s house. These objects were taken by our grandfather from a Palestinian house during the 1948 war and were brought to their house in Tel Aviv. Growing up with their silent presence we were always indifferent as to their presumed yet not-spoken-about history and after her passing away in February of 2018 we decided to start gathering more information about such existing objects, starting from our close circle of family and friends and slowly expanding our exploration to other vicinities.
As the generation who witnessed or took part in the 1948 war gradually disappears, it is now the last possible moment to collect first hand information from people who are able to identify or to
elaborate on the histories of these objects. Keeping this in mind, we are attempting to collect and present as much information possible about such objects, giving a visibility to a hidden and
unaddressed chapter in the history of the State of Israel and calling for attention to its  implications on our current reality.
Aya and Itamar Gov

Aya Gov
Graduated 2019
Archive of Plunder