An-Najah National University

Khalid Abu-Dayeh


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  • Thursday, May 22, 2003
  • Palestine Archives: Dispersal, Destruction and Reconstruction
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  • This century is considered the memory of the nation because archive materials are an important part of writing nations’ history; they can access the people to what happened in the past. They are important media of information and the use of them forms part of the nation’s cultural life. They reflect all kinds and types of human activities, and they may be called the memory of mankind. In order for a Palestinian nation to survive, each generation must re-appropriate its past and draw vitality and awareness from its roots, the records of our past are considered the most important legacy left to us. Palestinian archives are of great importance as national history, cultural property and national heritage, as well as a key factor for studying the history of Palestine people. Archives contain demographic, economic and social information.

    Palestinian historians and researchers are becoming aware more and more of the importance of the evidence of Palestine history in documents and archives to rewrite Palestine history, they had no possibility of studying the Palestine history objectively, basing their work upon reliable sources because archives are available outside Palestine.  From this point the Palestine researcher's reaction would be one of horror that an archive was being moved out of its national and social context, and that physical access to the archive would be severely restricted. Fore example Public Record Office (UK), is direct control over all the Palestine archives activities and strict censorship to use them over 100 years old.

    As far as the Palestine State was existing on 15 November 1995 as a new State came into being, setting up the decree of the Palestine National Archives Centre since 13th September 1995. Palestine nation has right and responsibility to preserve its archives as national heritage. From its establishment in 1995, the Palestine National Archives Centre has recognised the importance of the Palestine documentary heritage were found in various countries and should be returned to the rightful custodians. Because archives by nature are unique, loss archives are irreplaceable, any loss is final, and reconstruction is impossible. If Palestine nation losing its archives losing its past, losing its cultural legacy, it loses its soul.

    Also Palestine National Archives Centre and governmental departments have recognized the importance of the Palestine documentary heritage were found in various countries and should be returned to the rightful custodian. Much attention was paid to archival work by it to collect, and save precious archives created in the past. Unesco and The International Council on Archives (ICA) has worked to raise awareness of the common written cultural heritage as a right and a means of priority for understanding among people of different nation.

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Khalid Hafiz Abu-Dayeh
Records Management and Archives Administration
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