Ghosts of 1948 haunt Gaza crisis

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You would think, on meeting him, that Sameh Zakout has a contented life - a career in music, occasional trips abroad, the very embodiment of an Israeli Arab who has made the most of his opportunities.

Sameh's grandparents once lived in the Palestinian village of Isdud, just south of Tel Aviv.

But in 1948, they fled their home as refugees during the war that brought about Israel's creation.

Isdud was left in ruins and today its agricultural land is cultivated by Jewish owners. Part of that land is now covered by a new Israeli city, Ashdod.

The events of 1948 remain a controversial subject.

Palestinians argue that Israelis drove them from their homes. Israel insists most Palestinians left of their own accord. Either way, many places like Isdud were emptied of their Arab inhabitants.

Many of their former inhabitants are now left in Gaza with their descendents and Israel will not allow them back.

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