A graphic novel about the 1956 mass killings of Palestinians in Rafah and Khan Younis at the hands of Israelis is trying to unearth a page of the long-buried history about the Palestinian struggle.
"Is it talking about a people who have been hammered over and over again," Joe Sacco, American comics artist and journalist, told Reuters about his new book "Footnotes in Gaza."
The novel, published in the US on Tuesday, January 5, focuses on two days in 1956 when hundreds of Palestinians civilians were killed by Israeli forces.
When Sacco and his researchers tried to find more information about the massacres, they were shocked to find almost nothing written about it in English.
Sacco's Comic Book: Visual Account of Palestine
In a bid to uncover the truth, the 49-year-old journalist-cum-writer travelled to Gaza twice between November 2002 and March 2003 to interview Palestinians who witnessed the events. The 400-page novel contains detailed, black-and-white drawings about the two bloody days more than half-a-century ago.
On November 3, 1956, Israel launched an invasion into Egypt and occupied the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis and the nearby Rafah city.
The Israeli army rounded up residents of the towns and shot them on the streets and in their homes.
The UN puts the Palestinian death toll at nearly 400 Palestinians -- 275 in Khan Younis and 111 in Rafah.
Sacco believes in revealing the truth about the two massacres his book also tells the story of the current Palestinians.
"This is not an isolated incident," he insists.
"This is the story of footnotes to a sideshow of a forgotten war," he writes in the beginning of his book.
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The award-winning author, who achieved international fame with his 1996 graphic novel Palestine, disagrees with some Palestinians who wanted him to focusing on their current sufferings.
"When I was growing up there was a lot of news about Palestinians on TV and it was always hijackings, bombings and always related to terrorism," Sacco recalls.
"I was never given the context, and what brought them to that unhappy point."
He hopes that Footnotes in Gaza, which has already won warm reviews, would put the ongoing struggle into its historical perspective.
"There are very few definitive histories, especially talking about this part of the world.
"I hope the book does give an Israeli historian some kind of impetus to try again."