Preserving or Looting Palestinian Books in Jerusalem

The National Library in Jerusalem houses more than 8,000 volumes in Arabic which once belonged to Palestinians who fled the country or were forced out in 1948. Were these books collected for the purpose of preservation - or looted?

In the storage center of the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, there is a collection of some 8,000 books labeled “AP.” Officially these initials stand for Abandoned Property. But the library staff likes to joke that AP stands for apotropos, the Hebrew word for “custodian” − as in, “the custodian of absentee property,” who is in charge of these books.