Friday, 16 April 2010

Amongst the ruins of Lifta village

This storm is what we call progress
Walter Benjamin

When you enter the city [Jerusalem] through Lifta and Romema....there are no Arabs.
Diary entry by David Ben Gurion, 7th February 1948

In a valley in west Jerusalem you can still see the remains of the Palestinian village of Lifta, one of the first to be ethnically cleansed by Zionist militas in 1947.

Our guide Yacoob, who spent his early childhood in Lifta until he was expelled with his family in 1948

"The village was a fine example of rural architecture, with its narrow street running parallel to the slopes of the mountains. The relative prosperity it enjoyed...manifested itself in the construction of new houses, the improvement of roads and was a large village, home to 2,500 people, most of them Muslims with a small number of Christians" (Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, p.67)

Israeli cyclists and ramblers relax in what used to be the village square

"Social life in Lifta revolved around a small shopping center, which included a club and two coffee houses...One of the coffee houses was the target of the Hagana [Zionist milita] when it attacked on 28 December 1947. Armed with machine guns Jews sprayed the coffee house, while members of the Stern Gang [Zionist militia] stopped a bus nearby and began firing into it randomly....[the Hagana] ordered another operation against the same village on 11 January in order to complete the expulsion. The Hagana blew up most of the houses in the village and drove out all the people who were still there'" (Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, p.67)

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