The Palestinian village of Irqit was depopulated in the 1948 war and then almost entirely razed. Now new generations of its original residents are trying to resurrect the town and realize a decades-old High Court ruling recognizing their right to return.
Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org
It would seem that Israeli authorities conspired to intertwine the story of Iqrit with the Christian narrative.
As the season of Advent approached in November 1948, the Israeli military forced residents of Iqrit and the neighboring village of Kufr Bir’im—all citizens of the newly created state of Israel—to leave their homes near the northern border with Lebanon because of military operations in the area. Advent is the Christian season of waiting before the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Iqrit’s residents were promised they could return to their homes in two weeks. They are still waiting.
In July 1951, the Israeli High Court ruled that the people of Iqrit and Kufr Bir’im had the right to return to their homes. The military refused to comply, and on Christmas Eve of that year blew up all houses in both villages. Only the churches and cemeteries were left intact. Shortly thereafter, all village lands were confiscated by the state. As the family of the newborn Jesus fled to Egypt, so too were these villagers were forced into exile.
Since then, decades of demonstrations...Read More