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  • WATCH: Israeli tours teach about the Nakba

    Some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s establishment. One organization is taking Israelis to visit the ruins of the abandoned villages, to learn about the Palestinian ‘Nakba,’ or tragedy. Read more about Nakba remembrance: Turning entire Palestinian villages invisible How we learned to forget the villages we destroyed For Israelis, Palestinian refugees are a constant, lurking threat

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  • The road out of the occupation runs through the Nakba

    As long as Israelis deny, distort and repress the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians, we will never truly accept and absorb the end of the occupation. It is difficult to find a view in Lifta that isn't marred by the words 'death to Arabs' graffitied in Hebrew on its hollow buildings. Someone even took the trouble to write it in drying cement at the entrance to the site, ensuring that it will always be one of the first things visitors see. The leftovers of a Palestinian village that was depopulated over the course of a few months at the end…

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  • PHOTOS: Visiting the last standing Nakba village of Lifta

    Lifta is one of the few remaining Nakba villages, whose residents were deported or fled during and before the war of 1948. Israel has prevented the Palestinians who left their homes from returning to them and when the war ended, it confiscated their land and property. This week, Activestills documented Palestinian women visiting the site along with the usual religious Jewish-Israeli hikers and tourists. Photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ Almost all of the hundreds of empty Palestinian villages were destroyed after the war and in subsequent decades. In Lifta, 55 of more than 400 hundred homes survived, together with the original…

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  • Stepping over the line by accident: Still possible, ever more disturbing

    A stroll west of West Jerusalem can lead to a surprising discovery, confronting the casual walker with various layers of the Palestinian tragedy. I just finished an ordeal at the Knesset. The next thing on the agenda was a long phone call, one that would last for at least an hour. Instead of walking about West Jerusalem for an hour, I decided to begin heading west on foot. The brisk winter day was gorgeous. Beneath me, past the last row of city blocks, lay the gulley separating West Jerusalem from a ridge of lofty hills to the west. The slopes…

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  • Court nixes building project, saves unique Nakba village

    Lifta, the best-kept Palestinian Nakba village was saved on Monday, after a surprising verdict by the Jerusalem District Court canceled a 2004 construction plan to build a luxury housing complex on the site. UPDATE: I have received a message from Bimkom, a non-profit which took part in the effort to save Lifta, explaining that the court decision was to cancel the tender, not the plan.  As reported here in October, the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites decided to join the campaign to save the remaining houses of the Palestinian village Lifta, situated at the western entrance to modern Jerusalem. Lifta is the only…

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  • Last-ditch effort to save a unique Palestinian village

    Lifta, the best-kept out of handful of remaining Nakba villages, will be demolished to make way for a housing project for affluent Jews The Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites is joining the campaign to save the remaining houses of the Palestinian village Lifta, at the western entrance of modern Jerusalem. Lifta, the best-kept of hundreds of abandoned Palestinian villages, is about to be demolished in order to make way for a new Jewish neighborhood. According to a report by the daily paper Maariv, Itzik Shviki, manager of Jerusalem district in the Society, has filed a motion to the…

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  • Why Jews need to talk about the Nakba

    A personal journey A childhood memory: A group of kids and their teacher on a school trip. They are walking through excavations, listening to explanations from a tour guide about their ancestors who lived there two thousand years ago. After a while, one of the kids points to some ruins between the trees. "Are these ancient homes as well?" he asks. "These are not important," comes the answer. Growing up in the seventies and the eighties you couldn't miss those small houses scattered near fields, between towns and Kibbuzim and in national parks. Most of them were made of stone,…

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