Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lifta - Israel wants to erase it, too

In Israel's war of independence, over 400 Palestinian towns were taken, most have been destroyed since as is the case with the three that are mentioned in my posting about Canada Park.

Lifta is a former Palestinian town near Jerusalem that still has many buildings intact. Palestinians are not to go there. The British newspaper The Guardian has published a sympathetic account with an excellent video.

Of the history of Lifta, The Guardian says (italics mine) -

The remains of the village are bounded by roads, along which traffic rumbles to and from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem's suburbs and settlements. On the ridge above Lifta, concrete mixers and diggers are at work on a high-speed rail link to Tel Aviv; deep in the valley below is a guarded complex, said to be the site of the Israeli government's underground nuclear bunker. Out of sight of Lifta's ruins, but built on its former farmlands are the Knesset (Israel's parliament), the supreme court, the Hadassah hospital, the Hebrew University and the city's central bus station.

In 1948, the village owned 1,200 hectares but they have long gone, along with olive, fig, apricot, almond, plum, pomegranate and citrus trees plus the fields of spinach, cauliflower, peas and beans that gave Lifta its prosperity. "Life was rich," recalls Odeh. "The spring watered the village gardens. We had more olives than we needed so we sold them and the oil in Jerusalem."

Now, Israel wants to bulldoze Lifta and replace it with a 212 unit development. The people who lived there are opposed, but of course they have no say.

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