Jacob Pace

Ethnic Cleansing 101: The Case of Lifta Village

On the morning of Friday, February 25, 2005 a group of approximately 300 Israelis, Palestinian refugees and international activists gathered near the highway leading out of Jerusalem towards Tel Aviv. In the valley below lay the ruins of the ancient Palestinian village of Lifta. The event was part tour, part protest, and part homecoming. It had different meanings for each of the groups involved. The organization responsible for planning the event, Zochrot (Hebrew for “Remembering”) takes Israelis on tours of depopulated and partially destroyed Palestinian villages. They bring Palestinian refugees to tell the stories of their village and plant signs in Arabic and Hebrew that explain what happened there. This event, however, was also a protest aimed at stopping the impending demolition of what remains of Lifta. 

From Al Nakba to 'Anata: 56 Years of Home Demolitions

“I never dreamed I would see my village,” she said as the wetness pooled in the corner of her eyes. “I never dreamed I would go back there.” And as I watched her choke back the tears, I couldn’t help my own. But I wasn’t as strong as the 16-year-old refugee girl that sat beside me and I had to reach up to wipe my eyes with the back of my hand. The young girl continued to tell us about her village. She explained that many of the homes there had been occupied by Israelis. Other homes had been demolished. A day after my visit to Ibdaa, I found myself in the village of ‘Anata in East Jerusalem watching an Israeli bulldozer tear down the home of a Palestinian family. 

Al-Sayafa: A Case Study in Dispossession

We were sitting outside a small shack at the edge of a Bedouin community in the Northern Gaza Strip region of Al-Sayafa. Abu Housa, one of the Bedouin elders, sat with us speaking in quick, expressive Arabic phrases, spreading his arms and flinging his hands about, the gestures adding emotional context to words that, for the most part, I could not understand. When we first arrived at the community we were quickly invited to sit in the shade of the shack and offered tea, as is customary here. Jacob Pace writes from Gaza City.