Although there is a concerted effort to erase the existence of Palestinians since the time of the Nakba, archaeologists were able to save the remains of the community of Lifta, a wealthy and intellectual hub, near Jerusalem. We hiked down to the main gathering place of Lifta where there is a beautiful spring surrounded by trees.
The books that were in the libraries of the Palestinians were looted and are now in the Israel’s National Library in Jerusalem (see the documentary film The Great Book Robbery, 2012, directed by Benny Brunner, a Dutch-Israeli immigrant). We visited the ruins of the community of Lifta and heard the history of its demise.
It began in December 1948 when a Zionist militia (today we might call them “terrorists”) called the Stern Gang, slaughtered patrons at a café on the outskirts of Lifta. Residents fled their vibrant community, which had been continuously lived in for more than 2000 years.
Lifta is in the first area to have been ‘ethnically cleansed’ in 1948.
The Lifta legacy lives because of the persistence of Palestinians and the diligence of archaeologists. Hundreds of other villages were destroyed and the people driven away.
A map of these villages can be found on the iNakba app. Here is their description of the app:
iNakba is a trilingual mobile app (Arabic, Hebrew and English) based on GPS Navigation technology. This app allows users to locate and learn about Palestinian localities destroyed during, and as a result of, the Nakba since 1948.
The application provides coordinates and maps of Palestinian localities that were completely ruined, destroyed, obliterated after their capture, partially demolished, or remained standing but were depopulated and their residents expelled. The app also provides historical information and includes video clips and photographs of these localities. The app is interactive; it allows users to add pictures of the destroyed localities, as well as share their comments and follow updates about selected localities.