Rights Group Welcomes Victory for 1948 Village

The Civic Coalition for Defending Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem welcomed an Israeli court decision on Monday which ruled in favor of the last remaining Palestinian village from 1948, a statement said.

On Monday, an Israeli court upheld a petition to stop the sale of Lifta village land and property to private companies.

The petition was submitted over a year ago by lawyer Samir Irshad in the name of the people of Lifta who were expelled in 1948.

Israel’s land administration had planned to sell the land to private companies in order to build housing units. The petition urged that the public bid be canceled.

"Today was a victory for the refugees of Lifta village who successfully prevented the sale of their lands and homes," Irshad said in a statement on Monday.

"Lifta is a model of the nation’s history that should be preserved," he added.

The northwestern Jerusalem village was split by the 1949 armistice line, leaving one part in West Jerusalem and one part in East Jerusalem.

The residents of Lifta had fled their homes in fear following the 1948 massacre in the village of Deir Yassin by Jewish militia forces, and have not been allowed back since.

The Israeli government declared the village buildings absentee property once the act was passed in 1950.

Many of the landowners live as close as 500 meters from the village, but cannot exert any legal title over the land.

Following the 1948 war, over 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed by militias or resettled by Jewish immigrants. Their names were often changed to Hebrew and the villages rebuilt.

Lifta is the only Palestinian village whose property remains largely intact and which has not been repopulated since 1948.

(Ma’an News)

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