Sitting with Rage and Grief

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Sitting with rage and grief this morning. I couldn’t really sleep last night. I went to bed but it wasn’t restful.

Yesterday, we toured the village of a Lifta. All that’s really left of it is a number of buildings which look like this one. In 1947-48, the village was ethnically cleansed by Zionist invaders.

They attacked a coffee shop, killing half a dozen people and forcing residents living in the hills to move to the center of the village for safety. Some time later they would attack residents living in the center of the village by shooting into it. Among the earliest inhabitants killed, were women and children.

The Zionists cared only about emptying the village and would do whatever it took to accomplish this.

Eventually the assault escalated so intensely that the remaining village residents all fled. They locked up their homes and took their keys, thinking they would return eventually. The families with their keys were never permitted to return though, which is why keys are in part a symbol of the Palestinians’ internationally recognized right of return.

More than 3,000 people once inhabited Lifta. Today, it sits in ruins, its rightful owners are unable to return to it and new Israeli properties have gone up on its outskirts. The Israeli authorities in an attempt to drive out squatters some decades later blew massive holes in the homes’ ceilings, ruining the integrity of the Palestinian owned structures.

This story is no different than that of literally hundreds of other villages ethnically cleansed and decimated by Zionist invaders just 70 years ago. Lifta however is one of the few ethnically cleansed Palestinian village which has not been entirely demolished or re-inhabited. Still, less than 15% of it’s original structures remain today.

To add insult to injury, Zionist settlers picnic in the remnants of Lifta. No joke, it’s a 15 minute rocky road hike in and 15 minute rocky road hike out, but they come and play here. There were dozens of them, frolicking in the sun, swimming in the village’s small pool, and staring at the Muslims in our group as if to ask, “what are you doing here?” The children who play gleefully here may be too young to know that their community’s grandparents killed Palestinian children. I can’t help but wonder if they ask their parents why they play in what looks like a war zone and what fake news their parents tell them to quell their curiosity.

It’s one thing to hear about or even know of the ethnic cleansing Zionism facilitated and continues to support. It is another thing to see it first hand.