An appeal to stop a settlement plan targeting the abandoned village of Lifta

Jerusalem24 – Palestinian attorney Sami Irsheid submitted an appeal to the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem against the Israel Lands Administration to cancel a scheme on the lands of the abandoned village of Lifta.

Lawyer Irsheid submitted the appeal against Plan 6036 in his capacity as an agent for the people of Lifta, who have been displaced since 1948, represented by the Lifta Sons Association of Jerusalem, the Committee for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of the Displaced Town of Lifta, and the Coalition for Jerusalem.

The Authority for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of the abandoned town of Lifta said, “the scheme aims to build 259 luxury villas, a commercial center, a 120-room hotel, and other service buildings and roads.”

The authority added, “the plan did not take into consideration the historical rights of the displaced Palestinians of the village of Lifta in their lands and homes, their memory and history, which is threatened with erasure and removal from the face of the earth, and the erasure and removal of the landmarks of the village and the holy places in Lifta.”

They referred in this regard to “the village mosque, which dates back to more than 800 years, the shrines and cemetery that contain the remains of fathers and grandfathers hundreds of years ago, olive and grape presses, terraces – buildings, the wonderful natural scenery and the remains of historical chains of agricultural terraces similar to the Babylonian hanging gardens in Baghdad. The scheme is rich in ecological biodiversity, animal and plant, which is mostly protected, and much of it is scarce.

The authority also said, “the vibrations and strikes of drilling and bulldozing mechanisms to erect retaining walls and building bases and build roads will threaten water sources, in addition to the danger of threatening archaeological and historical buildings above and below the ground with destruction and fall, and this will have various destructive effects on the historical and natural aesthetic value and the vital environment of Lifta village.”

“This confirms the objections of experts, archaeological and environmental engineers, and city planners to the 6036 plan of the Israel Land Administration in Lifta.”

The authority also pointed out that the ILA scheme is both old and new, and the Central Court had previously ruled that his tender for the sale of Lifta lands was null and void, following the many objections to it from the residents of Jerusalem in February 2012. Today, the ILA is coming back again with its plan that contradicts the results of the archaeological survey of the Antiquities Authority between 2014 and 2017, which revealed that Lifta consists of 10 historical archaeological levels containing residential houses and other buildings in its interior, a building believed to be the first original building, a roofed market, and six Contemporaries of olives and wine, and agricultural tools dating back to the Roman, Byzantine, Crusader and Ottoman eras, and that Lifta was the industrial town of the villages around it, and that it is an archaeological site that must remain archaeological, and deal with it as one unit.

The people of Lifta in general, who live in Jerusalem, tens of meters from their homes and land, submitted the appeal, because the plan of the Israel Lands Administration contradicted the results and conclusions of the archaeological survey and made the danger of destroying the historical and cultural heritage of humanity in Lifta a fait accompli.

UNESCO registered a remarkable number of years in the preliminary register of dangerous cultural reserves, and the World Heritage Fund WMF in New York previously registered Lifta village in the list of the 25 most endangered heritage sites in the world.

The Authority for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of the abandoned town of Lifta said, “Lifta has also been an archaeological reserve and a nature reserve for more than six decades under the Antiquities Authority Law, the Law of the World Organization of UNESCO, laws, agreements, charters and international legitimacy.”

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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