Thomas Abowd

A Case of Stolen Heritage in a Colonized Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, as in other former Palestinian urban areas, the appropriation of Arab homes has been integral to Israeli desires to consolidate its rule in and over the entire city. A powerful component of efforts to reconstitute the city as the "eternal capital" of the Jewish People has been keeping Palestinians made refugees in 1948 eternally dislocated and exiled. Yet, though documentation of the forced removals of 1948 have become better known, little research has focused on the dynamics of loss and flight in Palestinian urban centers during the birth of the Israeli state.
Over the course of 1948, roughly 750,000 Palestinians were removed by force or fled in fear from their lands in. Nearly 70,000 of these exiles resided in Jerusalem and its environs. 30,000 were driven from urban neighborhoods within the former Jerusalem municipal boundaries while another 40,000 fled from the 39 villages of the Jerusalem area.1 Designs of the zionist leadership to "cleanse" the land of its non-Jewish population became demographic realities. Refugees who fled the Jerusalem region and elsewhere have been prevented from returning and remain exiles fiftytwo years on.