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Palestinian returns to family home lost to Israel

Reuters Videos
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1 個月前

STORY: This is the house Huda al-Imam's father Fareed lost to Israel in 1948, in what Palestinians call the Nakba or Catastrophe.

The Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Bakaa is full of old houses that once belonged to Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the 1948 war and the foundation of the modern state of Israel.

Her own family fled to live in the old city of Jerusalem. But Imam still comes back.

"Every time I come here I feel my heart pounding, because I remember the heartbreak that my father felt when he brought us here after the 1967 war to show us his house, which he built for his mother and spent so much on."

Imam, who founded the Jerusalem Studies center at Al-Quds University, tried to mount a legal challenge to regain the family's properties in Jerusalem, which also include her grandparents' house.

But she was blocked by an Israeli law that defined the family, like many others, as "absentees" and allowed Israel to take possession.

Imam kept returning to the house, and when it came up for sale, she took some of its ornate floor tiles to install them in her home in another neighborhood. Later, she encountered the Israeli man who'd bought the place.

"He said: 'Aaahh, you must be the daughter of the ex-owner.’ I told him: ‘He is not an ex-owner, he is my father and we are still owning this house, what the hell are you doing here?’ He said: ‘As you can see, we are restoring the house, and by the way they told me you are coming to steal tiles.’ I told him: ‘I'm stealing tiles? I'm repossessing, it's my right, my tiles are my father's heritage, I am repossessing them, I am not stealing them, you are stealing my father's house and the Israeli government stole my father's house.’"

Palestinians marched in the West Bank and Gaza on Sunday (May 15) on "Nakba" Day, when they mark their displacement.

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