by Becky Johnson
November 11, 2009
Santa Cruz, Ca. -- A friend of mine passed on an article by Ellen Cantarow. "Heroism in a Vanishing Landscape" published on the notorious, anti-Israel website, Counterpunch.org on November 10, 2009. In the article, Cantarow blasts all parties (except the Palestinian families themselves) and gives a unique history of the eviction of two families from the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah. One that is highly selective, and which discounts the actual court decisions made regarding the disposition of the property according to law.
You can read Cantarow's article with my imbedded comments here.
BELOW IS AN EXCERPT:
ELLEN CANTAROW: In 1948 Ghawe’s grandparents fled from Ein Sfarand near Lydda. Ein Sfarand was bulldozed into the ground along with over 450 other Arab villages.
BECKY: Actually, Israel set up a commission, The Guardian of Absentee Assets, which dealt with all abandoned properties. They distinguished between public land, privately-owned land, and re-repatriated many Arabs with their property when they returned and petitioned the commission. Lands belonging to Palestinian Arab villagers in the areas taken over by Israel in 1967 generally remain in Palestinian Arab hands. To determine that these lands do not belong to anyone, the state checks the land registries, aerial photographs showing the lands to be uncultivated and then when convinced that these lands have no ownership, advertises in Arabic in the Arab newspapers that the state has declared these lands as its own and anyone having any kind of legal deed to contest this is invited to do so. If any Arab is able to produce a land deed proving the land is theirs, then the state leaves the land to the Arab. If there are still any doubts, then the issue is taken to court". But Cantarow wants readers to believe that all Arab land was confiscated and bulldozed.
ELLEN CANTAROW: Pretty national parks and kibbutzim erased any trace of the traditional Arab architecture, agriculture and the rest of life which once characterized Palestine. Hebrew names – Lod, for example, for Lydda - replaced the Arabic ones. The Ghawes fled to East Jerusalem where UNWRA (The United Nations Works Relief Agency) housed them as refugees. In 1956 they returned their refugee cards and rented a house from a local Palestinian builder.