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What’s the Story? Yacoub Ahmad Odeh in Lifta

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Screenshot from the YouTube video, “What’s The Story? Yacoub Ahmad Odeh in Lifta”

Screenshot from the YouTube video What’s the Story? Yacoub Ahmad Odeh in Lifta


What’s the Story? Yacoub Ahmad Odeh in Lifta by Mondoweiss, produced and directed by Ghousoon Bisharat

What’s the Story? Yacoub Ahmad Odeh in Lifta (2022) tells the story of Yacoub Ahmad Odeh, whose family left Lifta seeking temporary safety from escalating attacks by Zionist gangs during the 1948 Nakba. Once a large and affluent village with nearly 3,000 Palestinians, Lifta now stands as an abandoned relic, suspended in history (see Resurrecting Lifta: A Microcosm of Palestine Pre-1948).

In December 1947, Zionist military groups attacked a café in Lifta, killing seven Palestinians and forcing many to flee, an event referred to as the Lifta massacre (see Remembering Lifta: One Family’s Experience of Repeated Displacements, Imprisonment, and Resilience).

Today, Yacoub lives in East Jerusalem, just kilometers from Lifta. He retains strong memories of growing up in Lifta, a place he refers to as his heaven, his qibla (the direction of prayer). He heads the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission.

Yacoub has been working with other Liftawis to mount legal and public challenges to Israeli Land Authority (ILA) Construction Plan 6036, announced in 2004 and vigorously promoted by the ILA and the Jerusalem Municipality, to turn Lifta into a Jewish neighborhood featuring 259 luxury villas, a commercial center, a 120-room hotel, and other service buildings and roads.1 The plan was approved in 2006 and the first tender for it was published in 2010.

The implementation of this plan would severely harm the entire geologic stability of the remains and the beauty of the environment, likely resulting in damage or destruction of the remains of the village that still stand.2 Yacoub dreams of returning to Lifta.

This video by Mondoweiss was produced and directed by Ghousoon Bisharat. The cinematographer and editor was Thomas Dallal.



Mohammad Hamayel, “An Appeal to Stop a Settlement Plan Targeting the Abandoned Village of Lifta,” Jerusalem24, August 5, 2021.


Hamayel, “An Appeal.” 

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