Alt Text

Jerusalem’s Palestinians were not always concentrated in its east side as they are today. Before 1948, Palestinians built and developed the emerging New City, and they enjoyed a cosmopolitan urban life. Here we explore how the area that is today called West Jerusalem was violently and forcibly emptied of Arabs and reincarnated as exclusively Jewish from 1947 onward. 

 

The Story in Numbers

60,000

The estimated number of Palestinians who were expelled or fled from their homes in Jerusalem’s New City and its surrounding villages before and during the 1948 War [1]

13,000

The number of Palestinians from these areas who were expelled or fled throughout the rest of 1948—after the war ended [2]

200

The approximate number of Palestinians who remained in Jerusalem’s New City after the 1948 War, which is less than half a percent of the original Palestinian population there. [3] They were forcibly confined to a military “security zone” known as Zone A in the Lower Baq‘a neighborhood for two and a half years, living in destitution. [4]

40

The total number of villages and towns surrounding Jerusalem that were depopulated by Zionist forces during the 1948 War. [5] Of those, 55 percent were completely destroyed. [6] Villages nearer to Jerusalem such as Deir Yasin, ‘Ayn Karim, and al-Maliha were not destroyed. [7]

28,256

The estimated number of Palestinian Arab villagers who were forcibly depopulated from these 40 villages [8]

300,000

The number of dunums that were depopulated by the Zionist forces in Jerusalem and its western region during and after the 1948 War [9]

16,324

The total area of property (km sq) classified as abandoned Arab land in Jerusalem. This was out of a total area of 26,320 km sq and included approximately 280 km sq of rural land surrounding Jerusalem. [10]

84.12

Percentage of the area of 1947 municipal Jerusalem that was conquered and annexed by Israel to the state, becoming West Jerusalem [11]

246,342

The number of Palestinians from Jerusalem and its surrounding villages and towns who were exiled in 1948 and were still registered as refugees with UNRWA nearly 50 years later, in 1997 [12]

Notes

[1] Salim Tamari, “The City and Its Rural Hinterland,” in Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and Their Fate in the War, ed. Salim Tamari (Jerusalem and Bethlehem: Institute of Jerusalem Studies and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, 2002), 79.

[2] Tamari, “The City,” 79.

[3] Terry Rempel, “Dispossession and Restitution in 1948,” in Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and Their Fate in the War, ed. Salim Tamari (Jerusalem and Bethlehem: Institute of Palestine Studies and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, 2002), 218.

[4] Jacob J. Nammar, “Confined to Prison Zone A,” Born in Jerusalem, Born Palestinian: A Memoir (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press), 61–72.

[5] See Palestinian Villages Depopulated in 1948.

[6] Rempel, “Dispossession,” 217.

[7] Rempel, “Dispossession,” 217.

[8] See Palestinian Villages Depopulated in 1948.

[9] Dalia Habash and Terry Rempel, “Assessing Palestinian Property in West Jerusalem,” in Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and their Fate in the War, ed. Salim Tamari (Jerusalem and Bethlehem: Institute of Palestine Studies and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, 2002), 173.

[10] Habash and Rempel, “Assessing Palestinian Property,” 173.

[11] Ahmad Jadallah and Khalil Tufaakji, “Documenting Arab Properties in West Jerusalem,” in Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and Their Fate in the War, ed. Salim Tamari (Jerusalem and Bethlehem: Institute of Palestine Studies and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, 2002), 255.

[12] Tamari, “The City,” 80.

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