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Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


LIFTA CONFERENCE – at “de Balie” AMSTERDAM – May 14 2006

APJP members participated in this conference held by the “Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory” (FAST) is to raise as much awareness as possible, first to the Nakba (1948) and second to its continuation (2006).

The remains/ heritage of Lifta, a ruined Palestinian village are going to be destroyed soon, because of the implementation of a new Israeli masterplan on top of the village.

All the area will be transformed itself into yet another Jewish neighbourhood (with a biblical narrative), as we’ve already seen happening in other places around the country.

In order to freeze the masterplan and in order to show that the Nakba and the destruction of the Palestinian rich cultural heritage is still going on, we are organizing the event at the Balie.

Renovation projects can be as symbolic as the destruction that necessitates them.

Construction can be used to reinforce a violent sundering of the built environment and to weave the fabric of a former life back together. (Robert Bevan – The Destruction of Memory)

The FAST conference will form an inquiry into the ways renovation projects are being appropriated by official institutions in order to promote ideological and political agendas.

Some torn threads of antiquity include the destruction of Muslim history, and of religious monuments and buildings in Bosnia ; to the reconstruction of the Jewish past and memory in post-war Europe ; to the destruction and distortion of Palestinian past after the creation of the State of Israel.

A poignant example of this eradication of local memory is the village of Lifta , which lies just outside Jerusalem ; the community has been abandoned since the Israeli army drove out the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948. Today Lifta is more or less a ghost town. While the former villagers live mainly in East Jerusalem and Ramallah. Now, however, a renovation project aims to turn Lifta into an expensive and exclusive Jewish residential area – erasing its history in the process.

Is the transformation process of buildings and physical structures, from people living environments, into cultural symbol and national threats can be reversible?

During the conference the case of Lifta will be presented, analyzed and put into the perspective of other international planning and architecture projects.


Malkit Shoshan, an Israeli architect, the director of FAST, the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory .

Eitan Bronstein, The director of Zochrot, investigating the Israeli landscape in relation to the destruction of Palestinian villages.

Shmulik Groag, Architect and Planner-Msc student in LSE Dealing with Conservation and memory regarding the lost Palestinian built heritage in Israel .

Zvi Efrat, the dean of the architecture faculty at Bezalel academy, Jerusalem

Khaldun Bshara, Palestinian architect, representative of Riwak, a center for planning and renovation in Ramallah.

Jakoub Odeh, a refugee from Lifta

Ciraj Rassool, Trustee of the District 6 Museum, Cape Town

Moderator: Lucas Verweij, the dean of the academy for architecture and urban design in Rotterdam .


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