The Save Lifta Coalition was established in 2010 to save Lifta, a depopulated Palestinian village in Jerusalem, from a construction plan that threatens the village and aims to demolish it. We believe that preserving the village structures and cultivating its unique environmental fabric are crucial for the future of both Lifta and Jerusalem. Our goal is to increase public awareness amongst of the importance of saving Lifta and the values that it embodies.
Who are we?
The Save Lifta coalition consists dozens of activists of different backgrounds, including Palestinians and Israelis as well as the families that are originally from Lifta. We all contribute our time on a voluntary basis. We all understand the crucial importance of preserving Lifta and its heritage, and we work together to insure a better future for the beloved village.
Key highlights in the Save Lifta Coalition’s activities:
Plan 6036, a new urban plan for Lifta, has been approved. The urban plan calls for demolishing the existing houses, approving construction in “green areas,” which until then were set aside as nature reserves, adding new roads and more. Based on Plan 6036, Israel’s Land Administration issued a tender to build 212 housing and commercial units on Lifta’s lands. The Save Lifta Coalition filed a petition with the Jerusalem Administrative Court to stop the tender.
The court accepted the Save Lifta Coalition’s appeal and revoked the tender. The Israel Land Administration subsequently ordered the Israeli Antiquities Authority to launch a Conservation Survey and document Lifta’s archaeological and environmental assets as a precondition to reissuing the tender. However, the Administrative Court did not issue any instructions to change the original Plan (6036) for Lifta.
The Save Lifta Coalition was informed that another tender is about to be released. This tender markets future residential and commercial units to be built on Lifta’s lands, as well as several hotels. We learned that this tender would be issued despite the fact that the Antiquities Authority has yet to publish or even conclude its court-ordered Conservation Survey.
Furthermore, we were also notified that the Conservation Survey might avoid making any conclusions regarding Lifta. This is a grave matter, because without clear conclusions, there would be no basis for redrafting Plan 6036 based on its conclusions. A tender based on a conclusion-free Conservation Survey means that Lifta’s historical, architectural, and ecological importance might be set aside again.
The above developments require urgent action. We are using all of our resources to stop the new tender and the irreversible damage that it spells for Lifta.
The Save Lifta Coalition works to save Lifta on three levels:
Lifta’s Archeological and Built Heritage
The Save Lifta Coalition works to preserve and document Lifta’s archaeological and built heritage as a unique example of local Palestinian culture and heritage, which has nearly disappeared from our country’s landscape.
Lifta’s architectural heritage dates back to the Iron Age. Ancient structures include the village olive presses, caves, burial facilities, granaries, wells and more. In addition, Lifta is distinguished by its unique traditional buildings and the way its old terraces are integrated with the landscape. It also consists of residential buildings, public buildings, external ovens, road systems, squares, courtyards and irrigation canals.
Environment and nature
The Save Lifta Coalition works to raise public awareness of Lifta’s environmental importance. The village is located on a steep mountain slope, and the valley’s natural spring water constantly feeds a large pool of water there. The abundance of water has nourished an unusually large of variety of wild plants, fruit trees and animals. Lifta has also become an important ring of open space that surrounds Jerusalem’s western entrance and welcomes new arrivals with beautiful sites. The beauty of Lifta is a unique hallmark that fascinates Jerusalem’s visitors.
Human, Social and Cultural Documentation
Lifta’s history is extensive and rich. We consider documenting Lifta’s human stories as a powerful tool that could increase public awareness of the importance of the village and its people. The Save Lifta Coalition documents the village’s past, as well as the memories, names and inspirational stories of both its Palestinian refugees and the Jews who were settled in Lifta.