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Issue . 69
P. 16
Diaries & Biographies
A Passage from a Diary of Echoes

Jerusalem and Bethlehem are sister cities that have historically shared close-knit social, economic and cultural ties. In 1948, when Zionist forces ethnically cleansed the western quarters of Jerusalem and its hinterland from their Palestinian Arab population, this had concrete consequences for Bethlehemites who owned property in areas that became known as West Jerusalem. Their assets entered a registry of Palestinian belongings expropriated by the State of Israel. This essay addresses an overlooked aspect of the Palestinian experience of al-Nakba, by exploring the affective dimensions of dispossession and rupture through the history of one confiscated building. With no physical remains of it today, the author uses original oral history material to reconstruct the life of this structure, in words and images. In the process, a critical space for reflection opens, offering a rare insight on the mindset of Bethlehemite merchants who ventured to Latin America in the early 20th century.