Easter celebrations in Iqrit: Affirming the right of return

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

This Easter, generations of Palestinian residents returned to their village of Iqrit in the northern Galilee.

The Israeli military forced the 600 Christian residents of Iqrit —citizens of the newly created state of Israel—out of their village in November 1948 because of heavy military operations in the area. They were told they would be allowed to return in two weeks time. The promised return never came.

In July 1951, Israel’s High Court ruled that the villagers of Iqrit had the right to return to their homes, but on Christmas Eve the Israeli military detonated the village, leaving only the church and graveyard intact. All land was confiscated by the state. Iqrit’s villagers and their descendants now live as internal refugees throughout the Galilee region.

Almost two years ago, a group of youth reclaimed the village. They have maintained a permit presence amongst the ruins ever since. Although the return has not been easy by any means – Israeli authorities destroy anything they build or plant – they now have running water, indoor plumbing, electricity and even a satellite dish. These determined young men and women are part of a small but growing direct action movement, attempting to reclaim destroyed and or depopulated Palestinian villages throughout the Galilee.

After a delayed Easter mass on Monday, Iqrit’s families, some of them three generations wide, enjoyed an afternoon of poetry, song, dance and feasting in the center of their village.

The villagers of Iqrit belong to Israel’s minority of approximately 1.4 million Palestinian citizens, about a quarter of whom now live as internal refugees in one of the 100 Palestinian communities that remained standing after the Nakba in 1948.

Over six decades since their expulsion, Iqrit’s villagers refuse to give up their right of return. Now, they’re taking matters into their own hands.

Photos and text by Dylan Collins

(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)
(Photo: Al-Akhbar-Dylan Collins)

Comments

This is beautiful..thank you for these photos.
...And can I confirm those are nettles they are preparing in the kitchen?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top