The Houses beyond the Hyphen project was held in Yaffa on May 14-16, 2015, to mark the 67 anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. More than 400 people arrived in Yaffa during that weekend to take part in the symposium and three tours and watch the three exhibitions organized especially for the project.
The exhibitions – Anisa Ashkar’s Hands Weaving Fire, Manar Zoabi’s Elevator Speech, and Muhammad Qais’s Transgression – were held in three private homes occupied by Palestinians until 1948, and now owned by Israeli Jews. The exhibitions challenged the state’s signifying practices, which have legitimized housing its Jewish inhabitants in Palestinian homes legally defined in 1948 as “abandoned”. During that fleeting moment of presence in the work’s specific display venue, the exhibitions thus enabled the viewers to imagine the potential destroyed and at the same time transgress the consensual acceptance of the current political situation as an immutable fact.
The symposium on the exhibitions was held in a building on Yefet (Al-Hilwe) St. currently rented by Al-Rabita League for the Arabs of Jaffa, and included the presentation of diverse projects that have undertaken complex moves with reference to Palestinian urban history. The participants included Dorit Naaman, Sami Abu-Shehade, Karmit Batzir and Raz Rozkin, Gil Mualem Doron, and Muhammad Jabali. The discussion was accompanied by a screening of Jumana Manna’s film A Sketch of Manners – Alfred Roch’s Last Masquerade.
Click here to watch the symposium on Zochrot’s YouTube channel.
The weekend events also included the Miriam Shickler’s vocal tour Echoing Yaffa that tells the story of Manshiye Neighborhood’s Palestinian inhabitants and reconstructs the lives destroyed and irrevocably transformed during the events of 1947-48 and present-day processes of uprooting and dispossession of Yaff’as Palestinian community. They also featured Ami Asher’s tour Empty Facade – On Erasure and Reconstruction, included in Once upon a Land – an alternative tour guide published by Zochrot and Pardes which offers 18 tours in Palestinian neighborhoods and villages depopulated during the Nakba and mostly destroyed by Israel. About 80 people participated in the tour.
On Saturday, May 16, 2005, the Ship of Return anchored in Yaffa Harbor, and 80 Palestinians and Jews disembarked. An hour beforehand, it had sailed as part of Zochrot’s activities to mark the 67th anniversary of the Nakba and promote the right of return of Palestinian refugees. On board, Mr. Sha’ban Balaha described the expulsion of Palestinians from Yaffa in 1948, and how he managed to return to his home after two years.
After this symbolic return to Yaffa, we toured Ajami Neighborhood. We walked through its streets and alleys, relating its history before and since 1948, with particular reference to the way it was turned after the war into a ghetto where 3600 Nakba survivors from Yaffa and the area were concentrated. We marked houses of Palestinian refugees whose owners had lived here until 1948: the State of Israel prevented them from returning, confiscated their property and sold or leased it to others. We also discussed the gentrification-Judaization process currently underway the neighborhood. The event was attended by activists, families and Palestinian, Jewish and international journalists, as well as Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi.
Jaffa’s Palestinian heritage celebrated in Nakba Day open houses - By Sarah Irving | The Electronic Intifada
Palestinians return to 'Bride of the Sea' - By Rich Wiles | Al Jazeera
'Jaffa flotilla' marks destruction of Palestine's cultural capital - By Social TV | +972
Lifelong refugees: Palestinian boat people search for a new home - By Samah Salaime | +972
A special flotilla to commemorate the Nakba in Jaffa - By Uri Shapira | i24
Israel continues to criminalise marking Nakba Day - By Patrick Strickland | Al Jazeera
Palestinians remain rooted in the land - By Rich Wiles | Al Jazeera
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