Yacoub Odeh stands in front of the tanur, the community stone oven, next to his old house and closes his eyes. “Our house was right here,” said the 71-year-old former resident of Lifta, pointing to a pile of stones that forms the outline of the foundation of a house. “As a little kid, I used to grab onto my mother’s skirts when she went to make bread at the tanur. I’d hide in her skirts, and then my favorite thing in the world was to eat the fresh bread right out of the oven, with a little zaatar and olive oil.”
Rabbis for Human Rights, Jafra and Zochrot, are leading monthly tours of the site to raise awareness about the possible loss of Lifta: the last Palestinian village left unchanged from before 1948.
A coalition of activists successfully petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to halt the tender in March. The petition, filed by former Lifta residents, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Jafra, a Palestinian heritage organization, calls for the courts to freeze the bidding process and for the ILA to require that an independent monitoring organization complete a survey of the area to determine what should be preserved and what can be developed.