Petition to UNESCO
Protect the Endangered World Cultural Heritage Site of Lifta
The cultural and natural heritage of Lifta is at immediate risk of being altered. The village, forcefully depopulated in 1948, risks losing its architectural, civil, historical, natural, and cultural characters. This is due to the Israeli plans which aim at demolishing the village in order to build 259 luxury villas on its ruins, as well as a commercial and service center for elite businessmen.
The altering process will require the demolition and excavation of the area’s base layer, the complete transformation of its stone houses with their outstanding domes, distinct arches, carvings, and calligraphic inscriptions. The paths and agricultural terraces of Lifta are in danger of being greatly affected by the alteration process as well. In addition, the water system in the village is threatened by this plan, as Lifta is home for one of the biggest and most important natural springs in Jerusalem. Lifta’s ecosystem exhibits fascinating biological phenomena and hosts multiple rare plants and animals. Thus, such demolition process will erase the ancient village of Lifta with its host of features as a still-standing model of Palestinian architectural civilization.
We, the people of the town and supporters of natural, cultural, and archaeological heritage sites, are very concerned about the developing situation that is threatening this rare archaeological place of heritage, culture and memory. We heavily consider the benefit of present generations, as well as future generations who will identify with the characters of this village.
This is amplified since the measures to erase the features of the site and its memory have been ongoing for years. Those measures will be fully realized if the village is completely altered through the implementation of Plan No. 6036, validated by the Israeli Government. According to which, the Israel Land Authority intends to sell the rest of Lifta’s lands and homes to contractors and developers to demolish the village’s landmarks within the next two months. This is despite the fact that it is a nature reserve accredited with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, a world cultural heritage site registered on UNESCO Tentative List since 2015, and is among 25 sites in the world classified to be endangered according to the World Monuments Fund.
Thus, we sign this petition to UNESCO, to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Outstanding Universal Value, and to the World Monuments Fund, urging them to take the necessary measures to protect and preserve the town by: (1) Canceling any attempt to market and sell Lifta’s homes and lands, (2) Canceling the 6036 scheme and the auction of selling town houses to developers, (3) Strengthening the town's buildings that are in danger of collapsing as a result of the continued neglect of this village, and as per the recommendation of the Israel Archaeological Survey issued in May 2021.
Help protect Lifta!
Here, you can join the international community, the people of the Lifta and supporters of natural, cultural, and archaeological heritage sites, to cancel Masterplan No. 6036, which threatens the roots of an archaeological and natural site that reflects human values and civilizations that inhabited the town since the Bronze Age. You can also demand the strengthening of the structural integrity of the homes which remain under the threat of collapse due to neglect.
Lifta The Last Witness campaign is a popular, voluntary youth initiative launched by Lifta youth in Palestine, the goals of the campaign are; spread awareness about plan No. 6036, which aims at demolishing the village to build 259 luxury villas on its ruins, as well as commercial and service centers for the elite class of wealthy businessmen. This altering process requires demolishing and excavating the root of the town and changing its features. And sign a petition to UNESCO, to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World and Natural Heritage, and to the World Monuments Fund, urging them to take the necessary measures to protect and preserve the town as it is considered part of human civilization.
The data will be used and shared in ways that protect the privacy of the participating individuals, it will only be used or shared with the parties to which the petition is submitted and will not be used for other purposes. The personal data will be stored securely to ensure that it is used only for the purposes of this campaign.