Book Review: 'Jewish Migrant Forces Conquest of West Jerusalem in 1948 and East Jerusalem in 1967' by Ibrahim Matar
The city of Jerusalem, the ancestral capital of the state of Palestine has been at the center of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for decades. Sacred to the world’s three great monotheistic religions, it is a city which has represented coexistence and is at the heart of the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation. The term “conquest” is a term often relegated to the pages of bygone history, however, for the Jerusalemite Palestinians, conquest is at the forefront of living memory.
In Ibrahim Matar’s book, Jewish Migrant Forces Conquest of West Jerusalem in 1948 and East Jerusalem in 1967, we are given a detailed account of the ethnic cleansing which was carried out against the Palestinian people of Jerusalem. Matar also makes clear that this conquest is fundamentally in violation of international law and statutes set out by the United Nations.
Matar, an economist and native of Jerusalem, has essentially compiled a comprehensive report of each and every Palestinian family, Muslim and Christian alike, whose homes and businesses were illegally seized by Zionist migrants. When we examine decades of coverage on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we often find it framed as a conflict between two equal and equivalent powers trapped in a centuries old religious conflict. That is why accounts such as Matar’s are essential to understanding the series of events which lead to forming the modern State of Israel. Whether Muslim or Christian, the Palestinian people are not at odds with Judaism but a system of Zionist occupation and oppression.
However, as Matar explains, the conquest of Jerusalem was carried out in phases. West Jerusalem in 1948 and East Jerusalem in 1967. From the seventh century until 1948, Jerusalem had been an Arab Palestinian city with a population consisting of Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike who lived in relative coexistence and harmony. The Zionist forced migration into Palestine disrupted the entire political and religious coexistence in the area. Violent seizures of land and property by armed Zionists forced the Palestinians to be dispossessed their rightful property and forced into displacement.
It is of vital importance for advocates of the Palestinian people to speak out and educate the world on the false equivalencies that have been perpetuated over the years. Palestine, and specifically the city of Jerusalem, was conquered and ethnically cleansed by a Zionist project. Today, many modern day Israelis are living in homes which were illegally acquired and seized under “the pretext of absentee property”. Palestinian owners where forced to leave their homes and businesses due to “confiscation for public purpose”.
Entire villages and neighborhoods in Jerusalem were ethnically cleansed of the indigenous Palestinians. This includes thousands of private residences, villas, stores, offices, and businesses. Matar has compiled a complete list of each family which was dispossessed by their properties throughout East and West Jerusalem and the outer villages.
The conquest of Jerusalem and the continued exile of the Jerusalemite Palestinians is a blatant violation of international law. We can only hope that the tireless work of advocates for the Palestinian people will bring about reparations and the right of return. We thank Ibrahim Matar for his research and contribution in documenting the extent of the international law violations and property theft which occurred in Jerusalem. Our hearts are with the dispossessed and we will continue to support the liberation of occupied Palestine.
Ibrahim Matar’s complete work is now available on Amazon