As the 70th anniversary of Nakba approaches – when 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes in the wake of the creation of Israel – farming families on the West Bank recount their struggle to survive
In the middle part of the last century the inhabitants of the village of Al Walaja, not far from Jerusalem, considered themselves very lucky.
Fertile hills, terraced for growing vegetables and fruit, led down to a valley where an Ottoman-era railway line connected Jerusalem with the Mediterranean port of Jaffa. Close to a station, Al Walaja’s farmers always had buyers for their lentils, peppers, and cucumbers. Mohammed Salim, who estimates he is approaching 80 as he was born “sometime in the 40s”, remembers vast fields owned by Al Walaja families. “There was nothing else here.”