Occupy Jerusalem- In one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in West Jerusalem, and in a house whose owners were forcibly relocated during the Nakba in 1948, the new Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid will live with his family in the house of businessman Hanna Salameh, who sought refuge in the Lebanese capital during the war, and died there far from his home, which he built in a modern style in the 1930s.
“A new beginning,” Prime Minister Lehi Lapid’s wife attached the phrase to a photo of the house on Instagram, announcing the family’s move to the looted property in the Talbiya neighborhood at the Balfour junction and to live in Gaza Street.
In the book “Al-Talibiya Al-Qatamoun .. the Greek Quarter” by the Israeli architect and architect of the architectural heritage in Jerusalem, David Kroyanker stated that this house was built in 1932 for the businessman Hanna Salameh, who is an agent was for the American car company “General Motors” in Palestine and Jordan.
Contemporary style and quiet life
The house was designed according to the modern international style of that period, with a height of two and a half floors, in addition to a basement floor.
Key features of Salama’s style were the curves in the center of the front facade, the concrete canopies above some of the windows, the convex corners of the walls on either side of the main entrance, and the horizontal concrete beams on the upper deck porch.
The iron gate at the entrance to the house was engraved with the words “Villa Salameh” (Villa Salameh), whose owner’s life did not last longer than 15 years after he became a refugee overnight.This property of course.
There are many uses, but the truth is one
The use of this house was later multiplied. Over the years it was occupied by the US Marines, entrusted with the task of guarding and securing the US Consulate, thereafter it became the headquarters of the Guatemalan Embassy in Israel, and with the transfer of all embassies from Jerusalem to Tel. Aviv in 1980, the building returned to state use.
In 1989, the building was put up for sale, and it was bought by the then contractor, Zion Baruch, who built additional floors for the building and leased it to the state.
The house is located in a security square because it is close to the house of the Israeli Prime Minister, who wanted Lapid to move there immediately after the start of his term, but due to security issues and the renovations that will take place soon. , it was decided that he and his family would live in the looted “Hanna Salama” house.
In this step, Lapid violates a long-standing protocol followed by many of his predecessors who refused to live in houses built by Arabs and expelled from them during the 1948 war, including David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol, in considering that “it is inappropriate for the absentees’ estate to be the prime minister’s house.”
Al-Quds researcher and documentarian Tariq Al-Bakri, after exploring the depths of the journey of the late Hanna Salama, began his speech to Al-Jazeera Net by saying that he is “the leading and notable person who is the First Occupied minister in his house. “
In addition to his work as an agent for General Motors, Salameh was a Palestinian leader who headed the Arab Orthodox Club Union in Jerusalem, and was among the fighters and opponents of the rule of the Greek Church in Palestine, and boycotted the Greek Patriarch at the time.
During his research in the archive, Al-Bakri came up with several statements issued by Hanna when he held the position of president of the trade union, and in one of them he sent a message to his members saying: “Palestine is going today through a watershed stage in its bloody history, and that was only because of the unjust decision of the United Nations to divide the holy lands and the beloved homeland. “
And he added in the same statement: “It calls on all the youth of this country, Muslims, Christians and all Arabs of the sister countries to make efforts and funds to ward off this danger. Therefore, I hope that the respected members will do everything they can to do so in terms of money, experience and any possible assistance, by participating in charities or first aid teams. ” Or reconnaissance teams so that each of us contributes to the service of the country according to his capacity. ”
It is noteworthy that the Salama family owned at least 6 large properties in the Talbieh neighborhood, which according to al-Bakry most of its residents were Palestinian Christians because its land belonged to the Orthodox Church.
Construction flourished in the Talbieh neighborhood in the early 1920s when the inhabitants of the Holy City began to expand their construction outside the Old City. The end of the story of the other neighborhoods was no less painful than the end of the story of Hanna Salameh’s house, when the fourth Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, lived in the house of Hanna Bisharat, who was looted in the same neighborhood.