Rās Abu ‛Ammar – Jerusalem District
Nimir Muḥammad ‛Abdallah,
speaking from Deheishe refugee camp, 2011
I was a farmer before the war. I was born in 1927 on the outskirts of Rās Abu ‛Ammar, and in those days our family’s land extended all the way into the heart of the village. We used to water our sheep at the watering hole and spend our time near the mosque, where all the social life took place. The mosque was around seven square meters and overlooked the hamam, with water cascading down into a pool. The mosque had been built in front of a church that had been destroyed years before.
When the war came, I was one of the combatants. Our battle of resistance lasted for two days and I fought by the side of other villagers on what quickly became a moving front. After we lost the battle, the Jews came into the village and put explosives into the houses of our neighbors, the Al-Muhadas and al-Jihād families. Everything was destroyed.
On October 22, 1948, we fled, first to Bethlehem and then to Jordan, but eventually I came to Deheishe refugee camp, where I met my wife and settled down.
There were always pine trees in the village when we lived there but most of the forest was planted by the Jewish National Fund after we fled. They wanted to hide the fact that we had once been there, that people had lived for generations on that land. The village mosque was destroyed long ago. There is nothing for you to recognize as the village where we once lived.