Virtual Returns to Jaffa


The city of Jaffa was the most important commercial and cultural center of Arab Palestine before the 1948 war. At the end of April of that year, the city was captured by the combined Jewish forces of the Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi. Except for several thousand people, its 70,000 inhabitants fled during the fighting or were expelled and were never allowed to return to their homes. The following pieces were selected from a series of electronic memoirs/reflections initiated by Salim Tamari in 1995 and exchanged by a group of twelve Jaffa exiles living across the globe. The correspondence was later taken over by two young academics living in Jaffa, Andre Mazawi and Haytham Sawalhi, and transformed into a Web page on the city of Jaffa (


Salim Tamari is director of IPS's Jerusalem affiliate, the Institute for Jerusalem Studies, and an associate professor of sociology at Birzeit University. Rema Hammami is an assistant professor of anthropology at Birzeit University and the coordinator of research at Birzeit's Women's study Center.