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Notes on the Geography of The West Bank: Battir: Photo 7

world pictures The West Bank: Battir

This is the entrance to the abandoned house of Hasan Mustafa, the leading figure of Battir during the critical decade of the 1950s, when the village had just been severed from Jerusalem. He is remembered as a giant of his time, a man disinterested in his own advancement but deeply caring for the people of his village. He was well placed to do so, because he worked with the United Nations. Through his efforts, the road to Bethlehem was built, a telephone was installed, and schools and clinics were built.

When this picture was taken, one of Hasan Mustafa's grandsons was held in a British prison, where he was serving a 20-year term for involvement in bombing Israel's embassy in London. It was a controversial case, still in the international press from time to time. Meanwhile, the house was empty, Hasan Mustafa was dead, and the son who inherited the house had become a journalist in Europe.

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