Chronology of Main Events
OCT 31, 1948
IDF Battalion 92 enters Iqrit with no resistance by locals
NOV 8, 1948
The IDF evacuates Iqrit’s inhabitants and transfers them to the village of Rame in Galilee. Fifty men, including the village priest, stay behind to guard the villagers’ property.
SEP 26, 1949
The Israeli Defense Minister declares Iqrit a “security area” in an attempt to prevent the villagers from returning without a special permit from the local Military Governor.
MAY 28, 1951
Iqrit villagers appeal to the High Court of Justice, which subsequently subpoenas the Defense Minister and Military Governor to explain why they are prevented from returning.
JUL 31, 1951
The court rules that “The evacuation of Iqrit’s inhabitants was an illegal act, because when the Emergency Regulations came into effect, they were still living in the village”, and states that there is no legal impediment preventing them from returning – HCJ Ruling 64/51
SEP 10, 1951
The Military Governor issues an ex post facto evacuation order, instructing the villagers to leave their homes (which they actually did on November 8, 1948), even though this order is based on a law that was not yet in effect at the time (but only in September 26, 1949).
SEP 23, 1951
The villagers appeal against the evacuation order to the Military Appeals Committee in Nazareth. The committee then holds a closed meeting without the presence of the villagers’ representatives, Adv. M. Hawari. The committee has not published the minutes of that meeting.
NOV 26, 1951
The villagers appeal to HCJ to require the state to comply with its first ruling. A second ruling – 238/51 – is granted accordingly
DEC 24, 1951
On Christmas Eve, the Israeli army demolishes the village. Prime Minister and Defense Minister David Ben Gurion denies the action. Later, on January 16, 1956, he is to claim that the IDF acted on its own initiative, without an order from him.
FEB 25, 1952
The villagers appeal to the HCJ against the Military Appeals Committee resolution of September 23, 1951. HJC rules for the third time in the matter of Iqrit – 239/51 – stating that the Defense Minister and Military Government have failed to comply with its first ruling. The court also criticized the villagers for not having exercised their legal right to return and for trusting promises by Israeli authorities, prior to receiving the “irrevocable” evacuation orders on September 10, 1951.
AUG 25, 1953
The Israeli Government expropriates the lands of Iqrit according to the Expropriation for the Public Interest Law, which allows it to take over any land that was not in possession of its owners on April 1, 1952, and used for or allocated to essential agricultural or military development.
SEP 20, 1970
The Ministry of Religious Affairs allows locals to bury the first deceased in the village cemetery.
JUN 1, 1972
After having repealed the Emergency Regulations, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan revokes all so-called “security areas”.
JUN 10, 1972
The villagers start renovating the church building and cemetery with special approval by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Immediately thereafter, they declare a sit-down strike at the village, which is to continue over a period of several years.
JUN 26, 1972
The people of Iqrit call upon Arabs and Jews to identify with their struggle. Together with the displaced villagers of Bir’im, they hold a massive demonstration in Jerusalem, calling on the government to comply with the HCJ rulings and let the villagers return.
JAN 1, 1973
One day after the revocation of the “security areas” goes into effect, the Defense Minister declares Iqrit as a security area subject to the emergency regulations preventing its inhabitants from returning.
JUL 29, 1977
Prime Minister M. Begin appoints his close associate Adv. S. Tamir to head a ministerial committee which recommends not letting the displaced villagers return, because their lands are used by Jewish settlements. It is later revealed that these recommendations were made while Mr. Tamir was abroad. since he supported the villagers’ right to return to their homes. Agriculture Minister and committee member Ariel Sharon took advantage of his absence to publish the recommendations in Mr. Tamir`s absence..
DEC 23, 1981
In its fourth ruling on Iqrit, 141/81, HCJ rejects the villagers’ appeal to revoke the Minister of Finance’s Land Expropriation Order and the Military Governor’s Area Restriction Order.
JUL 27, 1988
Socialist party Mapam submits a draft Iqrit and Bir’im Law in the Knesset, demanding that they be allowed to return “home”.
JUL 27, 1993
MP D. Zucker of the left-wing Meretz Party and head of the Knesset Legal Affairs Committee submits a draft law to enable the displaced villagers to return. Rabin’s government thwarts his initiative.
DEC 24, 1995
The ministerial committee headed by Rabin’s Justice Minister David Libay accepts the principle of return. It recommends letting one father and two sons of each family return and rebuild Iqrit over a total area of 600 dunams. Iqrit’s representatives submit their reservations.
OCT 24, 1997
Iqrit representatives appeal once again to HCJ in an attempt to expedite the implementation of the Libay Committee recommendations, together with their reservations.
MAR 26, 2003
HCJ makes its fifth ruling on Iqrit, 840/97, which rejects the appeal.