Approximately 650 evacuation and demolition suites are being held against citizens of Jaffa. The majority are Palestinian. City residents are demanding an end to the discrimination and theft, and a quick solution to the lack of housing.
Residents of Jaffa, in participation with a wide coalition of Arab and Jewish organizations marched the city streets on Saturday (2/4) in commemoration of the 35th Land Day.
Titled "Jaffa Endangered", the event took place after a long line of Land Day demonstrations, in Lod, Aaraba, and in al-Arakib- an unrecognized Beduin village that has been destroyed 21 times since July, and has become the symbol of the struggle against the theft of Palestinian Land. Land Day has long ceased to be a historic memory, and has again become an everyday reality of struggle against house demolitions and the continuing effort to expel the Arab residents and "swapping" them with Jews, in many mixed cities; Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, and Jerusalem. The demonstration organizers are calling to an end of the deliberate policies of theft and expulsion, implemented by the Israeli government; From the southern al-Arakib to Zefat in the north
The lack of housing keeps the Jaffa residents in fear. The Development Authority, Amidar, is handling approximately 500 evacuation and demolition suites in Jaffa. The majority of the suites are against Palestinian residents. Halamish, a municipal construction company, is handling over 300 evacuation cases in the Tel-Aviv area- over half are in Jaffa. The residents of Jaffa called on the Housing and Construction Office to uphold the agreement to build 400 housing units for he Arab residents of Jaffa, that was sealed in 1996.
Eilat Maoz, Coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace and a resident of Jaffa: "In the past, Land Day commemorated specific events of land confiscation, however, over the years the state's methods have evolved to the degree that land confiscation and house demolition is an everyday reality. As women in an organization that specializes in field work we work with many women in Lod, Ramle, al-Arakib and other places, who's families live in constant fear of expulsion and the daily experience of the apartheid policies of the Israeli government. Just as the institutionalized racism in South Africa, the Israeli institutionalized racism will also fall."
Sami Abu-Shehadde, Chairman of the Board of Darna- the Popular Committee in Jaffa: "Thelack of housing in Jaffa is only getting worse in the last few years. The policies of the Israel Land Administration, the Housing and Construction Office, and the Tel-Aviv-Jaffa Municipality are generally destructive for Jaffa and specifically to its Arab population. The reality of Jaffa is an economic transfer. The meaning of these words- demolition of homes and expulsions- in Jaffa is the destruction of the lives of thousands of local Arab citizens. The construction of a settlement in the heart of the Ajami neighborhood, in an area with a large majority of Arab residents, is a ticking time bomb. The settlers, who believe in separation between Jews and Arabs as a way of life, aren't capable of living in mixed cities without leading us all into disaster."
Participating organizations: Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights, Darna - The Popular Committee for Protection of the Right to Land and Housing in Jaffa, The Orthodox Association for Charity in Jaffa, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, The Islamic Council, Tarabut-Hitharbut, The Islamic Movement (southern section), The Islamic Movement (northern section), Solidarity Sheik Jerrah, Coalition of Women for Peace, Rabita - The Assosiation for Jaffa Arabs, Doctors for Human Rights, The Jaffa Youth Movement.