Monday, March 12

456 People from Jaffa about to become homeless

Last Thursday, Bashara Saba, from HaLimon street in Ajami, had two uncalled visitors, representatives from the Tel Aviv municipality, who came to inform him he has to leave his home immediately, as next Sunday (yesterday, that is) his small 1.5 room home is to be demolished.

Bashara has lived in the tiny house since he was a little boy of 5 years old. It was build by his parents. In the house he lives with his wife, Esther, and their 3 young children, aged 8, 4 and 1 year old. Bashara and his wife receive social security payments, his wife because she lost her job a while ago, Bashara because he has serious health problems.
Bashara's life hasn't always been easy, but he lived in his own home, with his small family. A smimple life, like many others of Jaffa's poor. Close to the sea, a small garden, his lovely children. Life wasn't easy, but Bashara was pleased. Until Thursday, tat is.

In shock, he went to the municipality, floor 4, the man with whom he spoke , "a big boss", so he said, refused to identify himself.
He basically told Bashara the following: "If your children will not be out of the house on sunday morning, we'll destroy the house with them inside."
The man refused to identify himself and Bashara was too much in shock.

Bashara's contacted Gabi Abed of AlRabita and Fadi of Reut Sedaka (An Arab Jewish youth movement activew in Jaffa) who are trying to help him.
A lawyer provided by the organizations, managed to stall the demolition for 14 days.
Some hours ago, a meeting took place at the small home. A meeting to plan further action.

Many other families have received similar orders as well. About 456 people, adults, children, elderly most of them very poor, have received similar orders.
Ajami is going through a quick process of gentrification, house developers try to put their greedy fingers on every piece of land. And if that implies making a poor family homeless, they really don't care.
The municipality wants the poor to leave Jaffa, and guess who are Jaffa's poor?
Most of them are Palestinians (or "Israeli Arabs" as the Israeli word laundry likes to call them).

Housing problems have plagued Jaffa's poor for many years,. since 1948. For lack of any better alternative, many people constructed "illegal" housing. The same was done by Bashara's parents, who OWNED the land the house was built on and constructed the house
over 40 years ago. They paid a fine for illegal construction and have lived in the house ever since, until it became Bashara's.
There are acceptable solutions to the housing shortage: e.g. a developer buys the building rights from Bashara, then constructs four or five flats on the same land, and gives one nice apartment to Bashara. During the construction period, the builder provides Bashara with alternative reasonable housing.
In some cases this is what happens, and all people gain.
Yet Bashara wasn't so lucky. When a greedy developer sees a weakened man, he takes his chance and it appears Bashara, his wife and their small children may be the ones paying it.
Is there social justice for Jaffa's poor?


ee said...

"If your children will not be out of the house on sunday morning, we'll destroy the house with them inside."

Merde! What a thug!

J.P. said...

If his parents paid a fine for illegal construction the house from this moment on is no longer unknown.
Too you should allways take somebody with you when visiting these places, and finally I think the person who told him his children have to be out of the house ..................
to be the wrong person at the wrong job.