Wednesday, March 4

Miriam & her 6 kids have been evicted

The good news, another apartment has been found and the contract has been signed. It's a nice place, but the rent costs 3000 NIS a month. Miriam's over all income (inlcuding 1200 NIS rent subsidy) stands at about 3400 NIS.
That will leave her not enough money for food, electricity, water, the very basics. She has 6 children, all school kids except for the youngest 2 year old girl. She has no one to take care of her, so Miriam cannot easily go out to work.

We started gathering at about 7.45 this morning, the usual activists as well as a few new faces. The police contacted us a few times and we told them we are working on a solution, please give us more time. One deal almost came through, then failed. The police came by a few times as did the Halamish representative, at that time there were some 30 activists around and cars had been parked very close to the entrance making forceful entry problematic. They left.
The youngest kids played in the streets, the teenage girls kept mainly to themselves, nervous, scared, not knowing if they will have home in another few hours.
During the day we contacted the press as well as the mayor's office. The mayor has not come back until now.
Time passed by and the feeling was that that will probably do it tomorrow. Miriam had gone off to see another flat and the activists played with her young children. However, the activists were leaving quickly one after the other.
Around 17.30 the room suddenly filled up with police men and moving company people, who were pushed into action. We pointed out Miriam, the mother isn't in, only her minor children.
It didn't help. In the mean time Rasha, the lawyer left to assist Miriam in making a contract for her new flat. There is no way she can afford this flat, but she had no choice. It's this flat or the street, which means loosing her children her her children loosing their mum.
We called her and asked the police to wait at least until she's back, pointing out that she is right now signing a contract. The police refused point blank and instructed the moving company to start working.
We felt helpless.
We knew Miriam was getting another flat, although there is no way she can afford it. They could at least have given her some time to get ready. But nothing helped. The movers worked quickly but not at all carefully. We were unable to prevent nor to intervene.

Miriam's new flat is not hooked up to the electricity system as a previous inhabitant left debts.
Reconnecting costs a lot of money, which Miriam doesn't have.


James said...

Are you saying that she must pay the previous tenants electrical debt? Is it common place to require a new leaseholder to pay the debt of the previous tenant? Just in Jaffa? In other words: does it cost her more to ‘reconnect’, because the previous tenant left a debt, than it would if the previous tenant left debt-free?

yudit said...

It's very simple, you either pay a new connection registered in your name (which means "buying" a new clock which is rather expensive and the procedure takes a few days), or you pay the debt, otherwise you won't be hooked up.Of course the owner should take care of it, or you could fight the electricity company. But all of these take time during which you have no electricity.... so in many cases people simply select to pay. Unless you have a good relation with the neighbours, who give you a hookup, but Miriam didn't know them at all....
In rental flats the bill is often in the name of the owner. If a previous tenant left a debt the owner can condition the new contract and tell the new tenant it is her responsibility to take care of and there is nothing you can do about it, when you need a flat that badly..... it's called "free market" or "unprotected rent" and the owners can more or less do what they want, because there is a great shortage of affordable flats.

James said...

How is she doing in her new flat? Were any of her possessions damaged in the move? Have any non-Arab’s been evicted?

yudit said...

She's doing ok, although she doesn't know how to pay the next rent.
Yes, although most of her stuff wasn't new, some of it was damaged and a few things got lost. She doesn't have the money to replace them.
So far in Jaffa i know of one case of a Jewish family (out of almost 500).
I suppose there are more, but i haven't yet met them.