Tuesday, August 25

Another Jaffa family out in the streets

When R. and her 5 children came home this afternoon, they found all their furniture out in the street, much of it severely damaged and broken. The doorlock had been changed.
The house owner, well known and very wealthy Jaffa property tycoon Walid Aboulafia (of bakery fame), had abused R's absence from the hovel she had been renting from him for some three years, to evict her, illegally, without a court order.
R. asked the police to come, but the sinlge police man did not help her. "There was nothing he could", do he said. R. was under so much pressure by then, that she forgot to take his details.
In fact, it is Mr. Walid Aboulafia who broke the law by evicting her illegally, without a court order.

The flat R. rented was a 2 1/2 room affair in Jaffa's Al Ajami neighborhood. Damp, it's walls blackened by fungi. In the winter the rain entered through the cracked walls. The kitchen sink was not connected to the sewage, so R. used a bucket instead.
For over a year she and her kids had their daily shower at R's mother's tiny house, as the shower in R.'s house didn't function and the owner, rich Walid Aboulafia, refused to repair it.

R. who paid a very high rent relative to the ugly state of the house she lived in, stopped paying the rent. The owner cut off her water and electricity supply. It was easy for him to do so, because in the past, the flat had been larger and he subdevided it, one assumes without a permit. As a result R. shared the electricity and water bill with her neighbors, so it was very easy to punish her.

R. started looking for a new place, but the rents in Jaffa have gone up and all she has is her social security payments. Also many houseowners want all kinds of guarantees, which when you live on social security, you cannot easily get.

The beds were literally broken, as if they had been thrown from the second floor where she lived. Maybe they were.

Due to the Ramadan, Jaffa's streets are very quiet, so we have no witnesses to the method of furniture removal. The broken aquarium says it all, i will not ask questions about the fish. Volunteers from the Islamic movement helped R. to move her stuff (or rather that part worth salvaging) to Esther's house. Esther who's always there to help each and everyone. But the damage has been done. Five children out in the streets. Next week the schoolyear starts. I wonder how R.'s children will cope. We could not find their new schoolbooks in the mess.

Ramadan, Jaffa 2009

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