Sunday, August 30

Housing Demo in Kfar Shalem (Salameh)

Until 1948 Salameh was a fairly prosperous Palestinian village, close to Jaffa. Its original inhabitants and home owners were violently turned into refugees, to be replaced by mostly Yemenite immigrants. Soon after 1948 it was renamed "Kfar Shalem" and became a far away suburb of quickly developing Tel Aviv, to be engulfed by that city's new neighbourhoods after a few years. But the villge stayed the village. Lovely one and two storied houses on plots of land, encircled by fruit trees and chicken coops.
The unused mosque in its busy center. Small crooked streets. Muddy in winter and a dustbowl during the hot summer months,
Children were born, then grand children. Rooms were added, bathrooms fixed, new gardens planted. The village developed. Families shared laughter and sadness.
Suddenly the village became attractive, green, low-rise housing, romantic. And housing prices started to go up. The municipality realized there was money to be made, as did the Israel Land Administration, who had become the "owners" of the refugees' "absentee property in 1948 and rented it out to the Yemenites.
As in Jaffa, demolition and eviction procedures were started.
Some years ago, the original Yemenite inhabitants and their children were left very angry, yet almost defenceless, after one home owner was killed by the police after having barricaded himself on the rooftop of his home, in order to protest his eviction.
Two years ago several families were evicted from their homes which were then destroyed in order to make place for construction for the wealthy, just like in Jaffa. Political activities and a court case seemed to stop the process.
But now the evictions have been renewed. And a bond has been formed between the Jaffaites and the people from Kfar Shalem, Salameh, almost as in the old days. 
Like in Jaffa, people are tired of being treated like so much dirt. They are putting up a struggle and today's demo is only the opening shot in that struggle.
Several hundreds marched from the village to the nearby Moshe Dayan 4-lane highway, which they barricaded  in order to protest against the renewed evictions and demolitions. The police, for the time being, were surprisingly considerate. Or maybe i have become used too much to the Jaffa police's violent standards?

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1 comment:

postmaster said...

Neither this demo nor the evictions which triggered it have been reported in the English-language media. There has been no reporting on the evictions in Salameh since December 2007. Can we have more background on the story? For example, when did the evictions restart? There are others besides Yemenites in Salameh -- are the Iraqis, for example, being evicted? Also, what is the attitude of the Mizrahi residents to the Nakba? For example, Zochrot recently held a Nakba commemoration which visited the boys school at Salame. What was the attitude of the Kfar Shalem residents to this?