Last Wednesday judge Zafet of the Tel Aviv district court heard the case of 28 Jaffa residents (honesty demands to say that i'm one of them) against the Israel Land Administration and the Be'emuna company who won the tender for a piece of land right in the middle of Ajami. Originally Palestinian owned, declared "absentee property" and finally "publicly owned" and sold by the Israel Land Administration by tender to the highest bidder, the Be'emuna company. Until here everything has the appearance of "stinking but kosher" according to Israeli law. We were represented by lawyers Gil Gan Mor and Dan Yakir of the Israel Association for Civil Rights.
Until a few years ago, our market took place on the plot. The market was closed by the municipality for no reason (or so it appeared at the time) and no other plot was offered for the purpose of creating a new market, leaving us, the Jaffa population as well as many people from Bat Yam and Tel Aviv, as well as small farmers from the central area of the country, without a cheap fresh food market, a true necessity in an impoverished area such as Jaffa.
Yet the Be'emuna company is NOT just another building company out to make a good profit. They marketed the flats planned on to be constructed by them on the Ajami plot, to the members of one very specific group only: Zionist religious Jews. They put it bluntly on their website, but just to make sure, we also called them, interested in buying a cheap flat on their plot. Not very surprisingly, we were refused. Private companies can sell to whom they like, but NOT when the land was previously publicly owned, as in this case and according to the "Ka'aden" high court ruling.
The company's efforts are part of a well orchestrated and funded, much larger effort to expel the Palestinian population from the shared Palestinian and Jewish towns and cities in Israel. It appears that after the disengagement from Gaza some of the settlers and their colonially minded friends decided settling in the West Bank was no longer an ideological necessity for them. Instead they decided to address Israel's mixed cities with their racist ideology. The process is under its way in Accre, Lod, Ramle, Haifa, Nazareth Elite as well as in Jaffa. And there is nothing friendly or innocent about it.
We are talking about a concentrated effort to "replace" the original Palestinian residents with Jewish ones; Not to live together and share our cultures but to expel the Palestinians from their homes and "Judaize" the area.
During the previous sessions the judge had made remarks which led us to conclude that he is not as impartial as he should be. Therefore we asked him to dismiss himself, which he refused.
The verdict was sent to us yesterday afternoon: not surprisingly the judge decided in favor of the colonialist project.
We will have to appeal our case to the Supreme Court.