Wednesday, January 30

Stormy weather

A strange noise and then a very loud bang. Some screams. My neighbours' roof just blew off.
The wind is crazy out there.
Just got home from a meeting, barely able to walk against the direction of the wind. My umbrella joined its many twisted sisters in a garbage can, to be immediately blown out of it.
Not much rain most of the time, but the fierce blasts of wind coming from changing directions play havoc with sub boilers, antennas, and yes, roofs.

Perhaps that better to listen to then the news broadcast on the Winograd commission...

Jaffa, winter 2008

Sedaka Reut Update

Just heard the news: the Sedaka Reut cultural center, located in the bomb shelter in "Gan HaShnaym in Yefet Street will stay open at least until January 2009!!!

During this time, they can apply for another space.

It;s always nice to win a fight :)

Friday, January 25

And yet another shooting incident in Jaffa

Around 17.00 this afternoon shots were fired from a passing motorcycle into a passing car in Chihatly street into a red Mitsubishi car. Not one quiet day. The police are investigating.

There have been more shooting incidents this week in Jaffa. Does it ever stop? A stupid question apparently with a known answer. No it won't. Until something changes. How? Now that IS a good question.

"System Ali " fighting for their Culture Space Shelter

A bomb shelter, turned cultural center for kids in Jaffa, packed with over a hundred activists of many ages and varied backgrounds. Many people are waiting outside; inside it's standing space only, sardine style, but who cares. The music is great, the sound somewhat less so, it's hot and the atmosphere has turned from angry into hopeful.
Hip hop music in Arabic, Russian and Hebrew, and a young Palestinian girl, an 18 year old Palestinian poet who writes mostly in Hebrew, a Russian kid: all performing under the name "System Ali", playing their own music or that of others (e.g. Yehuda Poliker's song about Jaffa) with their very own twist, giving the song a meaning Poliker probably never intended.

The shelter is located in "Gan HaShnaym", Yefet's little public garden, named for "the Two"; some years ago a terrorist attacked a group of school kids on their way to an activity. A local Palestinian man heard the kids' screams from his work, ran outside and tried to protect the kids. He was killed in doing so. He saved many of the kids, but his help came too late for one young girl. Both she and him were killed, therefore the public garden was named for both: the "Garden of the Two".

Public bomb shelters are kept in good shape, they may be necessary in some near future after all, yet at the same time, many are handed out, in days of relative calm and peace, to artists, social groups etc. by the municipality
The Jaffa-based Arab Jewish youth movement "Sedaka-Reut" turned 'their shelter" which they have rented for over three years, into a cultural centre for Jaffa's young, who come there to make music, theatre, photography, art, graffiti and more.

But if the municipality gets their wish, not for much longer. They have decided to kick out the children: over 150 kids who come to the centre every week to make art together, to talk, to enjoy life. Children from some of Jaffa's less advantageous areas, whose families do not have the means to send them to the art groups and workshops at the very expensive community centre, will be left with no where to go.

Simple. Why?
The truth is, it probably has a lot to do with the fact the municipality does not like the involvement of some of Sedaka Reut's people's involvement in the fight against the home demolitions and evictions.
Ron Hulday never was very subtle.

Last saturday the municipality advertised in Ha'aretz that artists may apply to receive a bomb shelter for studio use. Sp system Ali and Sedaka Reut are kicked out for what?

Thursday, January 24

The Ethnic Cleansing of Jaffa

Oreib's stepson, Nabil, his wife Hayat and their 2 young children were forcefully kicked out from what used to be the family's home at 4 HaEtrog Street in Jaffa.

Their story can be told in dry words or in tearful detail, but little can be done about it now.

What is amazing , is the ease of carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Jaffa, bit by bit, home by home.

Tough words. Yes, indeed.
But all too true.

Earlier this week, Sunday morning, the Tel Aviv peace court. Attending are the judge, Avi Shalev, SH's lawyer and a lawyer representing Amidar, the public housing company, called Amihay. SH is threatened with eviction from his Jaffa home at Yefet street.

After the official part was finished and all of us were gathering our things, about to leave the court, the judge turned -informally- to lawyer Amihay and asked him why Amidar are undertaking all these evictions. After all it is a lot of legal work which costs much money. As most of the evicted people are very poor, after the eviction, that same company Amidar(or the one of the other public huosing companies) will have to provide them with alternative housing or rent subsidy, so what is the point? Moving people from one home into another at great cost, why?

Amihay's answer exposed the ugly truth: "well, we (Amidar) sell the Jaffa home for a lot of money, and with that money we can buy 3-4 flats in Lod, so we can move "them" to Lod."

Right, get rid of Jaffa's poor Palestinian population, said loud and clear.
Wrong, violent racism, (ab)using the law. that's what it is.

Wednesday, January 9

Etrog Home Eviction Update

Oreib was forcefully evicted from her home on HaEtrog Street last Thursday. Her husband's son, his wife and their two children were able, so far, to stay in the home as the eviction order didn't mention them.

Oreib moved into a tiny flat lacking hot water, with broken windows. The flat is opposite a methadone hand-out centre for drug-addicts, who hang around in entrance and the staircase leading to her flat. As a result, Oreib is scared going out. She's a widow. living alone. When she needs to leave the house or return to it, she calls one of her late husband's children (she was his second wife, they didn't have any children) to come and be with her as she's scared being by herself in the staircase .

However, her stepson Nabil, his wife Haya and their 2 children are still living in the house, as their names didn't appear on the eviction order. The legal fight for them continues.

Two people killed in traffic accidents on Jaffa's Jerusalem Boulevard

Six-year old Eitan Sinay got with his mother off the bus on Jerusalem Boulevard and slipped, falling underneath the bus. The bus driver didn't notice, closed the doors and started driving, mortally wounding Eitan, who died a short while after.

Ali Azazme, a Jaffa resident in his early fifties, was hit by a bread delivery truck during the early morning hours. in the same street. He died immediately.

Yesterday, Jaffa, winter 2008

During the year 2007 several people were killed in traffic accidents along Jerusalem boulevard, one of Jaffa's main streets. Many, but not all, were pedestrians.

Thursday, January 3

People needed NOW in HaEtrog Street in Ajami

Oreib is about to be kicked out of her home, right now

Those of you willing to help, please go to 4 HaEtrog Street NOW, thursday afternoon, to prevent yet another eviction in Jaffa.

Another home about to be lost in Jaffa

Ajami, 4 HaEtrog Street, Oreib's home, for more than 20 years.
She moved into the home after she married her husband. He died some years ago, and as a widow, she stayed on in her home of over 20 years.
They didn't have children, but her husband had kids from his first marriage.

One of the sons, his wife and young kids moved in with Oreib, altogether 5 people lived in the 5 room apartment, which is in a bad condition, due to a lack of maintenance work by Halamish, the public housing company who officially manage the property.

Originally the family owned another home in Ajami, which they were forced to leave after that home had been declared "dangerous". Halamish, the public housing company, decided the 5 room apartment, in which Oreib resides legally, is too large for a widow, and want her to move into a tiny 1 room apartment on Jerusalem Boulevard.

But Oreib isn't alone, besides, the house is her hme, in ajami, where all other children live as well. Her flat isa family home.

But Halamish don't care about all that. They can make a lot of money on Oreib's flat. After all, ajami is turning into a fancy neighborhood.

Who cares if 5 souls loose their home?