Saturday, February 28

Homeless man found dead in Jaffa park - hypothermia

The body of an apparently homeless man was found in the "Groningen" park next to Jaffa's music center this afternoon. It appears the man, probably in his thirties, died from hypothermia.
The as yet unidentified body has been sent to the Abu Kabir criminal pathological lab for further investigation. It appears no direct violence had been involved.

But a society in which there is no space for its weaker members, is a violent society, violent to its weakest members. The right to a roof above your head is a basic human right, but not here. I'm upset.

Monday, February 23

Police brutality against a Jaffa teenager

Yesterday the police stopped a teenage boy close to his home in Jaffa's Karem Dalek neighbourhood and asked for his ID card.
The kid was just hanging around close to home and said he would pop over to his home and bring it, as it was not on him when they stopped him.
As an answer the police beat him up badly and left him wounded.

Saturday, February 21

Keeping the organizers under arrest

There were some 30 of us, standing at the entrance of the Jalame prison in the ice cold rain, shouting slogans for the release of all political prisoners.
Jalame is an old English (implying constructed during the British mandate) prison somewhere quite in the middle of nowhere in the north of the country. Rain, ice-cold winds at at some point a dramatic rainbow formed the drizzled backdrop for our demo.
The public: some 15 prison guards and some visitors on their way to visit their loved ones, also imprisoned inside. It's reportedly an ancient prison with very bad conditions, like many of the country's "establishments".
Since the onset of the the war on Gaza, several demonstrations have taken place against that war and against the continued blockade of the Gaza strip since the violence stopped.
Many of the organizers have been arrested and interrogated. Almost all of those arrested have been Palestinians. Samih Jabareen, a Jaffa based theatre student, is still under arrest on some cooked up charges of "participation in an illegal demonstration and attacking a policeman". Sandard charges faces by many of us at one time or another. Bullshit charges, made to threaten us and "keep us under control". Until now files have always been closed. The police knowing we are not criminals abnd they have nothing to go by, nor was a crime committed.
But Samih has been in prison for almost two weeks now. The prosecution want to keep him under arrest until the end of the procedures against him, which may take months. And that is new. From a legal point of view they have nothing to stand on. Yet for some reason the judge is going on with it.

This is a very new development. Until now that kind of "treatment" has been "reserved" for Palestinians from the occupied territories, no longer so.
The cooked up charges against Samih have all the looks of the fake trial Tali Fahima went through. It looks as if we are at the beginning of a more sinister era. Is the l;aw being abused to limit the right to protest and to criticize?
All Samih did was protesting, shouting, screaming in Um El Fahm (his town of birth) on election day. Democracy or farce?

Tuesday, February 17

Samih Jabareen still under arrest, demo on saturday

Samih Jabareen's arrest was prolonged yesterday.
Samih, a theatre student living in Jaffa, but originally from Um El Fahm, was arrested on February 10th during a demo in Um El Fahm, against the arrival of right wing extremists who, intent on provoking for the sake of winning another few votes for their cause came to Um Al Fahm.

Samih is outspoken, witty and sharp, charismait, if you like, able to inspire others.
I do not always agree with his views, but i very much respect his freedom to epxress what he believes in.
His arrest should worry us all.

A demo will be held outside the "Jalameh" prisn this saturday (February the 21st) at 12.00

The sea, the lovely sea

Huge waves crash onto the beach, strong winds and grey storm clouds above, drama.
Yet reality is slightly less pleasant. Since yesterday the Tel Aviv Jaffa municipal sewage company allows raw sewage to flow directly into the sea. Signs have been put up along the beaches to warn potential swimmers against it, "for the sake of their health".

The fish are reportedly very happy too.

Thursday, February 12 this what is it going to be like?

Quite obviously, even more right wing than before, the Israeli government to be.

There will be even less liberty, less democracy. And they probably will not care very much to even make it look like a democracy.

And a fair example is the arrest of Jaffa based activist Samih Jabareen. Originally from Um El Fahm, Samih is a clever, communicative and outspoken theatre student living in Jaffa.

He was arrested on election day in his home town after having demonstrated against the visit of ultra right wing politicians in his home town, which he felt was no more than a cheap trick to gain attention at the cost of the people from Um El Fahm.

He is still under arrest and will be kept imprisoned at least until this coming Monday when he will appear before a judge at the Hadera Court of Justice. Apparently they are accusing him of disturbing the peace and that kind of charges. Normally not something one is arrested for, at least not for more than 1 night.
The prosecution are demanding full arrest until the end of the procedures against him. There appears to be no sound legal reason for full arrest.
Yet home arrest was refused.
One wonders if this is a new stage in the rather quick erosion of what appeared to be a democratic society up to a degree. Is it against Samih personally or are they trying out just how far they can go in arresting those protesting, as "border check" as it were.

The main stream press are silent. And that is scary as well.

Is this the beginning of what awaits us all? So much for Israeli democracy.

Tuesday, February 10

Counting the votes

I've just come back from supervising the votes in a voting station in Ajami's "Yud Bet" Comprehensive High school) . If only all of the outcome would like that....

Monday, February 9

The police on my head

There is this police helicopter doing rounds above my flat with a strong projector.
Are they looking for the sock that the wind blew from the laundry drying thingy?
It's rather noisy and interferes with Bach's "Art of the Fugue" (Glenn Gould) i am listening to.

Sunday, February 8

Temporary victory for Itidal

The municipal court judge granted Itidal another month in her home in Karem Dalek (Jaffa) today.
During this month voluntary architects from "Bimkom" will try to make a few additional steps towards legalizing her home.
The municipal lawyer was against granting Itidal more time and really wanted to destroy the home of this poor one-parent family, but for now we are winning.
I really wonder about those municipality people. Have they no heart.
After all bureaucrats have their bureaucratic means to provide a solution. Were i working at the city building engineer's office, Itidal's file would have been buried deeply at the bottom of a very high stack of files. but then there are reasons why i am not a bureaucrat.

Images of Itidal's neighbourhood

Friday, February 6

Tiny victory for Itidal

The emergency judge postponed the planned demolition of Itidal's home until 14.00 o'clock this Sunday, so we can appeal the case in court (once again) early Sunday morning.
So, no demolition yet.
But those of you willing to assist: don't go to sleep, the real fight has not yet been won, keep in touch. We may need you on Monday.

Itidal's home: waiting for the court desicion

Lawyer Rasha Asaf of the Popular Committee Against Home Demolitions has appealed to the emergency judge to make a temporary ruling against the demolition of Itidal's home this coming sunday.
Although an appeal has been filed some days ago, to ask the judge responsible for the case, for more time, this judge selected not to make a decision.
As the demolition is planned for Sunday, making no decision is in fact, making a decision and telling the demolishers to go along and carry out their ugly job: destroying the home of a gravely ill mother and her two school age children, who have nowhere else to go.

Rasha is doing all she can to prevent the demolition of the home. We hope the emergency judge will make a favourable decision, which will at lest buy Itidal and her kids some time.
Yet, if necessary, we may have to barricade. Those of you in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, stay in touch.

The background story:
Karmeh Dalek is the site of an ancient orange grove in Jaffa, owned by the Dalek family. The ownership of the land is private today, although complicated as a result of all kinds of actions carried out by various entities to whom the different members of the Dalek family own money or do not own money. (imagine a plate of legal spaghetti). There is no actual municipal building plan for the area. The general idea is to demolish and rebuild, yet the municipality never bothered to carry out an actual city plan. As a result, it is impossible to obtain a building permit. The city's building department has no organised file for the various buildings on the site and their documentation is less than sparse. Over time, rooms have been added, porches closed off and who knows what else.
The place looks like a refugee camp consisting of hovels and temporary buildings added to older existing structures, but no one exactly knows when what was constructed. An no one includes the municipality. They cannot actually prove which building exists since when. the buildings have no actual addresses, nor home numbers. This burocratic disregard should actually buy Itidal some time, as it is unclear the demolition order really relates to her home. The technical details could well relate any other house in the area.
Why they selected her is not clear. Legally speaking the municipal case is weak, as they have little actual proof.
The people living in the Dalek grove are poor. They cannot buy or rent housing elsewhere. And as they "have housing", they are not eligible for public housing or rent assistance in quite a few cases.
So people added rooms, made doors or windows where there were none, added a roof here or there. By the city books these are "crimes".
By those same city books, terminally ill Itidal is a criminal, who "needs to be punished" for illegally providing a home to herself and her kids.

Yet the true criminal is the municipality, whose negligence and disregard for Jaffa's poor population has created a situation in which they CANNOT get building permits to build on their own land, because that very same municipality has not bothered to make a housing plan for the area, thereby creating a burocratic cycle from which escape is impossible.

Wednesday, February 4

Home demolition this coming sunday

Although we're still fighting it in court, this Sunday (February 8) they may try to demolish Itidal's home in the "Dalek" orange grove in Jaffa.

We'll need you all there, in order to save the home of Itidal and her two school-age children.
The one parent family has nowhere to go. Itidal is seriously ill (just back from the hospital) and has no help from anywhere.

Those of you living in the area, please stay tuned in and ready for action!