"Jaffa is not for sale": Palestinian-Israelis protest planned evictions
Using the slogan "Jaffa is not for sale", demonstrators have criticised plans by the state-owned Israeli housing company "Amidar" to sell off the buildings.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa council member Abd Abu Shehadeh told The New Arab's sister site Arab 48 that the plans aim to dismantle the social fabric of the Palestinian-Israeli community in Jaffa.
Most of Jaffa's Palestinian population were forced to flee the city during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, in an event referred to as the Nakba (catastrophe), but a community of approximately 15,000 Palestinians, who now hold Israeli citizenship, remains.
Many Palestinian institutions, schools, and places of worship remain in Al-Ajami. Abu Shehadeh accused Israeli authorities of trying to remove the area's remaining Palestinian inhabitants in order to erase its character.
"After targeting the social fabric and dispersing the Arabs, the Israeli authorities will work to remove the Arab presence, using arguments such as ‘who needs mosques and churches, as long as there are no Arabs next to them?’" he said.
"The struggle in Jaffa and Jerusalem is the same - it is to counter Israeli plans to uproot Jaffa and Jerusalem's identities," said Mohammed Baraka, a former member of the Israeli parliament and chairman of the High Follow Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.
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"Not far from this area, [Israeli] snipers stood in 1948 directing their fire at the Arab people of the city," Baraka said. He added that Israel had not stopped trying to evict Palestinian inhabitants of Jaffa from their city since the time of the Nakba.
"It is the plan of the government to uproot Jaffa from its identity and history. This coincides with what is happening in occupied Jerusalem, whose people are facing terrorist attacks by thousands of settlers,” Baraka said, referring to events in Jerusalem earlier this week, when far-right extremists marched through the city attacking and injuring scores of Palestinians.
Last Monday, three Palestinian men were detained for two days following similar protests on Sunday evening.
An upcoming vigil in Jaffa is scheduled for next Friday.