Monday, July 23, 2007

Uniting homeless in the "National Home"

GIVAT HAMATOS; not the 'New Jerusalem', but now developers want the land.

ISRAELI Jewish and Palestinian protestors against homelessness, social neglect and the depradations of property speculators are being urged to rally together in a demonstration tomorrow in Jerusalem.

A leaflet for this new alliance, translated and forwarded to us by the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, says:

We, the families of the victims of socio-economic terror at the "Shiber Pit" in Jerusalem invite you to participate in a giant demonstration

This Tuesday 24.7.07 at 19:00
We will march from "Davidka" square to the prime minister's house
The demonstration will be joined by victims of predatory developers from Ramle, Lud, Jaffa, Kfar Shalem, Haifa, Be'er Sheva, the unrecognized villages in the Negev and Jerusalem.

At least 53000 homeless families in Israel, we will not allow the government to continue to evict families from their homes without a solution to their housing needs, leaving them out on the street with young children. We will not allow the government to quietly privatize public housing.

Transportation to the demonstration From Tel Aviv:
meet at 17:00 at the central bus station on Levinky Street .
Please don't be late.

Come and support the demonstration !

The call comes after Negev Bedouin opposing home demolitions and clearance from their ancestral lands took their cause to Jerusalem, encamping outside the Knesset.

Israeli MPs have approved on first reading a bill which confirms the Jewish National Fund(JNF) policy that its lands should be leased to Jews only. Set up in the period before the State to channel funds from overseas for Jewish settlement and agricultural development, the JNF - known in Hebrew as Keren Kayemet (Everlasting Fund) for Israel -has been maintained since, ennabling the Zionist state to continue using funds raised by Jews overseas and to ignore its own declaration pledging not to discriminate between citizens. The Knesset members were bolstered by legal advice that the law was not unconstitutional because " racism is not explicit in the proposal".

Last month the Israel Land Administration (ILA), helped by a large police force and IDF soldiers, demolished dozens of tin shack homes in unrecognized Bedouin villages Um Al-Hiran and A-Tir in the northern Negev. Youths wearing orange shirts (the same colour used by Kahane fascists), hired by a contractor and paid cash in hand, were used to clear out the homes. The ILA is destroying the villages and evacuating the inhabitants so that a Jewish Community named "Hiran" can be established in the area.

It was the second time these Bedouin were being moved on. According to Adallah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the residents of the village had been living there for 51 years. They were transferred to the site in 1956 while under martial law. The land they originally owned was transferred to Kibbutz Shoval, while the Bedouin were leased 3000 dunam of land for agriculture and grazing.

Last week ministers promised a halt on evictions for a year if Bedouin stopped building, but the next day, July 19, two dozen Bedouin homes were demolished.

To the way the Bedouin and other Palestinians are pushed around in their own country we can add the rough deal for immigrants, not all like the privileged settlers.

I understand the "Shiber Pit" referred to in the introductory paragraph is part of the Givat HaMatos neighborhood, where Ethiopian and then Russian immigrants were placed in caravan (trailer) homes on a rocky hill that was Arab land, both to house them cheaply out of the way and as part of the encirclement of Jerusalem. Most have moved on. Now what became a neglected slum with children playing among dangerous waste tips is home to poor people who were desperate for somewhere to live, but they too may be forced to move as property developers now want to take the site upmarket.

I'm hoping to find out more about this.

This is an aspect of Israeli life that seldom gets attention, except from religious charity fundraisers. But it is important. If the poor and dispossessed can get together, confronting not just national but social oppression, the problems may be found to contain the potential solution.

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At 6:11 AM, Blogger Charlie Pottins said...

It seems I was mistaken, Bor Shiber, or Shiber Pit, is a park in Jerusalem where homeless campaigners set up camp. Yhanks to Adar and Gadi for putting me right on that.


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