Today ICAHD participated in the building of a playground Dahamesh. Dahamesh is one of over 100 “unrecognized villages”, Palestinian/Arab towns within the 1949 Armistice Lines that the Israeli government does not recognize. The 1965 Planning and Construction Law zoned land for housing, agriculture and industry but the areas zoned for housing did not include many areas that were already populated, like Dahamesh. The inhabitants of these villages were not consulted on the law or the plans while their lands were rezoned as “agricultural”. Part of the P&C Law prohibits national utility companies from providing buildings with electric, water or telephone service if they lack a building permit. Since every building in an unrecognized village lacks a building permit, none may be connected to the national utility infrastructure. This has led to a situation where a Bedouin village in the Negev is immediately adjacent, on land confiscated from the Bedouins, to a power plant yet its electricity is provided from a generator. None of these localities receive sewage treatment nor are they connected to the nation’s roads & highway system.
Dahamesh lies on the seam between Lod & Ramla. There were four houses demolished there earlier this year, one of which has been reconstructed, an effort ICAHD assisted. Many other houses, there and in neighboring Ramla & Lod, are currently under the threat of demolition. While many Palestinian groups struggle for the Right of Return, the residents of Dahamesh are simply trying for the Right to Remain. Towards that effort they, with assistance from Shatil and others, today constructed a playground for their children, and their children’s children to enjoy. While Jewish towns have been built from scratch by the government, including public parks and playgrounds, the people of Dahamesh have built their own infrastructure without any assistance from a government that denies their right to exist. This resistance to hostile government policies is something that ICAHD fully supports and is honored to have participated in.
For more information or further action on Unrecognized Villages within Israel’s border please contact us or:
The Arab Association for Human Rights
The Negev Coexistence Forum
The Association of Forty