Internationals here for ICAHD’s annual rebuilding camp heard another sad story when they visited Dahmash, an area located between Lod and Ramle within Israel. “The situation here is no different to that in the Occupied Palestine Territory,” said Arafat Ishmael, head of the Lod Popular Resistance Committee, when he described the racist policies that they experience.
“We were moved here from another area when the state of Israel was established but we were only given 15% of our original land area and as farmers this was a huge loss to us. My father was ignorant at the time and he never should have cooperated with Israel. Now we are 700 people living in 90 homes and none of them even have an address so you can’t look us up online.”
Arafat went on to tell us that for years they have been trying to prove their existence by legal means and despite spending a lot of money on it, they have made no progress. Meanwhile Israel provides no services for the village and makes life so difficult for them because Israel hopes they will give up and leave, moving elsewhere for a better life.
Every building in Dahmash has a demolition order on it and in April five more homes were demolished. Walid explained what it was like when after midnight on that fateful night, four bulldozers and 1200 armed soldiers invaded the Dahmash to perform the demolitions. People were confined to their homes, including from the neighbouring areas. Walid and his family were thrown out of their home. Their furniture was also thrown out and in a way that it was destroyed. Later people in the community came together and shared their money and so far three of the homes have been rebuilt, including Walid’s.
“Please tell our story,” pleaded Arafat. “In the past people and organisations have promised to help us but so far little has been done. We need you to tell your politicians about what’s happening here and we also want you to write to the Israeli government to ask them to allow us to stay in Dahmash and to be given equal rights because we are Israeli citizens.”
*Update as of 5th August, 2015*
Three homes visited in Dahmash during ICAHD’s annual rebuilding camp for internationals were demolished on Tuesday morning, 4th August. While in Dahmash, an area in the “mixed” city of Lod within the state of Israel, we heard the story of Israel’s extreme discrimination policies over these 700 Israeli citizens because Israel wants them to leave Dahmash so that Israeli Jews can move onto their land.
The three homes for members of the Assaf family had been rebuilt by the community following demolitions in April when a total of five homes were demolished.
This is a story that ICAHD will increasingly be highlighting as we receive further information, photos and film footage…