Bulldozers knocked down three buildings in the village Dahmash, just 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, contrary to a High Court ruling.
By Rami Younis and Haggai Matar
Israeli bulldozers demolished three structures in the unrecognized Palestinian village Dahmash, near Lyd (Lod in Hebrew) on Wednesday morning. The demolition took place despite both a High Court decision that called for a mutual agreement and a demand by the Lod District Court that the State delay its demolition plans. The homes were uninhabited at the time of the demolition.
The demolition began at 4 a.m. and was accompanied by a large police force, which prevented residents from leaving their homes. When the demolition was over, Joint List members Ayman Odeh, Bassel Ghattas and Dov Khenin, as well as head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah, came to the village in a show of solidarity with the residents.
The unrecognized village Dahmash is under the jurisdiction of the Emek Lod Regional Council, a mere 20 minute drive from Tel Aviv. The village has been around since 1948, and its residents even have proof of ownership in the Israel Land Registry. However, the State does not recognize their claim to the land, and does not provide the village with the necessary infrastructure or even the most basic services, such as sewage, roads, electricity, garbage collection or a post office. Over the past few years, the residents have been struggling against repeated home demolitions by coming up with their own master plan in order to gain recognition for their rights to live on their land.
“Just yesterday [Tuesday] the Lod District Court responded to our request to prevent the demolition, and called on the State to respond to our request within 48 hours, but the judge did not clearly state that she demands an injunction during this time,” said Sufyan Asaf, a resident of the village and an owner of one of the homes that was destroyed. “The police did not respect the court’s request and came to demolish the buildings before the court could even discuss our appeal against the demolition orders. On Tuesday we spoke with a police officer who promised that nothing would happen.”
“It must be noted that the demolition was done contrary to the High Court’s recommendation,” added MK Dov Khenin. “Due to the complexity regarding Dahmash, the judges supported a process of mutual agreement, stating that it is preferable to refrain from taking aggressive, one-sided measures. If we add these demolitions to the systematic ones happening in the Negev, as well as the one in Kafr Kanna, we can see a new wave of home demolitions that goes beyond just a local story.
According to the police, “Israeli Police aids the authorities in maintaining order and security in carrying out demolition orders. In this case, the orders were given by the Interior Ministry, and thus all questions regarding the legality of the demolition must be directed to them. The police assistance provided to the Interior Ministry took place after it was made clear that there is no legal obstacle to the demolition.
“We do not know of a promise by the police to delay the implementation of the order. Moreover, the police informed the family’s attorney regarding the intention to carry out the demolition order on the particular date.”
Just last month, residents of Dahmash welcomed hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis for a solidarity festival featuring artists and entertainers from across the country.
Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call here.