Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Israelis protest against Palestinian family purchasing home in Afula

By Alicia Ramos Perez - June 18, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Peace Process] [protests] [Palestinian citizens of Israel]

Israeli residents in Afula, near Nazareth, have held protests against the selling of a house to a non- Jewish, Palestinian family on May 13. This event sums up the continuous opposition to mixed neighbourhoods in Israel.

As reported by Haaretz, 'traitors against the Jews will get no rest’,  'fighting for home’ and 'we will not give the neighbourhood to Islam’ were a few of the racist slogans that were visible during the demonstrations.
Several Israeli civil servants were also advocating for this bigoted protest. These include the former Mayor of Afula, Avi Elkabetz, and Deputy Mayor Shlomo Malihi. The former Mayor Elkabetz stated “the residents of Afula don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s in their right.”
Mayor Malihi also added to Elkabetz’s statement; “I hope that the house sale will be cancelled so that this city won’t begin to be mixed. We don’t have admittance committees […] but we will not allow the character of the city to change.”
The Israeli citizens in Afula that called for the demonstration described the Palestinian family as 'undesired’.
The Head of the Joint List coalition in the Knesset – formed mostly by Palestinian lawmakers – Ayman Odeh tweeted on June 13 that it was not shocking to see this in the country where “there has been built 700 cities for Jews and not one for the Arabs.”
He also added that “it is more than a little worrying to see how our hope for living together is crumbling due to hatred and racism fuelled by the government.”
Afula’s demography faced a rapid and radical change during the British Mandate of Palestine. In the census of 1922, Affula had a total of 471 Muslim inhabitants compared to 28 Jews registered in the city.
In 1925, the American Zionist Commonwealth completed a purchase which allowed the colonisation by Jewish citizens, completely changing the demography of Afula and expelling the Palestinian citizens inhabiting this area.
Now, Afula’s population is 47,014 inhabitants, which 90% are Jews and the remaining are other ethnic minorities.
On March 15, the Knesset approved the final draft of 'Zionism’s flagship bill’, defining Israel exclusively as a nation for Jews. As Palestinian member of the Knesset, Aida Touma-Suleiman said: “the bill institutionalises an apartheid regime in the most blatant way.”
The demonstrations forbidding the Palestinian family moving into Afula constitute a breach in Article 17 of the UNHR, 'right to own property’, as well as Article 18 'right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’. Though legal through Israeli law.
On the other hand, according to the 2017 OCHA factsheet, there are 611,000 Israeli settlers which live in 250 settlements in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

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