Hundreds of Jaffa locals mark Land Day

Residents, MKs, protest eviction and demolition orders issued to families in city's Ajmi quarter.

jaffa land day 22488 (photo credit: Channel 2)
jaffa land day 22488
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Jaffa Friday to mark the 32nd annual Palestinian Land Day. Participants included MKs and prominent figures in the Arab sector - including Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch. Jaffa residents were protesting what they called "being pushed out of the city" by hundreds of eviction and demolition orders issued to families from the city's Ajmi neighborhood. The city claims that the homes in question were constructed illegally, or that their occupants are squatting. A number of Jews also took part in the event, at which protesters waved PLO flags. "They asked me why we came here. We didn't come - we've always been here. We're staying here," Salah said in a speech. "Every stone [of] every house was here and it's ours. Every speck of dust belongs to us. We won't go away. We've lived and [will] die here," he declared. Salah addressed rabbis, saying that "to everyone who made a [halachic] ruling calling to attack Arabs - from Kiryat Arba to Safed, to [Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor] Lieberman and his cronies, we say - we're not afraid. Your halachic [rulings] belong in the garbage bin." "There won't be a second evacuation of Jaffa," MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) told Walla! "There was an evacuation in 1948, and we won't allow it to happen again."