+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

WATCH: Israel demolishes homes in unrecognized Palestinian village

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

A bulldozer demolishes an apartment building in the unrecognized village Dahmash, April 15, 2015. (photo: Rami Younis)

A bulldozer demolishes an apartment building in the unrecognized village Dahmash, April 15, 2015. (photo: Rami Younis)

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.”

The remains of the demolished buildings in the unrecognized village Dahmash, near Lod, Israel, April 15, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The remains of the demolished buildings in the unrecognized village Dahmash, near Lod, Israel, April 15, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“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.

Residents walk through the remains of their homes in the unrecognized village Dahmash, Israel, April 15, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Residents walk through the remains of their homes in the unrecognized village Dahmash, Israel, April 15, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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.

Newsletter banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Pedro X

      With no injunction restraining compliance with a legal order of demolition of illegally built structures, the authorities were entitled to and did demolish the illegal structures. The Israelis who built the structures knew they had built them illegally and knew what the consequences would be if they built them. So, please no crocodile tears for these Israelis who built illegally.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Do you know any Palestinians personally?

        Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          Of course not, Pedro is working for Hasbara International publishing his daily quantity of crap from Canada.
          But what really amazes me is how he manages to be first to comment on 90% of the articles.

          Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Qui.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      Imprisoning people indefinitely without trial – what could possibly go wrong with that?

      “The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) today expressed concern by the continued and increasing use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities against Palestinians, who are being held without charge or trial, often on the basis of secret evidence, for periods of up to six months.”

      http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=50546#.VS51zCXALFY

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      In the USA, if a citizen defies the Supreme Court he or she will very swiftly find himself inside a federal prison looking out. In the USA, if the police (the police!!!) defied the Supreme Court all hell would break out and a major constitutional crisis with the National Guard called out would ensue. In Israel if a (Jewish) citizen defies the High Court — well it happens all the time in the territories and the state and the Court wink at it and look the other way. In Israel if the police defy the High Court apparently nothing happens. No High Court judge or any other judge signs any writ or arrest warrant for contempt of court and no crisis whatsoever ensues. It’s life as usual. The police get medals. Israel is in crucial ways, not all ways but in important ways, a lawless state. A banana republic. (Sorry Menachem Begin, but it has indeed finally become shockingly like a banana republic.)

      Reply to Comment