Abdurrahman Aydin-World Bulletin
Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah wrote on popular website The Electronic Intifada that the Likud party, led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is trying to carry out a project that will ethnically cleanse the city of Jaffa from its Muslim and Arab population. Dena Shunra contributed to Abunimah`s piece with her research and translations from Hebrew. Abunimah claims that the current attempt by Likud's Jaffa branch constitutes a continuity of the policy of the Zionists who, in 1948, wanted to eliminate the city`s non-Jewish population via terror. But this time, the Zionists want to achieve the same goal through democracy.
Jaffa in 1948
In 1948, heavily armed Zionist thugs carried out a policy of ethnic cleansing in the Palestinian coastal city of Jaffa, once a major cosmopolitan center of trade and citrus orchards, and the cultural capital of Palestine. They used a variety of violent tactics to achieve their goal. On 4 January 1948, the Irgun terrorist group set off a massive car bomb which destroyed the city`s municipal center, killing and injuring dozens. Poorly-defended Jaffa, besieged by hunger and chaos, fell in April 1948 to the Zionist invaders, led by the Haganah. Unable to leave by land, tens of thousands of residents of Jaffa and neighboring villages attempted to flee the city by sea, causing many to lose their lives by drowning. Only 4,000 of the city`s original residents remained in Jaffa.
After the occupation, the Zionist entity confiscated most Palestinian properties, obligated the remaining Palestinian residents to live in the Ajami neighborhood, and annexed Jaffa to the “Tel Aviv-Jaffa”municipality. Since then, the life of Jaffa's Palestinian natives has been a constant struggle to maintain their presence, as well as the historic character of their city, despite beibg constant targets of racist attacks, harassment and gentrification aimed at driving them out for the benefit of rich Jewish newcomers.
There are 18,000 Palestinians currently living in Jaffa. They are politically powerless within this large municipality in which Palestinians form only three percent of the population. “No more Muslim call to prayer in the city”
Today, a Likud party poster posted on a Likud website promises to “silence” the Muslim call to prayer in the city. The local branch of Israel’s ruling Likud party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to ethnically cleanse the city as Haganah, Irgun and other terrorist groups sought in 1948— but this time via “democratic” means.
Israel’s municipal and local authority elections are scheduled for October 22. Arnon Giladi, currently deputy mayor, is heading the local Likud electoral list. Tel Aviv's Likud branch promises its electorate that “it will silence the muezzin and stop the spread of Islamic movements in Jaffa.” The muezzin is the person who makes the call to prayer from a mosque.
The subheading on the post is a quote by Deputy Mayor Arnon Giladi saying “it is not possible that only a few kilometers from the center of town there will be a Palestinian nationalist autonomy that alienates itself from the values of the State of Israel.” Furthermore, the poster mentioned above has a caption which says “Silence the Muezzin in Jaffa? Only the Likud can get it done.” And the lower right-hand corner of the poster displays a municipal ballot with the party's logo and name as well as the words “led by Arnon Giladi.”
The blog post on Likud's website says the Jewish residents of the city are complaining about the violation of the sanctity of their holidays in an organized manner, solely in order to create a tense atmosphere and violate the life of Jews living in Jaffa.
Deputy Mayor Giladi also has his own “concerns”. According to him, within the last few years Jaffa has been occupied by Islamist movements and radical left movements which try to separate Jaffa from Israel and to detach it from Tel Aviv. He promises they will eliminate any gains by the evildoers and shape up “a national plan that will guarantee that Jaffa will remain a part of the State of Israel and also have a Jewish character.”
It is not at all surprising that the Likud does not indicate that Jaffa, a predominantly Muslim and Christian Palestinian city, was invaded, ethnically cleansed and forced to submit to the rule of the “Jewish state.”
Zionist racist paranoia in Jaffa Ynet, one of Israel`s popular media outlets, reports that hundreds of posters have been put up in Jaffa with these slogans: “In recent years, Tel Aviv - Jaffa has been losing Jaffa” “Jaffa is becoming increasingly different from Israel in its values and image” “Only a strong Likud will attach Jaffa to Israel” “Only a strong national camp will not allow extremist and anti-Zionist elements from taking over Jaffa” These slogans obviously reveal Likud's election campaign is a call to carry out a project which will leave no place in Jaffa for the city’s native population, culture or religious diversity and coexistence.
Representatives of the Islamic Movement described Likud's initiative as playing with a fire that attacks the coexistence among Jaffa residents. They also protest it as a direct violation of freedom of religion.
Israel expert Dena Shunra states that funding for the posters, websites and additional infrastructure in municipal elections is usually channeled by the national party apparatus, despite the exact distribution of funds not being clear. According to Shunra, there is no evidence that central Likud figures have distanced themselves from Giladi or even denounced the Tel Aviv Likud branch’s poster campaign.Last Mod: 29 Ekim 2013, 10:13