In Yafa, more than two thousands residents of the city, joined by other Palestinians, organized a mass protest to on the 29th, one day before Land Day. Yafa, also known as the bride of the sea, was occupied in 1948 by Zionist forces that expelled the majority of the original Palestinian residents from the city. Now, with the Occupation state announcing plans to demolish 500 homes in Yafa, part of the remaining Palestinian community faces a similar threat.
***image2***The demonstrators marched through the al-âAjami neighbourhood in the city and finished in the middle of the main street, Yafit. Representatives of a number of professional, religious, and political organizations participated. The cries of the residents of Yafa and their supporters defied the plans for the demolition of Palestinian homes.
Doctor Jamal Zahalqa said in his speech, â60 years ago the residents of Yafa were expelled, and we will not permit expulsions to be repeated. The crazy Israeli plan to demolish 500 homes in Yafa will not come to pass. We will try to save them. We will not merely stand with our arms crossed, but will defend our right to remain here.â
Dr. Zahalqa went on to add, âThe issue is not only a question of ownership, but one of existence; we will or we will not be in Yafa. Our origins and homes are here and we will not allow our people to be expelled from their homesâ
Finally, he insisted that, âThis demonstration is raising up the struggle and the families of Yafa and our people as a whole. The issue does not pertain only to some of us but to all of us.â
In 1947 Yafa had a population of 70,760. In 1948, the city was set upon by the Zionist militia Haganah. 50,000 were literally pushed into the sea and fled via boat to Gaza, Lebanon and other places. In 1950, only 4,000 Palestinians remained in the city. These remaining few were shuffled from the historic old city to the al-Ajami neighbourhood.