A general strike was launched in the Arab sector Wednesday morning in protest of the demolition of nine homes in the city of Qalansawe on Tuesday. The strike, which will include the closure of all schools, businesses and public places, was announced by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee.
A demonstration is expected to take place at the entrance to Qalansawe on Wednesday afternoon in solidarity with the families whose homes were demolished. Another major protest will be held after the Friday prayers in the presence of residents from all Arab communities.
Former Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, said he hoped “the government gets the message. It can’t just catch an Arab citizen on his own and destroy his home. We see the demolition of homes in Qalansawe as a matter relating to the future and life of the entire Arab public.”
Barakeh added that the Arab sector leaders would convene on Saturday to decide on the next move on the local and political level, as well as on the international level. In addition, they are considering staging a protest outside the Prime Minister’s Office and are preparing to help the families whose homes were demolished by providing them with a temporary roof over their heads until the houses are reconstructed.
Diya Mahluf, whose home was demolished, said that he a,nd members of his family, were “having trouble processing everything we have gone through. We didn’t sleep all night, and this morning it was very difficult to see the demolished homes. It’s a massacre. This state keeps destroying our homes and our future. We are left with nothing.”
“So far,” he added, “I chose to do things decently, but after the demolition I have decided to become a criminal. If you’re not a criminal in this country, they step all over you.”
Tayibe Mayor Shuaa Masarwa Mansur called on the Arab sector to unite to stop the demolition of homes. “It’s time for our voice to reach the Israeli government. It must regulate the outlined plan in order to allow the families to build. I call on people not to build in forbidden places until this whole issue is regulated, but it’s very painful to see homes demolished after the families put years of effort into them.”
He said he had personally called on Tayibe’s residents to go on strike “in solidarity with Qalansawe’s residents. I hope that these moves will speed up the process of receiving our rights.”