Thanks to a cooperative effort by Jews and Arabs in the Galilee, the residents of Karmiel’s Ramia neighborhood will not have to surrender their property rights or face the demolition of their homes; for now.
A Bedouin community located in the middle of Karmiel, Ramia has been fighting for decades for recognition and for families to retain ownership of their original lands. In the meantime, they have lived without being connected to water, electricity, or other infrastructure. Last month, a court ordered the residents to accept a deal that would have forced many of them to move out of the city. But thanks to the organized effort by local residents, Ramia was granted a reprieve from the court order.
“To get your rights, to get equality, you have to fight,” said Salah Suad, chair of the Ramia Committee for Residents’ Rights. “This issue has been in the courts for 30 years. Ramia has been here since before the establishment of Israel, before Karmiel. Karmiel came to Ramia; Ramia didn’t come to Karmiel. This three-month postponement shows there is a will to resolve this issue. It’s a beginning, but we don’t know what the future will bring. We are still in danger.”
Shatil organizers Muhammad Khalil and Doaa Diab organized residents and recruited support along with Shatil partner the Galilee Forum for Equality and the Shatil-coordinated Karmiel Shared Society Group. In the face of the public pressure that had been mobilized, the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) agreed to delay implementation of the decision for three months and to enter into a negotiation with residents, who will be supported by Shatil and by a professional staff through the process.
After 30 years and a long legal battle, Ramia residents have hope for a better outcome.
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