MK Baraka exposes plan targeting Arab homes in Lod

MK Baraka exposes plan targeting Arab homes in Lod

 OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, — Arab MK Mohammed Baraka, speaking Saturday before the Israeli Knesset, offered evidence suggesting that NIS 40 million of the NIS 130 million budget set aside to develop the city of Lod will be used to demolish Arab homes that were allegedly built without permits.

Baraka accused the Israeli government of promoting the development project without discussing details. “But when we read that NIS 40 million of the total amount for the plan, which is nearly 31 per cent of the total allocated budget, will be spent on what the government calls ‘applying the law against building violations’, we know in what way the government will develop the city of Lod,” he said.

Baraka added that the decision ignores the real causes of the distress of Arab citizens in Lod, abuses them, and abuses their rights to live in their city.

“This is a plan to Judaize the city of Lod and take the property, rights, and place of Arabs in it, and not to develop it,” the head of the democratic front party for peace and equality went on to say.

Responding to Baraka’s charges, Israeli financial minister Meshulam Nahari claimed the budget was aimed to develop the city’s infrastructure for the welfare of citizens, a step he said would involve construction and housing planning.

Baraka interrupted: “Construction without permits in Lod and elsewhere is not because of the will to violate planning laws, but a result of the policy of cracking down on Arabs and denying them building areas. In Lod in particular there have been attempts for many years to overpower Arabs from the city, especially in this manner.”

“The Arabs will remain in their city of Lod, and the government must offer solutions inside the city,” Baraka concluded.