The Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP) organized a special meeting to discuss with representatives from the unrecognized village of Dahmash the possibilities to continue to work together to push for the recognition of the village. The meeting included staff members of ACAP, representatives from Dahmash, and Knesset Member Dr. Hanna Swaid.
Mrs. Enaya Banna-Geries, ACAP’s professional projects manager and urban planner, led the meeting. She provided a summary of the latest developments in the case of recognition of Dahmash. Banna-Geries stated the process of trying to stop demolitions in Dahmash involved work in two tracks: appropriate planning and the setting jurisdiction boundaries for the village.
Banna-Geries reminded participants in the meeting that ACAP previously submitted a request, with the consent of the Public Committee of Dahmash, for Dahmash to become recognized as a neighborhood belonging to the city of Ramle. This decision was made after recommendations from the Central Planning District that recognition was more likely as part of a neighborhood belonging to either the city of Ramle or Lod, then on its own as an independent town. Thus, in May 2009, ACAP submitted a report the Planning District with this request.
However, the Public Committee later called for recognition of Dahmash as an independent town and part of the Regional Council. ACAP apologized that it could not submit such a request since it had already submitted previously a different request and the likelihood that Dahmash would be recognized as an independent town is very small.
Mr. Arafat Ismail, representative of the Public Committee of Dahmash, presented reasons why it was necessary that Dahmash become recognized as an independent town within the Regional Council of Emek Ludim, and not as a neighborhood of Lod.
Knesset Member Dr. Hanna Swaid stressed that although it was important for the people of Dahmash to receive independent recognition, the most important and urgent matter at hand that needed to be dealt with is house demolitions. Swaid emphasized that the residents of Dahmash needed to achieve a situation where they are able to develop the town’s infrastructure and receive licenses to build houses.
Swaid presented several possibilities to remedy the situation, including the recognition of Dahmash as its own independent town with the regional council. However, he stressed that this was the least realistic alternative and the citizens of Dahmash needed to continue to approach the situation that was most likely to be approved- that Dahmash would become a neighborhood of either Lod or Ramle- and the highest priority should be to stop the demolition of houses.
The meeting concluded with the Public Committee agreeing to approach the District Committee for Planning and Building and request that it is the right of the citizens of Dahmash to plan and develop the infrastructure of their community, even if it is as a neighborhood of a larger city.