|Lod's Arab residents protest against right-wing extremist settlements|
|Saturday, 29 December 2012 16:32|
Hundreds of Arab residents of Lod participated on Friday in a demonstration against the right-wing extremist Jewish settlement in the city and attempts to expel Arabs from their lands and homes. The residents are protesting against a group of religious Zionists in the city.
The protesters marched from Lod's mosque to the city center where they blocked the main road and waved Palestinian flags and posters reading "We're not afraid" and "No to settlers." Hadash activist Maha Alnakib who also participated in the rally said it was the first step of many. "Today we started a protest against settlers and I hope our demands will be met by the relevant parties. If not there might be grave consequences," she said
Last week was published a special report from Israel's State Comptroller who slams Lod's council for failed handling of tax collection, projects and crime. The report pointed out malfunctions at all levels of municipal activity: infrastructure, education, social services, crime, personal safety and fiscal management. Even the three government plans approved in the decade ending in 2010 did not improve the city’s dire situation.
Some of the budgets for the Ofek plan in 2000 were never transferred and the Prime Minister’s Office failed to establish a mechanism that would supervise the project’s implementation as required. The 2002 Lod Rehabilitation project failed as well, either because promised budgets were never transferred or the municipality failed to fully utilize them. The last plan for the strengthening and development of Lod (2010) was too general and did not achieve its goals.
As "Haaretz" revealed in February, the municipality received development grants but failed to utilize a large part of them, leading to severe deterioration in the services offered to residents. "Many streets are neglected… as are city parks, some of them memorial parks. Public funds were wasted… all the neighborhoods look neglected, especially the Arab neighborhoods: whole areas lack paved roads, sidewalks, lighting or sewage systems," says the comptroller’s report.
The State Comptroller went on to detail endless anomalies. The municipality received budgets to build squares, but the planning took too long and was carried out without data on traffic volume. Even today, three years after the money was received; only two of the five squares have been built. "The Lod municipality acted ineffectively to build the squares and this testifies to the municipal apparatus’ inability to tackle infrastructure projects in an efficient and professional manner," said the report.