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Israel drops controversial Bedouin relocation plan

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Ma’an – 12/12/2013

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel is scrapping a controversial draft law to relocate thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev desert, an official said Thursday.

Benny Begin, tasked with implementing the so-called Prawer Plan, said he had recommended to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “end the debate on the law” in parliament.

“The prime minister accepted this proposal,” he said at a Tel Aviv press conference, days after it emerged the governing coalition was divided on the proposed legislation.

The bill, which would have seen the demolition of some 40 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev and the relocation of between 30,000 and 40,000 people, passed a preliminary ministerial vote in January.

But it faced intense objection from members of the parliament both from the Right, where lawmakers said the compensation in land and money offered to Bedouins was too generous, and from the Left, which said it was racist and accused the state of usurping the land of indigenous Palestinian inhabitants.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman posted on his Facebook page that the Israeli government “should re-examine the plan and consider a far-reaching plan that would annul the benefits the Bedouin were to receive.”

Following a heated debate this week at the parliamentary interior committee, coalition chairman Yariv Levin of Netanyahu’s Likud party said he would not make the Prawer Plan into law.

The move comes less than two weeks after worldwide protests against the plan, during which Israeli police and soldiers clashed with demonstrators, injuring and arresting dozens across Israel and the West Bank.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the plan would have forcibly evicted nearly 40,000 Bedouin and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.

Other estimates had put the number of Bedouin residents at risk at 70,000.

Ma’an staff contributed to this report

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Negev… Land and Man

Documentary shows scenes of home demolitions by Israel in Negev

Ma’an – 08/12/2013

BEERSHEBA – A Palestinian organization based in the Negev has released a documentary depicting what the organization called the “ongoing Nakba (catastrophe) against the population of the Negev since 1948.”

The film brings to light the suffering and embittered lives of the Palestinian Bedouin residents of Negev, especially those villages which the government of Israel doesn’t recognize.

Those residents, according to the film “Negev … Land and Man,” have been deprived of basic life requirements including water and electricity networks as well as schools and clinics.

The documentary warns of Israeli plans to displace the population and “steal their land” through heavy restrictions to make their lives unbearable. The film warns in particular of the Prawer displacement plan which will “bring back the Palestinian Nakba on the land of Negev” while the world watches.

Documented scenes of home demolitions, land bulldozing and displacement of residents by Israeli forces are included in the film.

The film also sheds light on the major role Palestinians who live in Israel play to support the Bedouin residents of the Negev and help strengthen their determination to remain on their land. These efforts include construction projects, relief activities and voluntary work to defy Israeli plans.

The film was directed by Muhammad Abu Rizqa and produced by Sanabil Productions.

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Join Palestinians on November 30th to protest against the Prawer plan

Prawer Won’t Pass Campaign | November 10, 2013

naqabOccupied Palestine – On the 24th of June, the Israeli Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin plan, which if implemented will result in the destruction of more than 35 unrecognized villages in Al-Naqab and the forced expulsion and confinement of more than 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins. The Prawer plan is the largest Israeli land-grab since 1948. It epitomizes the nature of Israel’s policy; Israeli-Jewish demographic expansion and Palestinian-Arab demographic containment.

The International community has repeatedly called on Israel to halt the implementation of the Prawer Plan due to its discriminatory nature and the severe infringement it causes on the rights of Palestinian Bedouins in Al-Naqab. The UN committee on the elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed legislation of the Prawer Plan. Also, in 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Israel to stop the Prawer plan and its policies of forced displacement and dispossession.

Injustice, humiliation and forced displacement are a recurring theme in Palestine’s history. This is lesson that we as a group of youth take to the heart. We will oppose, resist and work against the continuous assault that our communities, across Palestine face. Therefore, we launched the “Prawer will not pass” campaign with an eye to preventing this plan to be yet another chapter in Palestine’s long and tragic history.

Opposing the Prawer Plan is to oppose ethnic cleansing, displacement and confinement in the 21st century.

Join us by organizing marches, protests, sending letters to those with positions of influence in your country or community, by doing whatever you can, in order to force Israel to stop the Prawer plan.

Join us on the 30th of November in saying “Prawer shall not Pass”.

For more information, please contact:

Email: PrawerWontPass@gmail.com

November 10, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Nakba Continues: Israel’s Bedouin Face Mass Displacement

By Nadia Ben-Youssef | New Left Project | July 15, 2013

I met Aziz Al-Touri nearly three years ago in a well-constructed tent of 2x4s and brightly-coloured tarp, erected next to the concrete remains of his family home and the exposed roots of hundreds of his olive trees.  With the sound of crushing bulldozers and the sight of thousands of Israeli security forces still haunting the dreams of his five children, he spoke of his life in terms of before and after. Before and after 27 July 2010.  Before and after the demolition of his entire village, Al-Araqib, one of 35 so-called “unrecognized villages” in the Negev desert in southern Israel. Today, when Aziz tells the story of his village, in an English that was completely foreign to his tongue three years ago, he corrects me when I say Al-Araqib has been demolished 52 times since July 2010. “That wasn’t the first demolition,” he says. “The first demolition was in 1948.”

Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 (known as the Nakba or catastrophe in Arabic) some 92,000 Palestinian Bedouin lived in distinct and fixed villages and controlled 99% of the land in the Negev (Naqab).  Land ownership and transactions were regulated within a sophisticated traditional system, and recognized by both the Ottoman Government and the British Mandate.  Following the Nakba, and the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland, the majority of the Bedouin community was forced to flee to neighbouring States; only 11,000 Bedouin remained, including a few families in the village of Al-Araqib. The remaining community was concentrated into a restricted military zone called the Siyag (Arabic for “fence”) by the Israeli Military Authority, with the internally displaced communities being told that they would be able to return to their own land within 6 months.

65 years later, none of the internally displaced Bedouin have been allowed to return, nor have they been given any proprietary rights to the land onto which they were moved. Similarly, the State did not recognize the land rights of the Bedouin communities that lived within the Siyag prior to the concentration.  According to Israeli law, none of the Bedouin have any legal right to their ancestral land; the 1953 Land Acquisition Law (Actions and Compensation) declared all of the land of the Negev to be “state land.”  With the passage of the law, the Bedouin were deemed “trespassers” and all of the Bedouin villages (both historic, and those created by the military government) were declared “illegal” and to this day have been denied recognition.

Successive Israeli governments have been faced with what the state regards as the “Bedouin problem.”  This classification is all the more troubling when one considers that the Bedouin, like all Palestinians who remained in Israeli territory after the Nakba, were granted Israeli citizenship by 1954.  The “problem” for the Jewish state is primarily one of demography.  The Bedouin, who now number some 200,000 people, comprise around 32% of the population in the Negev; next to the Galilee, the Negev is the region in Israel with the highest percentage of non-Jewish citizens. Israel’s solutions, which are developed without community consultation, are often disguised as general regional development or described in patronising terms as benevolent attempts to “modernise” the Bedouin.  However, all reflect the state’s acute anxiety about the “demographic threat” as well as the normalised discrimination against its Palestinian citizens.

Beginning in the late 1960s, the Israeli state’s first imposed solution was to urbanise its rural, pastoral citizens, creating seven urban townships over the next two decades.  These urban townships are annually featured in the lowest socioeconomic bracket in Israel, and suffer from the highest rate of poverty, crime and unemployment.  The forced urbanisation of traditional farmers and shepherds looks exactly as one would expect: bails of hay line the major roads, and herds of sheep, goats and camels are kept in pens attached to homes.  Half of the Bedouin community, or roughly 100,000 people, live in these seven townships, though 85% of the residents are those who were internally displaced into the Siyag by the Israeli military government after the Nakba.  Most of the Bedouin who were never moved from their ancestral land have remained in their historic villages, despite the fact that these villages are “unrecognized” by the State of Israel.

Unrecognized villages do not appear on any official maps, and their residents are denied access to all basic services including water, electricity, roads, sewage, schools and health clinics, in order to “encourage” them to abandon their homes.  All of the structures in the villages are “illegal”, in that they were built without permits from the State, and are thus subject to frequent demolition (around 1,000 Bedouin homes were demolished in 2011).  Beginning in 2003, after intensive efforts by an elected group of Bedouin leaders who formed the Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages, 11 unrecognized villages were recognized.  Though these villages do not face a future of mass demolition and displacement, ten years later they remain disconnected from all state infrastructure, and as there is no elected authority from which to request building permits, new or renovated buildings are also regularly demolished.

However, it is the remaining 35 unrecognized villages, home to some 70,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel, that are the target of the Prawer Plan, the government’s most recent “solution” for the Bedouin community.  Named after the architect of the plan and former deputy chair of the National Security Council, Ehud Prawer, the Prawer Plan aims within three years to destroy the remaining villages, displace up to 70,000 Bedouin into the existing townships and recently-recognized villages, and resolve all outstanding Bedouin land claims (of which there are over 3,200, amounting to 5% of the land of the Negev) in favour of the State of Israel.  If fully implemented, the Prawer Plan would result in the largest confiscation of Palestinian-owned land since the 1950s, and confine the Bedouin population to less than 1% of the Negev.  Not only does the Prawer Plan officially deny Bedouin the rights to their land and their agency as citizens to determine where and how to live, it proposes a new discriminatory legal reality that applies only to the Bedouin community.  According to the implementing legislation of the plan, the Prawer-Begin Bill, the process of judicial review is explicitly and severely restricted for Bedouin citizens of Israel by eliminating court-ordered and supervised demolitions and evictions in favour of speedy administrative orders.  The Prawer-Begin Bill does not apply to Jewish citizens of Israel, for whom all constitutional protections remain intact.

The devastating plan was developed, as usual, without consultation with the Bedouin community and approved by the government in September 2011.  Following considerable local and international pressure, the government conceded to holding a post-facto “public listening” process whereby Minister Benny Begin (a minister without portfolio in the Netanyahu administration) heard 1,000 Bedouin citizens and representatives.  When Minister Begin finally presented his recommendations to the government a year later, it was clear that neither the grievances, nor the comprehensive planning alternatives proposed by the community in partnership with professional planners (in the form of an Alternative Master Plan to recognize the villages) had been incorporated into the Prawer Plan.  Further, in the year that Minister Begin was writing his recommendations, the government silently approved the Regional Master Plan for the Be’er Sheva Metropolitan Area, which sets out the state’s “development” plans and outlines in concrete terms the state’s confiscation of Bedouin land and the eviction and destruction of most of the unrecognized villages.

The Regional Master Plan in some instances merely confirms already existing facts on the ground.  In Al-Araqib for instance, the Master Plan grants legitimacy to two Jewish National Fund forests that are zoned for the area of the village, and today are almost entirely planted.  In many other cases, however, the planting of new forests or park reserves, establishment of new Jewish settlements, and construction of new industrial parks, roads and military zones laid out in the Master Plan is hindered by the presence of the unrecognized villages.  The Prawer Plan and the Prawer-Begin Bill enables the state to swiftly remove the villages and villagers to proceed with “development” projects that privilege state interests at the expense of its Bedouin citizens.

The Bedouin community and the Arab political leadership in Israel, together with civil society, have spent the last two years opposing and challenging the Prawer Plan and the Prawer-Begin bill.  The community has organized mass protests in the Negev, and human rights organizations in Israel and around the world have mobilised thousands of people to speak out against the mass displacement.  Meanwhile, the international community has condemned the discriminatory plan and the legislation, including the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing and the European Parliament in 2012.  Yet, on 24 June 2013, the Prawer-Begin bill passed its first reading in the Israeli Knesset.

The Prawer-Begin bill joins a wave of discriminatory legislation directly targeting Palestinians living under Israeli control, both citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).  31 bills were proposed or passed during the 18th Knesset, and already in the first four months of the new 19th Knesset, 29 new discriminatory bills have been proposed that attack the rights of Palestinians.  Normalised discrimination against Palestinians in Israel, fueled by widespread ignorance and misinformation, lends popular support to these legislative initiatives.  In the case of the Prawer-Begin bill, it is likely that it will pass its second and third readings and be enacted into law before the closing of the Knesset session at the end of this month.

The approval of the Prawer-Begin bill only makes sense within this larger context, just as the 52 most recent demolitions of the village of Al-Araqib only make sense when one considers, as Aziz rightfully pointed out, the first demolition in 1948.  Beneath the Prawer-Begin bill, and the discriminatory legislation that marks this era in the history of the Jewish state, lies a national project that has always sought to control for the Jewish people as much land with as few Palestinians as possible.  The international community must intervene at the highest level to stop the Prawer-Begin bill. But the mass displacement of Israel’s Bedouin community is not just a problem; it is a symptom of the inherent contradiction between a state that defines itself in ethno-religious terms while also claiming to be a democracy. Where 1 in 5 Israeli citizens is excluded from full civic protection and participation simply for being Palestinian, and where a Palestinian Bedouin citizen of Israel and a Jewish citizen of Israel living in the Negev are treated according to different laws and policies, no democracy exists.

Nadia Ben-Youssef is a human rights lawyer living in the Naqab and serving as an international advocacy consultant for Adalah The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

July 23, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dozens injured in Jerusalem protest against the Prawer plan

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | July 16, 2013

Palestinian medical sources have reported Monday that dozens of Palestinians have been injured after being violently attacked by Israeli soldiers and police officers, during a protest against the Prawer plan that would forcibly displace between 30,000-70,000 Negev Bedouins.

The protest started at the Bab Al-‘Amoud area, in occupied East Jerusalem, and the protesters were attacked as they marched towards Sultan Suleiman Str., clashes also extended to various areas in Jerusalem.

Bassem Zeidan, of the Palestinian Medical Relief, stated that twelve Palestinians suffered fractures and bruises after being attacked by the army and the police, while a medic identified as Osama Mkheimar, suffered fractures in his foot, a cameraman identified as Amin Siyam suffered various bruises, a pregnant woman suffered a dislocated shoulder, and at least fifty more Palestinians were treated by field medics.

The Begin-Prawer Bill passed its first reading in the Israeli Knesset on June 24 2013. Adalah – The legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – previously reported the bill involves the dismantlement of “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev, and the forced displacement and relocation of the inhabitants – numbering in the tens of thousands – to settlements that will be “recognized” by Israel.

Critics of the bill claim that the Bedouin have not been consulted, and that it violates their rights to property and ignores their legitimate claims to ancestral lands.

Adalah reports that the Begin-Prawer Bill is designed to make it very difficult for the Bedouin to receive compensation following their forcible displacement, and that state development projects that privilege Jewish Israelis will be built in place of the destroyed Bedouin villages.

The United Nations said that Israel must respect the land claims of the Bedouin, who are internationally recognized as indigenous peoples of the land.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dozens injured in Jerusalem protest against the Prawer plan

From Al-Araqib to Susiya

iadalah · May 14, 2013

Forced Displacement on Both Sides of the Green Line

Adalah captures the stories of two Palestinian villages, Al-Araqib and Susiya — one in Israel, one in the West Bank — that share a single story of struggle against forced displacement.

For more info…
Read a Factsheet: http://bit.ly/2V-1S-Factsheet
Read Position Paper http://bit.ly/2V-1S-PosPaper

Want to help?
Sign petition against Prawer: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop…
Keep up to date and sign up to Adalah’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/Eng-NL-signup

July 13, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kibbutz residents attack Bedouin village in the Negev

Ma’an – 20/05/2013

BETHLEHEM – Israelis from a Negev kibbutz attacked a Bedouin village on Sunday, setting fire to a tent, a Ma’an reporter said.

Residents from the Kibbutz of Retamim attacked the adjacent Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj and set fire to a tent belonging to Eid Abu Habbak, head of the local village council, Salman Ibin Hamid, told Ma’an.

Abu Habbak filed a complaint with Dimona police department.

“The setters of Retamim are acting like they are in the West Bank,” Ibn Hamid added. “These people have the mentality of the occupying settler to attack every Arab.”

Israeli police said that Bir Hadaj residents hurled stones at residents of Retamim, a claim which Ibn Hamid denied.

On May 6, an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill setting a framework to implement the evacuation of “unrecognized” villages in the Negev, most of which existed before the state of Israel.

May 20, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Kibbutz residents attack Bedouin village in the Negev

Israel lawmakers approve plan to displace Negev Bedouins

Ma’an – 06/05/2013

BETHLEHEM – Israel approved a draft law on Monday to implement a plan which will displace thousands of Bedouins in the Negev desert, an Israeli rights group said.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill which outlines a framework for implementing the Prawer-Begin plan, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said.

“Today the government approved a plan that will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents,” ACRI lawyer Rawia Aburabia said.

“All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even planned to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages,” she added.

The Israeli government approved the plan in 2011, in what it says was an attempt to address the problem of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

The 2011 proposal was formulated without any consultation with the Bedouin community and rights groups slammed it as a major blow to Bedouin rights.

Bedouins protest

The Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev along with the High Steering Committee of the Arabs of Negev organized Monday a demonstration near office of Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem protesting approval of the recommendations.

Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour addressed the demonstrators confirming that his party, the United Arab List, rejected the recommendations. He expressed concern that the recommendations might be approved as a law and urged the Arab public to use legal means to try and prevent such a step.

Talab Abu Arar, another lawmaker, echoed Sarsour’s remarks but appealed to “the rational people on the Israeli side to treat the Arabs wisely giving them their rights, recognizing their unrecognized villages, and involving them in the planning process.”

He warned the Israelis against being driven by “racist and extremist blocs in the Knesset.”

“Approval of the Prawer committee recommendations means Judaisation of Negev. The main goal of these plans is to seize Arab lands and exterminate Arab roots,” said head of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev Atiyeh al-A’sam.

According to ACRI, the plan will forcibly evict nearly 40,000 Bedouins and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.

Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people.

The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.

 

May 6, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bedouin communities near Qalqiliya isolated by Israel and facing school demolition

International Solidarity Movement | February 22, 2013

Nablus, Occupied Palestine – The small Bedouin communities of ‘Arab Ramadin al-Janubi and ‘Arab Ab Farda lie south of Qalqilya between the apartheid wall and the green line,close to the illegal settlement Alfe Menashe. They are separated from the rest of West Bank from all sides by the Israeli apartheid wall. The communities, founded by people deported from areas in Negev and Netanya during and after the Nakba are today home to around 500 people. They suffer from multiple restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities,including no permissions for new buildings or expansion of existing buildings, and limits to the amount of food and gas allowed for sale in the communities.

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Bedouin girls at school

Access to the communities is limited by Israel with a permission system. The system of access permissions has effectively resulted in the social isolation of the communities, as people from the city of Qalqilya and neighboring villages face difficulties in obtaining permits for visiting the area.

The community of Abu Farda has no access to running water or electricity, and thus water has to be bought in tanks from the village of ‘Azzun. There is a well on the grounds of the village, but the illegal settlement Alfe Menashe has confiscated the well and closed access to it for the inhabitants of Abu Farda. People from the family Fayez living in Abu Farda told us:

“The lack of electricity is a big problem, as we are not able to refrigerate food bought from merchants or the yogurt and milk we produce ourselves for sale, and our children are not able to do their homework after dark due to lack of lighting.”

Furthermore, the Israeli authorities do not allow veterinaries access to the villages, while the village is largely dependent on the raising of livestock.

In October 2012 the community of Ramadin al-Janubi founded a school for 6 to 8 year old children. The new school gives it’s 25 students the opportunity to go to school without having to pass daily through the Israeli checkpoints between the community and a school in the nearby village of Habla. Children older than 8 years still have to go to school outside the community, and in order to reach their schools and go back home they need to cross the Israeli checkpoints twice every single day.

The school in Ramadin, consisting of 4 tents, received a demolition order from the Israeli authorities after two weeks of operation. The faculty of the school live in Qalqilya and have to spend from 30 minutes to over an hour every day passing through the checkpoint and having their papers and belongings examined by the IOF forces at the checkpoint in order to access the school. For now, the village has taken the demolition order to court, and is waiting to for the court hearings to take place.

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Bedouin school tents with demolition order

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bedouin communities near Qalqiliya isolated by Israel and facing school demolition

Negev Bedouin protest demolition orders for ‘recognized’ village

Ma’an – 19/10/2012

TEL AVIV, Israel – Around 2,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel protested in the southern city of Beersheba on Thursday after their village received demolition orders from the authorities, Israeli press reported.

The Palestinian residents of Bir Hajaj chanted “Yes to recognition! No to destruction!” outside the court and government offices, Haaretz newspaper said.

A large Israeli police force escorted officials to the village last week to hand over demolition orders, sparking clashes that were dispersed with tear gas and shock grenades.

“We’re demonstrating because as a result of the demolitions, there are people in the town who have no roof over their heads,” Haaretz quoted Bir Hadaj resident Ayash Abu Assa saying.

“The police decided to attack us. They want to prove that they are in control and that there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Bir Hajaj is among the Bedouin communities that have been formally “recognized” by the Israeli government.

Israel classifies approximately 40 villages in the Negev as unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove land ownership. The Bedouin communities say the land is their ancestral home.

“Despite (Bir Hajaj) being a recognized village, none of the residents have received permits to build new houses,” the director of the Adalah Legal Center for Minority Rights, Thabet Abu Rass, told Haaretz.

“While the media is busy with the (Israeli) elections, the state has opened a war of destruction against the Bedouin villages.”

October 20, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A new Nakba looms as Israel plans ethnic cleansing of Palestinian village in the Negev

MEMO | October 15, 2012

Anger and worry prevails amongst the people of Umm Al-Hayran, a Palestinian village in the Negev Desert following a decision by the Israeli Building Council to expel villagers in order to build a settlement for extremist Jews. An appeal by the humanitarian groups on behalf of the villagers was refused last week by the Israeli National Council for Planning and Construction.

Around 1,000 people will be affected by the latest bout of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land. The District Committee for Planning and Construction in Beersheba has approved a proposal for a Jewish settlement called “Hayran” on the land belonging to Umm Al-Hayran village. This will not be the first time that the families in Umm Al-Hayran have been expelled by the Israelis. They used to live in the Zebala Valley in the Negev from where they were expelled by the nascent Israeli state; in 1956 they were uprooted again and forced to move to the site of Umm Al-Hayran. The current threat first arose in 2004, when the Israeli state accused the villagers of living illegally on state land.

Israel doesn’t “recognise” villages occupied by around 90,000 Bedouin living in Southern Palestine. As a result, their homes are regarded as “illegal” by the state and they can be demolished at any time.

Residents of such “unrecognised” villages do not receive any basic services or amenities provided by the state, including electricity, proper roads, health facilities, schools or water supplies.

Commenting on the latest decision, lawyer Suhad Beshara of the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adala) said that the decision made by the appeal committee is part of the official policy of confiscating Bedouin land in the Negev. The intention is not only to provide land for Jews but also to be able to gather together the Bedouin communities in one place. According to Ms. Beshara, the authorities’ decision confirms that the villagers of Umm Al-Hayran have no rights in the village to which the Israeli government itself moved them in 1956.

The Palestinian law specialist clarified that the village of Umm Al-Hayran was established in its current location by order of the Israeli military authorities in 1956 after the army expelled its people by force from their homes in the area of Zebala valley. “They have established themselves with proper homes,” she said, “and they have invested all their efforts in order to resume their social and tribal lives which were shaken every time they were expelled from their land.” Today, a hundred and fifty families, totalling one thousand people, live in the village, all from the Abu Alqean tribe.

“We’re ready to die defending our land,” said the Mayor of the village, Saleem Abu Alqeaan. “They want to expel us and claim that our buildings are illegal, and they deprive us of all services; they even denied us drinking water in order to push us to leave the village and expel us.”

Mayor Abu Alqean added that the villagers refuse to accept the decision and that they will not leave their land even if the Israelis use force to expel them: “We have sworn to die on this land and we will not leave it this time, like previous times, and we will defend our land and our village with all our might and with all our means, because if they succeed in getting us out, the same tactics will be applied to other villages in the Negev which are not recognised by Israel.”

Commenting on the decision of the Israelis to name the proposed settlement “Hayran”, the mayor accused the Israeli government of trying to hijack Palestinian history in the area. “They want to make it look as if there is an old Israeli presence in the Negev,” he added.

Knesset Member Ibrahim Sarsoor, the head of the United Arab Bloc for Reform, condemned the government’s move. “This is yet another attack on the Arab presence in the Negev of the kind which has been taking place since the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948,” said Sarsoor. “It poses a serious threat to the already poor relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel.”

He pointed out that there is a systematic Israeli policy of uprooting the Arab presence in the Negev Desert. The latest decision, he insisted, shows how the Israeli government can act against its Arab citizens with impunity and with no just, legal or moral reason.

Stressing that the expulsion decision is “the biggest witness to the racism of Israeli governments’ policies towards the Arabs”, Sarsoor said that it confirms that ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population is an integral part of Israel’s Zionist ideology. “In short,” he concluded, “it is a policy of apartheid, pure and simple.”

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel threatens to demolish ‘illegal’ Bedouin school

RT | September 3, 2012

Israel has threatened to demolish a Bedouin encampment in the West Bank that contains a school, claiming that the community was built without appropriate permits and was hindering the development of new Israeli settlements.

­The Khan Al-Ahmar elementary school was built in 2009 with the help of local and international humanitarian groups. The clay-and-tires structure employed 11 teachers, and instructed students belonging to some five neighboring Jahalin Bedouin tribes. Israeli authorities have issued a demolition order, claiming that the encampment containing the school was built illegally.

Demolishing the school would force the children to trek across the desert to Jericho for class, the closest place where education facilities are located. The Israeli military claimed that they will not destroy the school or the encampment until an alternate learning institution for the students is located.

According to UN reports, Tel Aviv has ordered the demolition of around 3,000 structures, including homes, cisterns, solar-power generators and 18 schools, including the Khan al-Ahmar Mixed Elementary School. Only 360 such demolitions have been carried out so far.

Israeli authorities believe that moving the indigenous population to planned communities will lift them out of poverty. Bedouin communities argue that their culture and its centuries-old traditions are being jeopardized by Jewish expansion.

The children of the Jahalin tribe previously attended school in Jericho, about 20 kilometers away, but school bus service was often unreliable. Locals now say that they may have no other choice: “We’ll go to school until it’s demolished,” the Washington Post cited 10-year-old Islam Hussein as saying,

Khan al-Ahmar is one of 20 Bedouin communities that are scheduled for relocation. Bedouin families have lived there since 1951, when refugees fled the Negev region during Israel’s war for independence. The West Bank is currently home to 300,000 Israeli settlers,

In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the ‘Prawer Plan,’ which called for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab desert. At the beginning of 2012, Tel Aviv announced a plan to establish ten new settlements along the disputed Green Line.

More than 70,000 Bedouins in 35 villages live in territory claimed by Israel. The settlements are considered to be ‘unrecognized’ by the Israelis, and the inhabitants are often referred to as ‘trespassers on state land.’

September 3, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel threatens to demolish ‘illegal’ Bedouin school