[News] Israel poised to raze Bedouin village so Jews can take land

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 9 12:47:16 EDT 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/israel-poised-raze-bedouin-village-so-jews-can-take-land 



  Israel poised to raze Bedouin village so Jews can take land

Charlotte Silver 
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/charlotte-silver> -8 August 2016

Israeli bulldozers are poised to raze the Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/umm-al-hiran> in the Naqab 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/naqab> (Negev) region in the south 
of the country.

On 31 July, bulldozers began ploughing a trench around the village, 
encircling those homes Israel intends to demolish to make way for a 
Jewish community.

The village lost its 13-year legal battle 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israel-court-approves-demolition-bedouin-village-make-way-jews> 
in May 2015, when a three-judge panel on Israel’s high court ruled that 
the government was authorized to demolish the village and displace its 
residents.

In January this year, the high court’s president Miriam Naor rejected 
<http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=441872> the village’s final 
request for a review by broader panel of judges. Naor said, according to 
/The Jerusalem Post/, that the village’s case did not qualify as a major 
constitutional issue that merited a special high court panel.

Like about 40 other Bedouin villages 
<http://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8603> home to 70,000 people in 
the Naqab, Umm al-Hiran is not recognized 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/unrecognized-villages> by Israeli 
authorities, leaving its 1,000 residents, who are Israeli citizens, 
without basic services or rights.


    Violent repression of protests

When the bulldozers arrived last weekend, protesters attempted to block 
the heavy machinery. Police responded with force, arresting six 
protesters, including former Rabbis for Human Rights president Arik 
Ascherman and activist Salim Abu al-Kayan.

A video 
<http://972mag.com/authorities-start-process-of-replacing-bedouin-town-with-a-jewish-one/121065/> 
from the day shows police throwing people to the ground, punching a 
child before violently detaining him, and wrestling men to the ground.

Raad Abu al-Kayan, the son of Salim, told the Tel Aviv newspaper 
/Haaretz/ <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.734465> the police fired 
tear gas directly at young protesters.

Though the village has been inhabited since 1956, when the Israeli 
military forcibly moved Bedouins there after removing them from their 
original village, the court ruled they have no legal rights to it.

Israel now wants to take over the land for the use of Jews. Palestinian 
legal rights group Adalah <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/adalah> 
calls the move a “dangerous precedent,” allowing authorities to displace 
residents for “the sole purpose of building a new Jewish town called 
Hiran on its ruins and grazing area.”


    Dangerous implications

Since the court ruled the residents were not “trespassing,” a term 
Israel frequently employs to describe the thousands of Bedouins who live 
in so-called unrecognized villages, Adalah believes authorities have 
carved out a new justification to forcibly displace 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/forced-displacement> Bedouins in 
the Naqab.

According to Adalah, the court found that the state had “merely allowed” 
the Bedouin citizens to use the land, but was now within its rights to 
revoke such permission.

“The state is the owner of the lands in dispute, which were registered 
in its name in the framework of the arrangement process; the residents 
have acquired no rights to the land but have settled them [without any 
authorization], which the state cancelled legally,” wrote 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.734465> high court justice Elyakim 
Rubinstein <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/elyakim-rubinstein>.

A lone dissenting judge on the panel of three, Daphne Barak-Erez, argued 
that authorities should offer the villagers space in the new Jewish 
community.

Residents of the planned Jewish Hiran are currently living in trailers 
and temporary houses that were established in 2011 in the forest of 
Yatir, waiting to expand onto the ruins of Umm al-Hiran.

In a video produced <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlgU6oLswv0> by 
Adalah in 2013, the spokesperson for the Hiran settlers says they have 
received the support of the settlement department, the regional councils 
and the OR Movement, which seeks to settle Jews in the Naqab and the 
Galilee.

The video also shows that the temporary Jewish settlement was 
established with funds from JNF-USA, which funnels tax-exempt charitable 
donations from Americans to the Israeli-government-backed settlement 
organization the Jewish National Fund.

When asked about the difference between what is happening in the Naqab 
and the Hebron Hills area, the spokesperson stated, “There isn’t really 
any difference in my worldview but there is another worldview stating 
that there is a difference.”

While the Naqab is within present-day Israel and the Hebron Hills are in 
the occupied West Bank, the experience for Palestinians – even those 
with Israeli citizenship – of violent displacement for the benefit of 
Jewish settlers is indistinguishable.


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