Bedouin village resists demolishing, replacement

‘Unrecognised’ Bedouins continue suffering of their villages being demolished and replaced by Jewish settlements

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

On Thursday, hundreds of people in Beersheba protested the Israeli Supreme Court for allowing the government to demolish the “unrecognised’’ Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran and other demolitions across Negev and replace them with Jewish settlements.

Last month, Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Umm al Hiran resident ruling that the village was built on a land that belonged to the Israeli state and the Bedouins had no legal rights to it.

Activists, lawmakers, Joint (Arab) List MKs Ahmad Tibi, Hanin Zoabi and Taleb Abu Arar, and dozens of women from Umm al Hiran village joined the protest.

One of the women said: “Everyone is mobilising, including women and children.

“We realise that our future is at stake.”

Israeli police took security measures including mounted police and a helicopter.

The people chanted “Yes to construction, no to displacement,’’ holding banners saying “Netanyahu - destroying villages means destroying lives.’’

The al Hirak al Shababi youth group’s member Mufid Ebu Sawilam said: “We plan to hold ‘days of rage’ and demonstrate outside the court in Jerusalem. The state says it will only give to the Bedouin if they fulfill all their civic duties, but it’s unreasonable to demand that we enlist in the army.”

Last March, Israel destroyed thousands of acres of agricultural crops that belong to Bedouins.

More than 150,000 Bedouins live in Negev, including half who live in towns and others in “unrecognised’’ villages.

The villages are deprived of basic needs by Israeli government, as electricity, connections to water lines, education, healthcare, roads and sewage to make way for Jewish settlers.

For over 60 years, the Bedouins face displacements, home demolitions, dispossession of their own land due to Israel’s state policy.

The inhabitants, living there since the seventh century, are considered as “trespassers’’ by Israel.

TRTWorld and agencies