As many as 1,000 Bedouin Palestinian families are threatened with forced displacement by the Israeli government under plans for a major new highway in the Naqab (Negev) region.
The route of the new section of Road 6 already entails the forcible relocation of some 100 Bedouin families. In December 2018, however, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel declared he intended to takeadvantage of the situation to expel a further 900 families. Read more
On 18 August, a group of Israeli NGOs petitioned the country’s Supreme Court over the role of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in government decision-making regarding land usage.
The JNF was established in 1901 to obtain land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. Subsequently, the JNF was incorporated into the Israeli state’s land administration bureaucracy, while still remaining a private organisation. It holds some 13 percent of the land inside Israel’s pre-1967 lines. Read more
A new report has revealed how 2,752 structures were demolished in Bedouin Palestinian communities in the Negev over the last three years, part of what human rights activists have described as an ongoing, concerted campaign of displacement by Israeli authorities.
‘Enforcing Distress: House Demolition Policy in the Bedouin Community in the Negev’, published by the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF), sets out to reveal “the ways in which the [Israeli] state utilizes enforcement in order to displace citizens from their lands.” Read more
Last week, as Israelis celebrated their Independence Day, Palestinians in the country’s south held the annual March of Return, walking to the site of one of hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed between 1947 and 1949.
This mass displacement and dispossession, known as the Nakba (catastrophe), is commemorated internationally each May. But in recent years, Israeli authorities have attempted to clamp down on events to mark the Nakba – most notably through a 2011 change to legislation pertaining to budget allocations. Read more
From the refugees in 1949 looking over the Lebanese border at the land from which they were expelled, to the students in the Gaza banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from studying in the West Bank, Israeli colonisation has fragmented the Palestinian people over the decades with walls, fences, guns, bureaucracy and propaganda.
Overcoming that fragmentation has become further complicated in recent times on account of the moribund state of representative bodies like the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as well as the long-running split between Fatah and Hamas. Read more
The forced relocation of Bedouins in southern Israel fits Foreign Affairs’ definition of ethnic cleansing.
In September 2011, Israel’s government approved a plan to forcibly relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens in the Negev from their unrecognised villages to government-approved shanty towns. The Prawer Plan, as it is known, advanced again in March this year, when it was endorsed by a committee in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Around half of the Bedouin population in Israel live in 45 “unrecognised villages”, with a handful in the ”process of recognition” by the state (see Israeli NGO Adalah’s “Myths and Misconceptions“). The Israeli government wants to force them out, claiming that their “squatting” is taking over the Negev. In fact, while constituting 30 per cent of the region’s population, today Bedouin are claiming ”less than five per cent of the total area”. Read more
Recently the Israeli cabinet approved a major plan for the Negev that seeks to “relocate” an estimated 30,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens to government-approved townships.
The details that have emerged about the government’s ‘solution’ for Bedouin Palestinians show a continuation of the colonial logic that has shaped Israeli policy in the Negev since 1948. Reports suggest that the state will reject half of the Bedouins’ land claims. For the tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinians in ‘unrecognised villages’, there is now uncertainty about exactly which communities will be ‘legalised’ – and which will be demolished, their residents forcibly transferred. Read more
Standing with Palestinian Bedouin activists on the traditional lands of al-Araqib, we watched as Jewish National Fund workers in the distance continued preparing the ground for the ‘Ambassador’s Forest’. Earlier in the day, I had stood on a hillside: in front lay an ‘unrecognised’ Bedouin village, denied basic infrastructure and services. Across the road was a fully integrated Jewish community.
Separation and inequality – it could have been anywhere in the Occupied Territories, where Jewish settlements lie alongside impoverished Palestinian communities threatened with demolition orders for ‘illegal’ construction. But it is not just in the West Bank colonies that the Israeli authorities work with ideologically motivated para-state agencies to ‘protect’ and ‘redeem’ the land. The phenomenon is as familiar in the Naqab (Negev). Demolitions, housing shortages, and politically driven Jewish settlement of the kind faced by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are also everyday challenges confronting Palestinian citizens of Israel. With all the significant differences in conditions on either side of the Green Line, the Israeli state’s policies towards its minority citizens and the militarily occupied Palestinians have been shaped by similar strategic goals. Read more