In the early morning hours of November 12, hundreds of Israeli police stormed the recognized Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj. The police officers were accompanied by representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Interior, who attempted to distribute home demolition orders to village residents.
Soon after their arrival in Bir Hadaj, the Israeli police fired tear gas, and rubber and sponge bullets at residents, injuring many people, including women, children and the elderly. 19 residents –including 7 minors– were arrested in the clashes that ensued, and 29 children were subsequently taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva to be treated for tear gas inhalation.
In Bir Hadaj, the Israeli police used tactics usually saved for the occupied Palestinian territories, including the use of undercover forces disguised as Arabs, known as Mistaravim in Hebrew, whose goal it is to create provocations and incur a violent response from the Israeli security forces.
It seems clear that Israel is moving forward rapidly with its plan to forcibly evict 30,000 Bedouin citizens from their homes and villages in the Negev, known as the Prawer Plan. In September and October, NCF witnessed dozens of home demolitions in Bedouin communities in the Negev, and an increase in police violence during this destruction.
Tactics used regularly by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem are now being used inside the Green Line against citizens of the state. This reality demonstrates the fact that the Israeli government doesn’t view the Bedouin as full citizens.
Contact: Michal Rotem