In its 112th session, the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee adopted its concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Israel on 28 October 2014. Among variety of other issues addressed by the Committee relating to disenfranchised groups in Israel, concluding observations directly referred to problems encountered by the Arab Bedouin community in the Negev-Naqab. The Committee expressed its concerns at Israeli policies of house demolitions and forced evictions, the Prawer Plan, and the harsh living conditions in the Bedouin recognized and unrecognized villages in the Negev-Naqab.
The Committee recommended that Israel should cease house demolitions, withdraw the Prawer Plan, and ensure participation of Bedouin communities in any planning regarding relocation of villages. Furthermore, the Committee recommended that the state of Israel should “ensure that any proposed plans for their [Bedouin] relocation take due account of their traditional way of life and, where applicable, their right to ancestral land and is carried out in accordance with relevant international human rights standards”.
As part of the HRC review process of the state of Israel, the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) was invited to submit a list of issues and a joint report with Adalah. The report emphasized the ongoing violation of rights of Bedouin communities in the Negev-Naqab, including house demolitions and forced evictions, lack of access to services and infrastructure in recognized and unrecognized Bedouin villages, and governmental plans for settlement regulation.
Khalil Alamour, NCF board member and representative, participated in this meeting that took place in Geneva.
Minister Shamir arrived at the Knesset’s Lobby for the Needs of the Bedouin Community with no news
On Monday, November 17, the Lobby for the Needs of the Bedouin Community in the Negev of the Knesset convened for a discussion with Yair Shamir, the appointed minister for settlement regulation in the Negev. Minister Shamir had no news, and mainly described the process of withdrawal of the Prawer Plan. The minister said that in his opinion, house demolitions are immoral, yet claimed that by now there is no other solution instead of this policy. When minister Shamir was asked whether there is a new relevant plan for this issue, he left the room and did not hear all the community’s representatives who arrived in order to present their position.
On Monday, November 17, police forces and bulldozers arrived at the village of Al-Arakib at 5:50 am and demolished all shacks in the cemetery compound, where its residents used to live.
The residents of the village of Al-Arakib hold a weekly protest against the ongoing demolitions of their village every Sunday in Lehavim junction at 3:30pm. Support the ongoing struggle and join the weekly protest that has taken place every week for more than 4 years!
The threat of demolition is still hovering over the residents of the village and the few shacks they live in at the cemetery compound!
On Tuesday, October 14, during a house demolition at the Bedouin unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am, five people were arrested, four men, and the engaged young woman to whom the house belonged. After 20 days of detention, and 6 court hearings, the 5 detainees were released to a 6 weeks house arrest on high bails. The engaged young woman was sent to house arrest in the village, the other 4 young men were sent to the nearby town of Segev-Shalom. Indictments were issued against all five.
Click here to watch a video from the demolition.