The Bedouin community in the Negev/Nagab is subjected to an ongoing State policy of house and structure demolitions. State demolition of Bedouin homes can be traced to the Israeli Planning and Building Law – 1965.
In 1948, on the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel, about 65,000 to 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev/Naqab region, currently the southern part of Israel. Following the 1948 war, the State began an ongoing process of eviction of the Bedouin from their dwellings. At the end of the 48 war, only 11,000 Bedouin people remained in the Negev/Naqab, while most of the community fled or was expelled to Jordan and Egypt, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. During the early 1950’s and until 1966, the State of Israel concentrated the Bedouin people in a closed zone known by the name ‘al-Siyāj’ (سياج) under military administration.
The Planning and Building Law led to the classification of most of the Siyāj area as agricultural land. As a result, from the moment the law came into effect, every house built in this area was defined as illegal and all of the houses and structures already standing in the area, were retroactively declared as illegal. In 1966, with the end of the military regime, the urbanization process which the State began to plan in the 1950’s, was set in motion. The State established seven Bedouin townships, most of them within the Siyāj area, promising the residents modern services in exchange for relocation to the urbanized areas. At the same time, the Israeli policy toward the Bedouin community focused on the effort to concentrate the entire population in these seven townships. Since 1999, the State of Israel, in various government decisions, has recognized 11 of the unrecognized villages in the Negev/Naqab.
While these decisions ostensibly constituted a significant change from the previous policy under which the only option for the Bedouin population was forced urbanization, in practice, some 20 years later, there is no significant difference between the recognized villages and those which remain unrecognized. In most of the recognized villages there are no detailed urban plans, so that the residents cannot obtain building permits, the demolition policy continues, and basic infrastructures of water, electricity, sewage and roads are either non-existent or lacking.
NCF publishes its annual “House Demolition Policy” report every year. For the 2019 report, based on data collected in 2018 click here
List of reported demolitions 2019
House demolitions archive