Israeli Government resolution from June 8th 2014, resolved to establish a Ministerial Committee for Regulating Settlement and for Socio-Economic Development of the Negev Bedouin, led by the Prime Minister. At the end of July, the Ministerial Committee met for the first time, and decided to change the name of ‘The Authority for Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev’ to ‘The Authority for Development and Settlement of the Negev Bedouin’. According to the committee’s decision, the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Negev Bedouin will be transfered to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and will work under its responsibility. Now, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will start planning a new policy that will deal with economic and social development and the regulation of settlement in the Negev.
During operation Protective Edge, several rockets hit Bedouin villages across the Negev,two of those hits were fatal. A rocket hit at the village of Al-Makimen (July14th) severly injured two young sisters, one of them is still in the hospital.Another hit in the village of Jarba (July 19th), killed 32-year-old Udah Al-Waj, injured four of his relatives, including a baby who is still in the hospital.
On July 16th, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel issued an urgent petition to the Supreme Court, demanding an immediate protection for the Bedouin recognized and unrecognized villages in the Negev. The petition was issued in the name of a couple of Bedouin residents of the Negev, and a couple of organizations, including NCF.
On Sunday July 20th, court read its decision and stated that: “Under the circumstances it is inevitable to reject the petition in this matter, since there was no excuse for our intervention in the operational decisions of the respondents [the state] that were received in the midst of fighting”. Alongside the rejection of the petition, the judges added that “in the absence of data we decided not to refer to the ways of use of the Iron Dome. We believe that the protection of this system is based on practical considerations, without giving any weight to the appearance or non-appearance of settlements on maps”. The Supreme Court denied the petition for immediate protection for the villages, yet further discussion on these issues will take place in the future.
NCF sends its condolences to the families of those killed during the operation, and wishes quick and full recovery for the injured. Although Supreme Court decision, we urge the Israeli security authorities to act immediately to protect the villages and to activate alarm systems in those areas, and for the protection of entire neighbourhoods in Jewish cities and Bedouin towns that are not protected properly.
After the destruction of the cemetery compound of Al-Arakib on June 12th, residents of the village remained next to the cemetery, struggling in harsh conditions to stay on their lands. The extreme heat, dust, lack of homes and shelters, and police patrols all day and night did not break their spirit and ongoing struggle.
These days, the residents are waiting for their appeal to be heard at the district court on September 17th. Although all structures, including the cemetery’s fence, were already demolished, residents claim that the eviction orders did not apply to the cemetery compound. In the meantime, residents received yet another eviction order, demanding them to clear off all their belongings from the area. That order was postponed until the appeal will be discussed.
How can you support the struggle of Al-Arakib?
1. If you are in the region, join Al-Arakib’s weekly protest vigil at Lehavim junction, every Sunday at 4:30 pm.
2. Ask your country’s Ambassador to Israel to come and visit the residents of Al-Arakib and learn about their ongoing struggle.
3. If you are in the region or planning a trip, contact us and come to visit the village of Al-Arakib.
For further details, please contact Michal: firstname.lastname@example.org