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Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality
פורום דו-קיום בנגב לשוויון אזרחי
منتدى التعايش السلمي في النقب من أجل المساواة المدنية

Israel is the only country in the world that causes thousands of its citizens to demolish their own homes during a pandemic

15.03.2021

 

-Press release-

 

There are different mechanisms that the State uses to realize its objective of urbanizing the Bedouin indigenous population in the Negev. In 2020, 2,586 buildings were demolished in the Bedouin villages in the Negev. This represents a rise of 13% in demolition of structures compared to 2019.

The wide range of demolitions were carried out contrary to the General Attorney’s commitment to freeze demolitions during the pandemic. These demolitions are the product of a long-standing policy of forced displacement and urbanization of the Bedouin population in impoverished townships. The technocratic apparatus adheres to demolition as a tool against a weakened minority and insists on ignoring even the severe human circumstances caused by the pandemic. Even at such a hazardous and unpredictable time they throw people out of their homes with no housing alternative.

NCF found out that in a period of six years, 11,513 structures were demolished in the Bedouin villages in the Negev, and the number of demolitions is growing noticeably each year. Also, the area of fields that were “ploughed” for the purpose of uprooting crops in 2020 was nearly quadruple that of 2019.

Israel is the only country in the world that causes thousands of its citizens to demolish their own homes. Out of the 2,586 structures that were demolished in 2020, more than half (1,437) were self-demolitions. This denotes the intensity of the intimidation campaign that the State leads against the Bedouin citizens, especially the fines, the criminal sanctions and the price paid by those who refuse to accept a forced settlement or a forced evacuation.

One of the main tools to eradicate the pandemic is home confinement. For the Bedouins in the Negev the spaces for quarantine have been reduced by the brutal and widespread demolition of their homes while ignoring the immediate danger to their health.

In a year in which the problem of violence in the Arab society has greatly worsened and 60% of the Arab citizens felt insecure in their communities, the Bedouin citizens found that the enforcement authorities prioritized the addition of 210 policemen to the Yoav unit for carrying out demolitions, instead of devoting resources for eradication of homicide and serious crime.

The police are not prominent in eradicating crime but are very effective in accompanying the forces of destruction.

For any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Appendix:

Demolitions

19-04-21 - al-ʿArāgīb, a Bedouin village west of Route 40. The entire village was demolished for the 186 time

08-04-21 - Umm Batīn, a recognized village south-east of Route 60. 50 dunams were ploughed and one fence was destroyed

All Demolitions