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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

KKL-JNF afforestation is threatening the Bedouins’ lives 25.1.22

 

 
Saʿwah demonstrations 13,16-01-2022, photo by Waleed Aloubra 
Dear friends and colleagues,

The Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) afforestation projects in the Naqab are threatening the Bedouins’ particular lifestyle and creating fear and insecurity among residents, mainly women and children. The State’s mechanisms regarding the residents’ protests have been highly repressive and violent.

The Bedouin indigenous citizens deserve to live in security, with basic infrastructure, schools, and clinics, without home demolitions or State’s operations that threaten their lives and wellbeing.

We appreciate every action you take to promote the Human Rights of the Bedouin indigenous communities in the Naqab.
 
Sincerely,

Hanan Alsanah and Haia Noach
NCF’s Executive Directors

 
 

 
Saʿwah demonstrations 13,16-01-2022, photo by Waleed Aloubra
We call on the State to stop the JNF afforestation activities in the surroundings of the unrecognized village of Khirbit al-Watan, located south of the recognized Bedouin village of Saʿwah and on every piece of land that is under dispute.

We are highly concerned regarding the State’s criminalization of the Bedouin citizens, while they attempt to claim their land rights and human rights, and the unacceptable treatment the authorities are taking against this minority, mainly towards women and children.

 
Protests

 
Saʿwah demonstrations 13,16-01-2022, photo by Waleed Aloubra
On January 10th, a checkpoint was set up near the Bedouin village of Saʿwah as part of an aggressive police operation that included hundreds of police officers who were preparing for the JNF’s afforestation activities on behalf of the Israel Land Authority (ILA), partly on lands that the Naqab’s Bedouin citizens have ownership claims. The checkpoints were located in the area between Road 31 and Road 25—which prevented and delayed the entry of vehicles to their villages, including school children buses that were attempting to bring children back home.

 
Saʿwah demonstrations 13-01-2022, photo by Waleed Aloubra

 
Saʿwah demonstrations 13-01-2022, photo by Waleed Aloubra
On Thursday 13.12.22, the Naqab’s Bedouin residents organized a demonstration against lands uprooting and dispossession, demanding the government to halt the KKL-JNF harmful actions and recognize the Bedouin villages in the Beer Sheva Valley. Within eight minutes since the beginning of the demonstration, the Police dispersed violently the protest, using tear gas drones, shock grenades, police riding horses and rubber bullets. Although the demonstration was stopped, the detentions continued afterwards and in the following days, reaching an approximate number of 150 arrests, as of today, with 60 still in custody. Furthermore, during the protests, 50 minors were violently arrested and 30 indictments were filed as of today.
 

Police violence during protests against KKL afforestation 13.1.22
 

Police violence during protests against KKL afforestation 13.1.22
Local Advocacy

We have been working together with other 15 organizations and released a statement against the KKL activities

 
 
We signed a letter to the Minister of Economy and Industry, Ms. Orna Barbivai, to adopt right away the plan of the Government Employment Agency and to establish 5 employment offices in the Bedouin communities, and even extend it to a sixth office. The letter was signed by Mayor Rahat, Head of Regional Council Al Qasum and Neve Midbar, and Head of Local Councils of Tel Sheva, Hura and Ararah.
As a result of our local advocacy work, several inquiries have been sent to the Knesset.

MK Ayman Odeh (Joint List) sent a query requesting information about the number of arrested people during the last protests in the Naqab, including minors and women, as well as guidelines and measures taken to disperse the demonstrations and detail regarding the type of tear gas that was sprayed from drones by the police.

MK Sami Abu Shehadeh (Joint List), requested a query about details of the process of recognition of the Naqab’s Bedouin communities, as agreed on the Coalition Agreement signed in June, 2021. 

MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) requested a debate in the Knesset’s Internal Security Committee about Police violence during the latests’ protests in the Naqab

International Advocacy
We organized a briefing with the European Union, to 27 member States as well as Canada, Switzerland, and the US on the topic of Dispossession Through Afforestation: The Impact Of The JNF’s Plantations on the Human Rights of Bedouin Citizens of Israel living in the Naqab/Negev

 

 
 
Support NCF’S activities and projects
 
Our local advocacy coordinator, Huda, will be participating in a webinar organized by the Arab Center Washington DC, about the latest developments in the Naqab

 
January 2022
27
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Demolitions

15-08-22 - al-ʿArāgīb, a Bedouin village west of Route 40. The entire village was demolished for the 205 time

19-07-22 - al-ʿArāgīb, a Bedouin village west of Route 40. The entire village was demolished for the 204 time

All Demolitions