The Coronavirus Gave Israel’s Bedouin Immunity From Demolition Orders. Until It Didn’t, Haaretz (English Version), David B. Green, 13.05.2020
The article tells the story of this violent and ruthless policy, led by enforcement authorities that continued to roam the Naqab and distribute demolition orders, fines and detained Bedouin citizens for investigation – throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“According to Avrech [NCF’s international advocacy and research coordinator], in some senses the power that the enforcement authorities hold over the Bedouin can even be worse than the simple act of demolition being demanded.”
Bedouin in Remote Negev Villages Fend for Themselves During COVID-19 Pandemic, Haaretz (English Version), David B. Green, 26.04.2020
Over phone interviews with numerous community members, NGOs and local representatives of the Bedouin community, David B. Green manages to capture the reality “on the ground” in the Bedouin villages and townships amid COVID-19 crisis. His article sheds light on how years of discrimination and marginalization has led the Bedouin population to fend for themselves.
Rights group petitions Israeli High Court demanding Bedouin access to coronavirus testing, Palestinian News & Info Agency, 01.04.2020
Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher filed the petition on behalf of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the Arab Doctors Association in the Naqab, the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, and the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages in the Naqab.
The organizations demanded a range of measures that include identifying needs and assessing the rate of infection among the Bedouins, providing access to emergency medical services, assisting with preventive measures such as supplying disinfectants and protective gear, and considering the establishment of isolation tents in the villages.
If pandemic hits, unrecognized Bedouin villages could ‘become like northern Italy’, +972 Magazine, Oren Ziv. 29.03.2020
In a highly unusual move, the head of the Bedouin Authority, Yair Ma’ayan wrote to the Ministry of Finance after its inspectors handed out demolition notices in one of the villages, asking them to halt all such activity. Rather than carrying out demolitions and evictions, he wrote, the department should instead “focus on raising awareness and reducing Coronavirus infections.”
Ma’ayan, told Local Call that all its activities have been frozen, including demolitions, and that “all employees are working with the population in order to try and prevent illness.”
Nonetheless, Haia Noach, Executive Director of NCF — who led a call by 23 organizations to stop demolitions in Bedouin villages — says that while the Bedouin Authority understands demolitions, it knows nothing about public health. “It’s an abandonment of the community to let these people [in the Authority] deal with the situation,” she says.
Israel Launches Plan to Force its own Bedouin Citizens into Refugee Camps, Palestinian News& Info Agency, 10 October 2019
Adalah, NCF, Shatil and the RCUV sent a letter to the Southern District Planning and Building Committee, calling on them to reject the proposed plans and stop them from moving forward.
Israel is taking the first steps towards establishing desert refugee or displacement camps designed to hold tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens whom it plans to “urgently” displace from their homes in unrecognized villages across the Negev/Naqab without offering them any permanent and just housing solutions.
Rights Center to UN: Israel Breaching Convention Against Racial Discrimination, Middle East Monitor, 24 September 2019
A joint submission of NCF and Adalah to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), ahead of the committee’s preliminary questions to the State of Israel, regarding its compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The report highlight Israel’s failure to comply with the Committee’s previous concluding observations and recommendations to reverse many of the State’s racially discriminatory practices, as well as provide an update on developments since 2012.
Israel’s Bedouins Vote, but Without Much Hope, Times of Israel, 17 September 2019
According to the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality NGO, 2,326 demolition orders were executed last year, including more than 600 for homes. But Sheikh Sayah from the unrecognized village of al-ʿArāgīb will not give-up and says it is his right to vote and make a difference, even if the government is constantly trying to remove him and his family from their lands. In many cases, residents say they will not be forced to leave their homes. “Every vote can make a difference,” said Turi, a 70-year-old father of 15. He is the head of an unauthorized village in this desert that is home to most of the country’s Bedouins living on the margins of Israeli society, often in poverty.
Remedial Education Program for Bedouin Women in Israel in Danger of Closing, Ha’aretz, 12 August 2019
The Education Ministry announced that it has not found funding for continued operation of an adult education program in the Bedouin community beyond the coming school year. It therefore may close in July of next year if additional funding is not forthcoming.The program, which has a budget of about 2 million shekels ($574,000) a year, is mainly aimed at providing basic education to Bedouin women, some of whom are illiterate.
Bedouins Forced to Destroy their own Homes in the Negev, The Jerusalem Post, 2 July 2019
A new report published in July by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, based on data from the Southern Administration, reveals a complex system of mechanisms employed by the government and its branches to force Bedouin citizens to demolish their homes and to evacuate into planned towns.
Bedouin Women Capture Village’s Final Moments Before Israel Demolishes it, Middle East Monitor, 2 April 2019
Bedouin Palestinian women in the village of Umm al-Ḥīrān are using a photo book to capture the final moments of their community before it is demolished by Israeli authorities. The sad period of bidding farewell to their soon-to-be-abandoned village has been documented by a group of Bedouin women who have been taking part in the Yusawiruna – Photographing for Human Rights, a project the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality has run for the past four years”.
Bedouin Women Capture Their Village’s Final Moments Before It’s Demolished by Israel, Ha’aretz, 1 April 2019
A recently published book, “Umm al-Ḥīrān – Moments of Farewell to the Village,” features a collection of snapshots taken by women who live in the village that they will soon have to leave forever. In April 2018, after a protracted battle, the residents had no alternative and were forced to sign the agreement to evacuate and move to nearby Hura.
Demolition highway: Israel plans to force Bedouin from homes, AlJazeera, 27 January, 2019
As many as 1,000 Bedouin Palestinian families are threatened with forced displacement by the Israeli government under plans for a major new highway in the Naqab (Negev) region.
The route of the new section of Road 6 already entails the forcible relocation of some 100 Bedouin families. In December 2018, however, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel declared he intended to take advantage of the situation to expel a further 900 families.
Uptick in number of Bedouin structures demolished in Israel last year, Palestine News Network, 25 March, 2018
The number of structures demolished in Bedouin Palestinian communities in Israel nearly doubled in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to a report in Haaretz. More than 70 per cent of the destroyed structures were demolished by the owners themselves, so as to avoid the “heavy financial penalties” …
Judge Likens Coexistence Group’s Activities in Be’er Sheva to Infamous Kahane March in Umm al-Fahm, Ha’aretz, 24 March, 2018
The Negev Coexistence Forum said: “The shelter never changed its character or the nature of its activity since it opened in 2006. It was meant to serve as a center for cultural activity that interests the Jewish and Arab residents of the city and to serve as a site for open discussion. We intend to keep fighting in every legal forum for the continuation of our activity, which we believe does not deviate in the slightest from the bounds of freedom of expression.”
Beer Sheva Seeks to Evict Negev Coexistence Forum from Its Center, The Communist Party of Israel, 12 January, 2018
The city of Beer Sheva is attempting to evict the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality from its municipality-provided community center, “Multaka-Mifgash” (Encounter) following a concerted effort by far-right extremists. This is the only place where Jews and Arabs can meet in the southern city to work together to promote equality and understanding.
In Be’er Sheva, coexistence is ‘political,’ and can get you evicted, +972 Magazine, 8 January, 2018
The city of Be’er Sheva is trying to evict the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, the only place where Jews and Arabs can meet to work together and promote equality and understanding, following a concerted effort by far-right extremists.
NCF has been operating out of a Jewish-Arab community center, located in a renovated bomb shelter, since 1996 — all under one condition: that it not be used for “political activities.” Over the years, the Forum, an NGO that promotes tolerance and joint living, has scrupulously adhered to this stipulation.
Be’er Sheva Orders NGO to Vacate Bomb Shelter After Hosting Israeli Arms Industry Discussion, Ha’aretz, 25 December, 2017
The Beer Sheva municipality has ordered a nongovernmental organization to vacate a municipal bomb shelter in the next two weeks because it objects to events held there by the group, the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality.
Editorial: ‘Extremists on Both Sides’, Ha’aretz, 10 November, 2017
Beer Sheva mayor Ruvik Danilovich has threatened the human rights group Negev Coexistence Forum, which is planning to hold a public debate about Israel’s military industry and its global sales. The Forum intends to use a municipal facility, and the mayor threatened to prevent this from happening. “The plan is to hold a debate which will besmirch Israel, its values and image,” he said in accusing the group, thus placing it in the category of “extremists on both sides.”
If Danilovich really cared about Israel’s values and wasn’t just looking for groundless pretexts for making baseless accusations against the “messenger,” he would do well to attend the debate.
Knesset Holds Day of the Negev Dedicated to Issues in Bedouin Society, IATask Force, 2 November, 2017
The Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality discussed a special report submitted by the Negev Coexistence Forum outlining barriers to the integration of Bedouin women in the labor market, noting that their employment rate of 24% today has only gone up 1% since 2012, yet remains a key factor to lifting families out of poverty.
Bedouin women ‘misled’ into embroidering gown for NYFW, Al Jazeera, 13 September, 2017
The women of Desert Embroidery, who work as seamstresses under the auspices of a local association for the empowerment of Bedouin women in the Negev, helped an Israeli designer with the creation of a dress that was showcased at a fundraiser sponsored by the OR Movement, an Israeli organisation that promotes resettlement of Israeli Jews to the Negev and the Galilee.
According to Haia Noach, director of the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, an Israeli NGO, the OR movement’s objectives are to build Jewish communities on top of existing Bedouin villages.
“The OR Movement categorically does not work for the promotion of coexistence in the Negev,” Noach said.
Israeli Court Orders Bedouin to Reimburse State for Cost of Demolishing Their Homes, Haaretz, 22 August 2017
An Israeli court ruled that six residents of the Al-Araqib village near the southern city of Be’er Sheva will have to pay the state to cover the costs of demolishing their homes.
“There’s no real reason to claim payment for a unit that is budgeted annually by the state,” said Haya Noah, director of the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality. “This is another of the tricks used by the state to wear down and break up worthy civic struggles … Instead of pushing the residents to the wall, the state must provide shelter for the villagers and stop the campaign of demolitions and harassment.”
Creeping censorship in a southern Israeli town, +972 Magazine, 31 May 2017
Verbal attacks by right-wing groups and politicians in Be’er Sheva are threatening both NGOs and the local university. Over the past year they have tried to close down a joint Jewish-Arab cultural institution.
Negev Coexistence Forum CEO Haia Noach explained that the municipal bomb shelter used by Multaqa-Mifgash “is the only one out of 60 assigned to NGOs that is used for shared Jewish-Arab activities… We demand that the municipality immediately step back from canceling the assignment of the shelter [to us], and we intend to fight with every tool we have in order to guarantee Multaqa-Mifgash’s can continue.”
Compromise or conflict, The Jerusalem Report, 6 March 2017
In February the government approved a five-year plan to develop the Bedouin sector in the south “… in the areas of education and society while simultaneously taking action against illegal building and returning land to the state”, said Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel.
“It is high time that the government devote funds to support education and employment within the Bedouin community,” Arnon Peleg, the spokesman for the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, tells The Report. “However, we believe that the ‘illegal housing’ Minister Ariel is referring to is the ongoing state policy of neglect, which can only be solved by recognition of the over 30 unrecognized villages in the Negev.”
U.S. Human Rights Report Dedicates More Pages to Israel, Palestinians Than Anywhere Else, Haaretz, 3 March 2017
“In January the Supreme Court ruled again that eviction orders issued against residents of the Bedouin unrecognized village Umm al-Hiran, where they had been moved by the Israeli military regime in 1956, were valid. The NCF (Negev Coexistence Forum, an Israeli NGO) reported that construction work on Hiran progressed and expanded during the year, reaching to within a few yards of Bedouin houses in Umm al-Hiran, and residents suffered from the dust raised by construction.
Despicable terrorist? Bedouin village in Israel’s south mourns a beloved teacher, Haaretz, 26 January 2017
We’re accompanied in Umm al-Hiran by activist Haya Noah, who has been assisting the Negev Bedouin devotedly in their struggles for many years. Everyone in the village is from the Kiyan family. Salim, whose pink living room we visited last time we were here – his home hasn’t yet been demolished – is overwrought. “What happened here is a war,” he says. “They came to kill. They wanted our children to wake up to the sound of shooting. After we paid with [the life of] Yakub, we have nothing left to lose. Our situation is no better situation than Yakub’s. This is a time in which we are lost.”
PHOTOS: This is what it looks like when your village is demolished, +972 Magazine, 23 January 2017
The photographs were taken as part of the Yuṣawiruna Project, which the Negev Coexistence Forum has been running in unrecognized Bedouin villages for the last few years. The project involves groups of women in each village documenting their daily lives, including human rights violations. The women study together, learning about human rights and photography.
Tensions ran high after an incident that left a Bedouin man and a police officer dead, i24 News, 18 January 2017
Hundreds of left-wing demonstrators gathered across Israel on Wednesday evening to protest plans to demolish an Arab Bedouin village (Umm al-Hiran).
Haia Noach, director of the Negev Coexistence Forum and one of the organizers of the event, told i24news that the protest came in response to clashes earlier in the day [in Umm al-Hiran], which left an Israeli police officer and an Arab Bedouin man dead. Among others, a member of Israel’s parliament, Joint List’s Ayman Odeh, was injured.
Protesters call for independent probe into Umm al-Hiran deaths, The Jerusalem Post, 18 January 2017
Incensed both by the court-ordered demolitions of the illegally built homes, as well as by the police’s version of events which was swiftly adopted by the media, demonstrators assembled under the heading “Emergency protest: Stop killing civilians, stop demolishing homes, stop the demolition of Umm al-Hiran.”
The demonstrations were organized by peace and civil rights groups including Standing Together, the Negev Coexistence and Civil Equality Forum, the Coalition of Women for Peace and the Recognition Forum, alongside the Joint List, Meretz and Hadash.
Policeman, driver killed in clash after Israelis move to raze Bedouin village, The Washington Post, 18 January 2017
According to a 2016 report by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, 1,041 structures in Bedouin villages were demolished between 2013 and 2015. A further 1,711 structures were destroyed by their owners after receiving demolition orders.
“The house demolition policy is a complicated policy based on various laws and operated by several authorities,” the report concluded. “The enforcement authorities use many tools: eviction and demolition orders, severe penalties, imposition of costs and civil lawsuits, short time frameworks and high legal costs, making the struggle against the house demolition policy a struggle in which the authorities gain more and more power over time against Bedouin citizens.”