The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality has released a new report concerning home demolitions and other actions taken by the State of Israel with the purpose of eviction of the Arab Bedouin communities from their lands in the Naqab/Negev.
Drone based surveillance, intimidation, police violence, interrogations, lawsuits and demolitions are some of the tactics that the State of Israel has been utilizing to expel the Bedouin communities from their native lands, violating several UN international conventions relating to housing and human rights.
The report exposes the impact that this discriminatory policy has on thirty five unrecognized villages (referred to as “illegal villages”) and the detrimental life conditions of their residents who lack basic services and are underrepresented in local governmental institutions, even though they are Israeli citizens. Since 1948, the Bedouin communities were seldom included in decision-making processes and, as of today, out of 14 administrative positions in the Bedouin Authority, there is only one Bedouin.
With the purpose to “regulate” the Bedouin communities in the Naqab, the State of Israel continues to employ a policy of dispossession and denial regarding Bedouin lands rights; forcing them to concentrate in urban localities known as “government townships”, and neglecting their cultural essence as an indigenous people. Although the State has recognized eleven Arab-Bedouin villages, twenty years later there is no difference between the recognized villages and those that remain unrecognized. Most of the recognized villages still lack approved urban planning schemes, so that residents cannot obtain building permits, resulting in their suffering from demolitions just as those living in the unrecognized villages.
During 2019, approximately 2,241 structures were demolished in the Bedouin communities in the Naqab, out of which no less than 88% were performed by the owners of the structures themselves. The number of demolitions performed by the owners of the structures before the issuance of any demolition order increased to 146%. The decision to destroy their own dwellings is frequently based on past trauma and fear of violence perpetuated by the police at the time of the procedure, as well as the threat of high fines imposed on those whose houses are demolished by law enforcement forces. In eight years (since 2013), 10,969 structures have been demolished in Bedouin communities in the Naqab.
In the report, we present only four of the Bedouin villages in danger of being evicted, but State authorities are promoting additional programs that put more than 90,000 residents of the unrecognized villages, citizens of the State of Israel, in danger of eviction.
The Project is part of a joint project funded by the European Union. The contents are the sole responsibility and NCF and should not be regarded as reflecting the position of the EU