With the emerging Israeli coalition government, which was sworn on June 13th, the United Arab List headed by Mansour Abbas negotiated among other things, to address the plight of the unrecognized Bedouin communities, in terms of infrastructure, access to basic services and housing solutions. By doing so, the coalition agreement includes the recognition of the unrecognized Bedouin villages of Khašim Zannih, Rakhamah and ʿAbdih in the first 45 days of its term; as well as the presentation of a plan that will propose housing solutions for the Bedouin citizens living in unrecognized villages in the Negev, in the first nine months.
We expect the new government to bring about a democratic solution for the recognition process of the 35 unrecognized villages, quickly providing building permits and proper infrastructure, as well as housing solutions for the Bedouin residents. The Naqab’s Bedouin citizens deserve to live a dignified life on their historical lands, like the rest of the citizens.
The new government must eradicate the policy of eviction towards its Arab citizens, end police violence and provide an adequate housing plan that is participatory and sensitive of the culture, designed to promote the wellbeing of all its citizens.
The Bedouin struggle & NCF in the media
In the few days before the signature of the new government’s guidelines, the demolition forces have not ceased their efforts. Just two weeks ago they handed out 30 demolition warrants on houses in the recognized village of Bīr Haddāj, a warrant on the house of an elderly woman in Rakhamah (to be recognized) and demolitions happened in az-Zarnūg and al-ʿArāgīb
A new report by NCF
During 2020, 2,568 structures were demolished in Arab Bedouin communities in the Naqab, of which 1,376 are residential. Self demolitions, carried out by the owners, made up 94% of all demolitions that year. Forced displacement and demolitions disrupt the mental health of mothers and thousands of children living in the Naqab. Especially during a global pandemic, recovery measures should not be discriminatory and should leave no one behind. Read more here
Advocating for digital equality in the Naqab
Photo by a photographer from az-Zarnūg, 2016
Last month, the Minister of Communications decided to exempt Bezeq (the largest Israeli telecommunications company) from distributing fiber optics for speedier internet throughout the country, placing economic gain over all other social needs. This means that residents of areas suffering the lowest quality of internet connection and an absence of market competition, will continue to be neglected and even harmed, thus building injustices upon existing inequality.
Given the gigantic gap of digital inequalities identified since the Covid-19 outbreak in the Naqab, NCF sent a letter to the Ministry of Communications demanding that Bezeq broadens its list of distribution channels to include representation from all areas of the country; increase the annual budget; and include all of the Arab and Ultra-Orthodox localities to the tender of the first year. Continue reading here
On Sunday June 27th, we partnered with the alternative language school This is Not an Ulpan (TINAU), and held a lecture about Activism in the Naqab. For those who missed it, you are welcome to access it here
TINAU is a language school using critical pedagogy and content based learning to teach Hebrew and Arabic, engaging with the contexts and the local struggles. They currently offer courses in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and online. You can check them out here