The village of Al-Batl is an unrecognized village situated south of Rahat. With the expansion of the southern quarter of Rahat, the village has in fact situated inside the city. There are about 1,350 inhabitants, who had arrived to the present location in 1948, having been removed by the state from the area of Ofakim. The village is named after a pool that existed in the land of the Al-Batl family, before the foundation of the state.
Services and Infrastructure
There are no education and health services in the village. These services are provided only in the town of Rahat, about 5 km away from the village centre and ten minutes ride.
The inhabitants of Al-Batl obtain water from a pipe they had drawn themselves on their own expense from Rahat, and for which they pay the maintenance costs. The village is not connected to the electric grid and the inhabitants use generators.
The main threat to the village is the expansion of the city without paying attention to the villagers and their needs. In 2007 the family was promised plots in Complex 4, but when the families came to demand theirs in 2014 they were told that the plots had already been marketed to other families from the city of Rahat. Because the Israel Lands Administration began marketing plots, every home in the village that interfered with development was destroyed. The state is interested in demolishing the village completely and therefore has been subjected to increasing house demolitions in recent years.
For example, on March 20, 2019, 5 houses were demolished one morning, which were households for about 60 people, and these were forced to move to another neighborhood and rent temporary houses there. In addition, an incitement and defamation campaign was carried out against the family by the Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, who accused the members of the al-Ataika family of criminality and obstruction of the city’s development. Residents want the State to recognize the village as an agricultural neighborhood within Rahat so they can continue to maintain their way of life, and oppose the state’s proposal to give them plots of minimal size. They are also willing to compromise on smaller agricultural plots if this leads to the issuance of permits and infrastructure to the villagers, so that they can live their lives quietly and receive their full civil rights.