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PHOTOS: On Easter, Palestinians resurrect their destroyed village

The Palestinian village of Irqit was depopulated in the 1948 war and then almost entirely razed. Now new generations of its original residents are trying to resurrect the town and realize a decades-old High Court ruling recognizing their right to return.

Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

A youth sits near a cross overlooking the surrounding countryside in the displaced Palestinian village of Iqrit in northern Israel, April 21, 2014. Iqrit's original inhabitants were forcibly evacuated in the Nakba of 1948. Though the Israeli high court granted the residents, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right to return to their homes in 1951, the military destroyed the village and has since prevented their return. Only the village's church and cemetery remained intact, and are still used by village residents while they campaign for a full return.

A youth sits near a cross overlooking the surrounding countryside in the displaced Palestinian village of Iqrit in northern Israel, April 21, 2014. Iqrit’s original inhabitants were forcibly evacuated in the Nakba of 1948. Though the Israeli high court granted the residents, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right to return to their homes in 1951, the military destroyed the village and has since prevented their return. (photo: Activestills.org)

It would seem that Israeli authorities conspired to intertwine the story of Iqrit with the Christian narrative.

As the season of Advent approached in November 1948, the Israeli military forced residents of Iqrit and the neighboring village of Kufr Bir’im—all citizens of the newly created state of Israel—to leave their homes near the northern border with Lebanon because of military operations in the area. Advent is the Christian season of waiting before the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Iqrit’s residents were promised they could return to their homes in two weeks. They are still waiting.

In July 1951, the Israeli High Court ruled that the people of Iqrit and Kufr Bir’im had the right to return to their homes. The military refused to comply, and on Christmas Eve of that year blew up all houses in both villages.  Only the churches and cemeteries were left intact. Shortly thereafter, all village lands were confiscated by the state. As the family of the newborn Jesus fled to Egypt, so too were these villagers were forced into exile.

Since then, decades of demonstrations...

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PHOTOS: Christians face barriers to Easter worship in Jerusalem

Year after year, Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims face checkpoints and harsh treatment by Israeli police officers as they attempt to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem.

Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

An Israeli police checkpoint blocks access to the Old City of Jerusalem, April 19, 2014. The day before Easter, thousands of Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims attempt to enter Jerusalem's Old CIty to participate in the "Saturday of Light" or "Holy Fire" celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

An Israeli police checkpoint blocks access to the Old City of Jerusalem, April 19, 2014. The day before Easter, thousands of Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims attempt to enter Jerusalem’s Old CIty to participate in the “Saturday of Light” or “Holy Fire” celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims faced Israeli barriers and harsh treatment by officers as they attempted to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem this year. In scenes similar to previous years, thousands of worshipers were denied entry to the Old City of Jerusalem by police barricades as a heavy presence of security forces controlled access to the city.

Despite VIP status, even Robert H. Serry, the United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, faced similar treatment. The Washington Post reports:

But despite earlier assurances of unhindered access to the church, Serry said in a statement, the Israeli police refused to allow his group entry, saying they had orders to that effect…. The special coordinator expressed dismay at the incident and called on “all parties to respect the right of religious freedom, granting access to holy sites for worshipers of all faiths and refraining from provocations not least during religious holidays.” …

This month, the Israeli High Court of Justice agreed that Palestinians’ rights were being violated by police checkpoints and other restrictions that annually create obstacles to worship.

While Palestinian Christians and Muslims from the West Bank and Gaza have to apply for permits to enter Jerusalem for their religious celebrations, Israeli Jews (and effectively, any Jew regardless of their nationality) participate in their religious celebrations in occupied...

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Photos of the week: Mourners, matzah and marathons

This week: A bystander’s funeral, a settlement is born in Hebron, a Passover for past and present strangers in the land, remains from a house demolition, love wins in the Palestine Marathon, remembering a massacre, petitioning the Pope, and a masquerade in Al Ma’sara.

Iman Katamish (right) mourns among family members at the flag-draped body of her mother Noha, Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank, April 15, 2014. Noha Katamish, who had asthma, died from the effects of a tear gas grenade fired into her home by Israeli forces the previous day. She was the mother of one daughter.

Iman Katamish (right) mourns among family members at the flag-draped body of her mother Noha, Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank, April 15, 2014. Noha Katamish, who had asthma, died from the effects of a tear gas grenade fired into her home by Israeli forces the previous day. She was the mother of one daughter. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Israeli soldiers and policemen arrest activists during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Hebron against the Israeli settlement in the area, April 11, 2014. The protest was held against Israeli government decision to allow Israeli settlers to re-enter to a Palestinian house of Al-Rajabi family in Hebron, from which Israeli settlers were evicted in 2008.

Israeli soldiers and policemen arrest activists during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Hebron against a new Israeli settlement, April 11, 2014. The protest was held against Israeli government decision to allow Israeli settlers to re-enter to the Palestinian house of the Al-Rajabi family in Hebron, from which settlers were evicted in 2008. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

A Jewish settler family moves into the "House of Contention" settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron, April 13, 2014. Three Israeli settler families moved into a contested home in Hebron, following a years-long legal battle and culminating on Sunday with the authorization of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The new building signifies the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s. (photo: Activestills.org)

A Jewish settler family moves into the “House of Contention” settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron, April 13, 2014. Three Israeli settler families moved into a contested...

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PHOTOS: Palestinian prisoners, supporters struggle for freedom

To mark International Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, which has been commemorated annually by Palestinians worldwide since 1974, Activestills brings you a look into the lives of Palestinian prisoners and their supporters struggling to obtain freedom.

According to Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner support organization, there are currently 5,224 Palestinian men and women held in Israeli prisons. These include 183 administrative detainees; 210 children; 21 female prisoners; and 11 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Since the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip began in 1967, more than 700,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel. To this day, dozens of Palestinians are taken away from their homes, workplaces, schools, and from different checkpoints on a weekly basis. Some are detained for days, some for weeks, and some imprisoned for unlimited periods of time.

Since the start of peace negotiations in July 2013, over 2,000 Palestinians prisoners have been arrested.

The last twelve months have seen the continuation of a number of individual hunger strikes. In 2013 alone 38 prisoners launched hunger strikes for various reasons including their continued administrative detention and their re-arrest after being released in prisoner exchange deals. Ayman Tbeisheh is currently the only prisoner on hunger strike and has been striking for 48 days.

Photo: Ahmad al-Bazz, Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren Manor, Tali Mayer, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Palestinian women holding framed photos of imprisoned relatives during a rally commemorating the Palestinian Prisoners, Ramallah, West Bank, April 17, 2013. The 17th of April marks the annual Palestinian Prisoners Day. It was initially set to remind the public of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners that are imprisoned in Israeli jails, where they are routinely exposed to various methods of torture and other forms of inhumane treatment.

Palestinian women hold framed photos of imprisoned relatives during a rally commemorating the Palestinian prisoners, Ramallah, West Bank, April 17, 2013. April 17th marks Palestinian Prisoners Day. It was initially set to remind the public of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners that are imprisoned in Israeli jails, where they are routinely exposed to various methods of torture and other forms of inhumane treatment. (Activestills.org)

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PHOTOS: Palestinians mourn woman who died after inhaling tear gas

The death of a 45-year-old woman in Aida Refugee Camp exposes the ongoing abuse of crowd control weapons that all too often become lethal in the hands of Israeli forces. 

Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

Iman Katamish (right) mourns among family members at the flag-draped body of her mother Noha, Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank, April 15, 2014. Noha Katamish, who had asthma, died from the effects of a tear gas grenade fired into her home by Israeli forces the previous day. She was the mother of one daughter.

Iman Katamish (right) mourns among family members at the flag-draped body of her mother Noha, Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank, April 15, 2014. Noha Katamish, who had asthma, died from the effects of a tear gas grenade fired into her home by Israeli forces the previous day. (photo: Activestills.org)

Family and neighbors buried Noha Katamish the day after she died from the effects of tear gas fired into her home by Israeli forces in Aida Refugee Camp Monday. The 45-year-old mother of one daughter suffered from asthma, which likely compounded the choking effects of the gas grenade that was fired through her living room window as soldiers invaded the camp.

Ma’an News quoted an Israeli military spokesperson as saying that, “The death was not linked to the use of riot dispersal means by the army, including tear gas.” It is unclear how the military could make such a definitive statement before any investigation was possible.

The military systematically misuses tear gas and other crowd control weapons according to a B’Tselem report, which states that Israeli forces, “often fire tear-gas grenades directly at demonstrators with the aim of hitting them, or fire carelessly, without ensuring that demonstrators are not in the direct line of fire, in direct contravention of regulations.”

The night Katamish died, the military also employed rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and the so-called “skunk truck” which uses a water cannon to spray foul-smelling liquid that leaves a weeks-long stench behind. Many attending the funeral kept their noses covered because of the lingering effects of the skunk water.

The Katamish home is near the top of a hill in the southwest corner of Aida Camp, usually far from the clashes that frequently erupt on the opposite side of the camp at the Israeli separation...

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PHOTOS: Palestine Marathon promotes 'right to movement'

Under the theme, ‘Right to Movement,’ some 3,200 runners criss-crossed the streets of the West Bank town of Bethlehem in the second annual Palestine Marathon.

Text and photos: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

A Palestinian father and son run past the Israeli separation wall dividing the West Bank town of Bethlehem during the second annual Palestine Marathon, April 11, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

A Palestinian father and son run past the Israeli separation wall dividing the West Bank town of Bethlehem during the second annual Palestine Marathon, April 11, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

Some 3,200 runners competed in the second annual Palestine Marathon in the streets of the West Bank town of Bethlehem Friday. The race’s theme, “Right to Movement,” is based on Article 13 of the UN Human Rights Charter and highlights the many ways in which Palestinians’ movements are restricted: by the separation wall, checkpoints, roadblocks, and other aspects of the Israeli occupation. As in last year’s inaugural race, marathon runners had to complete two laps of the same route, as organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control.

According to B’Tselem, as of February there were 99 permanent checkpoints restricting the movement of Palestinians, including 59  “internal checkpoints,” located well within the West Bank. In addition, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) counted 256 surprise “flying checkpoints” in December 2013. Israel has also blocked Palestinian access to some of the main West Bank roads with 500-plus physical obstructions, such as dirt embankments, concrete blocks, iron gates and trenches. Such obstacles prevent vehicles from crossing even in emergencies, and restrict the movement of many pedestrians who may be physically unable to climb over or around them: the elderly, sick persons, pregnant women, and small children. Moreover, some 65 kilometers of roads in the West Bank are restricted for the sole, or practically sole, use of Israeli settlers. Palestinians are often barred from even crossing some of these roads with vehicles, thereby requiring them to get out of the vehicle, cross the road on foot, and find an alternative mode of transportation on the other side.

Another key case in point was Israel’s denial of permission for Palestinian Olympic runner Nader al-Masri’s to travel from his home in the Gaza Strip to compete in this year’s race. Reuters...

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PHOTOS: Publicly remembering the Deir Yassin massacre

Activists walk through a West Jerusalem neighborhood carrying the names of some 100 men, women and children massacred 66 years ago by Zionist militias in the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. They are met with curiosity, indifference and open hostility.

Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

Israeli Jewish youth watch a procession of Israeli, Palestinian, and international activists carrying names of those who died in the Deir Yassin massacre, Givat Shaul, West Jerusalem, April 10, 2014. On April 9, 1948, some 100-200 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed by the extremist Zionist militias the Irgun and Stern Gang (Lehi) in the village of Deir Yassin. The Israeli activist group Zochrot ("remembering") organizes an annual procession to commemorate those killed and to recount the history of the village. (photo: Activestills.org)

Israeli Jewish youth watch a procession of Israeli, Palestinian, and international activists carrying names of those who died in the Deir Yassin massacre, Givat Shaul, West Jerusalem, April 10, 2014. On April 9, 1948, some 100-200 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed by the extremist Zionist militias the Irgun and Stern Gang (Lehi) in the village of Deir Yassin. The Israeli activist group Zochrot (“remembering”) organizes an annual procession to commemorate those killed and to recount the history of the village. (photo: Activestills.org)

Jewish Israeli, Palestinian, and international activists carried three black panels bearing some 100 names through the streets of what is now the Givat Shaul neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Thursday. They marched to commemorate the massacre and displacement of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin by Zionist militias 66 years ago on April 9, 1948. Organized by the Israeli organization Zochrot, whose name means “remembering,” the event memorialized those killed and recounted the village’s history to Israeli passers-by, who were at times curious, indifferent and hostile.

A woman passing the procession as it assembled on Kanfey Nesharim Street complained to her companion, “Oh, it must be that Deir Yassin crap.” A young worker in a sandwich shop asked, “What is this?” and snapped a photo with his iPhone. Just three days prior, vandals had spray-painted “Death to Arabs” on grave markers in Deir Yassin’s cemetery.

As the participants carried the names along what was once the main street of a thriving Palestinian village, it was most often children who stopped to...

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Photos of the week: Tear gas returned to sender

This week: returning tear gas, glaring settlers, demolishing Negev Bedouin homes, praying at the checkpoint, touring Hebron, housing protests and confronting soldiers

A Palestinian protester throws a gas canister back at Israeli police near the Israeli Ofer military prison in West Bank town of Betunia on April 4, 2014. The protest was calling on the the release of Palestinian political prisoners, including those who Israeli was supposed to release this month, as part of the Israeli Palestinian negotiations. (photo: Activestills.org)

A Palestinian protester throws a gas canister back at Israeli police near the Israeli Ofer military prison in the West Bank town of Betunia on April 4, 2014. The protest was calling for the the release of Palestinian political prisoners, including those whom Israel had promised to release this month, as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Palestinian protesters throw stones during clashes with the Israeli army near the Ofer military prison in West Bank town of Betunia, April 4, 2014. The protest was calling on the the release of Palestinian political prisoners, including those who Israeli was supposed to release this month, as part of the Israeli Palestinian negotiations. (photo: Activestills.org)

Palestinian protesters throw stones during clashes with the Israeli army near the Ofer military prison in the West Bank town of Betunia, April 4, 2014. The protest was calling for the the release of Palestinian political prisoners, including those whom Israel had promised to release this month as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Israeli settlers, among them Baruch Marzel, stands in the entrance to Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the West Bank city of Hebron. Tel Rumeida is home to some of Hebron's most extremist settlers. April 4, 2014. Breaking the Silence is an organization of Israeli army veterans who seek to expose the reality of their military's occupation of the Palestinian territories. (photo: Activestills.org)

Israeli settlers, among them Baruch Marzel, stand at the entrance to Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the West Bank city of Hebron during a tour led by the organization Breaking the Silence, April 4, 2014. Tel Rumeida is home to some of Hebron’s most extreme settlers. Breaking the Silence is an organization of Israeli army...

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Photos of the week: From Land Day rallies to life in a refugee camp

This week, Land Day commemorations, rape culture protests, asylum seeker rallies, anti-wall demonstrations, and refugee camp life.

Israeli border police officer chases Palestinian children during land day demonstration in Damascus gate, East Jerusalem on 30 , March 2014 Land Day is held on the anniversary of March 30, 1976, when Palestinian villages and cities across the country witnessed mass demonstrations against the state's plans to expropriate 2,000 hectares of land in Israel's Galilee region. In coordination with the military, some 4,000 police officers were dispatched to quell the unrest. At the end of the day, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by state security forces.

An Israeli border police officer chases Palestinian children during a Land Day demonstration in Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem on March 30, 2014. Land Day is held on the anniversary of March 30, 1976, when Palestinian villages and cities across the country witnessed mass demonstrations against the state’s plans to expropriate 2,000 hectares of land in the Galilee region. In coordination with the military, some 4,000 police officers were dispatched to quell the unrest. At the end of the day, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by state forces. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Protesters during a demonstration against Rape Culture, Tel Aviv, March 29, 2014. Hundreds protested against 'rape culture' and violence against women, in respond to several sexual violence cases published last week. One of the cases is a complaint filled against MK Silvan Shalom by a former worker.

Protesters during a demonstration against “rape culture”, Tel Aviv, March 29, 2014. Hundreds protested against violence against women in response to several cases of sexual violence reported last week. One of the cases is a complaint filed against MK Silvan Shalom by a former worker. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian man is arrested by Israeli border police during a demonstration marking Land Day around the old city in East Jerusalem on March 29, 2014. Land Day is held every year to mark the deaths of six Palestinians protesters at the hands of Israeli police and troops during mass demonstrations on March 30, 1976, against plans to confiscate Arab land in Galilee.

A Palestinian man is arrested by Israeli border police during a demonstration...

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Out of sight, out of mind: Right-wing students tear down Activestills photo exhibit

Text by Shiraz Grinbaum
Photos by Shiraz Grinbaum, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org

Right-wing students vandalized an Activestills photo exhibition at an academic conference entitled “Visual Culture Between Obedience and Resistance,” a few hours before the opening reception was to take place in Ramat Gan on Sunday.

The Activestills photography collective was invited to exhibit 70 images from its archives and present them at the central vitrine in the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design’s main entrance hall for a period of two days, to accompany the conference held in a nearby auditorium.

Activestills exhibition seen at final stages of preparations, March 28, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Activestills exhibition seen in final stages of preparations, March 28, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

A few hours after the photographs were put in place, organizers of the conference — Dr. Michal Gal, head of the visual culture faculty, and Dr. Michal Chaham, a lecturer — realized the whole exhibition had been taken down, allegedly by students, and thrown in the garbage. After consulting with Activestills, the organizers decided to keep the torn frames and rehang what remained of the  photos, keeping the untidy order and the torn pieces to reflect that the destruction had made the exhibition interactive; the remounted exhibition reflected the act of vandalism.

Students at Shenkar Collage of Engineering and Design watching a photo exhibit of Activestills photos during a conference titled "Visual Culture Between Obedience and Resistance", Ramat Gan city, Israel, March 30, 2014. ( (Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org))

Students at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design view a photo exhibit of Activestills photos during a conference titled “Visual Culture Between Obedience and Resistance”, Ramat Gan, Israel, March 30, 2014. (Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

As the conference opened, dozens of angry students gathered at the entrance to the hall. Political arguments — in opposition to and in support of the exhibition — filled the already tense air.

The students soon split into two groups. The first group denounced the “politicization” of the academic institution’s public space and claimed the exhibition “hurt its feelings.” Composed of right-wingers, this group derided the photos, cursed the photographers and targeted their outspoken criticisms at the head of the faculty for allowing the images to be displayed. Many among them asserted, “this is our public space and I don’t want to see...

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Photos of the week: Death in Jenin and dissent in Jerusalem

This week: Killings in Jenin followed by clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank, housing and labor protests in Israel, refugee demonstrations in Europe, and a ‘price tag’ attack in Beit Hanina.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians participate in a funeral of three Palestinians that were killed early Saturday by Israeli army forces in Jenin Refugee Camp, Jenin, West Bank, March 22, 2014. The three were identified as Hamza Abu al-Haija (22), Mahmoud Abu Zeina (27) and Yazan Jabarin, 22 years old. Seven others were injured during clashes that followed as Israeli soldiers raided the camp. Israeli military forces have killed 59 Palestinians and injured 904 since the resumption of peace negotiations with Israel in July, 2013. (photo: Activestills.org)

Tens of thousands of Palestinians participate in a funeral for three Palestinians who were killed early Saturday by Israeli army forces in Jenin Refugee Camp, West Bank, March 22, 2014. The three were identified as Hamza Abu al-Haija (22), Mahmoud Abu Zeina (27) and Yazan Jabarin, (22). Seven others were injured during clashes that followed as Israeli soldiers raided the camp. Israeli military forces have killed 59 Palestinians and injured 904 since the resumption of peace negotiations with Israel in July, 2013. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian protester arrested by Israeli border police during clashes at Damascus Gate, during a solidarity protest with Jenin Refugee Camp, East Jeruslaem, on March 22, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in Jerusalem against the killing of three Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp. Six protesters were arrested.

A Palestinian protester is arrested by Israeli border police during clashes at Damascus Gate as dozens protested the killing of three Palestinians by Israeli forces in Jenin Refugee Camp, East Jeruslaem, on March 22, 2014. Six protesters were arrested. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Youth throw stones at Israeli soldiers during the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum, East of Qalqiliya, West Bank, on march 21, 2014. Kafr Qaddum started to organize regular demonstrations in July 2011 protesting against the blocking of the main road, east of the village, which used to linked it to Nablus.

Youth throw stones at Israeli soldiers during the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum, East of Qalqiliya, West Bank, on march 21, 2014. Kafr...

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PHOTOS: Police evacuate families from working-class Tel Aviv neighborhood

After lengthy legal battle, six families of Givat Amal lose their homes.

Photos by: Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren Manor/Activestills.org, Text by Edo Konrad

Police evicted six families from the Givat Amal neighborhood in northern Tel Aviv Thursday morning, after they lost a lengthy court battle for their rights to the land. Residents and community activists gathered in the neighborhood in an attempt to trying to stop the eviction. The residents, who the state placed in the working-class neighborhood soon after its founding in the 1950s, have been leading a struggle to recognize their rights to the property, which were sold to an Israeli businessman in the 1970s.

Israeli police officers during the evacuation of the Givat Amal neighborhood in north Tel Aviv. (photo by Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

Israeli police officers during the evacuation of the Givat Amal neighborhood in north Tel Aviv. (Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

The land has since exchanged hands to another Israeli mogul, Yitzhak Tshuva, who is planning to turn the neighborhood, comprised of single-family homes and shacks sitting in the heart of one of Tel Aviv’s most expensive neighborhoods, into six high-rise towers.

Five of the families reached an agreement to evacuate, which offered compensation to the residents. One woman, Rivka Chilovsky, refused the agreement and is resisting the evacuation of her home.

Policemen hold down a protester during the evacuation of the Givat Amal neighborhood. Protesters chanted slogans and burned tires. (photo: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

Policemen hold down a protester during the evacuation of the Givat Amal neighborhood. Protesters chanted slogans and burned tires. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Rivka Chilovsky, resident of Givat Amal collapses after police officers enter to her house to connivence her to evacuate, Tel Aviv, March 27, 2014.

Rivka Chilovsky, resident of Givat Amal collapses after police officers enter to her house to convince her to evacuate, Tel Aviv, March 27, 2014. (Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) responded to the evacuation by stating that, “on the same day that he sealed a deal to sell off our natural gas, Tshuva is kicking out six families from their homes onto the street. The demands of the residents who were sent to the live in the area by the state in the 1950s are basic...

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PHOTOS: A life of discrimination for Negev Bedouin

In honor of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Negev Coexistence Forum For Civil Equality and Activestills highlight the immense gaps between the recognized Bedouin villages and the Jewish towns in the Negev. The conclusion is clear: while the basic rights of the Bedouin residents have been recognized by the government, they are still violated on a regular basis.

Text: Michal Rotam / Negev Coexistence Forum For Civil Equality

Photos: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org

The entrance to Carmit Jewish village, Negev, Israel.

The entrance to Jewish village of Carmit, Negev, Israel.

Over the past decade, the Israeli government decided to recognize 13 previously unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. While the recognition of two of the villages is still in its initial stage, the other eleven have already been geographically recognized. However, despite the change in policy, which was supposed to provide services, infrastructure and detailed planning for these villages, not much has changed much on the ground.

In practice, in the vast majority of these villages still lack infrastructure; the services are poor and inadequate for the large number of residents; and the policy of house demolitions as well preventing Bedouin from receiving building permits continue.

At the same time, over the last decade, three new Jewish towns were established in the Negev area – two of which were settled by religious Jews. Another four Jewish towns are currently in the advanced planning stages. These towns, populated by a relatively small number of residents, enjoy a variety of services allocated by the government, and receive building permits for new structures as well as extensions to existing ones. In addition, plans for at least twelve more towns are now on the agenda. Most, if not all, are designated for Israel’s Jewish population.

The entrance to Umm Batin village, Negev, Israel.

The entrance to the Bedouin village of Umm Batin, Negev, Israel.

House demolitions

Given the denial of building permits in most of the recognized villages, their residents are subjected to a government policy of house demolitions, similar to the situation in the unrecognized villages. Both new houses, which are built due to population growth, as well as houses that were have been even slightly renovated, are considered illegal and are demolished...

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