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 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 the Bedouin village of Umm Batin, Negev, Israel.
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...Read More