Like the failed peace process or the policy of severing Gaza from the West Bank, the plight of the Bedouin in Israel is one more long-term problem that there is just no time to solve.
Two Israeli sisters, 10 and 13, were wounded yesterday by Hamas rocket fire in the Negev. One of them is in critical condition with stomach wounds and underwent emergency surgery in Be’er Sheva, according to Israeli news. Maram and Atir Wakili are Bedouin; their grandfather Ibrahim, interviewed on Channel 10, explained that they live in far-flung areas where they are unable to hear sirens. And if they had heard one, they had no protected area where they could take refuge.
Ibrahim heads a council that represents unrecognized Bedouin villages. These clusters of tents and shacks scattered around the region lack basic infrastructure and services, including water lines and electricity grids, because they do not formally exist. Some have been destroyed by government order dozens of times; after more than six decades of neglect, recent government attempts to formalize their status were roundly criticized by human rights organizations and some Bedouin groups. They argued that the community had not been sufficiently consulted in the process, and that the solutions were coercive and unfair as a result.
The plan has been scrapped. The villages remain unrecognized and under-serviced. “We asked the government and the Home Command to provide us protection,” said Ibrahim Wakili, speaking of the rocket attacks. “But to this day, nothing has been done.” He continued, “We don’t want wars, we are against wars. We don’t want our children to die, not in Israel and not in Gaza.”
They are not the first Israelis physically wounded in the conflict. But perhaps because there have been so few, each story stands out. One elderly woman was at home when a rocket landed in her living room, she told reporters from her hospital bed, speaking in Russian through a translator. In Ashdod,...Read More