A new book examines the ways in which Israel's policies of displacement in the Negev are also drastically changing the environment where hundreds of thousands live. By Tom Pessah What do you think of when you think of a desert? An area with little precipitation, mostly uninhabited except perhaps by nomads? An empty place with no history, waiting to be filled with people and vegetation? A new book by professor of architecture Eyal Weizman and photographer Fazal Sheikh unpacks these assumptions, and exposes how they are being used by Israel in displacing its Bedouin citizens in the Negev. The…Read More... | 5 Comments
Demonstrators march outside Be'er Sheva court, calling on the government not to evacuate two unrecognized Bedouin villages. Text by Yael Marom, photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Over 300 demonstrators marched outside the Be'er Sheva District Court Thursday against the planned demolition of two unrecognized Bedouin villages, Umm al-Hiran and Atir, in Israel's Negev Desert. Two villages are slated to be replaced by a Jewish-only community and a Jewish National Fund forest, respectively The protesters, Arabs and Jews, accompanied by members of Knesset from the Joint List and Meretz's Issawi Freij, chanted "We will not move from Atir and Umm al-Hiran," and…Read More... | 6 Comments
The Negev comprises two thirds of Israel's territory, but only 10 percent of citizens lives there. It is thus no coincidence that the Jewish settlement of Hiran is being planned directly atop the ruins of the Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran. This is a test for all Israelis, and I really hope we do not fail. By Michal Rotem On January 17, Israel’s Supreme Court judges decided not to hold an additional hearing on the future of the Bedouin villages Atir and Umm al-Hiran. Legally speaking, this means that the court’s May decision, according to which there is no barrier to…Read More... | 9 Comments
According to a recent court ruling, only Bedouin need to be concerned about illegal construction. Israeli Jews, it turns out, are immune to home demolitions. By Michal Rotem (translated by Ofer Neiman) The Be'er Sheva Magistrates Court recently overturned an indictment against a Jewish Israeli for building three guest houses without a permit, due to "abuse of process." In short, the defendant argued that enforcement had been selective, since the entire nearby Jewish community of Azuz — located in Israel's Negev Desert — had been built without permits in the same area in which the defendant operates his guest rooms.…Read More... | 2 Comments
Despite DNA evidence and a failed lie detector test, the police officer who allegedly shot and killed Sami al-Jaar will most likely not face criminal charges. By John Brown* (translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) New and disturbing details on the deadly shooting of a Bedouin man by an Israeli police officer have come to light, after +972's Hebrew site Local Call reported that the Police Investigations Department (PID) intends to close the case on grounds of "insufficient evidence." According to the findings, the officer in question was found to be lying in a polygraph test, and a DNA test concluded he fired the…Read More...
'It is infuriating to see a mosque destroyed. Those who destroy a mosque won't have a problem destroying my children's home.' By Michal Rotem Israeli Police officers accompanied by bulldozers destroyed a mosque Wednesday morning in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhamah in the Negev Desert. [tmwinpost] Salima Azazma, one of the residents of the village, told +972's Hebrew sister site, Local Call, that "It is infuriating to see a mosque be destroyed. Those who destroy a mosque won't have a problem destroying my children's home." "I am sure that these kinds of things happening in unrecognized villages will turn…Read More... | 3 Comments
Activestills selects the most powerful, important and moving images of 2015 — in chronological order. Photos by: Oren Ziv, Ahmad al-Bazz, Yotam Ronen, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Keren Manor, Hosam Salem, Ezz Zanoun, Anne Paq, Shiraz Grinbaum Editing: Anka Mirkin, Merieke Lauken / Activestills.orgRead More...
As we mark International Human Rights Day, it is worth challenging the myth that Israel's High Court is the defender of human rights in Israel. By Noam Rotem When he woke up from his nightmare one morning, Mr. Israeli discovered that the Israeli High Court had turned into a giant insect. Tasked with balancing the sickening populism of the legislative branch and fighting to protect Israeli democracy, the High Court has become the legal rubber stamp for the racist caprices of its overlords. This week, as we marked International Human Rights Day, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority…Read More... | 21 Comments
The residents of a Bedouin neighborhood in northern Israel are vowing to continue their public struggle against efforts to evacuate them from their land. Residents of Ramya, who live in tin shacks and sheds within the Galilee city of Karmiel, have been struggling for years against the attempt to uproot them from their homes. The state expropriated Ramya residents' land in 1976, and their efforts to thwart evacuation have been going for decades. A recent decision by the Supreme Court once again leaves residents facing the danger of demolition and forced eviction.Read More...
The Israeli government approves a plan for five new settlements in the Negev/Naqab. Rights group says the plan, like Israel's overall policy regarding its Bedouin citizens, is discriminatory. The Israeli government on Sunday approved a plan for five new Jewish settlements to be built in the Negev (Naqab) in the south of Israel. The plan, which was submitted by Housing Minister Yoav Galant of Kulanu, threatens to displace thousands of Bedouin from their homes. [tmwinpost] Two of the settlements are due to be built where Bedouin villages already exist, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). The…Read More... | 36 Comments
Agents of Israel's security services raid the homes of several young Bedouin activists, summon them for 'friendly chats' and attempt to coax them into suppressing protests they claim undermine the 'fundamental principles of the state.' By John Brown* It's Tuesday, just after midnight in the Bedouin town of Lakia in the Negev Desert. Black jeeps carrying approximately 15 plainclothes Shin Bet agents come to a screeching halt in front of one of the houses before bursting into it. The agents wake all the residents, including a young girl with a flashlight to her face, and take all the men outside. The men…Read More... | 22 Comments
Things have been quiet in the Negev lately. So the authorities decided to take advantage of this period of relative calm and, while everybody’s attention was elsewhere, sent the bulldozers to destroy the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al Araqib — for the 90th time. By Avi Blecherman Bulldozers returned to the Israeli Bedouin village of Al Araqib on Wednesday, along with police officers and someone from the Israel Land Authority. For the 90th (!) time, bulldozers destroyed the shacks and lean-tos the villagers have been living in since the authorities destroyed their original brick homes just over five years ago. They…Read More...
Using haunting aerial photographs of the Negev Desert, American artist Fazal Sheikh challenges the notion that the desert was an unpopulated land before Zionism made it bloom. By Tom Pessah In “Caravan Song,” the late Arik Einstein sings of a caravan of Zionist immigration and settlement that began in the 19th century and continues to this day. Most of the song is in his own voice, apart from one line in which he lovingly imitates David Ben-Gurion promising that the Negev will bloom. It is less acceptable today to talk of a people without a land populating a land…Read More... | 1 Comment
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