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  • 15 years on, it seems October 2000 killings weren't an aberration

    Israel's 'new' policy of shooting stone throwers is directed exclusively against Arabs from East Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev), while ensuring that customary rules of engagement are applied to Jewish stone throwers. By Mohammad Bassam The Israeli security cabinet, backed by the attorney general, recently approved a series of measures that, according to the government, are meant to deter Palestinians from throwing stones. Along with the collective punishment of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents, the government permitted the police to use open gunfire with live bullets, to ignore the distinction between adult and child stone-throwers, and to use .22 caliber “Ruger” sniper…

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  • Photo exhibit challenges Zionism's most popular myth

    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…

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  • PHOTOS: Construction for Jewish town to replace Bedouin village draws ire

    Israel is moving forward with a controversial plan to outright replace a Bedouin village with a Jewish town in the Negev/Naqab. About 200 Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel took part in a demonstration on Thursday in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel, where the state plans to destroy the village and replace it with a new Jewish town called ‘Hiran.’ The protestors chanted slogans, such as, “No to demolitions,” and “No to racism,” and some took to social media to share images and posts under the hashtag #Save_UmAlHiran. A number of members of the Knesset Joint…

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  • Who wants to talk about the murder of Bedouin women?

    The Israeli media has time to talk about Iran, the security budget, and Beit El. That means that when Arab women are murdered, there are always more important issues to cover.  Six Arab women have been murdered in Israel since the beginning of the year — four of them in the last month alone. I know that some of you are probably thinking that Arabs are a primitive, violent and shallow people. Well, yes. Unfortunately there are many of those kinds of people in Arab society. These creatures usually come in the form of men. They exist in Hebrew and…

  • The 'new Zionism' is turning Negev Bedouin into a myth

    As the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran prepares to be replaced by a Jewish town with a near-identical name, its residents are offering solutions based on real co-existence.  By Ariel Dloomy In July 2007 I witnessed one of the saddest events of my life. Hundreds of security force personnel descended upon the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in order to evict the residents and demolish their homes. The police removed cradles together with the infants while bulldozers razed the homes and uprooted olive trees from the yards. Dozens of Jewish youth hired by the demolition contractor loaded residents’ personal belongings…

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  • A living legacy of displacement

    The impulses that drove the dispossession of the 1948 war are still acted on today, on both sides of the borders it forged. “Did you know I’m afraid of sleeping? … I’m scared of sleeping and waking to find myself in a strange land whose language I can’t speak. I’m scared I won’t wake up.” —Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun There is an old Palestinian house on Ba’al HaTurim Street in Jaffa that sits quietly behind the trees. It is the kind of building that one could walk past every day and not see. I failed to notice it until…

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  • Bedouin village of Atir to be replaced with forest of ‘Yatir’

    Atir is hardly the first case in which forestation has been used by the Israeli government and the JNF as a method of displacement and land grabbing against Palestinians — on both sides of the Green Line. “Apparently in Israeli democracy, the state is permitted to uproot Arabs from their homes and plant trees in their place.” At first glance, Ali Abu Al-Qi’an’s comment would appear to be a joke or an exaggerated statement – but it is neither. In one sentence, Ali, an Arab Bedouin citizen of Israel, summarized the grim fate of his village of Atir, located in the…

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  • Israel Supreme Court: Bedouin have no indigenous rights

    A recent Supreme Court ruling refusing to recognize Bedouin land rights sets a legal precedent for the state to endlessly appropriate Palestinian lands.  Israel's Supreme Court made a significant ruling this week, setting a precedent for the state to approve the expropriation of Palestinian land in future cases, specifically inside Israel. The court rejected a five-year old petition filed by the Al Uqbi family to recognize its ownership over a large plot of land in Israel's Negev/Naqab Desert. The land also includes the unrecognized village Al Arakib, which is still in its own legal battle for recognition from the stae. [tmwinpost] According to Attorney Michael…

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  • Supreme Court gives al-Araqib the right to fight for its land

    As far as the state was concerned, not only do the indigenous people of the Negev have no right to land, they didn't even have the right to argue in court that they do. The Supreme Court rejects that position. By Michal Rotem For years, the battleground of the Negev Bedouin in Israel has existed on multiple fronts. The legal front, which is mostly hidden from the public, is one of the more important but most difficult fronts. Due to a complex web of laws designed to declare Bedouin land as state land, there have been far more losses than…

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  • PHOTOS: Joint List marches for unrecognized Bedouin villages

    Arab leaders begin four-day march across Negev to pressure Israeli government to recognize dozens of villages that lack electricity and running water. Photos: Oren Ziv, text: Yael Maron Dozens of members of the Joint List — including chairman Ayman Odeh, Dov Khenin and other future members of Knesset — marched alongside other Arab leaders Thursday on a four-day trip through the Negev/Naqab's unrecognized Bedouin villages. They were joined by representatives of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages. The march is set to end at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Sunday. Odeh, who opened…

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  • How many cars does it take for a Bedouin village to vote?

    While the majority of Jewish Israelis will have no problem voting on election day, some Bedouin will be forced to travel up to 40 kilometers simply to participate in Israel's democracy. By Khalil Alamour and Amjad Iraqi In the run-up to every election day in Israel, polling stations are set up in various locations in every city and town to ensure that residents have easy access to cast their votes. Most towns also have public transportation that takes residents to the stations, or to their original hometowns in other parts of the country where they are registered to vote. This…

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  • To fight police violence, address their racism

    The killing of a young Bedouin man from Rahat and the death of another during the funeral have deepened the city's lack of faith in the authorities. Only anti-racism education for police and young people alike can stop the landslide. By Kher Albaz The Or Commission, which investigated the shooting deaths of 13 Arab demonstrators in October 2000, found serious flaws in the Israeli police's actions against Arab citizens. The atmosphere within the Israeli police, then and apparently now, can be summed up by one sentence from the committee’s recommendations: “The police must implemented an approach that views Israeli Arabs…

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  • PHOTOS: Police kill Bedouin man, wound dozens at funeral

    Israeli police clash with Bedouin protesters during the funeral of Sami Ja'ar, who was shot by officers last week during a police operation in the southern city of Rahat. Text by Michal Rotem Photos by Oren Ziv/ Israeli police shot and killed 43-year-old Sami Ziadna and wounded a 50-year-old man, along with dozens of others Sunday night during clashes that erupted at a funeral in the southern city of Rahat. Police fired live bullets, tear gas and sound grenades during the funeral of Sami Ja'ar, who was shot to death in the early hours of Thursday morning during a police…

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