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WATCH: Jewish settlers await destruction of Bedouin village in Negev

Jewish settlers have been camped out in an illegal settlement in the Negev (Naqab) forest of Yatir for two and a half years, waiting for the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hieran to be razed so they can move in and build an exclusively-Jewish settlement on its ruins.

By Nadia Ben-Youssef

A sign leading the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hieran. (photo: Adalah)

Deep within Yatir Forest in the Negev (Naqab), on “this side” of the Green Line, there is a temporary settlement where 30 settler families are waiting. Waiting for the promised moment when the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hieran is destroyed; waiting for its roughly 500 residents to be forcibly displaced; and waiting for their exclusively-Jewish town of Hiran to be built in its place.

Over the last two and a half years that I have lived in Israel, I’ve spent a fair amount of time learning the roads to villages that, according to official Israeli maps, do not exist. I know the names of historical villages that Israel calls “illegal,” and I’ve spoken to countless Israeli citizens whom the state has labeled “criminal trespassers” for living on their ancestral lands. I’m not unfamiliar with the alternate universe of the Negev (Naqab), and have even become accustomed to issuing a daily self-reminder to believe what I see. And yet, last week I found myself wandering about in a state of utter bewilderment.

There had been rumors that such an encampment existed. But as the temporary settlement – let us call it an outpost – was established in contravention of the Regional Master Plan, not even the residents of Umm al-Hieran had been able to locate it. Its establishment has also escaped the public legal challenge to the demolition and eviction of Umm al-Hieran and to the government’s plans to establish Hiran on its ruins. Indeed, even in the last two weeks, the nearly decade-long legal procedures have continued to tick along with all semblance of democracy, while the desired facts have already been established on the ground.

In Israeli courts, the people of Umm al-Hieran, represented by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, have established, and the state has acknowledged, that the village was created by military order in 1956. The people have established, and the state has acknowledged, that on August 28, 1957, the Israeli Military Government leased the Abu al-Qi’an tribe 7,000 dunums of land for residence, agriculture and grazing. The State Attorney, while conceding those facts, claimed that as they were Bedouin, the state expected them to “live under the stars” and not to build actual brick-and-mortar homes, which it considers illegal. In court last Thursday, Attorney Suhad Bishara of Adalah called this assumption “inhumane.”

A JNF-funded caravan is home to settlers of the future town “Hiran,” slated to be built on top of the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hieran (photo: Adalah)

Over the last 57 years, the people of Umm al-Hieran have indeed built houses, paved roads, dug wells for collecting rainwater, and farmed the land they leased from Israel. But as one of 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages, the state has deliberately denied the people of Umm al-Hieran – citizens of Israel – access to all basic services including water, electricity and sewage in order to pressure them to abandon the land and their rural life and to move to the government-planned urban township of Hura.

As Sheikh Farhoud Abu al-Qi’an stated in a testimony given to one of the planning committees, “Life has been tough, but I worked hard to deal with the situation, and the residents have developed this place into a beautiful and wonderful village.”

According to Shmuel, the spokesman for the Hiran settlers, they have been preparing for the move onto the land of Umm al-Hieran for four years, and have been living in the outpost in the forest – which has been connected to water and electricity and even benefits from state recycling services  – for two and a half years. Shmuel believes and tells anyone who asks that the squatting Bedouin have “recently settled there.” This is certainly a convenient narrative, and one that makes a fantastic fairy tale for the Hiran Children’s Channel, a creative outpost initiative posted on YouTube.

With his apparent gift of prophecy, Shmuel tells us that the Hiran pioneers will be living on their promised land within one year. Never mind that an Israeli Supreme Court hearing to decide on the constitutionality of displacing one group of people in order to replace them with another is set for September 2013. “It’s ideological,” says Shmuel.

And it seems that the rest of this story, a disturbing microcosm of the Zionist ethnocratic plans for all historic Palestine, is just another soon-to-be-forgotten (or, better yet, never-learned) detail.

Nadia Ben-Youssef is a human rights lawyer living in the Naqab and serving as an international advocacy consultant for Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Related:
Revisions to Prawer Plan for Negev Bedouin expose the farce of law in Israel

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Palestinan

      Its racism ,its terrorism , its fascism,its Zionism.

      Reply to Comment
    2. XYZ

      Notice in this article how having Jews living even within the supposedly hallowed (by many “progressives”) Green Line has them condemned for suppsedly being “settlers. ” Ths clearly shows for many “progressives”, even here at 972 any Jewish presence anywhere in the country is inherently illegimate. Of course, this makes Nadia herself a “settler”. I don’t reallly understand how she reconciles this in her mind. No matter where she lives, even if it is in Tel Aviv, she came to live in Israel “illegally” as the Palestinians see it

      Reply to Comment
      • Yonatan

        National states have defined boundaries. Where is a map defining Israel’s boundaries?

        Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        The Bedouins have been livings in the Negev for thousands of years, way before the first Zionist ever dreamed of leaving his shtetl.

        Sorry XYZ, but the sad truth is that modern-day Jews are not really native to Palestine, and hence most of them ARE settlers.

        Israel was built on the ruins of Palestine, and it is high time Israelis fessed up to it and acknowledged that the native peoples have inalienable rights to their ancestral lands.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Thousands of years LMAO

          Late Ottoman period
          Most of the Negev Bedouin tribes migrated to the Negev from the Arabian Desert, Transjordan, Egypt, and the Sinai from the 18th century onwards.[21][22]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negev_Bedouin#Early_history

          Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            Bedouins have been inhabiting the deserts of the Middle East for thousands of years, including the Sinai and Negev. Our common forefather, Abraham, was a Bedouin.

            Meanwhile, modern Jews have nothing to do with Abraham or his Bedouin progeny.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Not all nomads are Bedouin, not all Bedouin are bedoun.

            Reply to Comment
          • Rauna

            not all “jews” from Russia are actually jews.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Not all Palestinian Arabs are Canaanites, and so on, yes.

            Reply to Comment
      • XYZ, a question.

        This community was specifically created by military order. Its residents have been living there for fifty-seven years. Now their presence there is no longer convenient and they are to be moved on so that a community of another ethnicity may take their place.

        Do you support this?

        This does mirror what is happening today in the West Bank. Palestinian Israelis in the Green Line were under military law once too, and even today they do not enjoy the same legal protections and rights that Jewish Israelis have. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Negev. The state itself considers Palestinian presence in certain areas to be illegitimate and undesirable, and whole communities – on both sides of the Green Line – are threatened with displacement and demolition because of that. So I’m not surprised that Nadia’s choice of language reflects these parallels. The more pressing question morally is surely not ‘Do 972 bloggers see my presence here as legitimate?’ but more ‘Do I accept this state policy as legitimate?’. 972 bloggers have no power to push you out of your home on the basis of what you are, but Bedouin citizens in the Negev don’t have any such security. They’re Arabs. You’re Jewish. That’s the way of it.

        It may be an uncomfortable reminder, but the state was built on actions such as this. Those actions are inherently illegitimate and immoral. Jewish presence in the land doesn’t have to be. It depends more what you want to be present as – someone who is part of a Judaization program in the Negev? A member of a Jewish-only settlement in the West Bank? Of course there is no way that this could be acceptable, because what you’re asking for is not so much acceptance as recognition of supremacy. But there are other ways to live than this.

        Reply to Comment
        • Should Israel be obligated to honor its own forced obligations of the past? The village was created by military order in 1956. This is structurally similar to the incorporation of municipalities through which Israel has contoured Jewish settlement. If the State can withdraw is prior forced sanction regardless of the livelihood consequences of the present, then individuals do not exist save as elements in State incorporation. Towns are not for people; people are for towns–and the State. This logic, which seemingly drives much legal thought in Israel, cannot but be infected with racism in a State mandated to let a prefered race entry. If the State is forced to honor its past–exigencies–the infection might be reversed.

          Reply to Comment
      • aristeides

        That’s right. Inherently illegitimate.

        Reply to Comment
    3. The Trespasser

      That Bedouin is saying at 04:29

      “We have been living here for 60 years…and we will stay here forever”

      Obviously, these are not “ancestral” lands of any kind.

      Reply to Comment
      • Palestinan

        How about a Khazarian from Poland claiming Palestine to be his/her ancestral homeland ….ha ha ha

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Polish European Jewish Khazarian Canaanite Caucasians.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            Polish European Jewish Khazarian Caucasians.When people convert their genes remain intact.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            So, by your logic, Canaanite Yemenite Syrian Iraqi Persian Palestinian Jews are eligible to claim Palestine as their ancestral lands.

            Fair enough.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            In case they do belong to Palestine , yes.Be careful it doesnt give them the right to displace the Palestinians.
            Logically that doesnt include your president and prime minister ,luckily.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Belong to Palestine.

            Ok.

            And for how many generations should one reside in Palestine to start belonging to it?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            We were talking about ancestral land.Check “ancestor” .

            In regard to your question,take the Armenian Palestinians for example.They represent the best example of non-Arab Palestinians who are proud of their Armenian identity and heritage,and yet they are proud Palestinians.The only way I can tell if a Palestinian is Armenian is from his/her last name.They intermingled with the Palestinian society unlike the Jewish immigrants who wanted to displace the Palestinians and have their own state.Maybe the word “intermingle” doesnt exist in your dictionaries,maybe thats the problem.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Ancestral – for how many generations should have one’s ancestors lived in Palestine so lands they are living on become “ancestral”?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            Palestine was once under the rule of the crusades for 88 years,does it mean Palestine was the ancestral land of the Europeans who were born there during their rule ?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Here we come again XD
            I’m asking a simple question, but you are refraining from answering it.

            With activists like you, the Palestinian cause is hopeless.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            There isnt a a mathematical formula,the question itself makes no sense,its like asking how many generations should have Africans’ ancestors lived in England so lands they are living on become ancestral !The vast majority of your ancestors never set foot in Palestine,get over that!

            The Palestinian cause wouldn’t exist if it werent for people like you !

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I’m only trying to determine your criterion of “belong to Palestine” and “does not belong to Palestine”.

            Still, no clear answer.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Very good point about the Armenians. They have been here for thousands of years (I believe since at least 3rd century). They consider themselves Palestinians, but are proud of their Armenian heritage and most of them speak fluent Armenian. The only way you can tell an Armenian from a Palestinian is through their last names.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >They consider themselves Palestinians, but are proud of their Armenian heritage and most of them speak fluent Armenian

            They are considering themselves Armenians first and foremost.

            They might not be telling that to you, for obvious reasons, but being one of world’s most ancient nations they really have little need or desire to associate with some modern toponym.

            A question: For how many generations did their ancestors had to reside in Judea/Palestine to become Palestinians?

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            I’m speaking of the Armenians I know (and I know many). I don’t know one that doesn’t consider on some level as belonging to the paletinian people. It’s not strange concept to associate themselves with where they have been living. Which is why you hear of a thing called ‘American-Armenian’
            Community.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            That’s the point Leen, isn’t it? This idea of ‘they’ have been here for thousands of years is strange. Many of the Armenians in the Old City are partially or totally descended from Armenians that fled from the Armenian genocide yet people like you and Palestinian seem to associate them with being local. What precisely is it that makes them local while Jews that were born in Israel in 1920 should be considered ‘foreign’? Is it your willingness to associate Armenians with Armenians but not Jews with Jews? Or is it that you have already granted ownership of the land only to Muslim and Christian Arabs and only those those who they deem to be acceptable are deemed ‘local’?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            As expected the word “intermingle” doesnt exist in Israeli dictionaries.
            Armenian Palestinians never tried to massacre people in Beit Dajan or turn Palestine into an Armenian state although Armenians were persecuted in Armenia.They didnt study the topography and demography of Palestinian villages preparing for massive ethnic cleansing.They arent colonists ,you are .Dont even dare to compare yourself to them !

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            For how many generations exactly should a new nation introduced to Palestine intermingle with locals to became a part of Palestinian People?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            You dont get it ,do you ? Its not only how much time you spend here ,its how you spend it .You dont want to be part of the Palestinian society ,you want to displace and replace us.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >You dont get it ,do you? Its not only how much time you spend here, its how you spend it.

            Ok. So what did or did not European Jewish migrants had done until 1919, which prevented their integration into Palestinian society?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            “So what did or did not European Jewish migrants had done until 1919, which prevented their integration into Palestinian society?”

            They collaborated with the British to establish a “Jewish” state in Palestine.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >They collaborated with the British to establish a “Jewish” state in Palestine.

            Wrong answer.
            2 attempts left.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinan

            Read Balfour declaration and stop trolling.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            As Palestinian has said, the difference is the immigrant Jews sought out to carve a state that will exclude the native inhabitants, the Armenians did not.
            Imagine if Armenians in the US decided to establish an Armenian state of California and carry out an ethnic cleansing of California? There would be outrage.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >As Palestinian has said, the difference is the immigrant Jews sought out to carve a state that will exclude the native inhabitants, the Armenians did not.

            Not exactly.
            1 – Jews sought to have a homeland, Armenians had their homeland nearly intact.
            2 – Until after WWII Jews only asked to be recognized as equals.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Zephon

      ( using monkey logic ) 60 years still = 3 generations of elder, old, and young memories Vs 4 year old trailer trash settlers.
      ___
      You do not have the right to obliterate 60 years of memories; lives, erase their existence, or think you can simply pick them up like they were furniture and move them about anymore than a NY family living in a home their grandfather moved into after escaping WW2 Europe.

      It is THEIR home. But alas we might as well be trying to appeal to Nazis – Israeli hearts are that cold hollow. In fact at this rate we might actually find Israelis setting a new bar of evil; they have obviously proven that they are not only Godless, but absolutely inhuman.

      Prove me wrong: Leave those people be recognize that they are indeed people and indeed that is their village. Leave them living right where they are let them live free and fully, with their memories and their families intact and flourishing – go on prove me wrong.

      You can’t and you know you can’t.

      Because those people won’t be left alone they aren’t people in the eyes of an Israeli; this is after all Israel we’re talking about – a land absolutely devoid of all humanity and Godless.

      Prove me wrong.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >You do not have the right to obliterate 60 years of memories; lives, erase their existence, or think you can simply pick them up like they were furniture and move them about anymore than a NY family living in a home their grandfather moved into after escaping WW2 Europe.

        By your logic Israel did not have a right to evacuate Gush Katif, especially Kfar Darom.

        Reply to Comment
        • Zephon

          Prove-me-wrong.

          Reply to Comment
        • Zephon

          Prove me wrong – leave these people be.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            You are wrong in pretty much every statement you make.

            1 – Relocation is not equal to “obliteration of 60 years of memories; lives, erasure of their existences”

            2 – As a matter of fact, ANY state can and does relocates it citizens/population. Examples are numerous. Kush Katif, Yamit, Sudety, etc., etc. Ever heard of “Google”, Chimp?

            3 – This is their temporary home. And now they’ll be moving to permanent ones. Free of charge. I wish someone would give me a apt. for free. Anywhere.

            4 – Your comparison to Nazis is absolutely disgusting. Comparing you to apes would mean a great insult to them. A Tapeworm is much more appropriate.

            5 – There is no connection whatsoever of their recognition as a people, and lands designated to be a city for thousands – their property.

            6 – “Memories intact”?? Wtf? XDXD Are you implying that upon transfer they’ll suffer from amnesia?

            7 – Intact and flourishing. One clan. On state lands. Free of all charges, taxes and payments. Instead of creating a city for thousands which would create jobs and attribute to economy. You would make a great politician.

            8 – I do not want, and I know that I do not want, and I know why I do not want. Unlike you, who wants something, but doesn’t know shit.

            9 – It might be by your, Tapeworm, standards that relocating family into a city is bad, but that is only because you don’t know shit, as I’ve mentioned earlier.

            You see, now these Bedouin are able to live their ancestral live-hood. You know, sheep, labane, hummus. No education, no proper jobs, high crime levels, drug trafficking, etc.

            By placing them in cities, state is FORCING them to send their children to study, serve army and find appropriate jobs.

            You are wrong, and these people are going to be relocated.

            Reply to Comment
          • Zephon

            Still waiting for you to prove me wrong you morally bankrupted chimp.

            Nice to know your only argument is ‘ Well everybody else does it 0_o ‘ since when was that even reasoning much less logical reasoning – monkey logic as usual.

            Why don’t you relocate to Europe? Oh you won’t do that? But you expect these people to… “relocate” themselves to accommodate your ass? What the hell for?

            It’s their home leave them alone. But you can’t do that can you? You can’t prove me wrong, you will NEVER leave these people alone – you will never leave them be.

            You can’t prove me wrong.

            Relocation… they relocated us and by your monkey logic we shouldn’t have resisted those Ghettos – we should have thanked the Nazis for being so ‘helpful’ in getting us to “relocate” from our homes – yep. Totally makes sense that monkey logic.

            Well we can forget the toilet paper; shit will continue to fly everywhere and the Zoo will remain stinking up the city since that is what shit does – it stinks.

            Reply to Comment
          • Zephon

            Temporary housing… chimpanzees are hogging the keyboards again!

            Still not proving me wrong. Godless, hollow, cold, and inhuman.

            60 years is NOT temporary housing. 4 years of trailer trash squatting is temporary housing. Nazis perfected that propaganda reasoning and your execution of their reasoning – is sickening. Stop assuming the rest of the world are comprised of your fellow Chimpanzees.

            The challenge remains:

            Prove me wrong and leave them alone. Let them be. Let them live free. THERE in their village and recognize them as a human beings with families. Not furniture that you can just decide whether or not to “relocate” at your whim – they are people and THAT is their home. PERIOD. Do it or don’t. But you can’t do it can you? You’ll watch just like I will watch; what becomes of them and I am going to be proven right.

            Just watch like you always do, come up with whatever reasoning you can out of your chimp ass – but you won’t be proving me wrong. That’s all that matters.

            You will never leave them be.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            You have deemed all Israelis are heartless, cold and inhuman. This is known as dehumanization where you take a whole group of people and assign some set of negative characteristics about them to make them less than human. Arguing for a narrative of human rights from the vantage point of being a cold-hearted racist is a fascinating exercise. Congratulations!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Calm down, Mr. Tapeworm. Wipe your mucous off the screen.

            What makes you think that I won’t reallocate to Europe if someone would present me a house there?

            As I’ve said – you are wrong in each and every your claim and assumption.

            Proving it to you?

            Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
            Matthew 7:6

            Reply to Comment
          • Zephon

            Reciting scripture proves nothing. Richard Dawkins recites scripture and he’s an atheist. So you using it means absolutely nothing your actions and what you condone are what you’re being challenged on.

            Prove me wrong.

            Leave these people alone. Let them be and free.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            And yet again, for the brightest: You are wrong and these people are going to be free in their new apartments.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “6 – “Memories intact”?? Wtf? XDXD Are you implying that upon transfer they’ll suffer from amnesia?”

            Touche
            :)

            I love this.

            Poor Zephon, go easy on him. He suffers from progressivittis and he won’t seek help.

            “Godless, hollow …”

            Well, I’ll be darned. He has gone religious on us. Who would have thunk?

            :)

            Reply to Comment
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