The plight of the Bedouin citizens of Israel: an ongoing horror story

Yeela Ranaan, a Jewish Israeli human rights worker and member of the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel, wrote today about another episode in the ongoing plight of the Bedouin citizens of Israel. Israel's Arab (Palestinian) citizens aren't the only ones who are being victimized by Israel's racist policies toward its nonJewish citizens.

The horror story of the people of Twail Abu-Jarwal:

·        They were born Bedouin in a time that Israel became masters of their lands.

·        In 1952 they were forcefully removed from their village lands of Twail Abu-Jarwal – just south of nowadays Jewish town of Lehavim.

·        The tribe, together with thousands other Bedouin were put into a reservation, named the siyag, and put under military rule until 1966.

·        They settled by Hura, guests of another tribe, until Israel would allow them to return to their village land.

·        In the 1970s they moved to el-Assad's lands, by Laqiya, and as soon as the government offered, they bought options for plots of land to build houses in the to-be-established town of Laqiya. Laqiya is over 20 years old, and they are still with the receipts, but not with the land.

·        The family grew. The land they lived on did not. Living on the outskirts of Laqiya, on another Bedouin's land, their location is not part of the town so they cannot build homes - and live in tin shacks, there is no sewer, trash removal, and with the very tight living quarters, sewer runs down the dirt paths that serve as roads, living conditions are horrific.

·        Ten years ago, realizing that the situation is only becoming worse, that they have little hope of becoming a legal and integral part of the town of Laqiya, they decided to join the small number of family members that had remained on their ancestral lands – only 3 miles away.

·        These lands are currently disputed lands – they are officially claimed by the Tallaqa family and by the government. The dispute is in the courts.

·        Four years ago, the government authorities decided to do all possible to quash this move. Since then the government has razed to the ground the village of Twail Abu-Jarwal over 40 times! Only in 2010 the village has been erased seven times, the last time – last Wednesday.

·        But since there is nowhere else to go, no other real option, the people re-build. Their leaders plead with the government: give us any option! We will go there!

·        Initially there was one stone house. Later only tin shacks. For the last three years – only tents. About once a month the bulldozers come and erase to the ground the entire village. The villagers re-build the tents with the torn fabric left after the onslaught of the bulldozers.

·        The JNF (Jewish National Fund) has joined forces with the government, and is planting new trees on the village lands, as they are doing in other places too – such as in el-Araqib.

But so far – the people have not surrendered to the brutality of the bulldozers.  And this is a problem for the government. The government has plans to erase several other larger villages, as part of the new plan for "the settlement of the Bedouins". If they cannot destroy Twail Abu-Jarwal, they are worried they will have serious difficulties in succeeding in erasing all the other villages planed for erasure.

So now new and harsher tactics. To make sure that all Bedouin slotted for erasure will witness and learn.

On Sunday at 5:30am 500 police came with rifles and dogs into the slum that the Talalqa family must live in on the outskirts of Laqiya. They entered homes without knocking, finding the family members not really dressed, hitting anyone willing to talk back at them. A woman of one family, who had never been exposed in front of a stranger, fainted. They searched cupboards, tore up upholstery, -- what were they looking for? Nothing was found, except for a couple of chain-saws used as working tools. Aha! They said – these were used to destroy the JNF trees! 18 were arrested. They are still in jail. Thursday at 16:00 they will be brought before the courts.

Six old women and youngsters were taken for investigation on Monday. They were released after paying fines of thousands of shekels, and given a restraining order – they may not enter Twail Abu-Jarwal lands for the next 6 months.

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Israel to triple demolition rate for illegal Bedouin construction
From a Haaretz article published earlier this year: Subheading: 2010 should see 700 illegal structures destroyed and the plowing of 9,000 dunams of land to prevent new construction.

The Interior Ministry, the Israel Lands Administration and the southern district of the Israel Police have jointly resolved to triple the demolition rate of illegal construction in the scattered Bedouin communities in the Negev. The decision came at a meeting about a month ago.

According to data obtained by Haaretz, 2009 saw an increase over the previous year in the demolition of illegal Bedouin homes and efforts to prevent illegal Bedouin construction. Last year, 254 structures were destroyed.

In 2008, the figure was 225 illegal structures. Sources at the joint agency meeting said illegal Bedouin construction in the Negev is not only continuing despite these enforcement efforts but is even increasing. This year should see 700 illegal structures destroyed and the deep plowing of 9,000 dunams of land to prevent new construction.

by MainStreet 2010-06-23 01:08PM | 0 recs
Here's what the New Israel Fund has to say about the Israel's Bedouin citizens.

Try to imagine life in an unrecognized Bedouin village in Israel's Negev. Imagine life with no electricity, running water, or sewage facilities. Imagine walking several kilometers in 100-degree heat to reach overcrowded schools or health clinics. Assume that the land you have always considered the communal property of your nomadic tribe is now off-limits, and that your own village has never been recognized as legitimate by the national government.

Through advocacy, education, and leadership training projects, the New Israel Fund brings Jews and Arabs together to help thousands of Israel's Bedouin citizens achieve lives of dignity. Since 2004, 11 (out of 45) villages have been officially recognized by the government and now belong to a newly-created Regional Council. NIF is working to ensure its success as a replicable model for recognition and development of additional villages.

A new school is under construction in one of the villages and work has begun on infrastructure for running water in another, yet there is still so much to be done.  Empowering Bedouin women, a longstanding effort by SHATIL, is an important component of assisting a nomadic society to adjust to new norms, without sacrificing its core beliefs and culture.

NIF believes that our efforts to attain freedom, justice and equal opportunity for all of Israel’s citizens are a critical prerequisite to achieve true co-existence within Israel’s borders.

http://www.nif.org/issue-areas/israeli-arabs/

Can NIF make a difference? Thus far no.

by MainStreet 2010-06-23 01:17PM | 0 recs
Example of a Bedouin house (in this case, tent) demolition in the Negev.
BEFORE:

AFTER:

by MainStreet 2010-06-23 01:45PM | 0 recs
Example of a Bedouin house (in this case, tent) demolition in the Negev.
BEFORE:

AFTER:

by MainStreet 2010-06-23 01:47PM | 0 recs
RE: Example of a Bedouin house (in this case, tent) demolition in the Negev.

Sorry, HTML still not working for pixs.

by MainStreet 2010-06-23 01:48PM | 0 recs
RE: Example of a Bedouin house (in this case, tent) demolition in the Negev.

To see the pictures, click on the icons and a defalt album at Photobucket will appear. Again sorry.

by MainStreet 2010-06-23 01:50PM | 0 recs
Here and there one can find the raison d'etre of Israel's intentions regarding the Bedouin people: ethnic cleansing of its own citizens.

Israel: Bedouin houses destroyed to make way for Jewish settlement

June 2007

The Israel Land Administration (ILA), with the assistance of an unusually large police force and IDF soldiers, demolished dozens of tin shack homes Monday in unrecognized Bedouin villages Um Al-Hiran and A-Tir in the northern Negev. The ILA is destroying the village and evacuating the inhabitants so that a Jewish Community named "Hiran" can be established in the area. Fourteen shacks, which housed some 100 people, have been destroyed by bulldozers so far.

http://www.iwgia.org/sw10543.asp

by MainStreet 2010-06-24 10:25AM | 0 recs
Here and there one can find the raison d'etre of Israel's intentions regarding the Bedouin people: ethnic cleansing of its own citizens.

Israel: Bedouin houses destroyed to make way for Jewish settlement

June 2007

The Israel Land Administration (ILA), with the assistance of an unusually large police force and IDF soldiers, demolished dozens of tin shack homes Monday in unrecognized Bedouin villages Um Al-Hiran and A-Tir in the northern Negev. The ILA is destroying the village and evacuating the inhabitants so that a Jewish Community named "Hiran" can be established in the area. Fourteen shacks, which housed some 100 people, have been destroyed by bulldozers so far.

http://www.iwgia.org/sw10543.asp

by MainStreet 2010-06-24 10:25AM | 0 recs
you really like talking to yourself.

no sources, except your own ass, I mean mouth. You're probably an Iranian or Islamist agent by now.

by Lakrosse 2010-06-25 08:42PM | 0 recs
you really like talking to yourself.

no sources, except your own ass, I mean mouth. You're probably an Iranian or Islamist agent by now.

by Lakrosse 2010-06-25 08:42PM | 1 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

Sadly to say, lakrosse, you are half wrong. I usually link to my sources. The other half is just paranoid.

by MainStreet 2010-06-26 11:33AM | 0 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

Yeah, "talking to himself" is pretty much what Main Street is doing here; I think he's set some kind of MyDD record. The article has 11 comments, 10 of which are his own.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-06-26 12:18PM | 1 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

Who was it that recently said, MyDD is now like talking to yourself. He was complaining about the lack of comments on diaries contributed to the site as anyone can see.

However, no one can say that most of my comments do not elaborate on the topic and provide further information about it, as in this diary.

by MainStreet 2010-06-26 02:07PM | 0 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

Am I talkin' to me? Am I talkin' to me? Am I talkin' to me? Then who the hell else am I talkin' to? Am I talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do I think I'm talking to?

by QTG 2010-06-26 02:21PM | 0 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

I have no idea why so many if not most of the diaries contributed to the site get so little commentary, but that seems to be the reality. I feel lucky to have up to now, three commenters including you who have joined in.

None of you, however, have contributed anything substantial to this topic. No matter. Views diaries, at least those that make the rec list, are often 10-20 times the number of comments on those diaries. So there are people reading these diaries and who are showing interest in their topics, as in this one.

by MainStreet 2010-06-26 03:12PM | 0 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

My opinion is

1.the ME is a very complicated and screwed up place and has been that way for a very long time. 

2.There is plenty of blame to go around.

3. Everyone has reasons for what they do, aand ever one of them sounds like an excuse to the other side.

4. Irony prevails.

5. H. Clinton has been SoS for almost 2 years, yet she has failed miserably. Obama obviously was wrong to have picked her.

by QTG 2010-06-27 08:23AM | 0 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

>>I have no idea why so many if not most of the diaries contributed to the site get so little commentary, but that seems to be the reality.

Because you've almost single-handedly destroyed this site by repeatedly posting on nearly irrelevant topics to the Democratic party?  I mean - financial reform, health care, jobs, the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan - does Main Street have an opinion on any of these things - probably not... but we know that Main Street hates Israel.  Well, your opinion has been noted, and now mostly ignored... your opinion is not nuanced or interesting IMHO.  You may as well be blogging from Hamas headquarters AFAIK.  You should just get your own blog - I think "ihateisrael.blogspot.com" is available.

by mikes101 2010-06-28 10:55PM | 0 recs
RE: you really like talking to yourself.

If you would look through the diaries now posted, or for that matter, diaries posted during the past several months, most of them lack any comments.

But I nonetheless appreciate your comment, even though it reflects a variation of the typical criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic meme, in this case the "he/she hates Israel" version.

The flip side of such accusations is the condonement of the treatment of Israel's Bedouin citizens by the government. Their ethnic cleansing over the years has resulted in two-thirds moving into special Bedouin only towns in the Negev created by Israel. 95% of these Bedouins work inside Israel as cheap labor, having lost their traditional way of life from repeated house demolitions by the Israeli authorities.

The Bedouin towns recreate the apartheid South African model where Black people were restricted to living in Black only bantustans and worked as cheap labor for the white minority, many of them at low wages inside South African diamond mines, where many lost their lives.

If you condone this kind of thing, you might want to tell everyone why.

by MainStreet 2010-06-29 07:07AM | 0 recs
More on the plight of the Bedouins,

"say we did not know #217"

Amos Gvirtz/Occupation Magazine
June 24,2010

On Sunday, 20th June, 2010, at 4 a.m., police forces barged in to homes of the Talalqa in Laqiya. They broke windows, doors and other property. At the same time, another police force invaded the Talalqa village Twayyel Abu Jarwal. They demolished the entire village (for the 47th time!). At both places 15 youngsters from the village were arrested. Two more villagers were arrested at their work place. At 10 a.m., a police force again entered the Talalqa neighbourhood in Laqiya.

The State has been unable to provide the tribe with an alternative living place (which is not on other tribes’ lands). This has not prevented the State from wrecking their village over and over again.

On Wednesday, 16th June, 2010 State representatives again demolished the village Twayyel Abu Jarwal. They continued onwards, and carried out demolitions in El’Araqib and ElJuruf.

http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=4079

No, I don't know what 217 means, although it is likely to be some law that the Israeli government ignores when it comes to Arabs, its own citizens or not.

by MainStreet 2010-06-29 10:47AM | 0 recs

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