The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Negev
Israeli forces descended on Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran to post eviction notices the village mosque and on homes. Between April 15 and April 29, 350 people are to be homeless in order to make way for Hiran, the Jewish-only resident town to be built on its ruins.
Umm al-Hiran is located in the Negev desert, on the other side of the Green Line. The similarities between its fate and that of Bedouin communities within the West Bank are striking, and consistent with Israeli policies that began with the Nakba in 1948.
The attorney for Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Sudah Bishara, told Palestine Monitor that the case resembled that of Susiya, to be understood against the background of systemic attempts to displace Bedouin communities in Area C of the West Bank to expand settlements.
Bishara told Palestine Monitor that the case of Umm al-Hiran thus resembles racist Israeli policies towards the Bedouin community, but is nevertheless unique in the fact that Adalah have proven that village was established by the military governor in 1956.
Such proof should result in the guaranteeing of constitutional rights, according to the rule of law. “It seems that in this case, the court suspended the constitutional right for the sake of Judaizing the area,” Bishara said.
In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that “the planned town will not prevent [those from Bedouin villages] from living there and anyone who wishes to live in Hiran is entitled to do so.”
However, Adalah revealed a document containing the bylaws of Hiran’s cooperative association, which stated that in order to be admitted to Hiran, the individual must “observe the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values.”
The future residents of Hiran have been living in the nearby Yatir forest, waiting the demolition of Umm al-Hiran, for several years. Residing in caravans paid for by the Jewish National Fund, they benefit from connection to water and electricity, a privilege never bestowed upon the residents of Umm al-Hiran.
Indeed, water, electricity, schools and health services have eluded Umm al-Hiran even since being forcibly relocated to their present spot in 1956. It appears that history repeats itself for this Bedouin community, whose original land was expropriated in order to make way for the Kibbutz Shoval.
Adalah have initiated legal proceedings in an attempt to stop the demolitions, citing the lack of alternative housing for the inhabitants of Umm al-Hiran.
In the current state of affairs, the 350 residents would be left homeless, in violation of the previous High Court decision. According to this decision, the High Court ruled that alternative housing had to be provided if the demolitions were to take place.