Alerts and Reports 

No building of a Jewish community by destroying a Bedouin village!

Residents of the Bedouin village of Um al-Hiran will hold a demonstration and procession in the village, to protest the start of construction of the Jewish community of Hiran which is due to be built on the ruins of their village after its destruction. The demonstration, joined by various groups including Gush Shalom, will take place on Thur. Aug. 27 at 11:00 am.

Last Sunday, bulldozers began work on an area close to the village of Um al-Hiran, in order to provide temporary housing to members of a Jewish “pioneering nucleus” who intend to take up residence in the planned Hiran community. According to the Hiran zoning master plan, the permanent neighborhoods are to be established on the lands of the village of Um al-Hiran, which would require its complete demolition. Construction of this temporary housing, without offering any kind of acceptable solution to the residents of Umm al-Hiran, leaves the future of the village under threat, its inhabitants living under total uncertainty and great apprehension.

As they repeatedly made clear, residents of the village of Um al-Hiran do not oppose the establishment of the Jewish Hiran, provided that it is not carried out at their expense. They are quite open to plans of either a single joint community or of two communities living side by side in good neighborliness – any solution enabling their village to remain in place would be considered positive and acceptable. However, the government of Israel and its various agencies seek to create “facts on the ground” and simply ignore the villagers.

Background: The villagers of Um al-Hiran and its neighbor Atir, members of the Abu Alkian Tribe, face being expelled for the third time. They had first been expelled in 1949 from their ancestral lands at Wadi Zuballa, near where Kibbutz Soval was established. In 1956 it was the state authorities which settled them at their present location near the Yatir Forest. Long ago, there was a court ruling stating that they have been officially permitted to live at this location and cultivate the land. Nevertheless, on May this year the Supreme Court authorized the destruction of the village of Um al-Hiran and the removal of its residents in order to facilitate establishment of the Jewish community of Hiran. At the same time was also authorized the removal of their relatives, inhabitants of the village of Atir, in this case in order to facilitate reforestation activities and extend the Yatir Forest. A request for the Supreme Court to further deliberate on the issue is still pending

The position of the Recognition Forum is that the plan to establish a new Jewish community on the ruins of a Bedouin village which had been in existence for decades is a blatantly discriminatory act verging on racism discrimination. We urge the government of Israel to stop all work at the site, hold dialogue the residents and reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Contact: Raed - +972-(0)54-9732868 Michal +972-(0)54-5851700 Yariv - +972-(0)54-3330355 Adalah Legal Defence Center - +972-4-9501610