On May 5th, Israel's Supreme Court rejected a petition (2:1 majority ruling) that was filed in November 2013 by residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran against plans to remove the community and demolish their village. The demolition was approved as part of a master plan by the National Planning and Buliding Council to construct a new Jewish community, Hiran, in its place.
On June 7th, numerous Jewish, Arab and joint civil society organizations published a large ad on the front page of Haaretz titled: "Atir Umm al-Hiran: No to Uprooting a Bedouin Village to Build a Jewish village on its Ruins". [see the ad below]. The ad reads as follows [Task Force translation]:
"Despite the minority position that determined the decision as unreasonable, the Supreme Court approved on May 5th the government's decision to demolish the unrecognized Bedouin village Atir Umm al-Hiran, where over 1,000 Bedouin citizens have been living for decades, in order to build a Jewish village "Hiran" on its ruins and allotted land for herd grazing. This is a typical case of uprooting that includes deep discrimination against Arab citizens.
Some of the State's claims turned out to be false: The State claimed the residents of the village are trespassers; however the court ruled that the residents of this village lived there and used the land with permission from the State since 1956, after having been uprooted twice since 1948. The State claimed the area was not slated for construction based on the urban plan, but this argument was found to be false after the proposal to construct a Jewish village in its place was uncovered. The claim that the Bedouin town of Hura was set and ready to absorb the uprooted residents was likewise determined as false by the Head of Hura Local Council.
The relationship between the State and the Arab citizens, and between the Jewish and Arab citizens in the Negev, are sensitive and incendiary. The demolition of the village Atir Umm al-Hiran is unjust, but might also bring about grave prospects for all the residents of the Negev – Jews and Arabs alike.
The Court ruled that the village can be evacuated and demolished, but the court did not say that the village must be evacuated and demolished. The decision regarding the implementation of the evacuation and demolition of the village is in the hands of the government and therefore we, human rights organizations and civil society organizations working in Israel, hereby demand from the Prime Minister, Ministers of the Government and the Government's Legal Counsel, to act in any possible way, including by issuing a directive to prevent the evacuation and demolition orders, so as to prevent this unjust, racist and discriminatory move, as it is extremely hurtful to the village residents' right to equality and dignified living, as well as because it might bring about a serious, dangerous and irreversible escalation in the relations between Jewish and Arab citizens around the entire country".
Signatories of the ad include:
Sikkuy, INJAZ, Itach-Maaki, BIMKOM, Dirassat, ACRI, E'lam, AJEEC, TAFI, Kayan, Mahapach-Taghir, Mosawa, Al Tufula, Women Against Violence, Shutafut-Sharakah, Negev Coexistence Forum, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbies for Human Rights, Adalah and Shatil.
Supreme Court allows state to replace Bedouin village with Jewish one - Haaretz - Shirley Seidler - 5.6.15