المجلس الاقليمي للقرى العربية البدوية غير المعترف بها في النقب the regional council for the palestinian bedouin of the unrecognized


المجلس الاقليمي للقرى العربية البدوية غير المعترف بها في النقب
The Regional Council for the Palestinian Bedouin of the Unrecognized
Villages

Between Segregated inclusion, Transfer and Concentration
My name is Maha Qupty. I represent the Regional Council of the
Palestinian Bedouin Unrecognized Villages (RCUV). The RCUV is a
community non-governmental organization which represents the residents
of the 45 unrecognized villages in the Negev, Israel. These villages
have a total population of 74,000 inhabitants and each range in size
from 500 to almost 5,000 residents. They are deprived of their
municipal services and representation and threaten from mass transfer
and segregation. The other 45% of the Bedouin Community in the Negev
are Internal Displaced. The RCUV is composed of the Heads of the local
village committees.
I wish to review to the Working Group on Minorities the latest
developments concerning Israel's practices towards the residents of
the unrecognized villages in the Negev, that demonstrate the key ways
in which Israel is violating the Minority Declaration.
1.
Segregation and Concentration
Firstly, government plans for the segregation and concentration of
the Palestinian Bedouin: In the spheres of planningi, land useii,
access to resourcesiii, institutional practicesiv and laws
specifically drafted to constrict their daily life, the residents
endure a comprehensive policy of segregation from the Jewish
community on one side and transfer into concentrated townships
from the other. These plans aim to render the Palestinian Bedouin
community in Israel internal refugees in their own homeland. Those
practices are violating the Minority Declaration article 1.1, 3.1
and 4.1and 2.
2. Pressure for Transfer: Denial of Services
Secondly, the pressure for transfer on the unrecognized villages
through the denial of basic services. Although there have recently
been a few minor improvements as a result of court action by the
community, Israel still uses the denial of basic municipal services,
such as water, electricity, access roads, health and education, to
pressure the community to move from their own environment into
state-planned townships which even according to government statistics
are the poorest communities in Israel. This is in clear violation of
the articles of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights.
3. Criminalizing the Palestinian Bedouin
Thirdly, the use of laws to criminalize the Palestinian Bedouin
community.v Israel views the use of drinking watervi by the community
as a security threat. Furthermore, community's natural growth is seen
as a demographic threat and a national problem. The Palestinian
Bedouin of the Negev, are defined by the Government as a "problem" to
be dealt with by various police measures. These measures include
giving new powers to the Green Patrol, a paramilitary unit of the
Ministry of the Environment which is responsible for protecting public
lands from the Palestinian Bedouin community through poisoning
farmlands for instance in February 2002vii, March 2003viii and April
2003ix, confiscating livestock, and conducting house demolitionsx; and
also establishing more police stations.
4. Government Priorities
Fourthly, government spending plans for home demolition and crop
destruction. To remove these citizens from their villages,
governmental budgets are expended to destroy their homes and mosques,
to poison crops, to expand and empower the Green Patrol and police
forces, and to subcontract lawyers to take the each landowner to court
for "trespassing," and to buy their lands.xi Since May 2001, 44 houses
have been demolished in the unrecognized villages in the Negev, plus a
further 40 elsewhere in the Negev. Over 17,000 dunams of crops have
been destroyed in three separate poisoning incidents At the same time,
there are insufficient funds in the governmental budget for housing
projects,xii nor is there any funding for community and economic
development or the long-overdue improvement of Bedouin municipal
infrastructure.
On the concluding observation of the Human Rights Committee: Israel
18/8/98, Number 13. The Committee expressed their serious concern over
deeply imbedded discriminatory social attitudes, practices and laws
against Arab Israelis.
5. Land Priorities
Israeli Land laws serve only Israel's Jewish citizens, and recognize
only Jewish land. Land laws do not recognize the lands of Palestinian
citizens. For decades, and through a variety of mechanisms, land has
been transferred from the Palestinian minority to the Jewish majority.
As a result, today Palestinians (19% of Israel's population) own 2.5%
of the total land, whereas before 1948 they owned 97% of the land. The
Palestinian Bedouin community (25% of the Negev's population) own only
2% of the total land in the Negev. Prior to 1948, they owned 98% of
this land. Since land and housing became a serious problem for the
Palestinian minority, we notice an increase in serious confrontations
between the community and the Police.
New Right Wing Governmental Agenda for the Bedouin Community:
We are running out of time. In October 2002, the RCUV and the
community learned of the Interior Minister's decision to establish the
Regional Council for seven recently recognized Bedouin Villages and
concentrate the rest of the villagers into these seven.xiii In July
2002, Sharon's Government began implementing four out of the 14
planned Jewish Settlementsxiv on the land of the unrecognized
villages.xv This 14 Settlement Plan aims to institutionalize and
legalize the permanent segregation and the enclosure of all the
Bedouin citizens of Israel. In none of these plans was there any
community participation. Further, in June 2002, the Ministry of
Justice put forward an amendment to the Law on Public Land "Eviction
of Trespassers Amendment 2002," which has defined residents of the
unrecognized villages as "Trespassers."xvi
Furthermore, in January 2003, Sharon's 6-Year Plan was authorized by
the Ministerial Committee for Non-Jewish Affairs, and on April 9th
2003 came the allocation of 1.1 billion NIS for this Plan. Finally,
the Israeli Governmental Budget Amendment for 2003 proposes allocating
an additional 55 million NIS for Police Units and the Green Patrol,
which was previously not included in the budget. These Government
Plans were received by the community and the RCUV as a declaration of
"war" against the Bedouin community in the unrecognized villages.
Recommendations to the Working Group on Minorities
1. The State of Israel should effect an immediate cessation of its
policy of house demolition through offering temporary recognition of
buildings. Similarly, Israel should immediately stop the conditioning
of service provision to the residents of the unrecognized villages on
the Land Settlement in the Negev, through establishing 20 Services
Centers by exceptional permitxvii for the 45 villages. Further, it
should establish municipal authority that will represent the residents
and supply them with services.
2. Israel should establish a local municipality in accordance with the
RCUV Plan for unrecognized villages: Development of Municipal
Authority for the Arab Bedouin Unrecognized Villages in the Negev
submitted to the Ministry Interior Affairs and in accordance with the
response plan of the RCUV based on the plan of David Cohen, in charge
of district planning for the Negev region at the Ministry of Interior.
3. Israel should immediately implement the decision of the Ministerial
Committee for Arab Affairs of 28 February 2000 to freeze the plan Tama
4/24 for the establishment of concentration towns like Mareit.
4. The state should immediately revoke the plan to unrecognized
villages of Al-Mazra'a, Gatmat-Al-Mathar, Al-Bat, Kahla, Sa’wa and
others in the newly declared military zones, according to the maps
prepared by the RCUV and the Local Committees which were sent to the
Ministry of Defence.
5. The state should recognize the rights of the villages residents to
their lands.
6. The State should respect the January 2001 agreement signed by the
RCUV and by Minister Matan Vilnai, Chair of the Ministerial Committee
for Bedouin Affairs.
7. Finally, we call upon the Working Group to demand the Israeli
Government to open a new chapter in its policy towards the Palestinian
Bedouin community and start a dialogue with the community’s
representatives. Israel should prepare a detailed plan to develop the
Negev for the benefit of all its residents, Jews and Arabs, in the
spirit of equality.
Maha Qupty
Geneva, 5 May 2003
Arab Association for Human Rights Regional Council for the
Unrecognized Villages
P.O.BOX 215, Nazareth 16101, Israel P.O. Box 10002, Beer Sheva 84896
Tel: 972-4-6561923, Fax: 972-4-6564934 Tel: 972-8-6283043, Fax:
972-8-6283315
E-mail: [email protected] E-mail: [email protected]
http://www.arabhra.org http://www.arabhra.org/rcuv/index.htm
i The following are relevant planning projects that currently affect
the development of the unrecognized villages: 1. The National Israeli
Plan for 2020, which is a guiding document that ignores the existence
of the 45 unrecognized villages and their the 74,000 inhabitants. 2.
Beer Sheva Metropolis Plan 2020, Tamam 4/24, which proposes breaking
the ring of Arab villages surrounding Beer Sheva city and settling
their residents in 3-5 townships. 3. Negev Regional Plan "Tama 4/14"
which seeks to transfer the population of the unrecognized villages
into permanent townships. 4."Tamam 35" A regional plan to implement
the Tamam 4/24 plan and the establishment of two townships for the
Bedouin, Mariet and Beit Falet. 5."Tamam 4/24," the plan for the
townships of Mariet and Beit Falet, proposes the absorption of all the
villages around Kseifa and Arad into Mariet township and the
concentration of all villages between Beer Sheva and Dimona into the
township of Beit Falet. The plan would swallow Umm Mattnan's lands 6.
A'irah and Omriet (Jewish settlements) plan. The plan for A'ireh would
swallow the lands of Al Bat, Al Siri and Wadi Ghwain. The Omriet plan
proposes swallowing the lands of Al Zarnouq, Khashim Zinah, Beir Al
Hamam and Beir Al Mashash. 7.Local Plans, such as the decision of the
Ministry of Interior to expand the Omer Regional Council's borders at
the expense of the unrecognized villages of Umm Batin and Al Makiman.
8.Beer Sheva zoning map: The Plan suggests the expansion of Beer
Sheva's city borders at the expense of Al Sir, Awajan, and Khashim
Zinah villages. 9.Arad zoning map: This Plan proposes expanding Arad's
city borders at the expense of Al Farah and Al Za'rour villages.
10.Bani Shimoun and Ramat Hovav Regional Council Plans. 11.Military
orders: recent military orders call for the confiscation of the Al
Mazrah, Qatamat Al Mitaher Al Bat Kahlah and Saoe lands. 12 The
Trans-Israel Highway. This plan proposes confiscating lands from the
villages of Umm Batin, Beir El-Hamam, Khashim Zinah and Sawin. 13.
Beir Haiel plan: Beir Hadaj was recently recognized within the Beir
Haiel plan, which proposes settling all members of the Al Azazma tribe
(7 villages with 12,000 inhabitants) into one locality. The Regional
Council is currently preparing a zoning map for the Beir Hadaj
inhabitants. (Today there are 5,000 inhabitants and by 2020 it is
estimated that there will be 15,000).
ii Land is taken from Palestinian Bedouins and given to Jewish
settlers. For instance, in 2002 a new government plan was announced to
build 14 Jewish settlements and a number of individual farms on the
land of the unrecognized villages.
iii Black goats which provide the community with meat, milk, cheese
and wool for weaving tents and rugs are still confiscated by the Green
Patrol. Access to water and land is still denied. The state poisons
land farmed by its own citizens.
iv For example, the Bedouin Development Authority, referred by the
community as the Civil Administration and Bedouin Authority for
Education which is still headed by a racist Director (for details see
court H.C. 7383/01, Megel el-Hawashleh, et. al. v. Minister of
Education, et. al.) The Bedouin of the unrecognized villages are the
only community in Israel who are deprived of the right of local
representation.
v In 1965, the Israeli Government transformed tens of thousands of it
own citizens into criminals by a planning law which refused to
acknowledge that Palestinian Bedouin villages existed long before both
the Law and the State of Israel. Following this law, these citizens,
and all the generations born to them, were criminalized simply because
they insisted on their right to own and inherit their own properties.
In 2002, the Ministry of Justice proposed a draft amendment to the Law
referring to the Bedouin as "trespassers."
vi A person in any of the unrecognized villages who would like to
apply for water has to apply to the Water Committee of the Bedouin
Development Authority, which consists of representatives of the
Bedouin Development Authority, the Israel Defence Forces, the Police,
the Green Patrol, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of
Infrastructure, and the Water Company.
vii On February 15, 2002, the land of 20,000 residents of 10
unrecognized villages, including two villages recently recognized (Umm
Bateen and Awajan) were poisoned. Eight airplanes accompanied by a
large number of police forces and Green “Black” Patrol members
destroyed the agricultural land of the villages, including lands
inside the villages. This operation also targeted farmers who were in
their fields during the act, as well as 400 students who were in their
Al-Amal School at Kharbet Al-Watan village, without any prior notice.
viii On 3 March 2003 , without prior warning, two airplanes belonging
to the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) accompanied by a large number of
police forces and Green “Black” Patrol members sprayed toxic chemicals
on houses and on more than 2,000 dunams of crops belonging to Abda
residents, an unrecognized village in the Negev. Elderly people and
children who were in the fields were also sprayed. Village residents
immediately evacuated those children to closest clinic in the Jewish
locality of Mitzpe Ramon. The Head of Abda Local Committee said that
they sprayed the crops, the people and even the animals. While a
farmer tried to stop them from spraying his crops a Green Patrol aimed
his gun at him.
ix On 2 April 2003, the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) sprayed
toxic chemicals on cultivated land of around 1,000 dunams (250 acres)
of which 1,500 dunams (375 acres) is owned by Jaber Abu Kaff, the RCUV
President and his family.
x On May 2002 40 houses, On July 9 houses, On December 2002, 2 houses
and two stores, On February 2003 Demolition of a Mosque in the
Unrecognized Village of Tel Al-Mileh.
xi When a Bedouin wants to sell his land to the Government or to a
Jewish individual, then the land is recognized as his to sell. The
same land can be subsequently registered by the Jewish buyer as his
property. However, the Bedouin cannot register his land himself.
xii The former captain of the Police, Superintendent Mordechai Nahman
said: "There is an imbalance since there is an authority for
demolition (for building without a permit), and no authority issuing
building permits.
xiii On 29 October 2002, the media announced the decision of the
Interior Minister to establish a Regional Council for the seven
recently recognized Bedouin villages. This step was not taken after
consultation with the villages’ elected local committees. The
following conditions should be taken into account during the
establishment of the Regional Council: An agreement with the villages
Local Committees on planning concept and zoning borders. The RCUV
would like to remind that there is a population refusal of the
authority plan to build “Meraiet”, which aims to transfer and
concentrate the population. The agreement of the Local Committees of
the relevant villages in all process during establishment of this
regional Council, including nominating members and President. Each
village, which has 5000 or more residence will be an independent local
council. Establishing another two Regional Councils for other
recognized villages, following the RCUV Plan which was submitted to
all relevant governmental offices and following the response presented
to Mr. David Cohen.
xiv Following the announcement of Avigdor Lieberman, Ministry of
Infrastructure that he is preparing a plan which suggest to stop the
Bedouin trespass on governmental land, in February 2002 a plan was
revealed to build a chain of Jewish settlements in the Negev between
Gaza Strip and the West Bank and to create a continuous chain with the
settlements in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The plan divides
the Palestinian localities in the Negev into islands and provides
geographic continuity between Jewish settlements following the
settlement model in the West Bank.
xv (Mishmar HaNegev Bet Settlement on Al-Araqeeb and Karkour Land,
Hiran Settlement on Ateir, Um-Hiran village; Eira Settlement between
Sa’wa and Al-Bat villages. The fourth Jewish settlement will be built
on the lands of Al-Mazarah and Um Ratman villages).
xvi On 26 June 2002, the Israeli Ministry of Justice put forward an
amendment to the Law on Public Lands (Eviction of Trespassers).
Through this amendment the authorities will be given new powers to
evict trespassers, and will be able to evict on the basis of any
trespassing that has occurred in the last three years.
xvii People in the unrecognized villages cannot built houses because
these villages are outside the scope of any governmental plan, people
have no authority to decide who can apply for building permits, even
though these historical villages existed long before the Planning and
Construction Law (1965) and even before the establishment of the state
of Israel (1948).

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