Critical weeks ahead for Bedouin land resistance: support their Avaaz petition
The next few weeks could be a turning point for the Bedouin struggle against mass eviction and for recognition of their land rights. But there are grave dangers too, as the ethnic cleansers prepare for a definitive eviction even as al-Arakib scores important legal advance.
Al Arakib has been served with eviction notices for its cemetery, which so far has remained the enduring sign of ongoing connection to the land and is the last refuge from which its people have re-built their village after 68 demolitions. The bulldozing is set to happen between 12 June and 12 July.
Meanwhile tribal leader Nuri al-Ukbi, representated by leading civil rights lawyer Michael Sfard, on 2nd June won a significant concession from Israel’s Supreme Court, which has given the government two weeks to mediate with him on his claim. See full report in Documents.
The Israeli State, whose Israel Land Authority has been leading the violent takeover of the Bedouin lands, had pleaded to be allowed 4 weeks to discuss the matter. Could it be that it wanted the extra weeks to accomplish a pre-emptive demolition ahead of a firmer legal precedent? The Negev Coexistence Forum reported on June 1st that “The eviction is almost here: Police forces, Israeli Land Administration inspectors and a demolition contractor arrived today at Al-Arakib and wandered around in the cemetery of the village”.
This is why a petition has been launched at this time, by Yehudit Keshet. It is addressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to ministers including Yair Shamir who is now in the process of re-creating the Prawer plan.
The petition says “ACT NOW TO SAVE THIS INDOMITABLE BEDOUIN VILLAGE FROM DESTRUCTION! AL ARAKIB MUST NOT FALL: The Arab Bedouin village of Al Arakib just north of the Israeli city of Be’er-Sheva has been destroyed more than 60 times since July 2010, and each time the villagers have rebuilt their homes, determined to stay on their ancestral lands, despite the physical and emotional hardships. On May 21 2014 the remaining residents, living in a compound that includes the historic village cemetery, received eviction orders stating that within just one month (June 12-July 13 2014) they must leave the village or be evicted by force. The orders include those no longer alive and people who have left the village.
The residents of Al Arakib lay claims to the lands on which their village is built and from which they were first evicted after the establishment of the State in the fifties. Their land claims are still before the courts and have yet to be decided.
During the last four years the non-violent resistance of Al Arakib has become a symbol of the Arab-Bedouin struggle against Israeli government plans to forcibly concentrate its Bedouin citizens in government-“planned” townships and to demolish 35 so-called unrecognized villages, whose population numbers in the thousands. Al Arakib must not fall! Please act now to prevent an eviction that will set the Negev aflame.”
So please sign and share widely to support justice in this crucial turning point. Every signature on the petition says to Netanyahu and his officials: we are watching you, the world sees what you are planning.
Sign here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Prime_Minister_of_Israel_Benyamin_Netanyahu_We_call_on_you_to_stop_the_eviction_of_Al_Arakib_1/?tOunzab
Top picture: The team at court with Mr Nuri al-Ukbi (right) and Michael Sfard (left) after the Supreme Court session.
Mr. Nuri ״Al-uqbi said: After the injustice done to us from 1951 to the present, we look forward to Justice at the Supreme Court. The direction of the Court we saw today is true, and we accept the proposed mediation, so we can see all the facts that support our point of view. I hope that at least we could set up our home where the family home was in Al-araqib. It may soften our pain and it would be good to resolve an issue of 400 persons who need the right to a roof over their heads. This is proof that you can correct the injustice done to us for many years, injustice done to us by the country without justification.
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