The plight of the Bedouin citizens of Israel: an ongoing horror story
by MainStreet, Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:48:22 PM EDT
Yeela Ranaan, a Jewish Israeli human rights worker and member of the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel, wrote today about another episode in the ongoing plight of the Bedouin citizens of Israel. Israel's Arab (Palestinian) citizens aren't the only ones who are being victimized by Israel's racist policies toward its nonJewish citizens.
The horror story of the people of Twail Abu-Jarwal:
· They were born Bedouin in a time that Israel became masters of their lands.
· In 1952 they were forcefully removed from their village lands of Twail Abu-Jarwal – just south of nowadays Jewish town of Lehavim.
· The tribe, together with thousands other Bedouin were put into a reservation, named the siyag, and put under military rule until 1966.
· They settled by Hura, guests of another tribe, until Israel would allow them to return to their village land.
· In the 1970s they moved to el-Assad's lands, by Laqiya, and as soon as the government offered, they bought options for plots of land to build houses in the to-be-established town of Laqiya. Laqiya is over 20 years old, and they are still with the receipts, but not with the land.
· The family grew. The land they lived on did not. Living on the outskirts of Laqiya, on another Bedouin's land, their location is not part of the town so they cannot build homes - and live in tin shacks, there is no sewer, trash removal, and with the very tight living quarters, sewer runs down the dirt paths that serve as roads, living conditions are horrific.
· Ten years ago, realizing that the situation is only becoming worse, that they have little hope of becoming a legal and integral part of the town of Laqiya, they decided to join the small number of family members that had remained on their ancestral lands – only 3 miles away.
· These lands are currently disputed lands – they are officially claimed by the Tallaqa family and by the government. The dispute is in the courts.
· Four years ago, the government authorities decided to do all possible to quash this move. Since then the government has razed to the ground the village of Twail Abu-Jarwal over 40 times! Only in 2010 the village has been erased seven times, the last time – last Wednesday.
· But since there is nowhere else to go, no other real option, the people re-build. Their leaders plead with the government: give us any option! We will go there!
· Initially there was one stone house. Later only tin shacks. For the last three years – only tents. About once a month the bulldozers come and erase to the ground the entire village. The villagers re-build the tents with the torn fabric left after the onslaught of the bulldozers.
· The JNF (Jewish National Fund) has joined forces with the government, and is planting new trees on the village lands, as they are doing in other places too – such as in el-Araqib.
But so far – the people have not surrendered to the brutality of the bulldozers. And this is a problem for the government. The government has plans to erase several other larger villages, as part of the new plan for "the settlement of the Bedouins". If they cannot destroy Twail Abu-Jarwal, they are worried they will have serious difficulties in succeeding in erasing all the other villages planed for erasure.
So now new and harsher tactics. To make sure that all Bedouin slotted for erasure will witness and learn.
On Sunday at 5:30am 500 police came with rifles and dogs into the slum that the Talalqa family must live in on the outskirts of Laqiya. They entered homes without knocking, finding the family members not really dressed, hitting anyone willing to talk back at them. A woman of one family, who had never been exposed in front of a stranger, fainted. They searched cupboards, tore up upholstery, -- what were they looking for? Nothing was found, except for a couple of chain-saws used as working tools. Aha! They said – these were used to destroy the JNF trees! 18 were arrested. They are still in jail. Thursday at 16:00 they will be brought before the courts.
Six old women and youngsters were taken for investigation on Monday. They were released after paying fines of thousands of shekels, and given a restraining order – they may not enter Twail Abu-Jarwal lands for the next 6 months.
Tags: (all tags)