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250 Citizens of Israel are Threatened by their Government to Become Homeless

Again Demolitions Orders… And Again 250 Citizens of Israel are Threatened by their Government to Become Homeless

By Yeela Raanan, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev (RCUV), April 26, 2007

There are 1,200 members in the El-Uqbi tribe. Today they live in the unrecognized village of Al-Qrein in the Israeli Negev.

Today they received demolition orders on their homes. Here is their story:

1951: Exiled by the Israeli army from their lands by the now city of Rahat. The papers they still hold claim that the move is only for six months, and they are requested to remain on a certain parcel of land until they will be allowed to return to their ancestral land. They are still living on this piece of land, in worsening conditions, as the place becomes crowded, trash is not removed, and rats bite the young and the old.

The 1970s, 80s 90s and during the years of this century – the village people turn to the courts, to politicians, to the planning authorities. Despite agreeing with the people of El-Uqbi nothing was done. They filed a petition in the supreme court, represented by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel against the re-designation of the village of Givot Bar for Jewish population, after Barak, Israel’s prime minister had said that he supports their request of accepting this location for their new village. Again, despite claiming that “this issue is one of the most difficult that we have encountered”, the Supreme Court did not aid them.

April 25th 2006: it was Holocaust Memorial Day… received demolition warnings.

July 10th 2006: The Authority for the “Advancement” of the Bedouins (our “Bureau of Indian Affairs”) at long last received the village committee for a meeting. The aim was discussing different options for the relocation of the tribe to a governmentally recognized place of their own. The village committee requested the minutes from the meeting, in order to bring the different options up to the village people. Despite requesting dozens of times, they still have not received the meeting minutes.

October 18th 2006: The government files in court for demolition orders. The demolition request by the government claims that the people living there are “unknown”, despite living there since birth, at least 40 years. Because these people are “unknown”, they village residents don’t have an opportunity to protect their homes.

December 5th, 2006: The court accepts the demolition order requests.

April 2nd, 2007: The village people write to Minister Shitrit, after he claims “A historical injustice has been done with these people”, requesting a meeting in which to discuss possible solution to their impossible situation.

This morning – April 26, 2007, the Government of Israel hangs demolition orders on 35 extended family homes.

Of course they have no option of living elsewhere – they would have moved long ago if they did. For the government the solution is demolitions – but what about a solution to this problem that the government created almost 60 years ago???

Please tell your representative about this.

For more information: Yeela Livnat Raanan, RCUV. 054 7487005. yallylivnat@gmail.com