Bedouin Residents Seek Negotiations, State Authority Wants to Destroy

Bedouin village in Negev (Photo: Ronit Sela)A Bedouin village in Negev (Photo: Ronit Sela)


Today (June 27, 2013) the Be’er Sheva District Court will hear a petition filed by 300 residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Saawa against the plan to destroy their homes without offering any alternative housing solutions.

The petition will be heard before the president of the court, Yossef Alon.



Saawa, which contains 1500 inhabitants, is a decades old village that has been around since before the establishment of the State. Although the village has not been officially recognized, the residents have lived there for many years without incident. In 2007, the Authority for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement began evacuating residents from the village. Despite the continuation of negotiations, the authority is again threatening to destroy houses in the village, and this time it looks like they intend to carry out their threat.


The only solution suggested by the authority is moving the villagers to Neighborhood 16 in the Hura settlement. But the mayor of Hura opposes this plan and announced that he will not allow it as that the space is earmarked for current residents of the settlement. Saawa residents are not ruling out the possibility of moving to the area in the case of a future expansion of the Hura community.


Ibrahim Alutra, one of the appellants in the petition: “All along we have been acting fairly in the negotiations with the authority, including even showing a willingness to move to Hura. The solution that the authority is insisting upon, is a solution that the Hura Municipality will not allow. Instead of continuing the dialogue with the residents, the authority is threatening to destroy our homes, leaving 300 men, women and children without a solution or a roof over their heads.”


ACRI Attorney Rawia Aburabia, representing the residents: “the residents have been conducting long and complicated negotiations with the Authority for the Regulation of Bedouin. It is a process that involves financial, planning and cultural considerations, and it needs to be managed with the appropriate sensitivity and patience. Unfortunately, the authority seems to prefer the use of brute force, trying to impose a scenario that the residents haven’t decided and that the community in question wants no part in. The residents want to find a solution, there is not reason to put a gun to their head.


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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages

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