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Sep 29, 2015

An Update from the courts & the ground [amended]

Bulldozers on the Horizon
Bulldozers on the Horizon

PLEASE NOTE: This is an amendment to the update we sent on 17 September. It rectifies incorrect information provided under ‘What we’ve done – Litigation’. Amendments are in bold and italics.

Here is an update on what we’ve done to #Save_UmAlHiran and how your donation is making a real, tangible difference

The latest: In late August, bulldozers moved to the area where the State plans to build the town of Hiran. The presence of these bulldozers, while unnerving, so far does not threaten the existing homes of the 1,000 residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. The bulldozers, flanked by police, are there to begin the construction of Hiran. Our legal appeal(s) are to prevent the eviction of residents and the demolition of their homes, even if the construction of Hiran goes ahead. Our appeals are pushing for the recognition of the residents’ right to live in their homes and on the land they have occupied for the past 60 years.

What we’ve done

Litigation: While the focus of this campaign has been the 5 May Supreme Court decision (eviction case) to reject our petition and allow for the Jewish town of Hiran to replace the Palestinian Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran, there are two other legal appeals pending before the courts related to Umm al-Hiran. As for the eviction case before the Supreme Court, we have appealed for a second hearing. The Court asked for a response from the State, which is expected on 21 September.

On 16 September, we appealed to the District Court against the Kiryat Gat Magistrate Court’s denial of our request to postpone the demolition of 33 homes in the village until after the Supreme Court reaches a decision in the eviction case.

The case concerning home demolitions in the village at the Beer el-Sabe District Court has been frozen until the hearing that will be held on 13 December at the District Court.

Advocacy:

Prepared a paper on the implications of the Supreme Court decision and widely distributed to embassies and other relevant stakeholders, arguing:

  • Legally, the Atir-Umm al-Hiran case is critical because the Court’s approval of the state’s plans to destroy the village means that the state can also destroy the other 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab;
  • The Atir-Umm al-Hiran decision goes beyond existing Prawer legislation and makes it largely redundant;
  • The Court's decision is legally flawed in that it contradicts previous Supreme Court precedent and fails to recognize Bedouin citizens’ basic constitutional rights;
  • The ruling has troubling parallels to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Susiya, a West Bank Bedouin village, and highlights the state’s common policy of forced displacement on both sides of the Green Line.

Read the position paper.

We sent a brief to the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Leilani Farha ahead of our presence in Geneva for the UN Human Rights Council (where it considered the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict).

US Advocacy:

Adalah representatives in the US engaged with the brilliant Noam Chomsky on Umm al-Hiran and thought through advocacy strategies with him

We undertook a DC Advocacy Mission on 17 June on Umm al-Hiran to speak about forced displacement on both sides of the Green Line. We met with the National Security Council (White House); we hosted an Expert Roundtable “Adalah's Legal Challenges to Israel's Forced Displacement Policies” which was a lunchtime briefing for think-tanks, and hosted by the Open Society Foundations; and we held a briefing at the US State Department

At the UN in New York we worked with the Israel/Palestine Working Group to include Atir-Umm al-Hiran within a planned letter expressing concern about displacement of Palestinians in Area C. Suhad Bishara, the lead lawyer on the case, provided a briefing to the working group in New York, and we provided language for the statement, which can be read here.

Awareness-Raising and Mobilization:

Embassies in Israel - Adalah together with our partner the Negev Co-existence Forum, led a briefing and tour for diplomats to Umm al-Hiran to raise awareness and step up international pressure against this discriminatory plan. Many prominent countries sent representation, including the US, UK, France, Germany and the EU.

We prepared and disseminated excerpts of the 5 May Supreme Court decision in English. Read the excerpt.

New Media Campaigning: We’ve been working extensively with Hamleh to raise awareness and mobilize our Palestinian community here through social media engagement, primarily on facebook. Check us out and follow: https://www.facebook.com/umalhiran

Standing up for Social Justice: On 27 August, Adalah participated in the demonstration in Umm al-Hiran to protest against the beginning of construction work for the Jewish town of 'Hiran', despite our new legal appeal pending before the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling of 5 May 2015.

How you can help

1.     Donate: Every dollar goes a long way. We will litigate, advocate and mobilize to #Save_UmAlHiran. Donating is a rewarding form of human rights activism. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/save-umm-al-hiran/

2. Share our materials with friends and family on facebook: share the campaign donation page, share the latest updates & invite friends to follow us

Thanks again for your kind support and for making all of our efforts these past few months possible.

In solidarity,

Rina

At the August show of solidarity with the people!
At the August show of solidarity with the people!
We Stand with Umm al-Hiran (and you do, too)
We Stand with Umm al-Hiran (and you do, too)
Adalah at the UN Human Rights Council in June
Adalah at the UN Human Rights Council in June
Sep 17, 2015

An Update from the courts and from the ground

Bulldozers on the Horizon
Bulldozers on the Horizon

Save Umm al-Hiran - Update, 16 September 2015

Here is an update on what we’ve done to #Save_UmAlHiran and how your donation is making a real, tangible difference

The latest: In late August, bulldozers moved to the area where the State plans to build the town of Hiran. The presence of these bulldozers, while unnerving, so far does not threaten the existing homes of the 1,000 residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. The bulldozers, flanked by police, are there to begin the construction of Hiran. Our legal appeal(s) are to prevent the eviction of residents and the demolition of their homes, even if the construction of Hiran goes ahead. Our appeals are pushing for the recognition of the residents’ right to live in their homes and on the land they have occupied for the past 60 years.

What we’ve done

Litigation: While the focus of this campaign has been the 5 May Supreme Court decision (eviction case) to reject our petition and allow for the Jewish town of Hiran to replace the Palestinian Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran, there are two other legal appeals pending before the courts related to Umm al-Hiran. As for the eviction case before the Supreme Court, we have appealed for a second hearing. The Court asked for a response from the State, which is expected on 21 September.

On 16 September, we appeal to the Supreme Court against the Kiryat Gat Magistrate Court’s denial of our request to postpone the demolition of 33 homes in the village until after the Supreme Court reaches a decision in the eviction case.

The case concerning home demolitions in the village at the Bir Sab’a District Court has been frozen until after we reach a decision on the Supreme Court eviction case.

Advocacy:

Prepared a paper on the implications of the Supreme Court decision and widely distributed to embassies and other relevant stakeholders, arguing:

  • Legally, the Atir-Umm al-Hiran case is critical because the Court’s approval of the state’s plans to destroy the village means that the state can also destroy the other 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab;
  • The Atir-Umm al-Hiran decision goes beyond existing Prawer legislation and makes it largely redundant;
  • The Court's decision is legally flawed in that it contradicts previous Supreme Court precedent and fails to recognize Bedouin citizens’ basic constitutional rights;
  • The ruling has troubling parallels to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Susiya, a West Bank Bedouin village, and highlights the state’s common policy of forced displacement on both sides of the Green Line.

Read the position paper.

We sent a brief to the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Leilani Farha ahead of our presence in Geneva for the UN Human Rights Council (where it considered the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict).

 

US Advocacy:

Adalah representatives in the US engaged with the brilliant Noam Chomsky on Umm al-Hiran and thought through advocacy strategies with him

We undertook a DC Advocacy Mission on 17 June on Umm al-Hiran to speak about forced displacement on both sides of the Green Line. We met with the National Security Council (White House); we hosted an Expert Roundtable “Adalah's Legal Challenges to Israel's Forced Displacement Policies” which was a lunchtime briefing for think-tanks, and hosted by the Open Society Foundations; and we held a briefing at the US State Department.

At the UN in New York we worked with the Israel/Palestine Working Group to include Atir-Umm al-Hiran within a planned letter expressing concern about displacement of Palestinians in Area C. Suhad Bishara, the lead lawyer on the case, provided a briefing to the working group in New York, and we provided language for the statement, which can be read here.

Awareness-Raising and Mobilization:

Embassies in Israel - Adalah together with our partner the Negev Co-existence Forum, led a briefing and tour for diplomats to Umm al-Hiran to raise awareness and step up international pressure against this discriminatory plan. Many prominent countries sent representation, including the US, UK, France, Germany and the EU.

We prepared and disseminated excerpts of the 5 May Supreme Court decision in English. Read the excerpt.

New Media Campaigning: We’ve been working extensively with Hamleh to raise awareness and mobilize our Palestinian community here through social media engagement, primarily on facebook. Check us out and follow: https://www.facebook.com/umalhiran

Standing up for Social Justice: On 27 August, Adalah participated in the demonstration in Umm al-Hiran to protest against the beginning of construction work for the Jewish town of 'Hiran', despite our new legal appeal pending before the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling of 5 May 2015.

How you can help

1.     Donate: Every dollar goes a long way. We will litigate, advocate and mobilize to #Save_UmAlHiran. Donating is a rewarding form of human rights activism. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/save-umm-al-hiran/

2. Share our materials with friends and family on facebook: share the campaign donation page, share the latest updates & invite friends to follow us

Thanks again for your kind support and for making all of our efforts possible these past few months. Your support has been crucial and both we at Adalah and the community members of Umm al-Hiran are extremely grateful. :)

In solidarity,

Rina

Adalah at the UN Human Rights Council in June
Adalah at the UN Human Rights Council in June
We Stand with Umm al-Hiran (and you do, too)
We Stand with Umm al-Hiran (and you do, too)
At the August show of solidarity with the people!
At the August show of solidarity with the people!
Aug 6, 2015

We succeeded in halting Prawer! & other victories.

HR training in al-Qrein by Khalil Al-Amour
HR training in al-Qrein by Khalil Al-Amour

Here is the final report on what we’ve done during the course of this project to help the Bedouin community stop home demolitions in the Negev/Naqab.

We’ve succeeded (along with a host of other actors), to halt the Prawer Plan! This is a HUGE achievement and we are very proud that you’ve played a significant role in bringing about this victory with your generous donation to this campaign.

Here are more details on how your kind donation has made and continues to make a real, tangible difference in the lives of the Palestinian Bedouin community in the Naqab, both in stopping the Prawer Plan and better guaranteeing that the people continue to remain on their lands and in their homes.

Our project to ‘Help Thousands of Bedouin to Stop Home Demolitions’ is officially being retired on GlobalGiving. This report summarizes our work over the past two years of the campaign and highlights its biggest achievements. If you want to continue to support our important work and the Palestinian Bedouin community in the Naqab, please see ‘Postscript’ at the bottom of this report to find out how.

1. Update on the Prawer Plan

Owing to the efforts of the project and those of various other actors, the Israeli government decided in December 2013 to halt the legislative process of the Prawer Plan Bill! Soon after, however, the government announced that it would continue pursuing the Prawer Plan, albeit within the Ministry of Agriculture. Since then, the legislative process has effectively remained stalled.

However, although the legislation remains frozen, demolitions of Bedouin homes in the Naqab remain a daily reality, and the state continues to approve and implement its development projects on top of Bedouin villages. 

2. Home demolition statistics

In response to Adalah's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for official statistics on the number of home demolitions in the Naqab for the year 2013, the state responded that it had demolished 572 homes in the "Bedouin sector". Adalah used this information for advocacy purposes, disseminating it in our reports and interventions to EU and UN human rights bodies. There was a very high percentage of self-demolitions by Bedouin owners, due to financial threats and coercions by the state.

3. What did your kind donation help us to do?

Your generous donation allowed us to do some crucial work – in litigation, awareness raising, human rights training of community members and international advocacy - in and with the community to ensure their right to property and their right to live in dignity:

i) Legal action: Adalah achieved the cancellation of 51 home demolition orders against the village of Alsira, following the court’s rejection of the state's  appeal. The Alsira success offers an important legal precedent, which Adalah will use for other villages, in order to challenge the state's discriminatory plans to demolish Bedouin unrecognized villages and evict residents from their homes and lands.

ii) Community empowerment: Adalah convened human rights awareness-raising workshops, together with our partner, the Negev Co-existence Forum. The community increased its documentation of human rights violations, and there was  high interest and participation among Bedouin citizens – men, women and youth - in the trainings. In 2014, we organized 7 human rights trainings – 3 for 29 women and 4 for 52 men (81 people in total) – in four unrecognized villages identified as being at high-risk of demolition by state authorities.

iii) Awareness-raising and advocacy locally and internationally:  Adalah organized more than 70 study tours in the Naqab for Latin American diplomats, Hebrew-language bloggers and Palestinian artists, among others. We conducted 3 international advocacy missions in 2014 as part of the project: two missions to UN bodies in Geneva, and one to the European Union in Brussels. We also achieved strong concluding observations on Israel by the UN Human Rights Committee on the rights of Bedouin citizens, and positive texts from the EU in its European Neighborhood Policy Progress Report on Israel on Bedouin citizens' rights. Highlight of international advocacy: In 10/14, Adalah conducted a mission to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) in Geneva, for its review of Israel’s compliance with the ICCPR The key concluding observations related to Arab Bedouin citizens were the Committee’s recommendations that Israel must: end its policies of punitive home demolitions, discriminatory planning and zoning, and forcible transfer and evictions of Arab Bedouin citizens in the Naqab, and in particular, to withdraw the Prawer Plan and its legislative arm, ensure that Bedouin citizens are fully included in the consultative process of their fate, and respect their rights to their ancestral land and their way of life (CO #9).

 Some of the main achievements during this period, and those that contributed to the stalling of the Prawer Plan, were:

i) Adalah’s legal strategies and case interventions were pivotal in protecting homes for hundreds of people and Bedouin villages from eviction and demolition by the state. Adalah achieved these results either by forcing the state to delay its plans by engaging it in legal cases, or by obtaining positive court decisions that cancelled discriminatory orders. Adalah’s legal services and expertise filled a major institutional need for the Bedouin community.

ii) The project’s awareness-raising activities played a significant part in the collective efforts to promote the rights of Bedouin citizens in the Naqab. Adalah became among the foremost sources of information on the human rights of the Bedouin, particularly in relation to the Prawer Plan, which allowed the project’s activities and products to be shared to a wide local and international audience.

4 Postscript

As you know, although the Prawer Plan has been successfully stalled, the home demolitions continue. More recently, on 5 May, the Israeli Supreme Court delivered a rather devastating decision for human rights when it decided that it was okay to demolish all the homes and evict all the residents of the Bedouin sister villages of Atir and Umm al-Hiran and in their place to settle Israeli Jews. This decision sets a very dangerous precedent that would facilitate future forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinian citizens for overtly discriminatory and racist reasons. In order to prevent this from happening, we’ve launched a new campaign to #Save_UmAlHiran. Join us in this new struggle and let’s make an even bigger impact than we did in our first campaign!

Community Visit to Al-Araqib in March 2014
Community Visit to Al-Araqib in March 2014
Latin American Embassy Reps on Tour
Latin American Embassy Reps on Tour
Nadia, Nadeem & Khalil @ UN ICCPR
Nadia, Nadeem & Khalil @ UN ICCPR's Review of IL
Khalil Al-Amour & the Al-Sira decision! No demos!
Khalil Al-Amour & the Al-Sira decision! No demos!

Links:

 
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