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