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Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition

by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran From Demolition
Ya
Ya'akub Abu Al-Qi'an

Dear Friends,

Just over one year ago, on the night of 18 January 2017, heavily-armed Israeli paramilitary police entered the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in order to demolish homes. Just before dawn broke, officers opened fire on 50-year-old math teacher Ya'akub Abu Al-Qi'an as he was driving his jeep. Ya'akub was seriously wounded by the gunfire and lost control of his jeep, running over and killing police officer Erez Levy. Israeli police prevented paramedics from reaching Ya'akub and, as a result, he died on the scene. After the killing, Israeli authorities demolished his family's home and agricultural buildings.

The killing of Ya'akub was only one of the most recent blows to the Abu Al-Qi'an Bedouin tribe. Israel's displacement of the community began 70 years earlier.

In 1948, the Israeli military forcibly displaced the community from ancestral lands they had worked for generations and moved them from place to place. Eventually, in the 1950s, the military ordered them to settle near Yattir. It was there that they established Umm al-Hiran, which is today one of 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel.

In 2003, more than 50 years later, Israel informed the 500 Umm al-Hiran residents that it intended to demolish their village. In parallel, Israel began to plan a new Jewish-only town that would be built upon the ruins of Umm al-Hiran to be called "Hiran".

This is one of the most blatant examples of racially-motivated displacement in Israeli history.

The same day that police killed Ya'akub, Israel's public security minister and police chief both announced that Ya'akub supported terror and had intentionally attacked police – claims that were repeatedly disproven. Israeli police subsequently refused to hand Ya'akub's body over for burial, only doing so once the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of Adalah's petition on behalf of Ya'akub's family and ordered them to.

Adalah also demanded a probe of the killing and that those found responsible be prosecuted. But more than a year later, in January 2018, the Israeli authorities reportedly closed their investigation into the shooting death of Ya'akub Abu Al-Qi'an. Adalah will take additional legal actions in this regard.

Adalah is continuing to fight for the family of Ya'akub Abu Al-Qi'an and their neighbors, but we cannot do this without your help.

Your support is crucial to our defense of the Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran. Your support has helped Adalah to help the community to remain in their village for almost 15 years, despite the state's plans to remove them. Donate today and help us #Save_UmAlHiran

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
International Advocacy Director

Israeli cops opening fire on Ya
Israeli cops opening fire on Ya'akub Abu Al-Qi'an
Ya
Ya'akub's widow in Umm al-Hiran

Forced evacuation to 10-year temporary housing rejected  

Dear Friends,  

This past month, Adalah, together with our partner Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, submitted an objection to Israeli land authorities against a plan to move the 500 Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran to “temporary housing” for a 10-year period.

The kind of temporary housing offered to the residents – citizens of Israel – resembles housing appropriate for emergency situations such as natural disasters, but not for a decade-long housing solution, and the residents adamantly reject it.  

The plan continues to promote a reality of temporariness for Umm al-Hiran residents, an outcome of decades of forced transfer from one place to another. Residents were displaced from their ancestral lands in 1956 and moved by the Israeli military government to their current location in Umm al-Hiran. It is unreasonable to once again uproot them to a temporary place of residence, the very same families who have been living in this village for 60 years. The transfer of Umm al-Hiran's 78 families – including children, adults, and elderly people – will damage the community socially and economically. 

This plan itself is problematic for several reasons.  

First, it goes against the 2015 and 2016 Israeli Supreme Court rulings which determined that Israel may evict Umm al-Hiran residents to appropriate alternative housing in Hura, a government-planned Bedouin town in the Naqab. Temporary hosuing does not meet this determination.  

Second, the temporary housing plan to evacuate Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran will allow Israeli Jews to build a Jewish-only town to be called “Hiran” in its place.  This plan is racist and discriminatory.  

Hiran's cooperative association bylaws grant membership – and residency in the planned town – to "a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident of Israel who observes the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values…"

These bylaws contradict the state's previous claims that "Hiran is planned as a general community, into which any Israeli of any background or religion may integrate."

Third, the plan violates Umm al-Hiran residents’ constitutional right to dignity. The transfer breaches the residents' right to freedom of choice as to where to live; it humiliates them by the very fact of their forcible transfer from place to place as if they were objects; and it violates their right to proper housing. 

Finally, the plan does not guarantee sustainable living conditions, and was formulated without the participation or consent of Umm al-Hiran residents. 

Adalah and Bimkom demand that this plan be rejected and that Israel find a solution allowing Umm al-Hiran residents to remain in their homes and village.  

Adalah is following up on this objection and is planning further legal actions and advocacy initiatives to stop the state's segregation plan. But we cannot do this without your help.

Your support is crucial to our defense of the Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran. Donate today and help us #Save_UmAlHiran

Map illustrating  planned Jewish town of Hiran
Map illustrating planned Jewish town of Hiran

Dear ally,

This month, Adalah uncovered an important document that could strengthen our legal struggle to defend the 500 Bedouin villagers of Umm al-Hiran from displacement and dispossession.

The document confirms that, contrary to the state's claims before the Israeli Supreme Court, the new town that is to be built over the ruins of the Bedouin village – and to be called "Hiran" – will be open to Israeli Jewish citizens only.

According to the document, Hiran's cooperative association bylaws state that: "an individual may be approved by the admissions committee and become a member of the Hiran cooperative association if they meet the following qualifications: a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident of Israel who observes the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values…" (emphasis added).

These bylaws contradict the state's response to Adalah's appeals against the eviction and demolition of Umm al-Hiran in the years prior. In these replies, the state claimed that, "Hiran is planned as a general community, into which any Israeli of any background or religion may integrate."

Adalah immediately took new legal actions after it uncovered this document. On 7 August 2017, our lawyers wrote to the National Planning and Building Council (NPBC) arguing that the state had violated its proclaimed commitments before the Supreme Court that the new town would be open to the "general public", including Bedouin citizens. After our intervention, the NPBC – which was set to speed up plans for Hiran – postponed its meetings on these issues.

Our lawyers also wrote to the Attorney General (AG) demanding that he prevent the allocation of Hiran's plots exclusively to religious Jewish citizens, and that he ensure that the Bedouins of Umm al-Hiran are included in the planning of the new town.

"This land," wrote Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany to the AG, "is being allocated [by the state] to a group that discriminates and is racially motivated, and which limits membership to a specific national [ethnic] and religious group to the exclusion of other groups. There is no doubt that the allocation of plots to the Hiran core [group] constitutes discrimination against Arab citizens." Adalah is awaiting a response to our letter.

Adalah is planning further legal actions and advocacy initiatives to stop the state's segregation plan. But we cannot do this without your help.

Your support is crucial to advance our work to defend the Bedouin residents of the village. Donate today and help us #Save_UmAlHiran!

Hiran bylaws say residents must be Orthodox Jews
Hiran bylaws say residents must be Orthodox Jews
Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in Umm al-Hiran
Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in Umm al-Hiran
Attorney Suhad Bishara speaking about Umm al-Hiran
Attorney Suhad Bishara speaking about Umm al-Hiran

Dear ally,

In the past few months, Senior Attorney Suhad Bishara, the director of Adalah’s Land and Planning Rights Unit, gave presentations before international actors to raise awareness of the legal and human rights consequences of the impending demolition of Umm al-Hiran. Around 700 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel will be evicted, according to the state's plan, in order to establish a new Jewish town to be called "Hiran", over the ruins of their homes.

These discussions were fruitful and important: they enhanced European officials’ understanding of the realities on the ground in the Naqab (Negev), and highlighted the urgent need to protect the rights of the Bedouin citizens of Israel living in Umm al-Hiran.

In late January 2017, Adalah joined partner organizations CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies, and the Jerusalem Legal Aid Center (JLAC), for an awareness-raising visit and seminar in Brussels for European Union (EU) and EU member state officials about forced displacement and to mark the publication of the report ‘No Place Like Home,’ to which Adalah had contributed.

Attorney Bishara spoke about a new governmental plan, “Prawer II”, which outlines a framework to expedite procedures to demolish unrecognized Naqab Bedouin villages like Umm al-Hiran. Its previous incarnation, Prawer I, was frozen in December 2013 following extensive international pressure and local opposition. Read our paper about the new plan.

The two-day visit and seminar was accompanied by a photo exhibition with images of Umm al-Hiran provided by Adalah, which included haunting scenes from the night before an expected demolition in November 2016, which was successfully prevented due in large part to community and media mobilization. See the photos here.

In March 2017, Adalah coordinated and participated in a briefing for foreign diplomats in Israel, hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland and in partnership with the Negev Coexistence Forum, on the land and housing rights concerns of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Attorney Bishara provided an overview of the land and planning laws in Israel, and particularly focused on new legal developments in the Naqab following the Israeli Supreme Court’s rulings in 2015 and 2016 to allow the demolition of Umm Al-Hiran.

Attorney Bishara emphasized that Umm al-Hiran was one of 36 unrecognized villages that would be dispossessed by the state, with 70,000 to 80,000 Bedouin residents threatened to be forcibly displaced into segregated and concentrated townships, in clear violation of their rights.

“Israel uses the law to wage a war by different means against its Palestinian citizens,” explained Attorney Bishara. “It is our responsibility to challenge the discriminatory laws and policies that apply differently to Arab and Jewish citizens of the state – including in Umm al-Hiran.”

These awareness-raising activities are made possible by your support. Help us to continue spreading the word to diplomats, journalists, and others to #Save_UmAlHiran!

Resident takes down closet ahead of demolition
Resident takes down closet ahead of demolition
Child sleeps as mother prepares for demolition
Child sleeps as mother prepares for demolition
 

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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @adalahcenter
Project Leader:
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
Haifa, Haifa Israel

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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