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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
Save Umm al-Hiran from Demolition
Save Umm al-Hiran from Demolition
How children spent the morning of 22 November 2016
How children spent the morning of 22 November 2016

We wish to share a very important and new development regarding Umm al-Hiran with you. 

Adalah has proudly represented the Bedouin families of Atir-Umm al-Hiran for 13 years. During all of this time, we succeeded, together with the people, to prevent the destruction and eviction of the village and its 1,000 residents.

As a result of the litigation, media campaigns, field visits, study tours and international advocacy that generous donors like you have supported, we’ve helped the people to live and grow up in their homes and on their lands for over a decade.

In the past few weeks, however, it has become apparent that all legal processes to challenge the state's discriminatory plan – to destroy the village and replace it with a Jewish town – have been exhausted. These include our last-minute emergency motions to stall the demolitions over the past month, which were rejected (see https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8956 and https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8957 for more information).

At this point, Adalah can no longer legally represent the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. Thus we have also determined that, given this important change, Adalah will no longer be soliciting donations for our work in this specific case.

Continuing our struggle

Adalah will remain deeply involved in international and public advocacy against the state’s attempt to dispossess and forcibly displace the Bedouin living in 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab, particularly in the face of new challenges and threats to their rights.

Just last week, the new “Prawer Bill” (“Prawer II” or the “Ariel Plan”) was tabled once again in the Knesset with minor amendments. This bill will facilitate the dispossession and displacement of the 80,000 Bedouin citizens currently living in the unrecognized villages.

Rest assured, therefore, that our struggle to defend the right of Bedouin citizens to live in dignity in their homes and on their historical lands will remain at the center of our work.

Photo Description: Keeping spirits up in Umm al-Hiran. From the morning of the scheduled demolition on 22 November. Adalah, together with Arab parliamentarians (MKs), activists and the international media were there to bear witness, report on the events as they unfolded, and stand in solidarity with the people of Umm al-Hiran. The noise that we made was so loud that the demolition was averted (Photo credit: Mati Milstein)

Throughout the last period, Adalah has accrued considerable expenses in our work for the village, including for lawyers, transportation, media outreach, and other related activities. Accordingly, and with your agreement, we would like to use your contributions towards covering these expenses.

For our recurring donors, we would like to use your monthly contributions towards an ongoing campaign of equal importance, where we are protecting the right of Palestinians to protest institutionalized racism and the Occupation, and to mobilize for freedom and justice. In this time of increasing police violence, mass arrests, surveillance and harms to the right to free expression, we are protecting the right of Palestinians to speak up. For more on ‘Protect the Protest’, see https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protecttheprotest/

We sincerely thank you for your generous contributions to save Atir-Umm al-Hiran, and we look forward to you standing with us in the next stage of the struggle.

In solidarity and hope, always.

Keeping spirits up in Umm al-Hiran
Keeping spirits up in Umm al-Hiran

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Construction for the Jewish village of Hiran begins on the raised pad (left of picture), overlooking the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran

Over the past few months, we’ve been involved in various international and local actions to defend the Palestinian Bedouin villagers of Atir and Umm al-Hiran.

In response to the refusal of the Israeli courts to intervene favorably in impact litigation cases brought on behalf of Bedouin citizens, Adalah is putting greater emphasis on awareness raising and campaigning to increase pressure on Israel by other states and international bodies to protect the rights of the villagers.

1. Awareness-raising in Berlin and Brussels

In September 2016, Adalah emphasized the grave threat of demolition and eviction facing the residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran to German government officials and parliamentarians in Berlin, and EU officials and parliamentarians in Brussels. Adalah asked these leaders to urge the Israeli government not to forcibly displace the residents – citizens of Israel - in order to establish the Jewish-only community of “Hiran”, but to seek alternatives with the full participation of the residents to allow them to remain on their land and in their homes.

A hearing in the European Parliament will be held in November 2016 on the protection of the rights of the Palestinian Bedouin. Adalah and its human rights and development agency partners will present on Israel’s policies of dispossession/forced displacement both in Israel and in the occupied West Bank, such as in Susiya. This hearing will be followed by a speaking tour in France to raise awareness about Atir-Umm al-Hiran and the dire conditions of tens of thousands of Bedouin living in the 35 unrecognized villages in the Naqab.

 2. “Amandla Ngawethu” – Adalah in South Africa

This delegation to South Africa was part of an ongoing dialogue between South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJPF, previously known as Stop JNF South Africa) with Adalah, Zochrot, and the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID).

As part of the 10-day tour in September 2016, Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany, who works in the Land and Planning Unit, raised awareness of the increasing displacement of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their traditional lands and other violations of the community’s rights to land. She also gave a presentation to the ‘Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation’ in the South African Parliament on Atir-Umm al-Hiran to urge the parliamentarians to exert pressure to prevent the eviction of the villagers.  A rallying cry of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa was “Amandla Ngawethu”, meaning “Power to the People”

See below: Myssana Morany (third from left, top row), Adalah’s Land and Planning attorney with fellow members of the delegation and members of SAJPF.

3. Tour for Al-Haq Summer Law Graduates to Susiya and Atir-Umm al-Hiran

In July 2016, Adalah organized a tour for participants of Al-Haq’s ‘International Law Summer School’. Al-Haq is a leading human rights organization based in Ramallah, West Bank. International post-graduate law students and legal researchers participated in the tour to Susiya, a Bedouin village threatened with demolition in the West Bank and Atir-Umm al-Hiran to learn about the situation from the villagers, and to examine how they can apply international law to protect the communities.

We believe that it is crucial to keep the issue of Atir-Umm al-Hiran on the public agenda through engaging students, particularly those studying law, who will return to research, write and discuss the situation within their academic networks internationally.

4. Have you read the story of ‘The Zeltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran’?

Download the full infographic that tells the story of two villages that are situated in similar legal terms, yet are treated very differently by the Israeli legal system. If you find the infographic useful, don’t forget to share with friends.

We want to thank you again for your kind support and encouragement over the past quarter.  Adalah and the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran greatly appreciate and need your help to continue to do our crucial work.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Director of International Advocacy, Adalah

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen) (in pink) in Berlin
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen) (in pink) in Berlin
Myssana with fellow delegation members in SA
Myssana with fellow delegation members in SA
The Susiya leg of the tour
The Susiya leg of the tour
Tour in UAH with Raed Abu al-Qi'an, local leader
Tour in UAH with Raed Abu al-Qi'an, local leader
The Zeltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran
The Zeltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran

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Photo 1: Bulldozers (credit: Jenny Nyman)
Photo 1: Bulldozers (credit: Jenny Nyman)

Description of photo 1: The construction site for Hiran is located on a hill overlooking Umm al-Hiran (credit: Middle East Eye /Jenny Nyman)

The Arab Bedouin villages of Atir-Umm al-Hiran have come under renewed threat of demolition and eviction over the past few days.

1. The authorities threatened to enter Umm al-Hiran to begin construction work for the court-sanctioned Israeli Jewish village of Hiran

On Saturday, 9 July 2016, Raed A., one of the village leaders of Umm al-Hiran, received a call from the authorities, informing that they planned to enter the village on Sunday. The authorities stated that they intended to begin construction work on Hiran, on Umm al-Hiran’s lands.

Adalah was in contact with Raed and other villagers throughout the day. Although the authorities did not carry out the threated demolition and eviction, the danger nevertheless remains very much alive, and the villagers remain on edge. Adalah’s lawyers continue to provide legal consultation and advice to the leaders of Umm al-Hiran regarding their next steps, particularly during this tense period.  

2.Tour for Ha’aretz editors and senior journalists in April 2016

Adalah organized a private tour for senior journalists and editors from Ha’aretz, the leading liberal Israeli newspaper, to give them an up-to-date, intimate portrait of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. We also visited the village of al-‘Araqib, a Palestinian Bedouin village that has been demolished 100 times over the past few years, to meet with the villagers there.

We believe that it is crucial to keep the issue of Atir-Umm al-Hiran on the public agenda through the media. We especially engage editors because they play a significant role in determining the stories that make the cut, in framing how those stories are told, and in taking bold positions critical of Israeli government policies.

We wish to thank you again for your kind support and encouragement over the past quarter.  Adalah and the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran need your help to continue to do our crucial work, especially at this time of heightened tension. 

In solidarity,
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
Director of International Advocacy, Adalah

Description of photo 2: Sign reads 'Construction Site - Entry Forbidden', with Umm al-Hiran seen in the background. This construction site for the new Israeli Jewish town of Hiran (credit: Middle East Eye/Jenny Nyman). According to their latest threat, the Israeli authorities intend to pave a dirt road within the boundary of Umm al-Hiran to facilitate construction work for Hiran there.

Photo 2: "Construction Site - Entry Forbidden"
Photo 2: "Construction Site - Entry Forbidden"
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Kamle Abu al-Qi'an picks chamomile (J. Nyman, MEE)
Kamle Abu al-Qi'an picks chamomile (J. Nyman, MEE)

Spring is here, meaning we approach our long struggle for Atir-Umm al-Hiran with renewed vigour. Here is our latest update on the sister villages, to which you generously donated to ensure that their residents remain on their lands and in their homes.

1. On the legal front: The Israeli Supreme Court refused to reconsider its decision to demolish Atir-Umm al-Hiran and evict all its residents

On 17 January 2016, the Israeli Supreme Court (SCT) issued its final decision in the case of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. The Court rejected Adalah's extraordinary motion for a second hearing on the case, which requested that the Court reconsider its decision to approve the state's plan to evict the village's 1,000 Arab Bedouin residents, who are citizens of Israel, in order to build the Jewish town of “Hiran” and expand the “Yatir Forest” over its ruins. The Court's refusal to reconsider its 5 May 2015 ruling effectively means that the eviction and demolition procedures against the village can proceed.

The President of the Supreme Court, Justice Miriam Naor, wrote in the decision: "It is indeed, as noted by the decision on the request, that the case is a matter of public importance and sensitivity. However, this is not enough to order the hearing of the case for the fourth round [after the Magistrates', District and Supreme Court decisions]. This case is not one that can be considered to be exceptionally-exceptional, the rarest of rare, to warrant another hearing." 

In Adalah’s view, the Supreme Court’s assessment of the case as not sufficiently exceptional to warrant a second hearing is both absurd and dangerous. The Court’s refusal to reconsider its prior ruling instead reflects its compliance with the state’s policies of discrimination, segregation and dispossession against the Bedouin.

Read the Supreme Court’s decision 

Read Adalah’s paper on “The Dangerous Implications of the Supreme Court’s decision”

 Post-script:

While the Supreme Court permitted the demolition of Atir–Umm al-Hiran and the eviction of its residents, in another case involving a Israeli Jewish family (“The Seltzers”) home in Jerusalem, the Court prevented the state from evicting the residents because it claimed their case was a "unique" one. Does the Supreme Court really believe that Jewish homes in Israel are special but Arab homes are not?

 Read an op-ed by Adalah Attorney Mohammed Bassem comparing these two cases

 

2. Showing Solidarity on ‘Land Day’ with the residents of Umm al-Hiran

On March 30, 2016, Adalah staff participated in the 40th annual Land Day commemoration in Umm al-Hiran. Land Day is an annual commemoration for Palestinians of the events on 30 March 1976.  On that day, Palestinian citizens of Israel participated in a general strike and marches throughout the country to protest against the Israeli government’s plan to expropriate tens of thousands of dunams of land from Palestinians. During confrontations with police, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed and hundreds were wounded.

The commemoration events started at 9:30 am with olive tree planting in the Naqab villages of al-Za’roura, Umm Mitnan, Abu Tlul and al-Atrash. Then a large group gathered in Umm al-Hiran at 4:00 pm for the official speeches and commemoration.

3. Telling stories

a. Jenny Nyman, a designer with whom Adalah regularly works, composed this fantastic photo-essay on Atir-Umm al-Hiran. Read it/view it on Middle East Eye.

b. Amjad Iraqi, our Projects and International Advocacy Coordinator, penned this piece comparing the tragic story of Atir-Umm al-Hiran to the similarly situated unrecognized Arab villages of Ramiya and Dahmash. The piece was published in +972 Magazine and can be read here.

4. Sharing is caring – The Seltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran Infographic

We mentioned above (Point 1) the Supreme Court’s double standard on living spaces for Arabs and Jews by highlighting the example of the Seltzers and Atir-Umm al-Hiran. Scroll down to see (a snippet of) the infographic we created to help you visualize the case.

If you have a Twitter account, you can share the infographic: https://twitter.com/home?status=http%3A//www.adalah.org/uploads/PDF-Infographic-Zeltzer-vs-Atir-Umm-al-Hiran-Eng.pdf

Share the story on The Seltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A//us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4c0bb759968fd1dcd47869809%26id=87a3117c69

Download it for keeps: http://www.adalah.org/uploads/PDF-Infographic-Zeltzer-vs-Atir-Umm-al-Hiran-Eng.pdf

Thanks again for your kind support and for making all of our efforts possible over the last months.  Adalah and the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran will continue to need such support to help us do our crucial work.

In solidarity and hope,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Director of International Advocacy, Adalah

Seltzer v. Umm al-Hiran - Download & Share
Seltzer v. Umm al-Hiran - Download & Share
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A landscape view of the village
A landscape view of the village

Keeping Hope Alive in 2016 in Atir-Umm al-Hiran with our Litigation Strategy

A very Happy New Year to you, dear supporter! Here’s our latest update on how your kind donation is making a real, tangible difference to the lives of the 1,000 Arab Bedouin residents of Atir- Umm al-Hiran.

We have been working hard during the last three months to block, postpone and delay the home demolitions in Atir-Umm al-Hiran. The litigation is taking place before various levels of Israeli courts.

Here is an update on our litigation to #Save_UmAlHiran from September 2015 to the present:

Home demolition orders:

  1. Adalah submitted an appeal to the District Court in Beer Sheva seeking to freeze the demolitions orders on 17 September. The court rejected this appeal on 29 November.
  2. Adalah then asked the District Court on 20 December to delay the implementation of this decision, pending our request to appeal against this decision to the Israeli Supreme Court.Adalah filed this motion on 7 January 2016.

Evictions case:

Back in June 2015, following the Supreme Court’s negative decision in this case, Adalah filed an extraordinary motion for a second hearing, seeking reconsideration. To date, the Supreme Court has not ruled on this motion. As such, Adalah can continue to fight the home demolition orders, as noted above.

For Arabic speakers, here is a moving short film on the village from journalist Wael Awad (Bokra.net) http://shahidlive.com/Video-1204042. In the video, a local elder from the Abu al-Qi’an tribe takes us on a tour of the village.

 

What we achieved in 2015 because of your generous donation:

Due to your financial support to the Palestinian Bedouin community of Atir- Umm al-Hiran, we’ve achieved so much in such a short time.

Since Adalah launched its campaign in May 2015, in just 7 short months, we’ve accomplished the following:

-          Initiated a new media campaign to raise awareness about the pending demolition and evacuation of the village that has won thousands of online followers

-          Advocated at the UN in New York and Geneva and with foreign embassies in Israel to seek international support against the uprooting of the villagers

-          Provided a briefing on this case and related land rights issues facing the Bedouin in the Naqab at the US State Department and with the National Security Council (White House) in Washington, DC

-          Organized numerous ‘media-storm’ tours for dozens of journalists and activists, which resulted in tens of photos, videos and articles on the village.

-          Prepared a widely-disseminated position paper on the dangerous implications of the 5 May 2015 decision of the Supreme Court to authorize the demolition of the village. Read the briefing paper, here.

-          Regularly met with community leaders and other community members to jointly plan our strategy to save the village

-          With all of this public and legal work, to date, Adalah has successfully prevented the home demolitions and the eviction of the villagers from Atir-Umm al-Hiran.

Thanks again for your kind support and for making all of these efforts possible over the last months.  Adalah continues to need your support – and that of like-minded friends, family, and colleagues – to help us do this crucial work.

With best wishes to you and your loved ones in 2016.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
Director of International Advocacy, Adalah

Playing atop a rusty water container
Playing atop a rusty water container
Umm Raed welcomes us during a solidarity visit
Umm Raed welcomes us during a solidarity visit

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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

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

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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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