Sunday, July 05, 2020

Continual Displacement in Attir

By Sam Gilbert - June 03, 2013
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]

Photo by Eugene Peress.


For the second time in two weeks, the Bedouin residents of Attir have been left homeless after yet another round of Israeli house demolitions.  On 16 May, 18 homes were destroyed and some 500 trees cut and uprooted in the Bedouin village located in the Negev desert in Southeastern Israel.  14 days later, 30 May, the demolition forces returned, destroying the houses that had been rebuilt and uprooting the saplings that had been planted after the destruction.

In a visit to the village last Saturday, the Palestine Monitor spoke to Khalil Abu Al-Qi’an, the head of the families of the recently displaced.  He foresaw the return of the Israeli forces.  In the days following the destruction, Khalil prophetically said, “We were working on the new houses when the Israeli police came and took pictures of us, so they know who we are and can prepare papers for the next eviction order.”  

The demolition came sooner than expected.  According to Ma’an News Agency, police blockaded the road leading to Attir allowing bulldozers from the Jewish National Fund and Park authorities entry into the village where they preceded to destroy 11 structure and tents belonging to the Bedouin residents. The quasi-governmental Jewish National Fund is financing the establishment of a forest preserve located on the lands of Attir—uprooting the Bedouins and planting trees in their place.

Israel denies these villages basic services such as running water, electricity education and healthcare.

Attir is one of 35 unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev that the Israeli government considers illegal; its residents face the constant threat of eviction and destruction of property.  Israel denies these villages basic services such as running water, electricity education and healthcare.

Since Israel’s creation the state has used a variety of legal mechanisms, in particular the manipulation of Ottoman law, to confiscate Bedouin land in the name of the state and force the Arab Bedouin into one of the seven government sponsored urban townships in the region. 

Amir who work for the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, fears that these recent demolitions are a “trial run” for the full implementation of the Prawer Plan, which, if fully enforced, will displace anywhere between 40,000 and 70,000 Bedouin from there lands. 

These unrecognized villages include many that were founded prior to Israel’s independence as well as ones that were established after the initial forced displacement and relocation of the Bedouin by the Israeli government following the 1948 war.  Bedouin presence in the Negev dates back more than a millennium to the 7th century. 


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