Adalah: Israel Land Authority’s attempt to forcibly displace 500 Palestinian Bedouin residents of Ras Jrabah to expand the primarily-Jewish city of Dimona is illegal and must be cancelled

On 22 and 23 May 2022, the Beer Sheva Magistrates’ Court will hold hearings on the cases during which experts and residents of Ras Jrabah will testify against the evictions and home demolitions.

Ras Jrabah is a Palestinian village with approximately 500 Bedouin residents, located in the southern Naqab (Negev) region, unrecognized by Israeli authorities, is facing an imminent threat of forced displacement. The Israel Land Authority filed 10 eviction lawsuits against 127 residents of Ras Jrabah and their families in May 2019, and Adalah submitted defense arguments on behalf of the villagers.


On 22 and 23 May 2022, the Beer Sheva Magistrates’ Court will hold hearings on the cases during which experts and residents of Ras Jrabah will testify against the evictions and home demolitions. Adalah Attorneys Dr. Hassan Jabareen and Myssana Morany will be representing the residents of Ras Jrabah in court.


              CLICK HERE to read the defense arguments [Hebrew]


              CLICK HERE to read the affidavits of Ras Jrabah’s residents [Hebrew]


In the lawsuits, the Israel Land Authority (ILA) demanded that the court order the eviction of the Bedouin families for the purpose of expanding the adjacent primarily-Jewish city of Dimona and to “use the land for the public good”.


Ras Jrabah covers an area of 340 dunams (approximately 84 acres) of lands belonging to the Al-Hawashleh tribe, and its residents have lived there for generations. Ras Jrabah is adjacent to the city of Dimona, which was built on the Al-Hawashleh tribe’s lands.


Israeli authorities intend to move and resettle Ras Jrabah’s residents in another segregated, impoverished government-planned Bedouin town, designated solely for the Bedouins. The residents wish to remain as an independent village or for the village to become a neighborhood in Dimona. Ras Jrabah’s residents are heavily reliant on essential state services provided in Dimona, including health and welfare services, and for employment. The evacuation of the village and demolition of residents’ homes would cut them off from Dimona, which they consider themselves to be an integral part of.


The Bedouin Development and Settlements Authority in the Negev ("the Bedouin Authority" or the BA) – a body of the Israeli government responsible for all aspects of Bedouin residents’ lives – refused to consider the option of integrating the village into Dimona. The BA stated that it is only possible to evict the residents and resettle them in the nearby Bedouin town of Qasr Al Sir. the existing Bedouin towns. In a meeting of the ILA and Ras Jrabah’s village committee, representatives of the Bedouin Authority noted that they are not authorized to offer solutions within Israeli Jewish towns, only in Bedouin towns.


In the defense arguments, Adalah Attorneys Myssana Morany and Suhad Bishara argued that expanding Dimona on the ruins of Ras Jrabah, without giving any weight to the legitimate rights and interests of its residents discriminates against them on the basis of national affiliation. Any attempt to portray the residents of Ras Jrabah as “invaders” or “trespassers” on their own lands is absolutely false. The eviction of Ras Jrabah’s residents also violates their constitutional rights to dignity, property and housing. Adalah provided the court with extensive evidence proving that the residents have lived in Ras Jrabah for decades and that the eviction and demolition orders must be cancelled.


Extracts from residents’ written testimonies:


Freij Al-Hawashleh, a resident of Ras Jrabah:


Our village has been around for decades and my family and tribe have lived here for generations. They worked our lands and raised our sheep that graze from these lands. The city of Dimona was built on our lands, belonging to the Al-Hawashleh tribe. Therefore, any attempt to present us as trespassers or invaders is incorrect. The population of the village is one, cohesive social unit; it is built on mutual help between all the families. The evacuation of the village will sever these ties and harm the social structure of the families and all of the residents of the village.


Mousa Al-Hawashleh, member of the local committee of Ras Jrabah:


We have been living here for years and our community has strong attachments to Dimona City. I and the other members of the local, representative committee have on several occasions expressed our desire to state officials to continue to live here, either as an independent village or as part of Dimona. They refused to consider this option and stated that it is only possible to move us to an existing Bedouin town.


Mohammad Al-Hawashleh, a resident of Ras Jrabah:


My father, who passed away, worked for the municipality of Dimona for many years. Among his belongings, we recently found documents proving that our family, like other families in the village, relied on the city of Dimona for essential services. The purpose of the evacuation of the village and its demolition is unlawful and discriminates against us on the basis of our Arab nationality. For, at the heart of the lawsuits against us by the state, is the improper intent to expand Dimona as a Jewish city on the ruins of our village without giving any weight to our legitimate rights and interests.


Adalah commented:


“Israeli authorities seek to forcibly displace an entire Bedouin village for the expansion of a primarily-Jewish city. Israel systemically uses different policies, laws and planning mechanisms while portraying Bedouin citizens as  ''criminals'' and ''trespassers'' in order to forcibly displace them and to assert state control over the land. The authorities’ refusal to even consider an option of a Bedouin neighborhood within a Jewish town perpetuates Israel’s practices of racial segregation. Israel has used these policies since the Nakba both within the Green Line – like in the case of Umm al-Hiran, and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – like in Masafer Yatta. These policies reflect the values of the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law which enshrines Jewish supremacy and racial segregation as foundational principles of the State of Israel.”


Related Press Releases:


Court to hear Adalah’s defense arguments against evacuation of 500 residents of Ras Jrabah 14/06/2020