Adalah Appeals Court Decision Greenlighting the Forced Displacement of the Bedouin Village of Ras Jrabah

Adalah's appeal to the Be'er Sheva District Court, on behalf of the entire population of over 500 residents of the Bedouin village of Ras Jrabah in the Naqab, argues that the magistrate court’s decision endorses a segregationist ideology and violates constitutional principles.
Update: On 30 January, the district court granted Adalah's motion to defer the eviction and demolition orders until a decision is reached in the appeal, notwithstanding the strong opposition of the state. Additionally, the court postponed the payment of the majority of court expenses imposed on the villagers.


On 9 January 2024, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed an appeal to the Be'er Sheva District Court against a magistrate's court decision to approve ten eviction lawsuits brought by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) against the entire population of the Bedouin village of Ras Jrabah, in the Naqab (Negev, southern Israel), over 500 people. The lower court’s decision, issued on 24 July 2023, orders the residents to evacuate themselves from the village and demolish their homes by 1 March 2024. Additionally, the residents were ordered to pay a sum of 117,000 NIS (approximately 31,700 USD) to cover the state’s legal expenses. Along with the appeal, Adalah submitted a motion to postpone the eviction and demolition orders, as well as the payment of legal expenses, until the conclusion of legal proceedings.


    CLICK HERE to read the appeal (Hebrew)

     Civil Appeal 21579-01-24 Al-Hawashleh et. al  v. The Israel Land Authority (Hebrew)


Ras Jrabah covers an area of 340 dunams (approximately 84 acres) of land belonging to the Al-Hawashleh tribe, and its residents have lived there for generations. Ras Jrabah is adjacent to the Jewish city of Dimona, which was built on Al-Hawashleh tribe land. The residents of Ras Jrabah – represented by Adalah – have been fighting the state’s attempts to evict them since May 2019, when the ILA filed 10 eviction lawsuits against the residents, ordering them to evacuate their homes. The stated justification for the evictions is to allow for the expansion of the nearby Jewish city of Dimona onto Ras Jrabah's land, while the residents were presented with a single option: to relocate to the nearby Bedouin town of Qasr Al-Sirr. After the court unified the 10 lawsuits into a single case in July 2020, case hearings were held in the Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court in May 2022,  and the court issued its decision in July 2023. 


    CLICK HERE to read more about the Magistrate's Court decision

    CLICK HERE to read English translations of excerpts of the Magistrate's Court decision


In the appeal, Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany argued that the magistrate's court had committed a grave error in concluding that the residents of Ras Jrabah did not have a rightful claim to the land. Despite acknowledging that the village has existed in its exact location for 45 years according to its assessment, and the village’s subsequent development, the judgment inexplicably deemed its residents to be present in their homes unlawfully, portraying them as trespassers rather than members of a longstanding community. Furthermore, the court dismissed the claim that residents have lawful authority to use the land, relying on assurances from military governors as early as the 1950s that they could continue to reside in the area, and noting that the residents did not prove that these assurances were given by an authorized entity.


The appellants further argued that the lower court had failed to properly examine the relevant constitutional principles when reviewing the lawsuits. The appellants emphasized that the lawsuits violated the residents' right to dignity and housing. Moreover, eviction would not only deprive them of their homes but also undermine crucial family and societal connections and values. In the eviction lawsuits, the state treats the residents as if they were easily movable objects, disregarding their history on the land and neglecting the impact on their social, familial, communal, and economic lives, further infringing on their autonomy.


Moreover, the appellants argued that the magistrate’s court judgment endorses a segregationist ideology, according to which “Bedouins should reside with Bedouins in Bedouin villages,” in direct contradiction to their rights. This violation is exacerbated by the reason for the state’s attempts to evict Ras Jrabah’s Bedouin residents, who are members of a national minority living in their homeland, namely, to accommodate Jewish citizens. It therefore constitutes clear discrimination, prohibited by Israeli and international law.


The appellants additionally argued that the ILA had waived its claim to the land, in light of the fact that the state was well aware that the villagers were residing in the area for decades and took no action against them. In fact, as stated above, the state even permitted the appellants to reside there. This extended period of inaction constitutes a clear waiver of the ILA's claim to the land. Additionally, the appellants stressed that the ILA's prolonged delay in filing eviction lawsuits, despite its awareness of the villagers’ residence in the area, violated its duty of fairness and amounts to bad faith and exploitation of the judicial process.



Related Press Releases:


Israeli Court Approves Forced Displacement of the Bedouin Village Ras Jrabah to Expand the Jewish City of Dimona 27/07/2023


Following Hearing in Be’er Sheva Magistrates’ Court and Submission of Closing Arguments, Residents of Ras Jrabah Await Court Decision on their Lawsuit Against the State’s Attempt to Evict them from their Homes 30/06/2023


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 15/05/2022


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