Adalah Files Motion to Cancel Orders to Demolish 33 Homes in the Unrecognized Arab Bedouin Village of Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab, on which the State Plans to

On 30 January 2007, Adalah filed a motion to the Beer el-Sabe (Beer Sheva) Magistrate Court to cancel ex parte demolition orders issued by the Court at the request of the state against houses in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab. Adalah argued in the motion that of the conditions stipulated in Article 212 of the Planning and Building Law (1965) which allow a magistrates court to issue and ex parte demolition order – that is, without the presence of or hearing from any of the owners of the houses – none applies in this case. In particular, Adalah argued that the state's claim that they could not identify the homeowners against which the demolition orders were issued are groundless. Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Nabil Dakwar submitted the motion.

In the motion, Adalah argued that it is an irrefutable fact the state was aware of and was able to obtain the identities of the homeowners: In April 2004, the state filed a lawsuit to evacuate and expel all of the village's residents. In that lawsuit, the state identified each building and its exact location in the village as well as the names and identity numbers of the individuals living in each house. Therefore, the Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court was not authorized to issue the ex parte demolition orders. This fact confirms, as was argued in the motion, that the state did not act in good faith in obtaining the ex parte home demolition orders by exploiting legal procedures and attempting to obtain legal decisions in the presence on one party only.

Adalah emphasized in the motion that demolishing the residents' homes in these circumstances would violate their constitutional right to housing, which is a part of the constitutional right to dignity. Moreover, the state's attempt to make the families homeless constitutes a danger to the lives of these women, men and children, Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel.

The Arab Bedouin village of Umm al-Hieran was established in 1956, during the period of the military government. At that time, the village's residents were required, by way of orders of the military governor, to leave their homes in "Wadi Zuballa" (today, these lands are under the control of Kibbutz Shuval), to their current place of residence in Umm al-Hieran. As noted above, in April 2004, the state filed 27 lawsuits to evacuate and expel all of the residents of the village, who number approximately 300 people. Adalah is representing the residents in these lawsuits, which also remain pending before the Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court. (See, for example, Civil File 3326/04, The State of Israel and the Israel Land Administration v. Ibrahim Farhood Abu el-Qian, et. al. (Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court). The state is planning to establish a Jewish town named "Hiran" on the village's land.

On 23 October 2006, following Adalah's legal intervention, the Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court froze the demolition orders, which have been in place since 2003 and 2005, and ordered the state to provide copies of the demolition orders to Adalah. Adalah then submitted the motion to cancel the demolitions orders. A motion to cancel two additional demolition orders issued against houses in the villages will be filed shortly.

Beer el-Sabe Magistrate Court 8477/30, Abu el-Qian Ali, et al. v. The State of Israel (filed 30/1/07, pending)