Israeli Supreme Court refuses to reconsider decision to demolish Bedouin village of Atir-Umm al-Hiran and evict all residents

Adalah: Court's decision legitimizes Israel's longstanding colonial policy of racial discrimination, segregation, and dispossession.

Today, 17 January 2016, the Israeli Supreme Court (SCT) issued its final decision in the case of Atir-Umm al-Hiran, an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Naqab (Negev). 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 response to the decision, Adalah, the legal representative of the villagers, emphasized that: "The Court today wrote yet another chapter - the fourth, to be precise - in the history of expulsion and displacement of the Bedouin families since 1948, despite the fact that they were moved to these villages by the Israeli military government in 1956."


Adalah added: "The Court's decision legitimizes Israel's longstanding policy against Palestinian citizens of Israel - a colonial policy rooted in an ideology of racial discrimination, segregation, and dispossession. The residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran are now clinging to their existential, moral, and legitimate right to continue living on their land. They will continue their just struggle. Further discussions will be held in the coming days to plan the next steps of that struggle."


Read the Supreme Court’s decision (unofficial translation to English)


Case Citation (Motion): Further Civil Hearing 3959/15, Ibrahim Farhoud Abu al-Qi’an, et. al. v. The State of Israel (decision delivered 17 January 2016) 


Case Citation: (Supreme Court) Appeal 3094/11, Ibrahim Farhood Abu al-Qi’an, et al. v. The State of Israel (decision delivered 5 May 2015)