Advancing the Human Rights of Arab Bedouins in the Naqab

A joint project of Adalah & the Negev Coexistence Forum. Funded by the European Union*

 

 

This two-year joint EU-funded project led by Adalah and the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) began on 1 October 2018 and will run through 31 December 2020. The project aims to advance the human rights of 240,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab (Negev), both in unrecognized and recognized villages and towns.

 

The Bedouin citizens in the Naqab are the most marginalized sub-group of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. They face institutionalized discrimination by the state, including the denial or neglect of basic socio-economic services, and severe violations of their land and housing rights through home demolitions and land confiscations.

 

Through a combination of legal action, international advocacy and media outreach, community participation, and documentation and publications, Adalah and NCF are working to protect Bedouin communities at risk of forced displacement and to improve their living conditions, including securing access to schools, health clinics, water, public transportation, and more.

 

 

 

LEGAL ACTIONS

 

COVID-19 CASES

  • Demanding isolation buildings for Arab Bedouin women

May 2020- Adalah submitted a petition to the Supreme Court demanding suitable isolation conditions for female Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel suffering from COVID-19 in unrecognized villages in the Naqab.

 

  • Demanding access to COVID-19 testing centers, emergency medical services

April 2020- Adalah filed an urgent petition to the Israeli Supreme Court  calling on Israeli authorities to immediately address the needs of Palestinian Bedouin communities the Naqab confronting the threat of the coronavirus by providing testing centers and bolstered emergency ambulance services.

 

March 2020- Adalah sent an urgent letter on 29 March to Israeli Health Ministry demanding it open coronavirus drive-in test centers for unrecognized Bedouin villages in Naqab. This follows Adalah’s earlier letter of 22 March demanding access to essential medical services for citizens in Naqab region.

 

  • Demanding distance-learning options for Arab Bedouin children

July 2020- Adalah sends letter to Israeli officials demanding they act in preparation for the upcoming school year to make the education system- both distance learning options and routine classroom studies subject to Health Ministry social distancing directives- accessible to children from Bedouin villages in the Naqab.

 

April 2020- Adalah and partners petition Israeli Supreme Court demanding to connect Bedouin students in Naqab to distance-learning system as all schools have been closed due to the coronavirus crisis. The court dismissed the petition because the government declared a return to school, despite that thousands of Bedouin children did not return to schools since they could not meet the Health Ministry’s guidelines.

 

March 2020- Adalah sends letter to Israeli education officials demanding equal access to Arabic-language educational materials and to distance-learning tools for Palestinian Bedouin students in the Naqab during the coronavirus lockdown.

 

  • Demanding mobile post service to ease massive crowding, comply with social-distancing rules

April 2020- Adalah sent a letter demanding that Israeli communications and postal authorities provide a mobile post office to serve residents of Bedouin villages in the Naqab during the coronavirus lockdown.

 

  • Demanding information re: infrastructure plans for online unemployment benefits forms

April 2020- Adalah sends letter to Israeli authorities to provide information about planned or already established infrastructure enabling Palestinian Bedouin residents of the Naqab to file online unemployment forms, an action which requires access to internet, electricity, and other essential services during the coronavirus crisis.

 

  • Demanding halt to home demolitions

March 2020- Following a joint letter sent by NCF, Adalah and 21 NGO partners to the Israeli attorney general, Israeli authorities announced that they were temporarily halting home demolitions and the razing of crops in Bedouin villages in the Naqab. The letter was sent as Israel continued to demolish homes and destroy dozens of acres of agricultural land in Bedouin villages even as it shut down all but essential services to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

EDUCATION RIGHTS

  • Demanding resumption of school bus transport for 2200 Bedouin children

February 2020- Adalah’s urgent court petition resulted in the swift resumption of bus services for 2,200 preschool children in 20 villages who had been stuck at home for a month as the Education Ministry failed to transfer funding to the Neve Midbar Regional Council. 

 

January 2020- Adalah sent an urgent letter demanding Israeli Education Ministry and the Neve Midbar Regional Council immediately renew bus service for Bedouin preschool kids from 20 villages in the Naqab.

 

  • Demanding resumption of school bus transport for children from Umm Badoun

September 2019- Adalah sent an urgent legal appeal to state authorities requesting to reinstate transport for over 140 children from the unrecognized village of Umm Badoun allowing them to attend their schools located around 18 km away from their homes. As a result, transportation resumed and the children were attending school again.

 

  • Demanding kindergartens in Al Rowais

September 2019- Adalah appealed to the Head of the Al-Qassoum Regional Council, the Director of the Education Department in the council, and to the Ministry of Education demanding an on-site kindergarten for 140 children in the unrecognized village of Al Rowais.

 

  • Seeking implementation of court orders to establish safe school bus stops

July 2019- Adalah sent letters to the Ministry of Education and the Neve Midbar and Al-Qassoum Regional Councils to ensure the state’s commitment to fund construction of safe school bus stops for children living in six Bedouin villages in the Naqab.

 

  • Opening a high school in Al-Zarnouq

November 2018- Adalah sent a legal Letter to Education Ministry, Neve Midbar Regional Council demanding new high school be built in unrecognized village of Al Zarnouq. A new high school opened prior to the start of the school year in 2019 to serve approx. 300 Bedouin high school students.

 

WATER RIGHTS/HEALTH RIGHTS

  • Demanding clear water policy re: disconnection of water supply

February 2020- In October 2019, the Israeli Water Authority cut the water to a connection point that serves 400 Bedouin residents of Khashem Zanneh village in the Naqab, claiming that they had not paid their bills when, in fact, the local representative had not transferred the money. In January 2020, Adalah sent a letter to the Water Authority, leading to the reconnection of the water supply for the residents of Khashem Zanneh. In its response to Adalah’s request regarding Khashem Zanneh, the Water Authority refused to deal with our claims regarding the absence of legal authority to disconnect water from single water points that are registered under the name of one person but serve in fact hundreds of people. Adalah sent a follow-up letter in February 2020 to the Water Authority demanding a clear policy guaranteeing it would not approve future water disconnection on a collective basis in the Naqab.

 

  • Challenging exorbitantly high prices of water

December 2019- Adalah, together with NCF and other partners, sent a letter to Israel's Water Authority challenging a discriminatory practice in which the Authority automatically charges Bedouins higher rates – treating them as if they are wasting water – than any other citizens, when they actually have most limited access to water.

 

  • Demanding a health clinic for residents of Tel Arad

April 2019- Adalah sent letters to the Ministry of Health and the Clalit health provision services, seeking a health clinic to serve the 2,500 residents of the unrecognized village of Tel Arad. The village contains no health clinic, and many patients, particularly women, children, and the elderly, have to walk several kilometers in order to catch a bus, which severely compromises their right to health.

 

FORCED DISPLACEMENT

  • Representing residents of Ras Jeraba in eviction lawsuits filed against them by the State

November 2019- Adalah is representing over 100 residents of Ras Jeraba in eviction lawsuits filed against them by the Israel Land Authority. The state is seeking a courts to forcibly displace the 500 residents of the village in order to expand the primarily-Jewish city of Dimona and to 'use the land for the public good'.

 

  • Challenging state plans to establish displacement camps for Bedouin

October 2019- Adalah sent a letter to the Chairman of the Southern District Planning and Building Committee, challenging plans to allow state authorities to immediately evict and transfer Bedouin citizens to temporary displacement camps without offering any permanent housing solutions. As a result of the efforts of Adalah and partner NGOs, as well as the public protest against the displacement camps, the the Southern District Planning and Building Committee will not advance the plans further.

 

  • Seeking to stop construction of a dangerous phosphate mine

January 2019- Adalah, together with residents of Al-Fura'a and partner NGOs, filed a Supreme Court petition  demanding to stop construction of a dangerous phosphate mine in Al-Fura'a posing grave health risks and leading to forced transfer of residents. Consequently, the Supreme Court issued an order nisi requiring the state to explain why the construction of the phosphate mine is legal.

In the News: Middle East Monitor, 26 February 2019 ; IMEMC, 28 February 2019 ; Wafa, 26  February 2019

Photo: Adalah Attorney MyssanaMorany debriefs Eyewitness Palestine delegation at the Supreme Court, after hearing on construction of phosphate mine in Al-Fura'a / 27 February 2019.

 

Photo: Bedouin citizens gather at Supreme Court for hearing on construction of phosphate mine in Al-Fura'a / 27 February 2019.

 

  • Objecting to massive forced transfer plan

January 2019- Adalah issued a statement following the announcement of a plan by the Bedouin Authority for a massive forced transfer of 36,000 Bedouin citizens to make way for "economic projects" and the expansion of live-fire training areas for the Israeli military.

In the News:Al Jazeera English, 27 January 2019

 

  • Challenging land allocation solely for Jewish Israelis in Hiran (Umm al-Hiran)

December 2018- Adalah sent legal letters to Israel Land Authority and the Tamar Regional Council, challenging land allocation solely to Jewish Israelis in the new town of Hiran. As it continued to send additional requests for information through 2019, Adalah’s ongoing intervention in the case has helped part of the Bedouin population of Umm al-Ḥīrān remain on their land.

 

  • Objecting to the relocation of military industrial facility to Ramat Beka

September 2018- Adalah and Bimkom filed an objection to the Southern District Planning and Building Committee asking to stop relocation of military industrial facility to Ramat Beka, threatening demolition of 1,200 Bedouin homes. Despite the Committee rejecting the request in April 2019, forced displacement is delayed.

Photo gallery: Adalah and Bimkom touring the Ramat Beka area, 2 December 2019.

In the News:Middle East Monitor, 4.12.2018 ; Wafa, 30.1.2019

 

ECONOMIC RIGHTS

  • Demanding changes to regulations re: camel grazing that harm Bedouin farmers

August 2019- Adalah sent legal letters to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Israel Land Authority, demanding amendments to regulations that discriminate against camel farmers. The regulations would have a severe, damaging impact on the livelihoods of Arab Bedouin families in the Naqab where camel raising is an important traditional practice among the residents.

 

VOTING RIGHTS

  • Demanding accessible polling stations

February 2019- Adalah sent a legal letter to the Central Elections Committee and Interior Ministry, demanding polling stations for thousands of Bedouin citizens in unrecognized villages to vote in Israeli election. The Central Elections Committee rejected Adalah’s request, handing over the decision on whether to provide transportation for voters to polling stations to the Beersheva Regional Elections Committee. On 24 March 2020, and following Adalah’s meeting with the Regional Elections Committee, the demand for transport from unrecognized villages to polling stations was rejected.

In the News:Haaretz, 8 April 2019 ; Jerusalem Post, 16 September 2019 ; i24 News, 12 February 2019 ; Middle East Monitor, 8 February 2019 ; Mondoweiss, 11 February 2019 ; IMEMC, 13 February 2019

 

INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY

 

  • UN COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (UN CESCR)

January 2019- Joint NGO Report by Adalah and NCF: List of Issues for Israel in advance of pre-sessional working group the UN CESCR.

 

March 2019

Following the pre-sessional working group, the Committee released its list of key issues for Israel to address; many issues based on subjects highlighted in the joint Adalah-NCF report.

  • NGO briefing to EU and EU Member States: Israel and the UN CESCR at the EU Delegation in Tel Aviv.

 

September 2019- Joint NGO report: Response to Israel’s replies to the List of Issues put forward by the Committee. Read Adalah’s press release HERE.

Presentations: Delivered by Adalah and NCF at the UN CESCR review of Israel in Geneva.

 

October 2019- In its concluding observations, the CESCR issued numerous favorable recommendations regarding Israel’s violations of the ESCR of the Arab Bedouin, as raised by Adalah and NCF.

 

  • UN COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (CERD)

September 2019- Joint NGO report by Adalah and NCF: Racial discrimination perpetrated by Israel against Bedouin citizens in the Naqab, to the UN CERD.

In the News: Middle East Monitor, 24 September 2019 ; Wafa, 24 September 2019

 

November 2019- NCF report: Plans for “Temporary Housing” leading to permanent expulsion, to the UN CERD

 

December 2019- CERD, in its concluding observations, criticizes Israel’s policies of racial segregation against Palestinians in Israel and OPT as a single entity. CERD called on Israel to provide information on its violations of land and property rights of Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab. Read Adalah’s press release HERE.

 

  • UN SPECIAL PROCEDURES

May 2019- UN human rights experts raise grave concerns about Israel’s planned forced displacement of Bedouin: Six UN Special Rapporteurs issued a joint letter to Israel, recently made public, raising serious concerns about Israeli government plans to forcibly displace 36,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel. This statement follows advocacy by NCF and Adalah

 

 

 

TOURS & WEBINARS

Adalah and NCF led tens of tours for ambassadors and embassy representatives, journalists, international organizations and other influencers, as well as students, activists, and solidarity groups.

Photos: Tour for 14 diplomats in the Naqab, 16 January 2019

 

26 June 2019- Tour for international organizations.

 

6 May 2020- Adalah and NCF held a webinar for embassy representatives and international organizations:  “The impact of the coronavirus on the human rights of Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab/Negev”.

 

LEGAL TRAININGS

June and July 2019- Adalah organized and led training sessions for lawyers and advanced law students on “The Right to Land and Housing in the Naqab”. This course was held in cooperation with NCF, the Union of Arab Lawyers in the Naqab, and Huquq.

The course program:

  • 18 June 2019: “The Kaminitz Law and Analysis of the Planning Regime”, with lectures by Architect Dafna Saporta of Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights and Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany, Coordinator of Adalah’s Land and Planning Unit.
  • 25 June 2019: “The Jewish Nation-State Law – A general perspective and implications for the Naqab”, speaker: Adalah’s General Director, Attorney Hassan Jabareen.
  • 2 July 2019: “Forcible displacement and recognition of villages in the Naqab”, speakers: Attorney Dr. Morad al-Sana’, founder and co-director of the Al Huquq Center, and Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany.
  • 16 July 2019: “International advocacy on the right to land before the UN”, led by Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad and Amir Abo Qweder of NCF.

 

PUBLICATIONS

NCF Report: House Demolition Report / June 2019

NCF Report: 2020 Demolitions Report / July 2020

 

Book: Inclusion of the Bedouin minority in the publication The Indigenous World 2019” (NCF)

 

NCF Position Paper: The governmental program for completing basic education for adults in Negev Bedouin communities

Adalah’s position paper: The Illegality of Israel’s Plan to Transfer Palestinian Bedouin Citizens of the State into ‘Refugee Displacement Camps’ in the Naqab (Negev) / December 2019

 

VISUAL DOCUMENTATION

NCF Documentation Workshops: Working with Arab Bedouin women from unrecognized villages to document human rights violations in their communities through videos and photo stills.

 

NCF Short Video Workshops: Training Arab Bedouin women to communicate with the general public in Israel and abroad through short films.

 

NCF Films screening: Short documentary films created by Bedouin women from unrecognized villages in the Negev/Naqab were screened at the  Cinematheque in Jerusalem, as part of the “recognized” project / March 2020. Watch Maryam’s film Here.

 

NCF Photo exhibitions:

Two documentary videos of 4Bedouin women were featured at the “Forced from Home” photo exhibition that took place in Photoville Festival in New York, September 2019.

Women and employment, at NCF’s Cultural Centre (Multaka-Mifgash).10 December 2018.

Women and Employment, at the Rahat community center. 4 October 2018

 

 

 

MULTI-MEDIA

Interactive map: NCF’s ‘On the Map’ project maps every single unrecognized Bedouin village in the Naqab (Negev) with information and monthly updates in three languages: Arabic, Hebrew and English.

 

Photos: Photography exhibition for "Negev Day" at the Israeli Knesset, 18 December 2018 / Post 1Post 2Post 3.

 

Photo galleries: ADALAH PHOTO GALLERY ; NCF PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

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Facebook: Adalah and NCF | Twitter: Adalah and NCF

Instagram: Adalah and NCF | Newsletters: Adalah and NCF

 

 

* This is part of a joint project funded by the European Union. The contents are the sole responsibility of Adalah and NCF and should not be regarded under any circumstances as reflecting the positions of the European Union.