On-going Destruction in the Negev

A camel in an unrecognized Bedouin village (FAST)

FAST, the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory, condemns the destruction of Tawil abu Jarwal, a Bedouin village in the Negev.

FAST research shows that the destruction of the village is part of a larger land grab plan. Since 1948, the state of Israel developed policies to occupy the Negev.

In the recent years, the Israeli government approved many plans and masterplans to build on top of these villages. The destruction of Tawil abu Jarwal is another step in the execution of these plans, and yet proves another series of basic human rights violation of the Bedouin population in the Negev.

The unrecognized bedouin villages

Drive along the desert highways around Beer el-Sabe (Beer Sheva) in the south of Israel, and it does not take long to notice clusters of makeshift houses set in from the side of the road. These Bedouin villages are ‘unrecognised’ by the state of Israel, and consequently have no offi cial status. They are absent from government maps but not from transfer and demolition plans. They receive little or no basic public services such as electricity, water, telephone lines, educational or health facilities. In total, about 40 unrecognised villages exist in the Naqab (Negev) desert.

At 5:00am hundreds of police accompanied six bulldozers and demolished 17 homes and three animal shacks in the village of Twail Abu-Jarwal. The entire village is demolished. People are sitting by the piles of tin that were their modest dwellings and wondering what to do, where to go - even their family cannot host them, as no one has a house standing.

This is the fourth time this year that the government demolished in this village. This time they got it “right” - no house is left standing.

But the villagers have nowhere to go to. They lived on the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Laqia, the old folk paid for plots of land to build homes in the 1970s, they still hold on the receipt, hoping someday to receive the plots. For the last 30 years they have been living on land belonging to others, in shacks, the housing becoming ever more crowded, until there was no room left for another baby. They turned to the government for a solution - the option for joining the rest of the residents of Laqia, in a regular house, on a regular plot of land. But the authorities had no options for them. The owners of the land on which they were living requested that they leave - 30 years is enough. So eventually they left back to their own ancestral land - only a couple of miles south of Laqia - by the old ruined school, by their old cemetery. The adult sons built their old mother a modest brick home. The rest built tin shacks.

A year ago the government came and destroyed several houses - including the brick home. Some of the people of Twail Abu Jarwal rebuilt, some moved into more crowded homes with their adult siblings. The government came nine months later and demolished seven more homes. Again, some rebuilt their shacks, some moved in with family. The government came back last month and just to harass, uprooted fences, holding the sheep. And now they came in order to make sure the work is complete.

Related Links

  • Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST)
  • Israel demolishes entire Bedouin village in the Negev,
    Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (6 December 2006)