The forced eviction of 500 Palestinian Bedouins from the Negev/Naqab region has been approved by an Israeli court, underscoring the severe discrimination Palestinian citizens of Israel experience as a result of apartheid.
The Beer’sheva Magistrate’s Court ordered residents of the village of Ras Jrabah to leave their homes and leave the lands where their families have lived for decades by March 2024, according to a ruling it issued on July 27. In addition, they must pay a fine of 117,000 NIS (about 31,700 USD) to cover their legal costs.
The Israeli government’s plans to develop a new neighborhood for the predominantly Jewish Israeli city of Dimona include the forced evictions. Residents of Ras Jrabah will be transferred to a nearby underdeveloped and segregated Bedouin community.
This ruling demonstrates how Israel’s severely discriminatory laws regarding land and property ownership are used to systematically deny Palestinian Israeli citizens the same rights as Jewish Israelis. Residents of Ras Jrabah have only a few months to pack up their lives and leave the only homes they have ever known in order to make room for the development of the city of Dimona, which has a large Jewish population. Under the guise of development, it is yet another effort by Israeli authorities to downplay the Palestinian presence in the Negev/Naqab.
This ruling highlights the urgent need to abolish Israel’s apartheid system. The international community needs to exert pressure on Israeli authorities to abandon these heinous plans and stop evicting Palestinians from the Negev/Naqab by force.
Ras Jrabah’s inhabitants have lived in their village for generations, like many other Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev/Naqab region of southern Israel, but the Israeli government refuses to acknowledge them. According to the Israel Land Authority, the villagers’ presence prevents Dimona from growing. This is true even though locals asked to be incorporated into the new neighborhood, a request that Israeli authorities denied.
Adalah claims that the Israeli government agency in charge of relocating uprooted Palestinian Bedouins, the Bedouin Development and Settlements Authority in the Negev, has rejected the possibility of integrating Ras Jrabah into Dimona. The only option, according to the Bedouin Authority, is to move the residents of Ras Jrabah to the nearby Bedouin town of Qasr Al Sir because it is only permitted to provide solutions in Bedouin towns, not Jewish Israeli ones.
The Al-Hawashleh tribe owns the roughly 84 acres of land that make up Ras Jrabah, and people have lived there ever since Dimona’s founding. The discriminatory laws on planning and zoning created to maximize land and resources for Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians are detailed in Amnesty International’s 2022 report on Israel’s apartheid system.