Bedouin to Ask Court to Postpone Demolition of Their Southern Israel Village

Rights group notes residents will be made homeless if government carries out decision to evacuate the unrecognized Negev site.

Albert Denkberg

A Kiryat Gat court will discuss on Monday a request to postpone the demolition of homes in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hieran, in southern Israel. The request, filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, notes that thousands of residents will be made homeless if the demolition is carried out as planned. Some three weeks ago, the High Court of Justice rejected the villagers’ petition, and did not intervene in the government’s decision to evacuate the Negev village.

Last week, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said the High Court’s decision did not constitute discrimination, adding that the residents were offered other lands for free in addition to financial restitution, but they were not interested in reaching an agreement. Representatives from Adalah, however, said the alternative being offered was not realistic, and that the lands were in an already crowded Bedouin town, Houra, with its own housing issues. Houra regional council is expected to submit these claims to the court on Monday.

The request to postpone the demolition orders was filed before the High Court of Justice handed down its decision earlier this month. Activists plan to file a petition with the Supreme Court for an additional hearing on that ruling, which could delay the demolition until such a hearing is held.