It’s 1948 Again for Bedouin Tribe

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Umm al-Hiran. The government has decided to raze the Bedouin village in the Negev to make way for a new Jewish community.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

I have no doubt that the minister of Zionist history is tearing his hair out right now. The frustration over the ruling of the Supreme Court with regard to expelling the residents of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to establish a Jewish town called Hiran is driving him out of his mind. Honorable justices, what’s going on here? To evacuate 1,000 Bedouin, you are destroying the Zionist narrative about what happened here in 1948?

How can you accuse the residents of being trespassers? They are living for 60 years in the location the state allotted to them. How can you argue once again that the expulsion is taking place during a war, and roll your eyes and say that in war there are inevitably refugees? How can you blame the Arab leaders for supposedly calling on the village residents to leave until they destroy the Zionist entity, and how can it be said that the residents of Umm al-Hiran didn’t want Jews near them, so they deserve to be evacuated? After all, the village residents are willing to live with the Jews.

Even before the new government is sworn in, the spirit of Naftali Bennett prevails. This time we aren’t apologizing. This time we aren’t trying to find various and sundry reasons for carrying out the expulsion. No more military or environmental constraints or any other excuses. We’re simply uprooting an Arab to plant a Jew.

So whom should we thank? Our justices who removed the mask. This ruling was the greatest gift to the Palestinian narrative. The justices simply prove that the claim that thousands of Palestinians ostensibly “wandered” across the borders in 1948 without the Zionists having any hand in it is totally baseless.

Members of the Abu Alkian tribe were expelled from their lands in 1948 and the lands were annexed to Kibbutz Shoval. After a few years of wandering, the state allocated them some land, and that’s where the village of Umm al-Hiran was built. In the ensuing years, children were born, parents were buried, a history emerged and memories flourished.

In this case, a senior lawyer told me, the evacuation of the village is like a death sentence, which must be decided upon unanimously. As we know, one of the three justices held an opposing opinion, and as we know, you don’t execute someone in the case of reasonable doubt. Now the ball is in the court of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. He must insist the demolition orders not be carried out, because the black stain that will result from the demolition of the village will never be removed.

In Israel there are embraces on the left and on the right. Only the Arabs are ineligible for hugging. Habayit Hayehudi conditioned its joining the coalition on the revival of the Prawer plan to permanently resettle the Bedouin, which does not constitute ethnic cleansing, God forbid, but merely creates a single large ethnic prison.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court justices’ bulldozers are already paving MK Ayelet Shaked’s way to the Justice Ministry. All this has been taking place via a slew of High Court rulings, each of which raises an eyebrow more than the next, starting from the admissions committee law, through the Nakba law and the anti-boycott law, to the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran. Shaked will find, to her dismay, that there isn’t much left to do to realize her vision. After all, on the highway the High Court is paving for the extreme right, it doesn’t pay to try to pass.

So here, then, is the response of the Jewish nation, through its judges, to the humanitarian address delivered in the Knesset by Joint Arab List chairman MK Ayman Odeh. Odeh brought a gospel of equal citizenship for all, and the nation-state of Jews is fighting it. Soon we might have a judge who will condemn Odeh’s message as one that, as the Passover Haggadah states, “is poised to wipe us out.”

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