Israeli authorities should revoke plans to forcibly displace Bedouin Arab residents from the village of Umm al-Hiran in Israel’s southern Negev desert to build a new Jewish community there, Human Rights Watch said today.
Israel’s Execution and Collection Authority on November 20, 2016, approved a request by the Israel Land Authority to forcibly demolish two homes and approximately eight surrounding structures at the entrance of Umm al-Hiran between November 15 and November 30. The demolitions would displace about 20 people. The approval follows a January Supreme Court decision not to reconsider the court’s May 2015 dismissal of a legal challenge to the demolition of the village by Umm al-Hiran residents. The residents fear this is the first step toward the displacement of all the villagers.
“The forcible eviction of Bedouin residents to make way for a new Jewish town would be a blatant and ugly episode of discrimination mirroring Israel’s unlawful settlements,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.“Long after most of the rest of the world has such rejected racist policies, the Israeli government keeps building and razing communities on the basis of religion and ethnicity.”