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NCF's Update from the Negev-Naqab
Dear friends, colleagues and supporters:
NCF’s annual calendar is available for purchase here.
It includes photographs taken by children from the unrecognized Bedouin
villages of Umm al-Ḥīrān, Rakhamah, az-Zaʿarūrah, Ṣwāwīn, Bīr Haddāj,
az-Zarnūg, ʿAtīr, Tal ʿArād, and Khašim Zannih. We congratulate our
field and photography coordinators, for leading such incredible
workshops with the children.
We congratulate and bless all the residents of the Negev/Naqab, with a year of justice, welfare, and equal rights for all.
the new Jewish year started out sadly with the passing of former MK
Saeed Alkharumi, a Bedouin activist committed to advancing the rights of
his community. A humble man who struggled for the recognition of the
Bedouin communities, constantly gathering the residents' plight and
needs, until his very last days. We would like to express our thanks to
Saeed for all his doing, and send our deepest condolences to his family.
We believe that his actions as a Bedouin community member and
politician will inspire the youngest members of the community to
continue his path for equality.
part of our work to raise international awareness on Human Rights
issues in the Naqab, we held three tours with diplomats and
international organizations in the Naqab during August and September.
Abu Tlūl aš-Šahbī, 9.9.21 by Elianne Kremer
The unrecognized village of Az-Zarnūg, 9.9.21, visiting a location where demolitions took place, by Elianne Kremer
August, we toured with diplomats from Switzerland, and in September we
held a tour with colleagues from Germany, the United States, and France
and visited the unrecognized village of Khašim Zannih, the unrecognized
village of az-Zarnūg, and the recognized village of Abu Tlūl aš-Šahbī.
The Unrecognized village of al-Furʿah, 29.9.21, by Odeliya Mattar
the end of September, we organized together with Adalah and the
Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, a joint
tour for new incoming diplomats and international organizations in the
villages of Abu Tlūl aš-Šahbī, az-Zarnūg and al-Furʿah.
During the tours, participants spoke with the Bedouin residents
who shared their needs for housing security, their fear of the constant
demolitions, frequent intimidating police visits and the State’s
“development” plans that disregard the wellbeing of the residents in
part of our advocacy efforts to achieve better education conditions for
Bedouin children, we sent a letter to the Ministry of Education,
Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Communications, and the Knesset,
together with RCUV, the Israel Internet Association and the Clinical
Legal Education Centre from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
requesting to address the urgent need to find solutions for Internet
access for students in Israel as part of an inseparable part of their
right to education. To read the full letter in Hebrew please click here
court hearing of the petition to reopen the investigation of Ya’akob
Abu-Al-Qi'an’s death during the demolition of the unrecognized village
of Umm al-Ḥīrān in 18/1/2017
High Court of Justice, 9.9.21, by Odeliya Matter
Thursday 9.9.21, the High Court of Justice heard a petition by the
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and NGO Adalah to
reopen the prosecution’s probe into the handling of the death of
Abu-Al-Qi'an. The petitioners claim that there is a basis to reopen the
case and reach different conclusions. The court has not yet issued a
Women’s and children’s photography workshops
On the right: picture was taken in az-Zaʿarūrah, 31.8.21, anonymous
On the left: picture was taken in Bir Hadaj, 17.8, anonymous
Government, new opportunities?
friends and supporters,
Bedouin struggle & NCF in the media
the emerging Israeli coalition government, which was sworn on June
13th, the United Arab List headed by Mansour Abbas negotiated among
other things, to address the plight of the unrecognized Bedouin
communities, in terms of infrastructure, access to basic services and
housing solutions. By doing so, the coalition
agreement includes the recognition of the unrecognized
Bedouin villages of Khašim Zannih, Rakhamah and ʿAbdih in
the first 45 days of its term; as well as the presentation of a plan
that will propose housing solutions for the Bedouin
citizens living in unrecognized villages in the Negev, in the
first nine months.
expect the new government to bring about a democratic solution for the
recognition process of the 35 unrecognized villages, quickly providing
building permits and proper infrastructure, as well as housing
solutions for the Bedouin residents. The Naqab's Bedouin citizens
deserve to live a dignified life on their historical lands,
like the rest of the citizens.
The new government must eradicate the policy of eviction
towards its Arab citizens, end police violence and provide an
adequate housing plan that is participatory and sensitive of the
culture, designed to promote the wellbeing of all
In the few days before the
signature of the new government's guidelines, the demolition forces
have not ceased their efforts. Just two weeks ago they handed out 30
demolition warrants on houses in the recognized village of Bīr Haddāj,
a warrant on the house of an elderly woman in Rakhamah (to be
recognized) and demolitions happened in az-Zarnūg and al-ʿArāgīb
digital equality in the Naqab
| During 2020, 2,568 structures were demolished
in Arab Bedouin communities in the Naqab, of which 1,376 are
residential. Self demolitions, carried out by the owners, made up 94%
of all demolitions that year. Forced displacement and
demolitions disrupt the mental health of mothers and thousands of
children living in the Naqab. Especially during a global
pandemic, recovery measures should not be discriminatory and should
leave no one behind. Read
|Photo by a photographer
from az-Zarnūg, 2016
the Minister of Communications decided to exempt Bezeq (the largest
Israeli telecommunications company) from distributing fiber optics for
speedier internet throughout the country, placing economic gain over
all other social needs. This means that residents of areas suffering
the lowest quality of internet connection and an absence of market
competition, will continue to be neglected and even harmed, thus
building injustices upon existing inequality.
Given the gigantic gap of digital
inequalities identified since the Covid-19 outbreak in the
Naqab, NCF sent a letter to the Ministry of Communications demanding
that Bezeq broadens its list of distribution channels to include
representation from all areas of the country; increase the
annual budget; and include all of the Arab and Ultra-Orthodox
localities to the tender of the first year. Continue
violence, restrictions to freedom of protest and detentions/Naqab 2021
friends and supporters,
it seems that the fear and terror has been spread across all fronts, we
feel it is important to highlight some of the unique issues we have
seen in the Naqab, and emphasize our vision of shared society and
co-resistance against long decades of discrimination.
right-wing and police violence we have witnessed in recent weeks in
Sheikh Jarrah, Damascus Gate and the Al-Aqsa mosque, have been
replicated in the Naqab, where Palestinian Bedouin citizens joined the
struggle and demonstrations, protesting the oppression and neglectance
of the State of Israel.
only light in these times of hatred and incitement between different
communities, is the mobilizations of thousands of citizens for a shared
society. All across the Naqab we have witnessed many
inspirational initiatives, with WhatsApp groups of neighbors protecting
each other from lynches, and demonstrations calling for hope.
protest in Tal Arad Junction, with the participation of activist and
NCF's board member Khalil Alamour. 15.5.2021. By NCF’s staff
by Walid Eloubra, Rahaṭ and
Šgīb as-Salām, 11.5.21
the last month, large Palestinian-led protests began to form all around
the country, and in the Naqab this came to form in mass protests
circling main highways. Bedouin protesters took main junctions in
protest of police oppression, and blocked access to main roads. Some of
these protests involved violence on behalf of the residents (setting
cars on fire and destroying light poles), who were violently repressed
by Police forces with the use of stun grenades, physical
violence and mass detentions. Thousands of Bedouins,
mostly from Rahaṭ, Šgīb
as-Salām and the other towns,
have participated in the events.
Since May 10th
there have been over 300 detainees in Southern Israel, including Arab
Bedouin residents of the recognized and unrecognized Bedouin villages
Junction, unknown photographer, May 2021
by Walid Eloubra, Šgīb
reinforce our belief that there is a way out of conflict, and it is
through a shared Arab-Jewish society that will bring about grassroots
solutions to a chaotic situation encouraged by our leaders.
more than ever, we unite to step up against racism and reconstruct a
new society that raises up from the ashes of lost lives and broken
hearts, acting for a more tolerant future, where we can all live with
each other, equally and in peace.
up for the only shared Arab-Jewish space in the Negev-Naqab!
| Photo by NCF staff members
years of promoting joint Arab-Jewish collaboration and running existing
various activities together, we are forced by the Be'er Sheva
Municipality to leave the space we had called home.
We named this center the “Multaqa”, which means
encounter or meeting point in Arabic, and there throughout the years we
have built an encounter to generate knowledge, ask questions and
intercultural dialogue between Jewish and Arab communities sharing the
Naqab-Negev. Uniquely in the South, the Multaqa was the only place
where lectures, film screenings and critical debates took place, all
enabling the local population to share and broaden their perspectives
on our shared and diverse society. Together we worked towards being a
society that engages in finding common solutions to different obstacles
endured mainly by the Arab Bedouin community.
Sadly, we are at a point where we must say goodbye to the physical
platform of such diverse and rich interactions. We would like to thank
all those who organized and participated in this community during this
last decade and a half.
WE NEED YOU ONCE MORE!
Knowing that our community is mightier than the four walls, and despite
the challenges, today we are positive that we will continue growing
together down the road. For this reason,
today we are launching a crowdfunding
campaign to reopen the Multaka
Help us make a change and win the struggle
against censorship and the limitation of civil space!
wishes from NCF's staff and board members
| Photo: Mrīfeh
an-Nabārī, Tal ʿArād, 5.03.2020
On the eve of the upcoming Passover and
Ramadan, we would like to wish a happy and healthy Passover to the
celebrants and hope that the holiday will bring insights and thoughts
to an shared society, hoping for a change of policy towards the Bedouin
population of the Negev/Naqab.
Towards the eve of Passover and with the start of Ramadan in about two
weeks, and a fourth round of elections, the reality in the Negev seems
more complex than ever. Amid a global epidemic, and without an elected
government, the human rights situation of the Bedouin Arab residents in
the Negev has become even more vulnerable. Ironically and unfairly, the
number of house demolitions in the Negev in 2020 reached the highest
number historically. This is despite the Attorney General's order to
reduce the demolition orders and the presence of the police in the
Negev, in response to an urgent sent by NCF and other civil society
organizations in a request to stop the demolitions during the pandemic.
The economic crisis has created severe difficulties still unresolved at
a national level, that affected the Bedouin society deeply. This,
mainly due to the denial of infrastructure and basic services on behalf
of the State. Unemployment has raised significantly, and the state of
the education is much more severe for the children of unrecognized
villages compared to the rest of the country due to the lack of
internet and electrical systems, that in addition to shortage in
computers have make remote learning quite impossible. Although the
academic year for nearly 142,000 children is lost, the State chooses to
focus on repression and violence instead of responsibly investing on
education and resources.
Together with this, we choose to continue to support the fair struggle
of our Arab Bedouin partners and friends for real freedom and a
dignified life for them and their children.
With wishes of health, Haia Noach, Executive Director
BEDOUIN CITIZENS ARRESTED FOR PROTESTING APPROPRIATION OF THEIR
| On February 22nd, a State operation of land
ploughing of 2,800 dunams reached the villages of al-Ġarrah,
Al-Ruʾays and Saʿwah.
Residents of nearby villages and supporters participated in a
demonstration, calling for recognition of their villages, and
requesting the State to stop demolitions and ploughing of lands. 15
Bedouin citizens were arrested including a minor.
continue reading NCF and HRDF report click here
Photos by Ella Gil from Sikkuy, Naqab, 22.2.2021
rights for Bedouin women
Life and Resilience captured by Bedouin women
| We are happy to share with you a
video we produced summarizing the activities developed surrounding the
are pleased to share with you that the residents of the unrecognized
village of Khašim
Zannih have received the approval for a plan to build
temporary portable structures for educational and other
institutions, as a result to the work of Bimkon with the resudents. To
continue reading please click here
Salam Abu-Khuti I Khašim Zannih, 4.1.2017