Can you explain to me how the situation of the Bedouin construction in Negev evolved? I’m confused about Israel’s justification for the demolitions…what is the historical timeline?
The easy answer is ask Ariel, our resident al-Araqib and all things Negev Bedouin expert.
My rough answer, and please feel free to correct, was the following:
So the Bedouin in the Negev thing is complicated and the story is a little different depending who you ask…
…as I understand it, they were issued titles to their land under the Ottomans. The British recognized them sort of in passing (though they were never transferred over as official British documents), and then when Israel was formed they basically ignored the Negev, focused more on the cities and the populous areas. Now that Israel is trying to expand into the less-populated regions with all its Lands Administration laws benefiting former soldiers, etc. (e.g. Settlements in the WB and Gaza, the Negev, the Galilee), they have decided they want the traditionally Bedouin lands in the Negev. They do this under the premise that it is state-owned land, and as they don’t recognize the Ottoman titles to the land (though they do occasionally recognize British-issued legal documents, but not always, I think) the Bedouin are essentially squatters.
Thus the legal premise for the destruction.
It’s also being claimed by the JNF which, despite being an American organization is also an Israeli government organization, and they think they are going to plant trees, or something, and if you google GODTV you’ll see the fun Christian Evangelical Zionist types who are financially and politically backing the GOI and the JNF in their attempts to oust the Bedouin from their villages.
I remember reading something about a bill stipulating these charges a while ago, possibly a Knesset or executive proposal or something, but I don’t exactly remember.
The land politics in Israel are a funny thing; on some level, it all comes down to land ownership.
I’m looking forward to explanatory comments below, and perhaps a post from Ariel on the topic?