Thursday, November 01, 2007

Unrecognized Arab Villages


Around 90,000 Arabs live in the 176 unrecognized villages inside Israel, mainly in the Galilee or the Negev desert. These villages do not officially exist. They are unrecognized because their inhabitants are in effect internal refugees. During the 1948 war many left their homes, believing they would return once the fighting had ended. Many Palestinians found themselves outside the borders of Israel. The internal refugees remained within the borders of the new state but were unable to return to their villages.

Non-recognition means the villagers are not entitled to municipal services like water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation, education or healthcare. The postal and telephone systems do not serve them. Refuse is not collected. In 1992, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that these villages should be connected to the Israeli national water system.

The threat of further dispersal exists. Israel's 1965 Planning and Construction Law did not include the unrecognized villages in municipal plans. This means both construction and residence in these areas are illegal under Israeli law. Residents are instructed to demolish their own houses. Failure to do so can result in arrest and fine. If houses are demolished by the israeli police, the owners have to pay the costs.

The Labour government of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres recognized eight of these villages and raised slight hopes. These hopes were dashed by the Netanyahu government which froze the recognition process.

The issue of unrecognized villages is part of the larger problem of discrimination and the status of second-class citizens the Israeli Arabs are facing.

Israeli Authorities demolish Arab houses in the Negev.

Friday November 02, 2007

Israeli authorities continued their assaults against Arab villages in the Negev and demolished nine houses in Wadi Al Ni’am and Al Surra "unrecognized Arab villages" in the Negev. The Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages slammed the assault, which is part of Israeli housing policy.

The Authorities demolished four houses in Wadi Al Ni’am, including the house of Salama Al Danfeery, who managed on Wednesday to obtain an order from an Israeli court to halt the demolishing of his home, but the authorities disregarded the order.

Also, the families of Abu Affash, Abu Sweilim and Al Hamada, in Wadi Al Ni’am demolished their own houses after being order to do so by the court.

Left: Human Right Watch, has called on Caterpillar Inc., the U.S.-based heavy-equipment company, to suspend sales of its powerful bulldozers to the Israeli army. Human Rights Watch has documented the Israeli military uses these weaponized bulldozers as its primary weapon to raze Palestinian homes, destroy agriculture and shred roads in violation of the laws of war.

The number of houses demolished in the village this week amounted to seven.

In Al Sorra village, another unrecognized Arab village in the Negev, the Israeli Authorities also, demolished five houses there.

The Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages decried the ongoing violations against the residents who are trying to survive, and demanded the Israeli Authorities provide them with suitable housing plans.

The Council also reported that there is a chemical plant in the area which is inflicting dangers on the residents.


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