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Displacement of Palestinian Bedouin

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  • ummyakoub
    BADIL Resource Center For immediate release, March 6 2003 ... Displacement of Palestinian Bedouin Continues Poisoning Palestinian Bedouin Land in Abda
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2003
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      BADIL Resource Center
      For immediate release, March 6 2003

      ----------------------------------------

      Displacement of Palestinian Bedouin Continues

      Poisoning Palestinian Bedouin Land in Abda
      Unrecognized Villages

      Attached Press Release from:
      The Regional Council for the Palestinian
      Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) – Negev, 6 March
      2003

      On 3 March 2003, the Israel Lands Administration
      (ILA), which controls most of the land inside
      Israel (including land expropriated from
      Palestinian refugees), destroyed more than 2000
      dunums (500 acres) of crops belonging to
      residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of
      Abda located in the Naqab (Negev). During the
      operation, toxic chemicals were sprayed on the
      crops, including land where men, women and
      children were working in their fields (See
      attached RCUV Press Release). This is the second
      time in a year that the ILA has used toxic
      chemicals to destroy Bedouin crops in the Naqab
      (See BADIL Press Release E/09/02).

      The destruction of the crops is another example
      of a consistent pattern of gross violations of
      the basic human right to property committed by
      the government of Israel against the indigenous
      Palestinian Bedouin community. In February 2003,
      officials from the Israeli Interior Ministry
      destroyed a mosque in the unrecognized Bedouin
      village of Tel al-Mileh based on claims that it
      was an unlicensed building. At the beginning of
      the year, the Israeli government revealed the
      budget (US$ 1.75 billion) and timeframe (5
      years) for a plan to remove the remaining
      indigenous Palestinian Bedouin living in
      unrecognized villages from their land and
      concentrate them into three townships.

      The plan includes funds to restart a legal
      process, suspended in 1976, to settle all
      outstanding land claims. No Bedouin has ever won
      a land claim to any of the more than 3,000
      lawsuits filed over the past several decades. It
      also includes funds for land confiscation,
      destruction of Bedouin crop land claimed by the
      government as 'state land', and the destruction
      of unlicensed buildings. (For details on the
      plan see RCUV Press Release 22/1/03). The
      Israeli government is also planning to construct
      14 new Jewish colonies on land belonging to the
      Bedouin in order to increase the size of the
      Jewish population living in the Naqab.

      The indigenous Palestinian Bedouin inhabitants
      of the Naqab have been subjected to more than
      five decades of expulsion, internal transfer,
      land confiscation, and a policy of forced
      sedentarization. The Bedouin comprised
      approximately 13 percent of the total
      Palestinian refugee population in 1948. Today
      there are an estimated 650,000 Bedouin refugees
      (including their descendants) who were initially
      displaced in 1948. Many live in so-called
      unrecognized villages inside 1948
      Palestine/Israel. Unrecognized villages do not
      receive any government services. A durable
      solution for Palestinian refugees must also
      permit Bedouin refugees and newly internally
      displaced Bedouins to return to their homes of
      origin and repossess their properties.
      ------------------

      Attachment:
      Poisoning Palestinian Bedouins Land in Abda
      Unrecognized Village

      The Regional Council for the Palestinian
      Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) – Negev, 3 March
      2003

      As part of the Israeli government's policy of
      confiscating, uprooting and resettling the
      Bedouins into townships, a new measure
      [destruction of crop land with toxic chemicals]
      was introduced on February 15, 2002, against the
      residents of 10 unrecognized villages (with a
      population of 20,000 Israeli citizens).(1)

      On 3 March 2003, without prior warning, two
      airplanes belonging to the Israel Lands
      Administration (ILA), accompanied by a large
      number of police forces and Green "Black" Patrol
      members, sprayed toxic chemicals on houses and
      on more than 2,000 dunams (500 acres) of crops
      belonging to the residents of Abda, an
      unrecognized village in the Negev.

      Elderly people and children who were in the
      fields were also sprayed. The children started
      to panic, and suffered from trauma because they
      believed that war started and chemical weapons
      were used against them. Village residents
      immediately evacuated those children to the
      closest clinic at Mitzpah Ramon (a Jewish
      locality). The doctor refused to receive them
      until the Vice President of the Regional Council
      for the Unrecognized Villages of the Palestinian
      Bedouin in the Negev (RCUV) contacted the
      Ministry of Health and Kupat Holim. The RCUV
      sent an urgent letter to the Health Ministry
      requiring an official investigation in the
      matter.

      Labad Tasan, the head of Abda Local Committee
      said that the ILA sprayed the crops, the people,
      and even the animals were not saved. A Green
      Patrol officer aimed his gun at one farmer who
      tried to stop them from spraying his land. Labad
      added that spraying the crops created panic
      among the children. The children, who had just
      received gas masks, thought that the war had
      started in Iraq.

      Jaber Abu Kaff, the RCUV President who visited
      the children at the clinic said that spraying
      the crops with chemicals at Abda village was a
      barbarian, inhuman, and immorale act. He
      emphasized that the new Sharon government is
      proceeding with its plan to try to uproot the
      Bedouin from our father's and grandfather's
      land. "But we will stay in our land as long as
      we are alive and we urge all those people with a
      conscience to stand with us."

      Background: Abda was 'formally' recognized by
      the Israeli government in 1992 after a 6-month
      sit-in, in front of the Knesset (the Israeli
      parliament). Despite formal recognition, Abda's
      residents continue to lack municipal
      infrastructure, including water, electricity,
      access roads, health care, education, etc., like
      all other unrecognized villages. Formal
      recognition came as part of a government plan to
      attract tourists and transform the surrounding
      area, including the original village site of Abda, into a national
      park due to
      the presence of Nabatean ruins. Residents of Abda were expelled from the
      village and today live
      so
      me 4 km from the village site.


      Thereare 45 unrecognized villages in the
      Negev (Naqab) with a total population of
      70,000.

      For more information contact: The Regional
      Council for the Unrecognized Villages of the
      Palestinian Bedouin in the Negev (RCUV), PO Box
      10002, Beer Sheva. Tel. 08-628-3043; Fax. 08-
      6283315; Email, mqupty@...; or visit the
      RCUV website,
      http://www.arabhra.org/rcuv/index.htm.

      BADIL Resource Center aims to provide a resource pool of alternative,
      critical
      adn progressive information on the queston of Palestinian refugees in
      our quest
      to achieve a just and lasting soluton for exiled Palestinians based on
      their
      right of return.
      PO Box 728, Bethlehem, Palestine;
      Email: info@...;
      Website: www.badil.org;
      Tel/fax: -2-2747346; -52-360769

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