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Israel Prepares to Turn Bedouin Citizens Into Refugees in Their Own Country
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The decades-long struggle by tens of thousands of Israelis against being uprooted from their homes – some for the second or third time – should be proof enough that Israel is not the western-style liberal democracy it claims to be.

Last week 36,000 Bedouin – all of them Israeli citizens – discovered that their state is about to make them refugees in their own country, driving them into holding camps. These Israelis, it seems, are the wrong kind.

Their treatment has painful echoes of the past. In 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were expelled by the Israeli army outside the borders of the newly declared Jewish state established on their homeland – what the Palestinians call their Nakba, or catastrophe.

Israel is regularly criticised for its belligerent occupation, its relentless expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land and its repeated and savage military attacks, especially on Gaza.

On rare occasions, analysts also notice Israel’s systematic discrimination against the 1.8 million Palestinians whose ancestors survived the Nakba and live inside Israel, ostensibly as citizens.

But each of these abuses is dealt with in isolation, as though unrelated, rather than as different facets of an overarching project. A pattern is discernible, one driven by an ideology that dehumanises Palestinians everywhere Israel encounters them.

That ideology has a name. Zionism provides the thread that connects the past – the Nakba – with Israel’s current ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the destruction of Gaza, and the state’s concerted efforts to drive Palestinian citizens of Israel out of what is left of their historic lands and into ghettoes.

The logic of Zionism, even if its more naive supporters fail to grasp it, is to replace Palestinians with Jews – what Israel officially terms Judaisation.

The Palestinians’ suffering is not some unfortunate side effect of conflict. It is the very aim of Zionism: to incentivise Palestinians still in place to leave “voluntarily”, to escape further suffocation and misery.

The starkest example of this people replacement strategy is Israel’s long-standing treatment of 250,000 Bedouin who formally have citizenship.

The Bedouin are the poorest group in Israel, living in isolated communities mainly in the vast, semi-arid area of the Negev, the country’s south. Largely out of view, Israel has had a relatively free hand in its efforts to “replace” them.

That was why, for a decade after it had supposedly finished its 1948 ethnic cleansing operations and won recognition in western capitals, Israel continued secretly expelling thousands of Bedouin outside its borders, despite their claim on citizenship.

Meanwhile, other Bedouin in Israel were forced off their ancestral lands to be driven either into confined holding areas or state-planned townships that became the most deprived communities in Israel.

It is hard to cast the Bedouin, simple farmers and pastoralists, as a security threat, as was done with the Palestinians under occupation.

But Israel has a much broader definition of security than simple physical safety. Its security is premised on the maintenance of an absolute demographic dominance by Jews.

The Bedouin may be peaceable but their numbers pose a major demographic threat and their pastoral way of life obstructs the fate intended for them – penning them up tightly inside ghettoes.

Most of the Bedouin have title deeds to their lands that long predate Israel’s creation. But Israel has refused to honour these claims and many tens of thousands have been criminalised by the state, their villages denied legal recognition.

For decades they have been forced to live in tin shacks or tents because the authorities refuse to approve proper homes and they are denied public services like schools, water and electricity.

The Bedouin have one option if they wish to live within the law: they must abandon their ancestral lands and their way of life to relocate to one of the poor townships.

Many of the Bedouin have resisted, clinging on to their historic lands despite the dire conditions imposed on them.

One such unrecognised village, Al Araqib, has been used to set an example. Israeli forces have demolished the makeshift homes there more than 160 times in less than a decade. In August, an Israeli court approved the state billing six of the villagers $370,000 (Dh1.6 million) for the repeated evictions.

Al Araqib’s 70-year-old leader, Sheikh Sayah Abu Madhim, recently spent months in jail after his conviction for trespassing, even though his tent is a stone’s throw from the cemetery where his ancestors are buried.

Now the Israel authorities are losing patience with the Bedouin.

Last January, plans were unveiled for the urgent and forcible eviction of nearly 40,000 Bedouin from their homes in unrecognised villages under the guise of “economic development” projects. It will be the largest expulsion in decades.

“Development”, like “security”, has a different connotation in Israel. It really means Jewish development, or Judaisation – not development for Palestinians.

The projects include a new highway, a high-voltage power line, a weapons testing facility, a military live-fire zone and a phosphate mine.

It was revealed last week that the families would be forced into displacement centres in the townships, living in temporary accommodation for years as their ultimate fate is decided. Already these sites are being compared to the refugee camps established for Palestinians in the wake of the Nakba.

The barely concealed aim is to impose on the Bedouin such awful conditions that they will eventually agree to be confined for good in the townships on Israel’s terms.

Six leading United Nations human rights experts sent a letter to Israel in the summer protesting the grave violations of the Bedouin families’ rights in international law and arguing that alternative approaches were possible.

Adalah, a legal group for Palestinians in Israel, notes that Israel has been forcibly evicting the Bedouin over seven decades, treating them not as human beings but as pawns in its never-ending battle to replace them with Jewish settlers.

The Bedouin’s living space has endlessly shrunk and their way of life has been crushed.

This contrasts starkly with the rapid expansion of Jewish towns and single-family farming ranches on the land from which the Bedouin are being evicted.

It is hard not to conclude that what is taking place is an administrative version of the ethnic cleansing Israeli officials conduct more flagrantly in the occupied territories on so-called security grounds.

These interminable expulsions look less like a necessary, considered policy and more like an ugly, ideological nervous tic.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

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Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Israel/Palestine 
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  1. Receipts, anyone? Maybe like a link to a news source, real or fake? Anything?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Wizard of Oz
  2. Biff says:

    Joe Biden agrees with this message…

  3. Anonymous[314] • Disclaimer says:

    No one cares about Jewish slaughter of Arabs. Even the sort of people who would be indignant with outrage if such a thing was happening anywhere else are coldly indifferent to the plight of Palestinians.

    If there’s an issue in the world that highlights the hypocrisy and arrogant stupidity of the average white person, it is probably the plight of Palestinians. I literally hear people whinge about the so called plight of the Irish Catholics against the British all the fucking time, yet the same fucking idiots would call you a racist anti-Semite if you said the same thing about the Palestinians who are treated 100x worse by the Jews than the British ever treated the Irish.

    • Replies: @Reality Cheque
    , @Wally
  4. Harry says:

    Where is any source for this info ? A news link? Without any sources, all this is is a polemic

    • Replies: @UncommonGround
    , @TGD
  5. Anon[192] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reality Cheque

    Sorry. Members of the Hasbara brigade aren’t entitled to answers to either trollish or sincere questions.

  6. Mr. Grey says:

    It is hard to cast the Bedouin, simple farmers and pastoralists, as a security threat…

    The Bedouin were traditionally quite violent. They are the reason for why the Arabs still occupy the West Bank and the Jews originally took control of the coastline. The Bedouin’s raids into Palestine were so frequent and violent that Arab villages were mostly in the hills where they could defend themselves. The flat valleys and coast were less inhabited, the first places Jews could purchase land back in the 19th century.

  7. @Anonymous

    Ah, so that must be the reason why there are currently more Palestinians in Palestine than there are Irish in Ireland.

    • Replies: @Anon
  8. anarchyst says:

    Israel practices official “apartheid” to a much greater degree than that of any other country in the world—the former South Africa included.

    Every vehicle driver in Israel proper and in the illegally occupied territories is identified by his or her vehicle license plate as well as personal documentation (identity papers). License plates are coded as to the ethnicity and religious persuasions of the owners, and are used to deny basic “rights” to those who are of “the wrong ethnicity”.

    There are roads and thoroughfares that are designated “for jews only”. “Jews-only” roads and thoroughfares are state-of-the-art, paid for with American taxpayer dollars, while roads used by Palestinians are poorly maintained, with many military “checkpoints” which adds further misery to the lives of Palestinians.
    Any Arab or Palestinian who attempts to use “jews only” roads or thoroughfares is arrested and heavily fined. This policy even extends to “footpaths” which are designated by “jewishness”.
    Palestinians and other Arabs are forced to go through humiliating “checkpoints”, even being delayed for HOURS, if they are even allowed to pass, at the whim of the jewish “authorities”. This even extends to medical emergencies, where ambulances are routinely delayed by jewish authorities, “just because they can”.

    In Israel proper, and in the illegally occupied territories, Israeli officials make rules and laws as they go along, ignoring the (official) laws (rule of law) already in place.

    On a whim, any Israeli official can declare that a building, other structure, planted farmland, water wells, and other basic facilities owned by Palestinians are “illegal” and subject to destruction by Israeli forces.
    This even applies to buildings, lands, orchards and crop-producing lands which have been in Palestinian possession for centuries. All the Israeli military has to do is to declare the Palestinian-owned property to be a “military zone”. No other laws or permissions are needed to expropriate land from the Palestinians.

    Water is heavily restricted in Gaza and in the Palestinian areas while jewish settlements can use all the water they want.

    This is a continuing process that is forcing Palestinians off their land and facilitating the building of jewish “settlements” in the illegally occupied areas.

    Let’s turn to the treatment of Christians in Israel proper. In the tourist areas, jewish authorities try to keep the disrespect for Christianity to a minimum so as not to insult their Christian zionist tourists. In fact, the hatred for Christian churches, and Christians in general is so pervasive, it is not surprising to see jews “spit” when walking past a Christian church. Jews are experts at “graffiti”, calling it “price tagging” which they use to good effect as the authorities generally “look the other way” when the vandalism and destruction of Arab and Christian facilities by jews is going on.

    The Israeli authorities plan specific itineraries for “brainwashed” Christian zionist groups and American politicians so they do not witness the overt, outright hatred that jews have for Christians, You see, “it’s all for show” when it comes to begging for American dollars from the American taxpayers and from these misguided Christian zionist groups.

    The irony of the situation is that the Palestinians who have lived in the middle east for centuries and even millennia are reduced to being unwelcome in their own land while jewish interlopers, most of them from the United States and Europe are overlords in Israel and in the illegally occupied territories.

    • Replies: @A123
  9. Anon[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reality Cheque

    Why there are more Jews in the world now than it was ever before if Europe Asia USA were so antisemite per ADL now than these countries were ever before ?

  10. Wally says:
    @Anonymous

    said:
    “No one cares about Jewish slaughter of Arabs. Even the sort of people who would be indignant with outrage if such a thing was happening anywhere else are coldly indifferent to the plight of Palestinians.”

    That’s not difficult to figure out.

    One of the prime reasons the fake & impossible “holocaust” was invented is to silence any criticism of Jews and their horrific behavior.

    ‘You don’t like our ethnic cleaning and slaughters? Then you re a ‘Nazi’.

    That’s how it works.

  11. @Harry

    Where is any source for this info ? A news link? Without any sources, all this is is a polemic

    The source must be the author who is a journalist who lives in the area, he also mentions Adalah in his article and some generally known historical facts. If you want more specific information about the subject, it’s easy. I made a search in the internet and found many results from newspapapers from the country and other organisations there. You could use some instrument of search that may help you getting the information that you want, they don’t cost anything:

    https://duckduckgo.com/

    https://www.google.com

  12. A123 says:
    @anarchyst

    Israel practices official “apartheid” to a much greater degree than that of any other country in the world—the former South Africa included.

    SAUDI ARABIA practices official “apartheid” to a much greater degree than that of any other country in the world.

    For an infidel to attempt to visit Mecca or Medina the penalty is death. 100% Apartheid in action.

    Isn’t amazing how Muslims always try to blame others for Islamic crimes against humanity?

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  13. anarchyst says:
    @A123

    There is a BIG difference.

    The old saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” applies here.

    Saudi Arabia sets “rules” for its own citizens and visitors to the kingdom as it should.

    The difference is that Saudi Arabia is OPEN about its rules and laws, unlike israel.

    When it comes to destruction of cultures, jews are covert in their destructive operations, to wit, the so-called “cvil-rights” movement in the USA, jews being behind the hate and discontent themselves, while preaching “love and brotherhood” to the white “goyim”.

    Israel and jews preach “multiculturalism and diversity” for everyone but themselves.

    Jews want a “jewish state” for themselves, while openly denying and defying all others worldwide who want the same thing for themselves.

    Don’t want to abide by Saudi Arabia rules and laws–don’t go there. Simple.

  14. A123 says:

    Saudi Arabia sets “rules” for its own citizens and visitors to the kingdom as it should.

    The difference is that Saudi Arabia is OPEN about its rules and laws, unlike israel.

    This contradicts your early statement from #8 which shows clear rules in Israel.

    There are roads and thoroughfares that are designated “for jews only”.

    Also, to correct your disinformation — There are roads and thoroughfares that are designated for entry restrictions / no restrictions ”. There is no religion check for access to these roads.

    Think of it similar to customs in an international airport. Until you clear customs you have to stay on the restricted concourse. Once you have cleared customs, you use the national concourses.
    _____

    You have given some 100% valid advice:

    Don’t want to abide by Saudi Arabia rules and laws–don’t go there. Simple.

    Just as true:

    Don’t want to abide by Israeli rules and laws–don’t go there. Simple.

    Muslims do not have to illegally occupy Judea and Samaria. All they have to do is leave Jewish Palestine and return home.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  15. TGD says:
    @Harry

    Where is any source for this info ? A news link? Without any sources, all this is is a polemic

    If you reside in the USA, mainstream news is micromanaged to eliminate all negative stories and articles about the Zionist Entity. I’d like to be able to tune into Al Jazeera for the Arab perspective on middle east happenings but it’s not available. But the Israel propaganda outlet, i24, is.

    Jonathan Cook is a highly credible source for info on what’s going on in the M.E. It’s fine that he’s upsetting the Hasbrats.

    • Replies: @anaccount
  16. @Anon

    I think by a margin of like, 50 Jews. It’s taken this long and a lot of Jews “getting busy” (wink wink, nudge nudge) to get the numbers up to approximately pre-Holocaust numbers.

  17. anarchyst says:
    @A123

    The Arabs ARE home. It is you eastern European jewish convert interlopers who are the trespassers in Palestine.

  18. anon19 says:

    The Jewish strategy.

    “Diversity in all countries except Israel.” Jews only in Israel.

  19. @anarchyst

    TRUTH:

    When it comes to destruction of cultures, jews are covert in their destructive operations, to wit, the so-called “cvil-rights” movement in the USA, jews being behind the hate and discontent themselves, while preaching “love and brotherhood” to the white “goyim”.

    Israel and jews preach “multiculturalism and diversity” for everyone but themselves.

    Jews want a “jewish state” for themselves, while openly denying and defying all others worldwide who want the same thing for themselves.

  20. anaccount says:
    @TGD

    I’m not sure Al Jazeera is the same Al Jazeera you remember. I go to their site and I see the same kveching about Trump like any other whore’s rag in Yankee Judea. Israel has won over most ME governments, those that it hasn’t either keep their mouth shut or face the ire of the Empire (Iran, Syria and now Turkey).

  21. @Reality Cheque

    If you went to Israel you would find this such commonplace information no one would need confirmation except perhaps for a few details. Despite the fact that there have been Bedouin serving in the IDF they are basically treated as a lot of untermenschen practising polygamy and living off welfare; so much so that they were latgely forgotten about and ignored. That has to be at least part of the explanation for Israeli absence of mind about a natural increase in Bedouin numbers of, from memory, 17,000 in 1948 to 250,000 today. On a visit to a municipality with a Bedouin mayor he declared his non acceptance of a Jewish state without inhibition.

  22. Likudniks are playing the same roles the Nazis played pre-WWII. They just haven’t fired up the gas chambers yet.

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