Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages
The Arab Bedouin minority of the Negev is one of the most discriminated groups within the Arab population and within Israeli society as a whole.
At ACRI, we seek to protect the rights of the Negev Bedouin by promoting village recognition in order to cease the constant threat of demolition and relocation, and to improve access to state resources. Additionally, ACRI opposes current and new settlement construction on land inhabited by residents of unrecognized villages.
More than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages, which the state refuses to provide with a planning structure and place under municipal jurisdiction.
The government uses a variety of measures to pressure Bedouins into relocating to government-planned urban centers that disregard their lifestyle and needs. Whole communities have been issued demolition orders and are forced to continue living in unrecognized villages that are denied basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water.
Below are some examples of our work in the Negev:
For over 20 years, ACRI has represented and supported residents of Wadi Alna'am in apposing discriminatory governmental plans that violate their basic human rights. In 2021, ACRI filed an administrative petition in the Be'er Sheva Administrative Court on behalf of 32 of the residents, requesting that they be given permission to appeal to the National Planning and Building Council, or alternatively determine that the plan is void in light of the administrative flaws in its approval process and its violations of human rights. In 2022, the petition was accepted and the court severely criticized the manner in which the authorities enforced the building restrictions.
ACRI Attorney Abir Jubran Dakwar argued in an apeal to the Mayor of Dimona that the municipality is obligated to ensure the public’s safety and well-being, and that it has both the means and the authority to do so. Following our appeal, the oxidation pools were fenced off.
On January 24, 2022, we appealed to the CEO of the Israel Electric Corporation, inquiring why there are extensive power outages in Bedouin villages and cities in the Negev. We requested that these outages be immediately addressed, thoroughly and professionally, especially in light of the weather and approaching storm.
Supporting ACRI means defending vulnerable communities in Israel, such as in the Negev, exposing and ending discrimination and fighting for a truly democratic governance in Israel.
Atty. Abir Dakwar
Arab Society Department The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
"The various struggles in Israel are reflected in the Negev. The Bedouins there live in unrecognized towns, and have no access to basic state services. Yet, they are adamant about maintaining their culture and identity, and they continue to fight for their right to live with dignity. I admire the Bedouin spirit; it’s the fuel that keeps me going"