On Sunday August 23 2015, bulldozers began flattening the land to build the Jewish community of Hiran next to the homes of the Bedouin village of Um el Hiran in the Negev desert. According to the outline of the master plan for the community of Hiran, it is going to be built on the land of the village of Um el Hiran and require its demolition. The start of building the temporary site without reaching a solution acceptable to the residents of Um el Hiran threatens the future of the village and leaves its residents in a state of uncertainty.
On August 27th, the residents and Um el Hiran and the Regional Council of Unrecognised Villages, of which RHR is apart, held a demonstration in solidarity with the village. Demonstration participants marched from Um el Hiran to the area where the bulldozers are working.
The residents of the village of Umm al-Hiran do not oppose the construction of the Jewish community of Hiran, and have repeatedly stated their position that building a joint community or a neighboring community that allows their village to stay intact is a positive option that is acceptable to them. The government of Israel and its various arms, on the other hand, are establishing facts on the ground and ignoring the position of the village’s residents.
Members of the Abu al-Qi’an tribe, who live in the villages of Um el Hiran and Atir, are facing their third eviction since 1949, when they were first evicted from their ancestral lands in the Wadi Zubaleh area near Kibbutz Shoval, and until they were settled by the State in their current location next to the Yatir Forest in 1956. The court recently ruled that the residents of the villages reside in their location with permission from the State and that it is the State that ordered them and allowed them to use the land over the years. Nonetheless, last May the Supreme Court allowed the demolition of the village of Um el Hiran and the eviction of its residents in order to build the Jewish community of Hiran on its land and expand the Yatir Forest on the ruins of the Bedouin village of Atir. A request for another hearing of the High Court ruling is still pending.
Response of the Recognition Forum:
“The plan to build a new Jewish community on the ruins of a Bedouin community that has resided on the site for many years is blatant discrimination affected by racism. We call on the government of Israel to stop the work, enter a dialogue with the residents and reach a solution agreed upon by all sides.”