Steadfastness of Palestinian Bedouin resistance

By   /   September 9, 2017  /   10 Comments

In 1965, Israel passed its Planning and Building Law, which caused 100,000 Bedouin to be removed to ‘townships’ where they were forced into poverty. Many others refused to be moved and have struggled to defend their culture and way of life. According to the Institute of Palestine Studies (IPS), there are some 130,000 individuals defiantly inhabiting what Israel calls ‘unrecognised’ villages that are “under the constant threat of wholesale demolition.”

On 1 August this year, the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb was destroyed for the 116th time. As soon as the Israeli bulldozers had withdrawn, the villagers immediately began to rebuild their homes. The 22 families (around 100 individuals) who live in the village have been suffering these destructive Israeli Army rampages now for seven years – they began in July 2010. The village has actually been destroyed almost 17 times a year, since then! Time after time, the villagers rebuilt – only to see it all destroyed.

Israel’s determination to uproot is matched by amazingly courageous and steadfast Bedouin resistance. Al-Araqeeb is symbolic of Israel’s racist war on Bedouin culture, from the Negev Desert to the Southern Hebron Hills and Jerusalem. Israel aims to force the Bedouin into ghetto-type townships. The callous and brutal Zionist regime actually bills the residents it renders homeless for the expenses occurred in wreaking such total havoc among the native people. Those rendered homeless are facing extortion amounting to the equivalent of around US$600,000. The villages, now ruined, date back to a time before Israel existed but Zionist ethnic cleansing has no respect and no pity. The purpose of the Israeli Occupation is to eventually displace the whole Arab population.

The Zionist ‘desert’ fallacy

The Zionist claim that Jewish settlers came to Palestine to “make the desert bloom” is pure propaganda. As the Institute of Palestine Studies explains:

“Prior to the founding of the State of Israel, the Bedouins’ claim to the Negev was hardly in question. As of 1935, they cultivated 2,109,234 dunams of land [over half a million acres or 211,000 hectares] where they grew most of Palestine’s barley and much of the country’s wheat. In 1946, 100,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev. The first Jewish settlement there was not established until 1940 and by early 1946 the number of Jewish settlements had grown to four with a combined population of 475. These facts give the lie to the old Zionist trope that European Jewish settlers had arrived in Palestine to ‘make the desert bloom’. Jewish land cultivation in the Negev amounted to 21,000 dunams in 1946. To put matters into further perspective: the amount of land cultivated by the Bedouin in the Negev prior to 1948 came to three times that cultivated by the entire Jewish community (the Yishuv) in all of Palestine even after sixty years of ‘pioneering’ Zionist settlement.”

Ramzy Baroud, journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle explains how the Zionist regime intends to “reverse this indisputable historical reality”:

“Israel has led a decided campaign aimed at vanquishing the Bedouins by severing their relationship to their land. Although this has been done with a great degree of success, the struggle is not yet over. The same struggle is duplicated elsewhere, especially in so-called ‘Area C’ encompassing 60 per cent of the West Bank. Palestinian Bedouin villages there are also enduring a terrible fight, as many of their villages have been singled out for destruction.

“Most of West Bank Bedouins live in the central West Bank region, in an area known as the South Hebron Hills. Last month, it was reported that the Israeli Supreme Court is now “deciding the fate” of the Bedouin village of Dkeika. Other villages in the area have either been demolished, received demolition orders or are waiting for their fate to be determined by the Israel court. It is hardly a question of a single village or two. The UN reported that 46 villages in central West Bank are “at risk of forcible transfer” by the Israeli government. To preclude any legal wrangling, the Israeli government has been actively pursuing wholesale, irreversible actions to seal the fate of Bedouins once and for all.”

Israel’s goal of destroying all the ‘unrecognised’ villages in the Negev, originally outlined in its failed (due to massive resistance on the part of targeted Bedouin and Palestinian communities) 2013 ‘Prawer Plan’, has been revived with the announcement by Israel’s Agricultural Minister, Uri Ariel, of ‘Prawer II’, a draft of which has been leaked to local news media. Al Jazeera’s Patrick Strickland reports that ‘Prawer II’ also aims to “deny Bedouin citizens land ownership rights and violate their constitutional protections.”

Discriminatory laws

Baroud comments:

“The war on the Bedouin is, of course, part of the larger war on all Palestinians, whether in Israel or under military occupation. While the latter are denied the most basic freedoms, the former are governed by at least 50 discriminatory laws, according to the Haifa-based Adalah Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights.

Many of these laws deprive Palestinians of the right to own land, even that upon which their homes and villages had stood for hundreds of years. Baroud tells us that:

“. . . while Palestinian citizens of Israel are estimated at 20 per cent of the population, they live on merely 3 per cent of the land, and many of them face the constant danger of being evicted and relocated elsewhere.”

Israel’s leaders believe that, by repeatedly destroying Palestinian homes, they can enforce despair but their inhumanity only strengthens the Palestinian resolve to resist. Zionist violations of international law also result in mounting revulsion around the world and an increasing demand that they must end. The steadfast resistance {Sumud in Arabic) shown by the villagers of al-Araqeeb is symbolic of the wider Palestinian struggle for justice and dignity and it cries out for recognition and support. New Zealand voted for the Partition Plan that placed the Palestinian people at the mercy of the Zionist enterprise and the plight of the people is very much our responsibility. For decades, our leaders have pandered to Israel and ignored its cruel violations of international humanitarian law.

This country’s sponsoring of UNSCR Resolution 2334 did go some way towards recognising the world community’s betrayal of the Palestinian people. Israel has no intention of ever allowing Palestinian self-determination – and the Zionist regime’s scornful contempt for Resolution 2334 makes that abundantly clear. We have two choices: New Zealand can either make a stand for justice and human rights by calling for UN Sanctions against Israel in order to give force and effect to Resolution 2334 or, through inaction, choose to remain complicit with Israel. The course we choose will define our moral compass in the eyes of the world. In defending Palestine, we fight for the survival of international law and greater hope for a future of peace and stability.

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About the author

Leslie Bravery

Leslie Bravery is a Londoner with vivid World War Two memories of the Nazi blitz on his home town. In 1947/1948 His father explained to him what was happening to the Palestinians thus: “Any ideology or political movement that creates refugees in the process of realising its ambitions must be inhuman and should be opposed and condemned as unacceptable.” What followed confirmed this assessment of the Zionist entity a hundredfold. Now a retired flamenco guitarist, with a lifelong interest in the tragedy of what happened to the Palestinian people, he tries to publicise their plight. Because the daily injustices they suffer barely get a mention in the mainstream news media, Leslie edits/compiles a daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine, for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. These days, to preserve his sanity, he enjoys taking part in a drama group whenever possible!

10 Comments

  1. Barry says:

    Genocide by other means?

  2. Historian Pete says:

    When we view the disgusting actions of ethnic cleansing Apartheid Israel we may well ask: How can this be happening without the economic sanctioning of Israel by the “Christian West”,who were responsible for organising the partitioning of Palestine in the first instance?.In fact, instead of using the moral authority and economic sanctions that the West could employ, the West has aided and abetted the crimes of Israel. The main culprits have been Germany, who not being satisfied with its original Holocaust against Jews in Germany, has staunchly supported a holocaust against the Palestinians by Israel.And of course The U.K and France have been right up there in supporting Israels war crimes. Last but not least there is the United States who have supported Israel with arms and financial help since inception.Every attempt to hold Israel to account in the U.N. has been vetoed by the U.S. As an Atheist I have long looked askance at the notion that religion, and Christianity in particular , will introduce a morality into making ethical decisions.I look at the inaction of the Christian churches and I see a Great Moral Void ! Instead of providing leadership to force Israel to desist in its evil practices Christianity has generally found in obscure passages in the Bible reasons to unconditionally support Israel no matter the degree of its ethnic cleansing,murder,and its Apartheid political system .So, we can look at the seventy years of the Holocaust inflicted on the Palestinian people , and see the Greatest Moral Failure of Christian civilization!!!

  3. Lois Griffiths says:

    “Israel’s determination to uproot is matched by amazingly courageous and steadfast Bedouin resistance. Al-Araqeeb is symbolic of Israel’s racist war on Bedouin culture, from the Negev Desert to the Southern Hebron Hills and Jerusalem. Israel aims to force the Bedouin into ghetto-type townships.”

    Martin and I visited Al Araqeeb , after the 7th demolition ! I’m glad you used the word SUMUD towards the end of the article. That word is very important to Palestinians. It a positive word, for non-violent resistance, ie steadfastness.

    It needs to be emphasized that the Bedouin of the Negev are ISRAELIS. We’ve met Negev Bedouin who can prove that their people paid taxes under the Ottomans and then under the British Mandate.
    Bedouin leaders, aware of the Australian Aboriginal land-rights Mabo Decision, wish they had their own Mabo.

  4. David Stone says:

    Are the Israelis trying to demonstrate to the modern world why they have been so persecuted all over the world down the ages? Why don’t they demonstrate the humanity so needed when their state was secured for them? Where is the gratitude to UK etc. for calving out a piece of Palistine for them? Their belligerence is going to be their ruin.
    D J S

    • aom says:

      And now, with the reported low flying, sound barrier breaking efforts of the Israeli Airforce causing broken windows, panic and mayhem, it is clear they intend to wreck the lives of another generation of Lebanese children. It goes without saying that the intention is to start another war with Hezbollah after getting their arses kicked the last time. No doubt they also hope to entice Iran to come to the party too, so as to drag the US into another clusterf**k. Thank goodness Brownlee will be replaced by a Labour minister on the 23rd as obviously, he would sign up for NZ defence forces to be lapdogs and co-conspirators in more war crimes in something that is no concern to us.

      • John W says:

        Bil Massey was a British Israelite ( Zionist) and sent us to fight for capture of Palestine for later Israeli occupation/ state.

    • Barry says:

      Totally agree

  5. Priss says:

    “Prior to the founding of the State of Israel, the Bedouins’ claim to the Negev was hardly in question. As of 1935, they cultivated 2,109,234 dunams of land [over half a million acres or 211,000 hectares] where they grew most of Palestine’s barley and much of the country’s wheat. In 1946, 100,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev. The first Jewish settlement there was not established until 1940 and by early 1946 the number of Jewish settlements had grown to four with a combined population of 475. These facts give the lie to the old Zionist trope that European Jewish settlers had arrived in Palestine to ‘make the desert bloom’. Jewish land cultivation in the Negev amounted to 21,000 dunams in 1946. To put matters into further perspective: the amount of land cultivated by the Bedouin in the Negev prior to 1948 came to three times that cultivated by the entire Jewish community (the Yishuv) in all of Palestine even after sixty years of ‘pioneering’ Zionist settlement.”

    Interesting!! That puts the lie to the Zionist’s lies!!