Graduates of the School for Peace’s urban planners change agents courses organized a visit to the unrecognized Bedouin village Umm Al-Hiran in the Naqab / Negev which is currently under threat of demolition.
Umm Al-Hiran was created in the 1950s after the Abu Al-Qi’an tribe was expelled from their lands in Wadi Zubalah (today near Beit Kama in the Negev) and moved to the area of Wadi Attir by order of the government. Despite the fact that they were moved there, the village remained unrecognized and not connected to the national water, electricity, and sanitation grid. In addition, the government does not provide the village residents with any of the basic services need to live. In the early 2000s, the government decided to build a Jewish town on the lands of Umm Al-Hiran, and for that purpose to once again expel the residents of Umm Al-Hiran and demolish their village.
Though the residents appealed to the courts, with the help of Adalah, the courts recognized that they are not invaders of the land, but refused their appeal to cancel the demolition orders and allow them to remain on their lands. Today, after 10 buildings were destroyed in January, the threat of demolition that is looming over the rest of the houses, could be fulfilled at any moment.
Following the visit to Umm Al-Hiran, the members of the Arab-Jewish Planners Forum penned an open letter to the Israeli government demanding that they halt all demolitions and instead work with the Arab population to create equal and just plans that would meet their needs.