Amnesty slams Israeli court decision to demolish Palestinian Bedouin village
Amnesty International has condemned an Israeli court decision to demolish the village of Ras Jrabah in the Naqab region of southern Israel and expel its 500 Palestinian Bedouin residents in order to build a new neighbourhood for the Israeli city of Dimona.
In a statement issued on Friday, the global human rights group said that the judgement showed the “deep discrimination that Palestinian citizens of Israel face under apartheid”.
On Thursday the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court in Israel said that Ras Jrabah’s residents must evacuate their homes and pay a fine of around 117,000 new Israeli shekels (US$31,700).
They have lived in the village for decades but will now be relocated to the impoverished Bedouin town of Qasr al-Sir.
A request by the villagers to be integrated into the planned Dimona neighbourhood was refused by Israeli authorities.
“This judgment shows how Israel's deeply discriminatory laws around land and property ownership are used to enforce apartheid against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are systematically denied the same rights as Jewish Israelis,” Heba Morayef, the Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Morayef added that Ras Jrabah’s residents “have just months to pack up their lives and leave the only homes they have ever known, to make way for the expansion of the Jewish-majority city Dimona”.
"This judgment underscores the need to dismantle Israel’s apartheid system, right now. The international community must put pressure on Israeli authorities to scrap these cruel plans, and end their policy of forcibly evicting Palestinians in the Negev/Naqab,” she said.
Israel has refused to recognise Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab and regularly demolished them. Earlier this week, Israeli forces demolished the village of Araqib for the 219th time.