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2017 Umm al-Hiran incident

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On 18 January 2017, in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, Israel, an incident occurred which resulted in the death of two people, Bedouin school teacher Yacoub Mousa Abou al-Kaeean (Yacoub Abu Alkian) and Israeli policeman Sgt. Erez Levi.

January 18, 2017
January 18, 2017
Umm al Hiran after the demolition

Background

Umm al-Hiran is one of a large number of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of Israel. It was created in 1980 after a part of the Bedouin tribe of أبو القيعان (Abu al Qi'an or spelled as Abu al-Gian) left al Yatir, 3 kilometers away. They had settled al Yatir in 1956 with military permission after fleeing their homes near present-day Rehat where they had lived since arriving in Historical Palestine in 1910. Having been clients of the al Huza'il Tribe they were forced to escape that area after losing in a tribal war.[1]

In 2002 the Israeli government decided to approve 14 new living locations, including Hiran south of the Yattir nature reserve and 11 villages for Bedouin population known as the Abu Basma villages.[2] Following the decision members of the Abu al Qi'an tribes living in Umm al-Hiran started a legal battle against it.[2][3]

In 2009 case ע"א 1165/09 in the Be'er Sheva magistrate court, the court ruled that the residents of the village did not prove ownership on the land.[4][2]

A petition against the case was declined in the district court of Be'er Sheva, and the resident petitioned the High court.[5]

The village residents led a 13-year long legal battle in court supported by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel in order to stay where they are, but lost it in 2011 in the Be'er Sheva court (case 1769/08).[3] Another court case (264/03/11) against the plotting of a forest near the village also failed.[3]

According to the 2-1 Supreme Court ruling of 2015, the Umm al-Hiran residents were ordered to move from the state-owned lands to more suitable conditions in the nearby Hura Bedouin town since the unrecognized villages remain ineligible for municipal services, such as connection to the electrical grid, water mains or trash-pickup, and they cannot elect government representatives. The court rebuffed the claims of racism and said that any Umm al-Hiran resident is allowed to live in Hiran.[6]

As of 2015, 70 Bedouin families lived in the village.[7]

In January 2016, Miriam Naor, the President of the Supreme Court of Israel, declined a petition for the case.

As a result of negotiations, the villagers - some 20 families - were offered 800 m2 (8,600 sq ft) plots of land in Hura, along with financial compensation and agreed to voluntarily move to a place offered for them. During the night prior to the event, the family had been offered to double the plots[2] but they had declined. The new town of Hiran is planned in place of the old Umm al-Hiran.[8]

Events summary

Early in the morning on January 18, 2017, a large group of Israeli police officers and a Green Patrol of the Israel Land Authority arrived to the unrecognized village Umm al-Hiran of the Abu Alkian Bedouin tribe in order to implement home demolition orders and remove illegally constructed buildings.

According to police, during a protest over the demolition, an Arab-Israeli driver “accelerated his car toward the officers to carry out a ramming attack”. It ploughed into security personnel grouped there and killed Sr.-St.-Sgt.-Maj. Erez Levi, 34, while several other police officers were wounded.[9]

The motorist, Yacoub Mousa Abou al-Kaeean (Yacoub Abu Alkian), a 50-year old teacher from Hura, an alleged assailant, was shot to death by security forces. Police suspected he was active in an Islamist group and might have been influenced by the Islamic State.[10] Local residents disputed the claim and insisted that the driver lost control of his car after being shot by police.[11]

During the protests that subsequently devolved into a violent riot, Arab-Israeli MK Ayman Odeh of the Joint (Arab) List faction was also lightly wounded.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Abu al-Kian website". 
  2. ^ a b c d "כל האמת על אום אל־חיראן". mida (in Hebrew). 
  3. ^ a b c "המקרה של עתיר-אום אלחיראן". Adalah (in Hebrew). 
  4. ^ "court case ע"א 1165/09 ruling". Be'er sheva magistrate court. 
  5. ^ "court case ע"א רע-א-3094-11 ruling". Israel's High court. 
  6. ^ Case protocol, Page 28,"הישוב המתוכנן אינו מונע מבני הפזורה להתגורר בו, אלא הוא מתוכנן כישוב בעל אופי כללי ולא ישוב בדואי, על כל המשתמע מכך מבחינה תכנונית; כל החפץ להתגורר בחירן רשאי לעשות כן, בכפוף לכל דין ובתנאים הקבועים לכך"}}
  7. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/world/middleeast/village-of-bedouins-faces-eviction-as-israel-envisions-a-village-of-jews.html?_r=0
  8. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/After-long-legal-battle-Umm-al-Hiran-residents-anxiously-await-Israeli-demolition-473359
  9. ^ "After long legal battle Umm al-Hiran residents anxiously await Israeli demolition". The Jerusalem Post. 22 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Israeli policeman and Bedouin killed during clashes over demolitions". BBC. 18 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "Arab Israeli and policeman killed in suspected car ramming attack in southern Israel". Reuters. 18 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Arab leaders: Police lying, inciting racism over Umm al-Hiran violence". The Times of Israel. 18 January 2017. 

External links

  • Aerial view of alleged car ramming in Umm al-Hiran, drone footage of the incident.
  • Lands of the Negev, film presented by Israel Land Administration describing the challenges faced in providing land management and infrastructure to the Negev Bedouin
  • Basic information about the Bedouin of the Negev
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