The new town that Israel is planning to build in the Negev desert upon the ruins of a Arab-Bedouin village slated for demolition, will only be open to Jews with Israeli citizenship or permanent residence recognized by the state. The new Jewish town of Hiran is due to be constructed once the existing Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran is demolished and its residents are forcibly displaced.
According to a document uncovered by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Hiran’s cooperative association bylaws are that: “an individual may be approved by the admissions committee and become a member of the Hiran cooperative association if they meet the following qualifications: a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident of Israel who observes the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values.”
In a letter sent, to the National Planning and Building Council (NPBC), Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara wrote that Hiran’s regulations allowing only Jews to apply for residency stand in opposition to the state’s earlier commitments before the Israeli Supreme Court that any Israeli citizen would be able to purchase a home in Hiran.
The state, in response to an appeal filed against the planned evacuation and demolition of Umm al-Hiran, had said, “Hiran is planned as a general community, into which any Israeli of any background or religion may integrate.”
The NPBC is scheduled to convene today to discuss the state’s request to “organize” Arab-Bedouin residency in the Negev region by moving 500 Umm al-Hiran residents into temporary housing in the nearby town of Hura.
Attorney Bishara emphasized that Hiran’s regulations contradict the NPBC’s own regulations which state that, “this is a community intended for a general population… [Umm al-Hiran residents] and members of any other population sector or public will have the option of obtaining plots and living in the new community.”