The “unrecognized” Arab-Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev is to be evacuated for demolition some time during the second half of April it was announced on Tuesday, March 20, by the Israel Lands Authority and the Authority for the Development and Settlement of the Bedouin.
On Wednesday, officials accompanied by armed Israeli police officers pinned eviction and demolition orders on the doors of the village informing residents that the evictions will take place at any time between April 14 and 29 from 8am. This is the latest salvo in a legal battle that has been waged for years.
The residents of Umm al-Hiran have been living under immanent threat of expulsion from their homes since 2016 when the Israeli Supreme Court delivered its final demolition ruling against the village so that a Jewish-only town can be built on the site.
Last week several police patrols were conducted in the village. According to the director of the Bedouin resettlement authority, Yair Maayan, all of the dozens of the structures in the village, including one used for prayer, will be demolished. A new Jewish community to be named Hiran is to be built on the ruins of the village.
In the early morning hours of January 18, 2017, after a night of unsuccessful negotiations between residents and the development authority, officials guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police officers descended on the village to execute demolition orders that were then in effect. However, before the process could really get under way, Yaqoub Mousa Abu al-Qee’an, a 47 year old teacher of science and math was mortally wounded by police gunfire while driving in his vehicle through the village. His out-of-control car accelerated and ran down a police officer, Erez Amedi Levy, killing him. During the protests that ensued, Joint List Chairman, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) was beaten and shot in the head and back by sponge-tipped bullets fired by police.
Related: Posts on Umm al-Hiran