1,500 Bedouin awaiting home demolitions
“We are waiting for our houses to be demolished, leaving us in the open between earth and sky,” Nayif Khawatra, a resident of Sawah, told a Ma’an reporter on Wednesday.
“We requested that Israeli authorities give us a delay until we arrange to move into a neighborhood in the nearby village of Hurah which is being expanded, but they refused.”
Residents say their families have been living in the village since before the creation of Israel in 1948, and they were not ordered to leave the village until 2007.
Israeli planning and construction authorities asked the residents to evacuate the village in 2007 after Israel’s army declared the area a military zone.
In July 2011, Israeli forces placed cement barricades at the main entrance to Sawa with signs reading “Danger! Military zone: entry is forbidden.”
Residents say they have been negotiating with Israeli authorities since 2007 to regulate Bedouin settlement. However, nothing was resolved and they only managed to delay the demolitions.
The residents appealed a magistrates’ court’s order to demolish their homes by March 1.
Judge Yosef Alon rejected the appeal, and said accepting it would “create chaos,” said the villagers’ lawyer Rawiya Abu Rbeia, who works for a rights group.
The judge postponed the demolitions until Aug. 15.
Sawah residents resumed negotiations with Israeli authorities after the failed appeal, without success. They considered appealing to Israel’s High Court but legal experts advised them the appeal would be rejected.