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Israel delivers eviction orders to villagers in Negev desert

Eviction and demolition orders posted on buildings in Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran that has been the subject of a years-long legal battle
Israeli police pinning eviction order on a house in Umm al-Hiran village in Negev/Naqab desert (Marwan Abu Frieh/Adalah)

Residents of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev (Naqab) desert in southern Israel on Wednesday received eviction and demolition notices which were posted on their doors by Israeli authorities in the latest salvo in a years-long legal battle.

The villagers have been living under the threat of expulsion from the land 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.

Witnesses in Umm al-Hiran, a village of 500 people from the Bedouin tribe of Abu al-Qi'an, told Middle East Eye that on Wednesday that Israeli police pinned orders on the village doors stating that the evictions will take place sometime between 14-29 April from 8am onwards.

Eviction order for a resident of Umm al-Hiran (Courtsey: Marwan Abu Frieh/Adalah)

They said that the Israeli police have been surveying the village over the past week in preparation for a total demolition.

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Marwan Abu Frieh from Adalah, a centre that advocates for Palestinian minority rights in Israel, told MEE that the police stormed the village at noon.

"They gave people 30 days to evacuate. The orders are based on a previous order issued in 2005 and was challenged in the court."

Abu Frieh said that people are thinking to install a protest tent in the village.

"After almost 15 years in courts against the first demolition order, we end up with the same order," he added.

Almost all the buildings in Umm al-Hiran received eviction and demolition orders including the village mosque.

Order of eviction on Umm al-Hiran mosque (Courtesy: Marwan Abu Frieh/Adalah)

Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 villages in the Negev that remain unrecognised by the state of Israel, which means the residents, all Israeli citizens, have never been granted building permits, basic services or infrastructure.

Members of the Abu Qi'an tribe, which lives in Umm al-Hiran, are among about 100,000 Palestinians who were living in the Negev before the Arab-Israeli war of 1948.

Around 10,000 of the Palestinian Bedouins remained in the newly established state of Israel, while the rest fled or were expelled by Zionist militias, and sought refuge in the Gaza Strip and Sinai.

The Abu al-Qi'an tribe found itself inside Israel.

In 1956, they were moved from their original lands to the area where they are living today by an Israeli military order. Their community is considered illegal or “unrecognised” by the state of Israel.