Bedouin of the Negev Desert صحراء النقب

Bedouin have lived in the area of the Negev Desert for hundreds of years, and lived semi-nomadic lives mostly herding Goats and Camel but also tilling small plots of land. These Bedouin had a complex, unwritten system of rights for grazing and small plot farming that enabled them to live in harmony with the other Bedouin tribes of the region.

Photo: Negev Bedouin Camel Race (Wikipedia)

Photo: Negev Bedouin Man Riding a Camel (Wikipedia)

Negev Bedouin considered themselves to be different than the Palestinian farmers of the nearby Gaza, who were called the Fellaheen فلاحين, but the Bedouin did recognize these Palestinians as fellow Muslims, just living a different kind of life.

Unfortunately, many of these Bedouin were forcibly removed from their lands by the Israeli Army during the 1948 Israeli War for Independence, referred to as the Catastrophe, or Nakba النكبة by the Palestinian and Arab residents of the region. Negev Bedouin had extensive human rights abuses committed against them, including murder, by the State of Israel. These human rights abuses continued against the Bedouin in later years after the Nakba, including up to and during the current time.

Some Bedouin remained in the Negev, or returned to it, in spite of the persecution against them. Over time, many of them created makeshift homes in the desert and formed small villages with other members of their clan and/or tribe, However, they are still involved in nomadic activities such as shepherding Goats and Camel. By Tradition these Bedouin have large families with many children and their population in the Negev has grown considerably over past decades due to this fact.

Photo: An Unrecognized Bedouin Village in the Negev Desert (Wikipedia)

The State of Israel calls these makeshift villages Illegal Villages and Unrecognized Villages, and is involved in many attempts to destroy the villages and try to resettle the Bedouin into urban areas. Israeli Courts use technicalities of law to evict the Bedouin from their villages, with the courts refusing to recognize their rights to the land since the Bedouin lack written documents such as deeds. Also, the courts refuse to recognize the complex, unwritten system the Bedouin use for land and grazing rights.

Most Bedouin are opposed to resettlement in urban areas, however, and do not like the confined living spaces of an urban life which often does not give them enough room for their Goat and Camel herds. The Bedouin prefer the wide open spaces of the Desert, even though their makeshift villages are not connected to the electricity grid, and do not have running water or garbage pickup services. Even after a Bedouin village is destroyed by the State of Israel, the Bedouin often return at a later time and rebuild their village, sometimes having to do this multiple times.

In the early years of the State of Israel, Arab Bedouin often served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), where they were valued for their Arabic language skills and familiarization of the land. Arab Bedouin still serve in the IDF to this day. However, these are only a small minority of the Bedouin.

Photo: The State of Israel Destroys The Negev Bedouin Village of Al Araqeeb العراقيب, Leaving Many Bedouin Homeless

In some cases, Illegal Jewish Settlers were waiting for the Bedouin Villages to be destroyed so they could move in and build an Illegal Settlement on the land, for Jewish people only. These activites were in part sponsored by funds created for that purpose, including funds with money from the United States. One example of this is the Bedouin Village of Umm Al-Hieran أم ويلي ذلك, with Jewish settlers living nearby in mobile homes and waiting for the village to be destroyed so they can move in and steal the land.

Recently, the State of Israel tried to pass into law a detailed plan to evict the Bedouin from their makeshift villages, and resettle them in urban areas, called the PRAWER PLAN. However the members of the Israeli government never bothered to ask the Bedouin themselves what they thought of the Prawer Plan, most Bedouin were opposed to the plan when they learned of it, and organized into protests against it, also many people in other nations organized protests against the plan, including in the European Union. Eventually the Prawer Plan was abandoned after mass global protests against it.

Similar problems exist in other parts of the world, like the State of California in the USA, which is often trying to pass laws enabling the destruction of homeless encampments. Indigent Legal Services in California were able to secure legal rulings from the Courts protecting the homeless encampments from destruction. But in the State of Israel, such legal rulings are few for the benefit of the Bedouin. Also, in the State of Israel, racism against Arabs, including racism against Christian Arabs, Muslim Arabs, and Arab Bedouin, is systemic and rampant.

Global Protests Over Israeli Plan to Evict Negev Bedouin (The Guardian)

Israel Scraps Prawer Plan, Eviction of Negev Bedouin (The Guardian)

Israel Demolishes West Bank Bedouin Village Khirbet Humsah, in November 2020 (NBC News)

Israel Razes Bedouin Village in the Occupied West Bank, Leaving Many Bedouin Homeless (Arab News)

United Kingdom, European Union Sound Alarm Over Israel's Bedouin Evictions, Village Demolitions (Arab News)

Negev Bedouin Village of Al-Araqeeb Wikipedia Page

Negev Bedouin Wikipedia Page

Google Images Collection For Negev Bedouin

YouTube Videos Related to Negev Desert Bedouin

Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages (Bedouin Villages)

Photo: A Bedouin Woman Sits in Front Of The Remains Of Her Negev Desert Village Destroyed by the State of Israel - Al Araqeeb العراقيب

Photo: West Bank Bedouin gather their belongings after the State of Israel demolished their village, Khirbet Humsah خربة حمصة, in November 2020 (NBC News)

Photo: A boy watches as the State of Israel demolishes the West Bank Bedouin village of Khirbet Humsah, خربة حمصة, leaving many Bedouin homeless (Arab News)

Photo: Negev Desert Bedouin Protest Against the Prawer Plan Outside the Israeli Knesset (Google Images)

Photo: A Negev Bedouin Couple Camp Next To Their Destroyed Home With Their Cats (Google Images)