In the Negev

Neve Gordon

At least seventy thousand Bedouin in the Negev live in villages currently classed as ‘unrecognised’ by the Israeli government. This means that it’s forbidden to connect the houses to the electricity grid or the water and sewage systems. Construction regulations are harshly enforced, and last year about a thousand Bedouin homes and animal pens – usually referred to by the government only as ‘structures’ – were demolished. There are no paved roads, and signposts to the villages from main roads are removed. The villages aren’t shown on maps. As a matter of official geography, the places lived in by these citizens of Israel do not exist, and Israel now plans to demolish most of the villages and move at least thirty thousand inhabitants to townships.

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