The words “racism” and “discrimination” have been heard numerous times in the past day. That is, after all, the only thing that speakers of the radical left can say about the Umm al-Hiran evacuation.
I have been there more than once. I have checked the facts. The courts have checked them repeatedly. The claims of discrimination, racism, dispossession and rights from time immemorial have been refuted again and again. But those raising the false claims are not letting that confuse them. They are running forward in full speed.
The members of the al-Qiyan tribe are right. They were indeed transferred to the Yatir Forest area in the 1950s. They settled there with permission. Precisely because they have certain rights which have been recognized by the authorities and by the courts, they were offered to move – for free – to the regulated community of Hura. Not only did they receive free land, a quarter of an acre for each household, and not only was the infrastructure supplied by the government, but each family received an additional payment, at least NIS 100,000 to build its own home. Moreover, every man married to more than one women received land units according to the number of his wives – even though poligamy is illegal. And in order not to discriminate against the young ones, all those over the age of 24 received an independent home as well.
Before you say that this is an insufficient settlement, it should be noted that most tribe members considered it a fair and sufficient proposal. They moved to the village of Hura. Very few decided to stay. And out of the very few, a small minority left the Yatir area and spread to the Hiran area. Aerial shots document exactly what went on there starting in the 1960s: The illegal construction continued even after it was decided in 2002 to build the community of Hiran, not just for Jews as the slanderers claim.
The minority of the minority is at the center of the violence that broke out again on Wednesday. This minority felt it had massive backing. That happened because radical left-wing activists, most or all of them from NGOs of the New Israel Fund (NIF), along with Balad and Islamic Movement activists and with the help of a lot of European money, turned the battle against Israel into a battle against Israel’s “racism.”
This is the notorious red-green coalition of radical leftists and Islamists, which stirs against any arrangement for the Bedouin community. When Ibrahim Aloquili, who served as chairman of the unrecognized villages’ committee, advanced a dialogue with the government, a website affiliated with the NIF wrote that he was “sabotaging the attempts of other leaders to advance a more hawkish line against the government.” Of course. They have chosen to support the rejectionist minority, so every sane voice must be moved out of the way.
The arguments I am making here do not belong to a certain side. They are based on a Supreme Court ruling, which determined in these words that “most of the tribe members moved to Hura – a Bedouin community, which is regulated and connected to infrastructures – and the remaining ones are required to evacuate their homes, and are being offered to move to Hura… They are not being expelled and not being abandoned. The suggested evacuation involves different proposals for a move, construction, compensation and a housing option, whether in the town of Hura or in the community of Hiran which is about to be built… The planned community does not prevent the tribe members from living there… Anyone wishing to live in Hiran is entitled to do so, subject to the law and under the fixed conditions.”
The left-wing bodies operated a worldwide anti-Israel propaganda machine. Haaretz published countless articles against the state. When it was presented with an article refuting the claims, it refused to publish it. Freedom of speech is reserved for one opinion only. The Rabbis for Human Rights organization outdid itself by releasing an incitement film titled “Fiddler with no Roof.” It works. Even the European Parliament adopted an anti-Israel resolution in regards to the Bedouin. Army Radio broadcaster Khen Elmaleh wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, “I would have run over a policeman too had I been forcibly evacuated from my home.”
Terror receives justifications. A significant number of the people interviewed about the issue on the public media Wednesday revealed complete ignorance of the facts. Brainwashing wins. It leads to violence and to bloodshed. On Wednesday, we received further sad proof of that.
And one more thing. In my conversations with the locals, I got the impression that they were ready for an arrangement which would allow the Yatir residents to stay where they are while evacuating the few homes in Umm al-Hiran. The situation on the ground may justify such an arrangement, despite the court rulings. But their willingness likely comes up against the inciters from Balad, the Islamic Movement and radical bodies. They don’t want an arrangement. They are not in favor of the Bedouins. They are against Israel.