Voluntary evacuation deal reached with Umm al-Hiran residents
Authority for Development and Settlement of Bedouins in Negev inks agreement to demolish illegal village starting August, transfer residents to nearby Hura and compensate them for demolitions; 'We signed the agreement to avoid more bloodshed,' says residents' representative.
The Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev announced Wednesday it had reached an agreement with the residents of the illegal Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran, according to which they will voluntarily move to the nearby village Hura.
Residents recently received demolition orders for their homes, and the forced evacuation, which was expected to begin after Passover, was thus averted due to the agreement reached.
"The most important thing about the agreement is that there is no more pain. There are no more crying mothers," said Ra'ad Abu al-Qiyan, a representative of the residents. "We signed the agreement to avoid more bloodshed."
Over the past 24 hours, some 200 of the adult residents of Umm al-Hiram signed a voluntary evacuation agreement, which is in line with orders from the High Court of Justice.
After all residents sign the agreement, they will begin independently moving to neighborhood 12 in Hura. Each family will be given a lot for free, where they will be able to build their permanent home. In addition, residents will be compensated for the old structures in Umm al-Hiran that would be demolished, in accordance with the rules common in the Bedouin sector.
The evacuation of Umm al-Hiran is expected to be completed by August of this year.
In January 2017, a violent clash between locals and police forces over the demolition of illegal structures ended in the death of a police officer and one of the residents.
Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan ran over police officer Erez Levi with his car, leading the other police officers on the scene to open fire and kill him. An internal police investigation into the incident pointed to failures in the conduct of the police on the scene.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who is in charge of the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev, praised the agreement.
"The right combination of the determination of law enforcement officials along with a generous offer from the state led to the result we're all happy with—an agreed evacuation of Umm al-Hiran without violence, based on the court's rulings."
The Director-General of the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev, Yair Maayan, also welcomed the agreement.
"I congratulate the residents of Umm al-Hiran, who have been living there for decades, and praise the heads of the village who acted responsibly to benefit all residents.
"The voluntary evacuation agreement and the move to neighborhood 12 in Hura, which was developed especially for them, will allow them to continue living together in a new neighborhood and allow residents enjoy high-quality infrastructure and services and the quality of life available in Hura."