|Institut für Palästinakunde|
- IPK -
"Jewish Crime" by Amos Gvirtz [09.03.2021]
I suppose any Jew would sense antisemitism in the headline above. We Jews have a historic cargo that justifies such a sense. And still I used this provocative headline. In recent days the Hebrew media are filled with reports on the criminality of Negev Bedouins, totally ignoring the State’s crimes against the Negev Bedouins. Right-wing media call it Bedouin crime. Right-wing politicians promise that if they win the coming elections, they will intensify law enforcement against Bedouin crime in the Negev.
This time I shall refrain from writing about the West Bank settler-colonist criminals and their emissaries in the illegal outposts who are sent to expel Palestinians from their own lands. I shall not write about the ongoing war crime that the Israeli army has been carrying in Humsa Al Baqi’a in the Palestinian Jordan Valley.
On Monday, February 22, 2021, Israeli government agents escorted by large police forces arrived at the lands of three Bedouin villages in the Negev: Sa’wa, Arawis, and Al Ghara. They accompanied a contractor with large tractors and other destruction equipment, who destroyed 2,800 dunams worth of grain crops. They arrested fifteen Bedouins, mostly minors, who dared protest this heinous crime (four of them are still in custody as I write). On Thursday, February 25, they came to Sawawin and destroyed 400 dunams of grain. In Whatsapp I saw photos of Israeli policemen who, instead of fighting crime, secure it when it is carried out by agents of the State against citizens whose single crime is that they were born Bedouins in the State of the Jews. In the evening I watched the news on Kan 11, Israel’s public channel, and neither saw nor heard anything about the above. I did see a photographed report on Bedouin crime… The next day I leafed through Israel’s “leftist newspaper” – Haaretz – and didn’t see anything about this either. Needless to say, human rights activists from the Negev had tried to distribute this item to all Israeli media.
All this is happening while Co-Existence Forum in the Negev is finding it difficult to get Hebrew media to publicize the data on house demolitions that Israel’s government has been carrying out in the Negev Bedouin communities in 2020. Indeed, during this Corona year they broke all previous records of house demolitions in the Negev! This, in spite of the government’s own Attorney General’s instructions to avoid home demolitions during the pandemic… I refrain from quoting data as long as the Co-Existence Forum in the Negev hopes to find a Hebrew communications medium that would agree to publicize them.
I dare define these law enforcement acts as crime for the simple reason that if in any other state, the government were to resort to such policy of concentrating its Jewish minority in smaller areas while dispossessing it of its property, demolishing its homes and creating a situation whereby their traditional way of life is outlawed – all of us, Israeli government and human rights activists included, would define such an act as criminal antisemitic activity.
The Bedouins are a native community that was living in the Negev desert even prior to the beginning of the Zionist immigration to Palestine over a century ago. Not they are the ones to have invaded the country and robbed its lands. It was Israel who invaded their habitat, expelled most of them, not only in the “turmoil of war” but even a decade after the 1948 War was over. Israel is the one to have used its power to legislate laws by which it robbed Bedouin lands and blocked their access to their own grazing grounds. Israel is the one to not recognize their villages and create a legal situation wherein all homes in Bedouin villages are illegally constructed. In this state of the matter, enforcement of laws regarding Bedouin real estate and construction in the Negev is indeed criminal.
Today, antisemitic crimes are committed mostly by individuals and organizations. In this country, persecution of the Bedouin minority is carried out mostly by the Israeli government. Anyone concerned with human rights and opposed to racism must oppose this government’s crimes, whose nature is typically antisemitic.
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality