Canada must speak up in defence of Bedouin villages Dear Friend, Imagine being evicted from your home and having your lands expropriated from you. I

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Canada must speak up in defence of Bedouin villages

Atir village demolition

House demolition in Atir, photo courtesty of Al Jazeera

Dear Friend,

Imagine being evicted from your home and having your lands expropriated from you. Imagine that the lands you were evicted from were given to another people, who declare they have exclusive rights to these lands, despite the fact that you still hold onto the deeds or have aerial photographs documenting your longstanding presence.

This is reality for thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel. They were forcibly displaced by Israel in 1948, again in the 1950's, and over the last several years have experienced either house demolitions, or the threat of demolition. Entire Bedouin villages have been literally wiped off the map by Israel, with the aid of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) (1).

Atir residents

Fatma Abu Alkian (right) and her family insist on their right to stay in Atir, but Israel wants them to move to an overpopulated and impoverished township against their will. A JNF forest will replace their village if the demolition goes ahead.

JNF Bulldozer in Al Arakib-2nd - 2-9-11 Dukium credit  1

This JNF bulldozer was caught demolishing a Bedouin structure in Al Araqib, photo courtesy of the Negev Coexistence Forum

Israel plans to forcibly displace the villagers of Atir and Umm al-Hiran to the impoverished and overcrowded Bedouin township of Hura, despite their strong opposition. Meanwhile, a JNF project called "Yatir Forest" (2), parts of which have been paid for by the Canadian office of the JNF (3) (and is therefore subsidized by us as Canadian taxpayers) is planned to cover over the ruins of Atir. In place of Umm al-Hiran will stand the Jewish-only village of Hiran-- another project supported by the JNF (4).

If you oppose these injustices, join me now in calling on Minister Dion to demand that Israel cancel its plans and deal fairly with the residents of Atir and Umm al-Hiran.

Throughout the Naqab (Negev) desert, Bedouin citizens of Israel live under constant threat of terror. The threat of house demolition is permanent, and in the meantime, their villages-- which Israel refuses to recognize--lack basic infrastructure and municipal services such as water, electricity, garbage pickup, and schools (5). Jewish communities--established long after these Bedouin villages--are fully recognized and serviced by Israel.

Please join me in calling on Minister Dion to demand that Israel refrain from demolishing Atir and Umm al-Hiran. Further, we demand that Israel finally treat all its citizens as equals by recognizing Bedouin villages, and working cooperatively with the Bedouin to resolve issues of territory and sovereignty.

If you haven't signed our petition to the new Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, demanding she initiate revocation of the JNF's scandalous charitable status in Canada, please sign it now!

Please share this message with your contacts by copying and pasting this link: https://madmimi.com/p/d5b847

Fabienne Presentey

Towards a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine,

Fabienne Presentey,
IJV-Montréal

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