Human Rights Watch: Israel’s Supreme Court Permits Discriminatory Evictions

Arab Villages in Israel, West Bank Face New Displacement

MAY 19, 2015

(Jerusalem) – Separate Israeli Supreme Court decisions issued on May 5, 2015, open the way for state authorities to forcibly evict residents of two Arab villages from their homes. The inhabitants of both villages, one in Israel and the other in the occupied West Bank, have previously been displaced following actions by Israeli authorities.

“It is a sad day when Israeli Supreme Court decisions provide legal cover for forced evictions, as in the case of these two villages,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “The Israeli government should let these communities stay where they are, not force them to move yet again.”

Between 750 and 1,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel who live in Umm al-Hiran, a village in Israel’s southern Negev desert, face removal. Israel relocated the villagers there under a 1956 agreement permitting them to live there in exchange for them dropping claims to land from which they say Israeli forces expelled them in 1948. Israeli authorities have refused to recognize the village, to supply basic services like water or electricity, or to develop a zoning plan to allow residents to obtain building permits. In 2009, Israeli authorities approved plans to use the land to build a Jewish community.

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