(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, HOUSING and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
– Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
According to Human Rights Watch, the Israeli government demolished approximately “20 makeshift structures” acting as houses for Bedouin citizens in the Negev desert on August 17, 2010 that left “scores of residents homeless as summer temperatures soared to 40 degrees Celsius, or 105 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The residents have been displaced and are not allowed to return to their villages.
Negev Bedouin are Israeli citizens, but approximately 90,000 of them live in “unrecognized” towns that are at risk of demolition. Because the government considers the villages illegal, it has not connected them to basic services and infrastructure such as water, electricity, sewage treatment, and garbage disposal. Bedouin constitute an estimated 25 percent of the population of the northern Negev, but after being repeatedly displaced since 1948, they now occupy less than 2 percent of its land. While refusing to recognize Bedouin land claims to the area, Israel has granted large tracts of land to Jewish Israelis. In a series of laws, the latest passed on July 12, the state retroactively legalized individual farms in the area, almost all of which belong to Jews.
In the US, there have been different methods employed to racially segregate people from one another. Methods such as blockbusting, home-owners associations, use of zoning laws, redlining and so forth. The Israeli government has used a more forceful method; they simply ignore basic fundamental human rights and destroy villages.
Israeli authorities are claiming that they are “enforcing zoning and building codes.” But it’s not the first time that authorities are enforcing zoning and building codes. Since 1970, thousands of Negev Bedouin houses have been destroyed.
The Israeli government should stop treating its own citizens, the Negev Bedouin, as second-class citizens instead of destroying their homes and forcing them out of their villages.