Appealing Against Demolition Orders at the Bedouin Village of Saawa

Demolition in an unrecognized village in the Negev



On March 21, 2013, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed an appeal against a judgment of the Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court, which rejected a request to delay the demolition of homes in the Arab Bedouin Village of Saawa.




After the Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court rejected their request to delay impending demolition orders, dozens of families making up approximately 300 of the 1,500 residents of the Saawa village, are appealing the judgment. They have lived for decades in this village, which existed prior to the creation of the state. After Israel was founded, the residents of the village were not asked to vacate their land, and have continued to reside on this land with the knowledge and consent of the state ever since. After many decades of residence, demolition orders were handed to the appellants in 2007 in accordance with the Planning and Building Act. The residents naturally felt a deep anxiety about their long-term future, and so began to conduct negotiations with the Authority for Regulating Bedouin Settlement in the Negev in order to find an alternative solution. During this period of negotiations, motions were periodically filed in order to delay the demolitions. The negotiations are far from complete and have failed as of yet to provide an alternative solution that the village population so longed for.

Now, despite the ongoing negotiations, the Be’er Sheva Magistrates Court has determined that the village residents must complete the demolitions by March 1, 2013. It is for this reason that ACRI Attorney Rawia Aburabia filed this new appeal, along with a request to delay execution of the demolition orders pending a decision on the appeal.


Grounds for the appeal:


  • The court erred in not delaying the execution of the demolition orders until the acquisition of a mutually agreeable solution that takes into consideration the historical reality of the Arab Bedouin in the Negev. Negotiations on behalf of the appellants have not yet been exhausted, and the solution offered to them at the moment (Neighborhood 16 inside the Hura Settlement) is not feasible according to the Mayor of the Hura council, who has designated this neighborhood for the natural growth of the pre-existing residents of the community.

  • There is no public interest that justifies the implementation of the demolition orders: In light of the master plan for the district (#14/4/23) that requires proper planning for residents of the village, and given that negotiations as to their settlement are already occurring, there is no public interest to justify house demolitions and evacuation prior to the attainment solution.

  • Narrow interpretation of the rule of law: the implementation of the demolition order in these circumstances does not fulfill the purpose of the rule of law. Demolition will leave the appellants homeless while their housing options are on the agenda and before all alternative solutions have been exhausted.

  • The violation of constitutional rights in the planning process: the right to housing and the right to property require an examination of all options that can lead to a planning solution when the alternative is demolition orders.


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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Arab Minority Rights, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Housing Rights, Land Distribution and Planning Rights, Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages, Social and Economic Rights

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