Negev Bedouin

Negev Bedouin
بدو النقب
הבדואים בנגב
Badawit naqib.jpg
A Bedouin man and camel in Negev
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Israel,  Egypt

Arabic (mainly Bedouin dialect, also Egyptian and Palestinian), Hebrew (Modern Israeli)



The Negev Bedouin (Arabic: بدو النقب‎, Badū an-Naqab; Hebrew: הבדואים בנגבHabeduim Banegev) are traditionally pastoral semi-nomadic Arab tribes indigenous to the Negev region in Israel, who hold close ties to the Bedouin of the Sinai Peninsula. The alteration of their traditional lifestyle (sometimes forced by local governments) has led to sedentarization. Estimated to number some 160,000,[1] they comprise 12% of the Arab citizenry of Israel.[2] Of Israel's total population, 12% live in the Negev,[3] and Negev Bedouin constitute approximately 25% percent of the total population therein.[4]



Negev Bedouin are defined today as Arab nomads who live by rearing livestock in the deserts of southern Israel. The Negev Bedouin community consists of indigenous tribes that used to be nomadic/semi-nomadic. The community is traditional and conservative, with a well-defined value system that directs and monitors behaviour and interpersonal relations.[5]

The Negev Bedouin tribes have been divided into three classes, according to their origin: descendants of ancient Arabian nomads, peasants (Fellaheen) who came from cultivated areas, and descendants of those brought from Africa as slaves.[6]

Today, many Bedouin call themselves 'Negev Arabs' rather than ‘Bedouin,’ explaining that 'Bedouin' identity is intimately tied in with a pastoral nomadic way of life – a way of life they say is over. Although the Bedouin in Israel continue to be perceived as nomads, today all of them are fully sedentarized, and about half are urbanites.[7] Nevertheless, Negev Bedouin continue to possess goats and sheep: in 2000 the Ministry of Agriculture estimated that the Negev Bedouin owned 200,000 head of sheep and 5,000 of goats, while Bedouin estimates referred to 230,000 sheep and 20,000 goats.[8]


Historically, the Bedouin engaged in nomadic herding, agriculture, raiding and sometimes fishing. They also earned income by transporting goods and people[9] across the desert.[10] Scarcity of water and of permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly.

Negev Bedouin encampment in the West Bank

The first recorded nomadic settlement in the Negev dates back 4,000-7,000 years.[10] The Bedouin of the Sinai peninsula migrated to and from the Negev repeatedly throughout their history. Similar migrations took place under early Islamic rule.[11] The Bedouin established very few permanent settlements; however, some Bedouin did build in the Negev; some evidence remains of traditional baika buildings, seasonal dwellings for the rainy season when Bedouin would stop to engage in farming. Cemeteries known as "nawamis" dating to the late fourth millennium B.C. have been also found. Similarly, open-air mosques (i.e., those without a roof), dating from the early Islamic period, are common and still in use.[12] The Bedouin also conducted extensive farming on plots scattered throughout the Negev. They held this semi-nomadic lifestyle up until the existence of Israel.[13]

During the sixth century, the Emperor Justinian sent Wallachian and Bosnian slaves to the Sinai to build the Saint Catherine's Monastery. Over time these slaves converted to Islam, and adopted an Arab Bedouin lifestyle.[10]

In the seventh century, the Islamic Umayyad dynasty defeated the Byzantine armies, conquering Palestine. The Umayyads began sponsoring building programs throughout Palestine, a region in close proximity to the dynastic capital in Damascus, and the Bedouin flourished. However, this activity decreased after the capital was move to Baghdad during the subsequent Abbasid reign.[14]

The first major European impact on the traditional Bedouin lifestyle came after the French invasion of Egypt in 1798. The rise of the puritanical Wahabbi sect also forced them to reduce raiding caravans. Instead, the Bedouin acquired a monopoly on guiding pilgrim caravans to Mecca, as well as selling them provisions. The opening of the Suez canal reduced the dependence on desert caravans, thus limiting the Bedouin's income, while attracting them to newly formed settlements that sprung up along the canal.[10]

During World War I, the Bedouin in the Negev Desert fought with the Turks against the British, but later withdrew from the conflict. The British Mandate in Palestine brought order to the Negev; however, this order was accompanied by losses in sources of income and poverty among the Bedouin. The Bedouin nevertheless retained their lifestyle, and a 1927 report describes them as the "untamed denizens of the Arabian deserts".[10] The British also established the first formal schools for the Bedouin.[5]

In Orientalist historiography, the Negev Bedouin have been described as remaining largely unaffected by changes in the outside world until recently. Their society was often considered a "world without time".[15] Recent scholars have challenged the notion of the Bedouin as 'fossilized,' or 'stagnant' reflections of an unchanging desert culture. In fact, as Emanuel Marx has shown, Bedouin were engaged in a constantly dynamic reciprocal relation with urban centers.[16] Bedouin scholar Michael Meeker explains that "the city was to be found in their midst."[17]

By the 20th century, much of the Bedouin population was settled, semi-nomadic, and engaged in agriculture according to an intricate system of land ownership, grazing rights, and water access.[18]

1948 War and aftermath

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the vast majority of the Bedouin in the Negev region fled to Egypt, or Jordan (including the territories of the former British Mandate that came under their control). Of the approximately 65,000 that lived in the area before the war about 11,000 remained.[19][20] Those who remained belonged to the Tiaha confederation.[13] They were relocated by the Israeli government in the 1950s and 1960s to a restricted zone in the northeast corner of the Negev, called the ha-Siyag (Hebrew: הסיג‎, "the Fence") made up of relatively infertile land in 10% of the Negev desert in the northeast.[21][22]

In 1951, the United Nations reported the expulsion of about 7,000 Negev Bedouin into neighbouring Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, but many returned undetected.[23] The new government failed to issue the Bedouin identity cards until 1952 and expelled thousands of Bedouin who remained within the new borders.[24] Expulsions continued into the late 1950s, as reported by Haaretz in 1959: "The army's desert patrols would turn up in the midst of a Bedouin encampment day after day, dispersing it with a sudden burst of machine-gun fire until the sons of the desert were broken and, gathering what little was left of their belongings, led their camels in long silent strings into the heart of the Sinai desert."[25] In 1950 Israel decided to stop using the Arabic place names on its official maps, and adopt Hebrew names instead.[26]. For 120 locations in the Negev the Hebrew traditional name was adopted instead of the Arabic one (e.g. Etzion Gaver). 175 Arab names were translated literally into Hebrew (e.g. A-Soweida >> Shḥoret), and 150 Arabic names were phonetically altered to sound more like Hebrew names (e.g. Jarf >> Garof, or Al-Koreim >> Karmah). 50 names were borrowed from the Hebrew Bible without having historical connection to the specific location in question. 30 names were invented and 8 names remained in their Arabic form.[27] Explaining this policy in 1949, Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion wrote, "We are obliged to remove the Arabic names for reasons of state. Just as we do not recognize the Arabs' political proprietorship of the land, so also we do not recognize their spiritual proprietorship and their names."[28]

The legal grounds cited for the displacement of the Bedouin from their lands was the 1858 Ottoman Land Law. Under the Tanzimat reforms instituted as the Ottoman Empire gradually lost power, the Ottoman Land Law of 1858 instituted an unprecedented land registration process in order to boost the empire's tax base. Few Bedouin opted to register their lands with the Ottoman Tapu, due to lack of enforcement by the Ottomans, the inability of Bedouin at the time to read and write, the Bedouins' disinteresty in paying taxes to the ailing regime, and the lack of relevance of written documentation of ownership to the Bedouin way of life at that time.[29] Due to the relative infertility of the land and the fact that the nearest permanent settlement was Beer Sheba, Israel claimed the land fell under the Ottoman class of 'non-workable' (mawat) land and thus according to Ottoman law should be reverted to the state.[30][31]

In the years after the establishment of Israel, Bedouin herding was restricted by land expropriation.[5] Between 1950 and 1966, the new State of Israel imposed a military administration over Arabs in the region[6] and designated 85% of the Negev "State Land". Bedouin habitation on this land was retroactively declared illegal and "unrecognized."[32] The government concentrated these Bedouin tribes into the Siyag (Hebrew for "fence") triangle of Beer Sheva, Arad and Dimona,[7] and the Bedouin came to reside on just over 1% of the Negev.[33]

Despite state hegemony over the Negev, the Bedouin regarded 600,000 dunams of the Negev as theirs, and later petitioned the government for their return.[34] Various claims committees were established to make legal arrangements to solve land disputes at least partially, but no suggestions acceptable to both sides have been developed.[30]As a consequence of losing access to their lands, the Bedouin also lost access to their means of self-subsistence. Thus, throughout the 1950s many Bedouin men sought work on Jewish farms in the Negev.[15] However, preference was given to Jewish labor, and as of 1958, employment in the Bedouin male population was less than 3.5%.[15]

In the 1950s, mandatory schooling was extended to the Bedouin sector, leading to a massive increase in literacy levels. Illiteracy decreased from around 95% to 25% within the span of a single generation, with the majority of the illiterate being 55 or older.[35] The Bedouin also benefited from the introduction of modern health care in the region.[15]

Grazing restrictions

The Black Goat Law of 1950 curbed grazing so as to prevent land erosion, prohibiting the grazing of goats outside recognized land holdings. Because few Bedouin territorial claims were recognized, most grazing was rendered illegal. Since both Ottoman and British land registration processes had failed to reach into the Negev region before Israeli rule, and since most Bedouin preferred not to register their lands as this would mean being taxed, few Bedouin possessed any documentation of their land claims. Those whose land claims were recognized found it almost impossible to keep their goats within the periphery of their newly limited range. Into the 1970s and 1980s, only a small portion of the Bedouin were able to continue to graze their goats, and instead of migrating with their goats in search of pasture, most Bedouin migrated in search of work.[7]

Sedentarization and urban townships

Goats grazing in the township of Tel Sheva

Counter to the image of the Bedouin as fierce stateless nomads roving the entire region, by the turn of the 20th century, much of the Bedouin population in Palestine was settled, semi-nomadic, and engaged in agriculture according to an intricate system of land ownership, grazing rights, and water access.[7]

We should transform the Bedouin into an urban proletariat - in industry, services, construction, and agriculture. 88% of the Israeli population are not farmers, let the Bedouin be like them. Indeed, this will be a radical move which means that the Bedouin would not live on his land with his herds, but would become an urban person who comes home in the afternoon and puts his slippers on. His children will get used to a father who wears pants, without a dagger, and who does not pick out their nits in public. They will go to school, their hair combed and parted. This will be a revolution, but it can be achieved in two generations. Without coercion but with governmental direction ... this phenomenon of the Bedouins will disappear"

—Israeli General Moshe Dayan to Haaretz, 1963[7][36]

In the 1970s, the government established seven urban townships and promised Bedouin services in exchange for the renunciation of their ancestral land.[31] Denied access to their former sources of sustenance via grazing restrictions, severed from the possibility of access to water, electricity, roads, education, and health care in the unrecognized villages, and trusting in government promises that they would receive services if they moved, in the 1970s and 1980s, tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel resettled in seven legal towns constructed by the government.[32] Within a few years, half of the Bedouin population moved into these townships.[33]

According to Ben Gurion University's Negev Center for Regional Development, the towns were built without an urban policy framework, lacking business districts or industrial zones;[37] as Harvey Lithwick of the Negev Center for Regional Development explains: "... the major failure was a lack of an economic rationale for the towns... "[38] According to Lithwick, and Ismael and Kathleen Abu Saad of Ben Gurion University, the towns quickly became among the most deprived towns in Israel, severely lacking in services such as public transport and banks.[5] The urban townships became concentration centers for tens of thousands of Bedouin lacking job prospects or access to self-subsistence agriculture, and came to be known as ghettos suffering from endemic joblessness and resulting cycles of crime and drug trafficking.[37]

The other half of the Negev Bedouin resisted sedentarization and concentration into urban townships in the hope of retaining their traditions and customs; these Negev Bedouin remained in rural villages, some of which pre-date Israel.[22] However in 1984, the courts ruled that the Negev Bedouin had no land ownership claims, effectively illegalizing their existing settlements.[2] The Israeli government defines these rural Bedouin villages as "dispersals" while the international community refers to them as "unrecognized villages". Few of the Bedouin in unrecognized villages have seen the urban townships as a desirable form of settlement.[39][40] Extreme unemployment has afflicted unrecognized villages as well, breeding extreme crime levels. Since sources of income such as grazing has been severely restricted, and the Bedouin rarely receive permits to engage in self-subsistence agriculture,[41]

According to an article published in 2000, over 25% of Bedouin men in the townships were unemployed.[8]According to a State Comptroller report from 2002, the townships were built with minimal investment, and infrastructure in all seven townships had not improved much in the span of three decades. In 2002, "most homes are not connected to a sewage system and suffer from an unreliable water supply and damaged road system."[42]

Traditional Bedouin camel race in the northern Negev near Arad, Israel

Around half the population live in seven towns built for them by the Israeli government between 1979 and 1982. The largest Bedouin locality in Israel is the city of Rahat. Other towns include Ar'arat an-Naqab (Ar'ara BaNegev), Bir Hadaj, Hura, Kuseife, Lakiya, Shaqib al-Salam (Segev Shalom) and Tel as-Sabi (Tel Sheva).

The other half live in 39-45 villages which are not recognized by the Israeli government and are thus ineligible for municipal services such as connection to the electrical grid, water mains or trash-pickup.[43] According to the Israel Land Authority, in 2007 40% of the Bedouin lived in Unrecognized villages,[44] although the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) refer to Bedouin in unrecognized villages as half the Negev Bedouin population.[45] The RCUV figures include the five villages which remain unrecognized despite incorporation into the Abu Basma Regional Council.

Unrecognized villages

Map of unrecognized villages

Many of these villages were created in the 1950s when the Israeli army resettled Bedouin from the Sinai desert. These villages do not directly appear on commercial Israeli maps, and lack basic services like water, electricity and schools. Building permanent structures and farming is prohibited although many do, risking fines and home demolition.[22] The Israeli government frequently demolishes homes and sprays toxic pesticides onto crops in the unrecognized villages. Some Bedouin homes were demolished to make way for the establishment of a Jewish town.[46]

Today, several unrecognized villages are in the process of 'recognition.' They have been incorporated into the Abu Basma Regional Council, but most remain without water, electricity and garbage services. Five of the towns incorporated into the council remain unrecognized. The process is mired in urban planning difficulties and land ownership problems.[47]


Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in the Negev.

In 2006, the formerly unrecognized village of Drijat became the first community in the world to be outfitted with a solar electricity system that provides power to the entire village.[48] In 2008, a railway station opened near the largest Bedouin town in the Negev, Rahat (Lehavim-Rahat Railway Station), a noticeable improvement to the transportation situation. Unrecognized villages lack municipal waste services including sewage systems and treatment, and trash pickup. As a result large-scale backyard burning has emerged, with serious impacts on Bedouin and their surrounding environment.[49]


According to the World Zionist Organization, although in the 1980s, as compared with 90% of the Jewish population, only 50% of the Bedouin population was covered by Israel's General Sick Fund, the situation improved after the 1996 National Health Insurance Law incorporated another 30% of Negev Bedouin into the Sick Fund.[50]

The Bedouin infant mortality rate is still the highest in Israel, and one of the highest in the developed world. In 2003, the infant mortality rate among Bedouin citizens was 13.3 per thousand, more than three times higher than the rate of 3.9 per thousand among the Jewish population.[51] However, due largely to improvements in health care, the infant mortality rate has dropped over the past few decades.[citation needed]

60% of Bedouin men smoke. Among the Bedouin, as of 2003,7.3% of females and 9.9% of males have diabetes.[52] Between 1998 and 2002, Bedouin towns and villages had among the highest per-capita hospitalization rates. Rahat and Tel Sheva ranked highest.[53] However, the rate of reported new cancer incidents in Bedouin localities is very low, with Rahat having the 3rd-lowest rate in Israel at 141.9 cases per 100,000, compared to 422.1 cases in Haifa.[53]

The Centre for Women's Health Studies and Promotion notes that in the unrecognised Bedouin villages in the Negev, very few health care facilities are available; ambulances do not serve the villages and 38 villages have no medical services.[54] According to the Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights (PHR-Israel) the number of doctors is a third of the norm.[55]

In urban townships, access to water is also an issue: an article from the World Zionist Organization Hagshama Department explains that water allocation to Bedouin towns is 25-50% of that to Jewish towns.[50] Since the State has not built water infrastructure in the unrecognized villages, residents must buy water and store it in large tanks where fungi, bacteria and rust develop very quickly in the plastic containers or metal tanks under conditions of extreme heat; this has led to numerous infections and skin diseases.[55]


Drop-out rates are very high among Negev Bedouin. In 1998 only 43 percent of Bedouin youngsters reached the 12th grade.[42]Enforcement of mandatory education for the Bedouin has been weak, particularly in the case of young girls. According to a 2001 study by the Centre for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, poor access to education has resulted in troubling data: more than 75% of Bedouin women had no schooling at all or had not completed their elementary school.[54] This is due to a combination of internal Bedouin traditional attitudes towards women, lack of government enforcement of the Mandatory Education Law and insufficient budgets for Bedouin schools.[54]

However, the number of Bedouin students in Israel has started to rise. Arabic summer schools are being developed.[56] As of 2006 there were 162 male and 112 female students in Ben Gurion university. In particular, the number of female students grew sixfold from 1996-2001.[57] The university had made special Bedouin-only scholarship programs available in order to encourage higher education among the Bedouin.[58]

Women's status

According to a range of studies, including a 2001 study by the Centre for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion at Ben Gurion University, in the transition from self-subsistence agriculture and animal husbandry to a settled semi-urban lifestyle, women have lost their traditional sources of power within the family. The study explains that poor access to education among women has triggered new disparities between Bedouin men and women and compounded the loss of Bedouin women's status in the family.[59] On the other hand, a 2009 study suggested that female genital cutting had virtually disappeared due to modernisation process under Israeli rule.[60]


Bedouin citizens of Israel suffer from extreme rates of joblessness and endure the highest poverty rate in Israel. According to a 2007 Van Leer Institute study, 66 percent of Negev Bedouin as a whole lived under the poverty line (in unrecognized villages, the figure reached 80 percent), as compared with a poverty rate of 25 percent in the general Israeli population.[61] According to a 2003 Ben Gurion University study, 71% of Bedouin citizens suffer from hunger; among those supported by social services, 87% of children are in danger of hunger.[2] On the other hand Tourism and crafts are growing industries and in rare cases, such as Drijat, have reduced unemployment significantly.[56]


The crime rates in the Bedouin sector in the Negev are alleged to be high. To that end, a special police unit, codenamed Blimat Herum (lit. emergency halt), consisting of about 100 regular policemen, was founded in 2003 to fight crime in the sector. The Southern District of the Israel Police cited the rising crime rate in the sector as the reason for the unit's inauguration. The unit was founded after a period of time when regular police units conducted raids on Bedouin settlements to stop theft (especially car theft) and drug dealing.[62]

Notable is human trafficking from Egypt to Israel through the Sinai Desert, mostly of prostitutes, and illicit drug trafficking and this is due to the Bedouin's intimate knowledge of the area. It is claimed that the police and the IDF is doing little to stop this from occurring.[63] Other characteristic crimes are racketeering (the collection of "protection" payments from local businesses), selling drugs and the theft of cars. Other crimes, e.g. domestic violence, alcohol related offences or burglary (house breaking) are lower amongst the Bedouin.[citation needed]

The reasons for the high crime phenomenon are contested, and are probably not as high as thought. After a group of Bedouin ran over a policeman in March 2008, Asaf Hefetz, a former Israel Police commissioner, claimed that while the police should act with a strong hand on the matter, the reason for the high crime rates in the "Wild South" is long-term neglect by the state and a low socio-economic level. Yaakov Turner, the former mayor of Beersheba and himself a former police commissioner, believes that the Bedouin as a whole are not responsible for all the crime in their sector.[64]

Environmental issues

In 1979, a 1,500 square kilometer area in the Negev was declared a protected nature reserve, rendering it out of bounds for Bedouin herders. In conjunction with this move, the Green Patrol, was established that disbanded 900 Bedouin encampments and cut goat herds by more than a third. With the black goat nearly extinct, black goat hair to weave tents is hard to come by.[65]

Israeli environmental leader Alon Tal claims Bedouin construction is among the top ten environmental hazards in Israel.[66] In 2008, he wrote that the Bedouin are taking up open spaces that should be used for park land.[67] In 2007, Bustan organization disagreed with this contention: "Regarding rural Bedouin land use as a threat to open spaces fails to take into account the fact that Bedouin occupy little more than 1% of the Negev and fails to call into question the IDF’s hegemony over more than 85% of the Negev’s open spaces."[33] Gideon Kressel has proposed a brand of pastoralism that preserves open spaces for rangeland herding.[68]

Wadi al-Na'am is located close to the Ramat Hovav toxic waste dump, and residents have suffered from higher than average incidences of respiratory illnesses and cancer.[69] Given the small scale of the country, Bedouin and Jews of the region share some 2.5 % of the desert with Israel's nuclear reactors, 22 agro and petrochemical factories, an oil terminal, closed military zones, quarries, a toxic waste incinerator (Ramat Hovav), cell towers, a power plant, several airports, a prison, and 2 rivers of open sewage.[70]


Bedouin advocates argue that the main reason for the transfer of the Bedouin into townships against their will is demographic.[71] The Bedouin comprise the youngest population in Israeli society[72] and with an annual growth rate of 5.5%.[42]In 2003, Director of the Israeli Population Administration Department, Herzl Gedj,[73] described polygamy in the Bedouin sector a "security threat" and advocated various means of reducing the Arab birth rate.[74]

In 2005 Ronald Lauder of the Jewish National Fund announced plans to bring 250-000-500,000 new settlers into the Negev through the Blueprint Negev, incurring opposition from Bedouin rights groups concerned that the unrecognized villages might be cleared to make way for Jewish-only development and potentially ignite internal civil strife.[75]

Attitude towards the State of Israel

Ishmael Khaldi, Israeli vice consul

Each year, between 5%-10% of the Bedouin of draft age volunteer for the Israeli army, (unlike Druze, and Jewish Israelis, they are not required by law to do so[76]).[77] The legendary Israeli soldier, Amos Yarkoni, first commander of the Shaked Reconnaissance Battalion in the Givati Brigade, was a Bedouin (born Abd el-Majid Hidr). Despite their uniquely high numbers in the Israeli Defense Forces over the decades, the percentage of Bedouin in the army fell drastically after the October 2000 events. It is believed that reduced willingness to join the IDF is because despite their service in the army over half are denied access to water, electricity, and trash pickup, and are denied the right to build roads to make schools and hospitals accessible. A 2001 poll suggests that Bedouin feel more estranged from the state than do Arabs in the north. A Jewish Telegraphic Agency article reports that, "Forty-two percent said they reject Israel's right to exist, compared with 16 percent in the non-Bedouin Arab sector."[42] The article quoted Thabet abu-Ras of Ben-Gurion University: "You neglect what is basically a loyal, quiet, nonpoliticized population, and it ends up exploding in your face. There is no way around it."[42] In contrast, a 2004 study found that Negev Bedouins tend to identify more as Israelis than other Arab citizens of Israel.[78]

Ismail Khaldi is the first Bedouin vice consul of the State of Israel and the highest ranking Muslim in the Israeli foreign service.[79] Khaldi is a strong advocate of Israel. While acknowledging that the state of Israeli Bedouin minority is not ideal, he said

I am a proud Israeli - along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Bahai, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but let us deals honestly. By any yardstick you choose -- educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay's rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation -- Israel's minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.[80]

Relationships with Palestinian Arabs

Before 1948 the relationships between Negev Bedouin and the farmers to the north was marked by intrinsic cultural differences as well as common language and some common traditions. Whereas the Bedouin referred to themselves as ‘arab’ instead of ‘bedû’ (Bedouin), farmers in the area ‘fellahîn’ (farmers) used the term Bedû, meaning "inhabitants of the desert" (Bâdiya), more often.[81]

Because of their status in Israeli society as the principal Arab population that served in the army (in addition to a portion of the Druze), Bedouin have experienced a rift with the Palestinian population on several levels. On the one hand, many Bedouin have played a role in policing borders which they themselves traditionally moved across freely, ejecting Palestinian workers sneaking into Israel, and even preventing the free movement of other Bedouin to whom they are often related. Identifying themselves with the same national terminology applied to those they have played a role in occupying presents serious moral quandaries. Many Bedouin want to disassociate themselves from the ‘term’ Palestinian, which is associated with terrorism in Israel; already in an extremely tenuous situation, they fear that identifying themselves with Palestinians will further injure their status in Israeli society and their potential to gain respect for their rights as citizens. Some scholars regard these developments as an illustration of a strategy of 'Divide to Rule'.[82]

A 2001 study suggests that regular meetings and cross border exchanges involving Negev Bedouin and their relatives or neighbors living in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or Sinai may be more common than expected, casting "doubt on the accepted view of relationships between the Bedouin of the Negev and their Palestinian neighbors."[81] Reports from the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages regularly refer to "the indigenous Palestinian Bedouin."[83]

See also


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  2. ^ a b c Maha Qupty. "Bedouin Unrecognized Villages of the Negev"; De la Marginación a la Ciudadanía, 38 Casos de Production Social del Hábitat, Forum Barcelona, Habitat International Coalition. Case study, 2004
  3. ^ "The Negev is the southern region of Israel and is an ideal location for implementing community intervention programmes for populations in transition"; Oxford Health Alliance, 2008 (stat from 2004)
  4. ^ Kandy Ringer."End Systematic Bias Against Bedouin, Remedy Discriminatory Land Allocation"; BBS News March 31, 2008
  5. ^ a b c d Abu Saad, Ismael (1991). "Towards an Understanding of Minority Education in Israel: The Case of the Bedouin Arabs of the Negev". Comparative Education 27 (2): 235. doi:10.1080/0305006910270209. 
  6. ^ a b Givati-Teerling, Janine (February 2007). "Negev Bedouin and Higher Education". Sussex Centre for Migration Research (41). Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Rebecca Manski."Criminalizing Self-Subsistence"; News from Within", Summer 2006
  8. ^ a b Aref Abu Rabia. "Employment and Unemployment among the Negev Bedouin"; Nomadic Peoples, Vol. 4, 2000
  9. ^ HIDDEN HISTORY, SECRET PRESENT: THE ORIGINS AND STATUS OF AFRICAN PALESTINIANS, Susan Beckerleg, translated by Salah Al Zaroo On Africans in the Negev Desert
  10. ^ a b c d e Martin Ira Glassner (January, 1974). "The Bedouin of Southern Sinai under Israeli Administration". Geographical Review 64 (1): 31–60. doi:10.2307/213793. JSTOR 213793. 
  11. ^ Clinton Bailey (1985). "Dating the Arrival of the Bedouin Tribes in Sinai and the Negev". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 28 (1): 20–49. doi:10.1163/156852085X00091. 
  12. ^ Israel Finkelstein; Avi Perevolotsky (Aug., 1990). "Processes of Sedentarization and Nomadization in the History of Sinai and the Negev". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (279): 67–88. 
  13. ^ a b Lustick, Ian (1980). Arabs in the Jewish State. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 57, 134–6. 
  14. ^ Uzi Avner; Jodi Magness (May, 1998). "Early Islamic Settlement in the Southern Negev". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (310): 39–57. 
  15. ^ a b c d Kurt Goering (Autumn, 1979). "Israel and the Bedouin of the Negev". Journal of Palestine Studies 9 (1): 3–20. doi:10.1525/jps.1979.9.1.00p0173n. 
  16. ^ Emanuel Marx. "Nomads and Cities: The Development of a Conception"; in, S. Leder/B. Streck (ed.): Shifts and Drifts in Nomad-Sedentary Relations. Nomaden und Sesshafte 2, Wiesbaden 2005
  17. ^ S. Leder/B. Streck (ed.): Shifts and Drifts in Nomad-Sedentary Relations. Nomaden und Sesshafte 2, Wiesbaden 2005
  18. ^ Ghazi Falah. "The Spatial Pattern of Bedouin Sedentarization in Israel," GeoJournal, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 361-68; 1985 ("Semi-nomadic" in this case refers to movement within a limited 12-13 km radius), cited in: Rebecca Manski."THE NATURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IN BEDOUIN URBAN TOWNSHIPS: THE END OF SELF-SUBSISTENCE" originally published in Hebrew by the Life & Environment NGO coalition in: "Environmental Injustice Report 2007"
  19. ^ Falah, Ghazi. "Israeli State Policy towards Bedouin Sedentarization in the Negev"; Journal of Palestine Studies, 19 (2), pp. 71-90 (1989)
  20. ^ Ismael Abu Sa'ad.BEDOUIN TOWNS IN ISRAEL AT THE START OF THE 21st CENTURY: The Negev Bedouin And The Failure Of The Urban Resettlement Program" Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2000
  21. ^ Hamdan, H. "The Policy of Settlement and Spatial Judaization in the Naqab" Adalah News (11 -2005)
  22. ^ a b c "The Indigenous Bedouin of the Negev Desert in Israel". Negev Coexistence Forum. p. 8. 
  23. ^ Cook, Jonathan. BEDOUIN "TRANSFER". MERIP. May 10, 2003. Retrieved July 4th, 07.
  24. ^ Masalha, Nur, A Land Without People: Israel, Transfer and the Palestinians, 1949-1996 (London: Faber and Faber, 1997)
  25. ^ Haaretz article cited in: Rebecca Manski."THE SCENE OF MANY CRIMES: SUFFOCATING NEGEV ARAB SELF-SUBSISTENCE"; News from Within, March 2007
  26. ^ Benvenisti, Meron, Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948, University of California Press, 2000, pp. 21-23.
  27. ^ Yossi Katz, Hebraicizing place and location names in the Negev 1949-1950 (in Hebrew)
  28. ^ Bose, Sumantra, Contested Lands, Harvard University Press, 2007, p. 239
  29. ^ Gershon Shafir, Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 1882-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  30. ^ a b (Hebrew) Dr. Tobi Fenster, A summary stance paper on Bedouin land issues, written for "Sikkuy - for equal opportunity"
  31. ^ a b Shlomo Swirski and Yael Hasson. "INVISIBLE CITIZENS: Israel Government Policy Toward the Negev Bedouin"; Adva Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: Center for Bedouin Studies & Development Research Unit and, Negev Center for Regional Developmnet, 2006
  32. ^ a b Jonathan Cook."Bedouin in the Negev face new 'transfer"; MERIP, May 10, 2003
  33. ^ a b c Rebecca Manski. "THE NATURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IN BEDOUIN URBAN TOWNSHIPS: THE END OF SELF-SUBSISTENCE"; Life and Environment, 2006 (translation from Hebrew)
  34. ^ "The Beduin of the Negev", Israel Land Administration, updated as of March 11, 2007
  35. ^ The Bedouin in Israel
  36. ^ Donald Macintyre.End of the road for the Bedouin The Independent, November 29, 2005
  37. ^ a b Harvey Lithwick, Ismael Abu Saad, Kathleen Abu-Saad, Merkaz HaNegev LeFitu'ah Ezori and Merkaz LeHeker HaHevra HaBeduit VeHitpathuta (Israel). "A Preliminary Evaluation of the Negev Bedouin Experience of Urbanization: Findings of the Urban Household Survey"; Negev Center for Regional Development, 2004
  38. ^ Harvey Lithwick, "An Urban Development Strategy for the Negev's Bedouin Community", The Center for Bedouin Studies and Development, Ben Gurion University (2000)
  39. ^ Jonathan Cook.Making the land without a people"; Al-Ahram Weekly, 26 Aug-1 Sep 2004
  40. ^ Chris McGreal."Bedouin feel the squeeze as Israel resettles the Negev desert: Thousands displaced from ancient homeland; The Guardian, Thursday February 27, 2003
  41. ^ Aref Abu-Rabia. The Negev Bedouin and Livestock Rearing: Social, Economic, and Political Aspects, Oxford, 1994, pp. 28, 36, 38 (in a rare move, the ILA has leased on a yearly-basis JNF-owned land in Besor Valley (Wadi Shallala) to Bedouin)
  42. ^ a b c d e Or Nir."Israel largely ignoring growth, needs of Bedouin community" Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 10, 2002
  43. ^ "Off the Map: Land and Housing Rights Violations in Israel’s Unrecognized Bedouin Villages"; Human Rights Watch, March 2008 Volume 20, No. 5(E). Whole report: (PDF, 5.4 MiB)
  44. ^ Bedouin information, ILA, 2007
  45. ^ Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages website
  46. ^ ILA destroys Bedouin homes to make way for Jewish town Haaretz, 25 June 2007
  47. ^
  48. ^ Solar energy lights up a Negev village
  49. ^ Yaakov Garb and Ilana Meallam.['s%20Waste%20Hazard%20Exposure.pdf "The Exposure of Bedouin Women to Waste Related Hazards Gender, Toxins and Multiple Marginality in The Negev (Israel)"]; Women and Environments Fall/Winter 2008
  50. ^ a b Suzanna Kokkonen. "The Bedouins of the Negev confront a modern society"; World Zionist Organization Hagshama Department, October 31, 2002
  51. ^ Without Water! Position Paper on the Right to Water in Unrecognized Villages. PHR-Israel September 2004
  52. ^ "The Negev is the southern region of Israel and is an ideal location for implementing community intervention programmes for populations in transition"; Oxford Health Alliance, 2008
  53. ^ a b "New Publication: Socio-Medical Profile of Israeli Localities Between 1998 and 2002". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2005-11-07. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  54. ^ a b c "Briefing to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women"; Amnesty International, 2005 (citing J. Cwikel and N. Barak, Health and Welfare of Bedouin Women in the Negev, The Centre for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, Ben Gurion University, 2001)
  55. ^ a b "Without Water! Position Paper on the Right to Water in Unrecognized Villages"; PHR-Israel September 2004
  56. ^ a b A Bedouin growth industry Haaretz, 2 July 2007
  57. ^ Bedouin graduates final 18042007
  58. ^ מרכזים - המרכז לחקר החברה הבדואית והתפתחותה - מלגות לימודים
  59. ^ J. Cwikel and N. Barak, Health and Welfare of Bedouin Women in the Negev, The Centre for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, Ben Gurion University, 2001
  60. ^ "Bedouins shunning FGM/C - new research". IRIN. March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  61. ^ Ruth Sinai. "66% of Negev Bedouin live below poverty line"; Haaretz, January 15, 2007
  62. ^ "Please Meet: The Police Unit for Fighting Crime in the Bedouin Sector".,7340,L-2810919,00.html. 
  63. ^ Hotline for Migrant Workers (February 2003). "For You Were Strangers - Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in Israel" (PDF). p. 33. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  64. ^ Atlas, Yonat and Mendel, Roee (2008-03-16). "Yaakov Turner: Those Who Ran Over Policeman Should Be Treated as Murderers". Ynet.,7340,L-3519653,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-26.  (Hebrew)
  65. ^ Ghazi Falah. “How Israel Controls the Bedouin in Israel,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XIV, No. 1, p.44; Institute for Palestine Studies and Kuwait University, 1984
  66. ^ Sarah Leibovitz-Dar. "Poisoned Land"; Maariv (Hebrew) November 10, 2005
  67. ^ Tal, Alon, 1960- Space Matters: Historic Drivers and Turning Points In Israel's Open Space Protection Policy"; Israel Studies Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2008, pp. 119-151
  68. ^ Gideon Kressel."Let Shepherding Endure: Applied Anthropology and the Preservation of a Cultural Tradition in Israel and the Middle East"; State University of New York Press (August 2003)
  69. ^ Industrial Zone Israel Union for Environmental Defence
  70. ^ Rebecca Manski.A Desert Mirage: The Rising Role of US Money in Negev Development;News from Within October/November 2006
  71. ^ BUSTAN on the Blueprint; Excerpt of Rebecca Manski."The Rising Role of American Money in Negev Development"; News from Within, October/November 2005
  72. ^ Or Nir."Israel largely ignoring growth, needs of Bedouin community" Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 10, 2002 (About 54 percent of the Bedouin population is younger than 14)
  73. ^ MERIP on Gedj
  74. ^ Manski, Rebecca. "A Desert 'Mirage:' Privatizing Development Plans in the Negev/Naqab;" Bustan, 2005
  75. ^ When an 'ecological' community is not
  76. ^
  77. ^ (Hebrew) מישיבת הוועדה לענייני ביקורת המדינה
  78. ^ Steven Dinero (2004). New Identity/Identities Formulation in a Post-Nomadic Community: The Case of the Bedouin of the Negev. 6. National Identities. pp. 261–275. 
  79. ^ Kalman, Matthew (November 24, 2006). "S.F.'s newest consul enjoys being Bedouin, proud to be Israeli / Ishmael Khaldi, who began life as a nomad, is first Muslim envoy to rise through ranks". SF Gate. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  80. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, March 2009
  81. ^ a b Cédric Parizot. "Gaza, Beersheba, Dhahriyya: Another Approach to the Negev Bedouin in the Israeli-Palestinian Space"; Bulletin du Centre de recherche français de Jérusalem, 2001.
  82. ^ Rhoda Kanaaneh. "Embattled Identities: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military"; Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Spring, 2003), pp. 5-20
  83. ^ One example: RCUV Press Release, 6 March 2003

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