Israeli authorities have revoked the citizenship of hundreds of Bedouin Palestinians in the Negev desert in recent years, leaving many stateless and without recourse to appeal the decision. Since the establishment of Israel in 1948 the Bedouin community has faced policies of dispossession and displacement. More than half of the 160,000 Bedouin in the Negev live in "unrecognized" villages, leaving them deprived of water, electricity and other basic infrastructure. In recent years, Israeli authorities have started revoking the citizenship of Bedouin residents, according to a new report in Haaretz newspaper.
Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of southern Israel for the 113th time since 2010 on May 17 morning, and for the fifth time this year. The head of the local council, Aziz al-Turi, told Ma'an News Agency that Israeli bulldozers accompanied by police forces raided the village and demolished the steel-structure makeshift homes "without any consideration for their residents." The last time Israeli forces razed homes in al-Araqib was only weeks ago, on April 25. "All demolition crimes will not scare us or stop us from rebuilding our homes and holding on to our lands," al-Araqib resident Sayyah al-Turi told Ma'an. "We will stay here despite the injustice and criminal demolitions, we will not submit to their plans of uprooting and displacing us."
An Israeli cabinet committee approved a contested bill on May 7 seeking to enshrine Israel's status as a Jewish state into the country's central legislation, sparking concern the heightened discrimination Palestinians would face should it become law. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted unanimously to move the "Jewish State" bill—which is also being referred to as the "Nationality" or "Nation State" bill—to a preliminary vote in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. The bill declares that Israel is "the national home of the Jewish people," and that "the right to realize self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people," Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Speaking before the World Jewish Congress in New York April 23, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated: "A modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist. As secretary-general of the United Nations, I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules." He said this "does not mean I will always be in agreement with all the decisions made by any government position taken by any government that sits in Israel," but that he supports "the absolutely undeniable right of Israel to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Jan. 22 he will be lifting restrictions on Israelis building settlements in East Jerusalem. The statement said, "My vision is to enact sovereignty over all the settlements." Immediately after the announcement, hundreds of building permits were approved by the municipal government. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu delayed lifting restrictions for two weeks to wait for then-US president Barack Obama to leave office. (The restrictions on Jerusalem's urban planning committee had been imposed in response to pressure from the Obama White House.) Netanyahu will be meeting with Obama's successor Donald Trump at some point in the near future. In a statement to Reuters, Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: "We strongly condemn the Israeli decision to approve the construction." Netanyahu and his ministers also decided Jan. 22 to postpone discussion of annexing a West Bank settlement.
Israeli forces on Feb. 21 demolished a Bedouin school for children in the Abu al-Nuwaar community near the town of al-Eizariya in the occupied West Bank, a spokesperson for the al-Jahalin Bedouin community said. Atallah al-Jahalin told Ma'an News Agency that Israeli forces, accompanied by 30 vehicles and a delegation from Israeli's Civil Administration, raided the area and destroyed the sole school in the community. Residents said Israeli forces told them the school was demolished because concrete structures were forbidden in the area. The Israeli forces also reportedly seized the contents of the school. Al-Jahalin added that Israeli forces briefly detained two youths who were protesting the demolition, both of whom were released after the demolition. After the demolition, primary students held a "sit-in" where the school once stood while wearing their uniforms and holding school books in protest.
Israeli forces on Jan. 6 demolished five dwellings housing Palestinian Bedouin families in the Abu Nuwwar community east of Jerusalem—part of the wider E1 corridor—leaving 25 people homeless. Dawood al-Jahalin, a spokesperson for the Abu Nuwwar Bedouin community, told Ma'an News Agency that Israeli military and police vehicles surrounded the area at around 8:30 AM, before bulldozers demolished five dwellings and an agricultural structure. The families were not given any time to remove their belongings before the dwellings—made of steel, wood, and canvas—were torn down, he said. "I showed them a court decision banning demolition, but the officer in charge refused to see it and instead told me he had a demolition order from the Civil Administration," al-Jahalin said.
Israel carried out an air-strike on the Gaza Strip Oct. 5 in response to a rocket attack from the territory—said to have been claimed by the "Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade," a Salafist organization apparently affiliated with ISIS. Two rockets fired at Israel the previous night; one exploded in an open area in Eshkol, causing no injuries or damage, while the second failed to reach Israeli territory. The Omar Brigade—named after a figure who helped Abu Musab al-Zarqawi set up al-Qaeda in Iraq a decade ago—has also claimed responsibility for rocket fire on the Israeli cities of Sderot and Beersheba last month. More air-strikes on Gaza were launched following a rocket launched Oct. 10, which was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system. The new air-strikes reportedly hit Hamas targets. (Haaretz, Oct. 11; Ma'an, Oct. 10; JP, AFP, Oct. 5) The ISIS franchise in Gaza had been previously named as the "Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem."