Alwine van Heemstra

Malkit Shoshan


The regional council of the unrecognized Beduin villages in the Negev


Atir and Um El Hiran

As if living beside desert highways in makeshift homes with no facilities was not enough, Palestinian Bedouin villagers in Um al-Hiran and Atir now face their second, unwanted, exodus in 50 years.

Drive along the desert highways around Beer el-Sabe (Beer Sheva) in the south of Israel, and it does not take long to notice clusters of makeshift houses set in from the side of the road. These Bedouin villages are ‘unrecognised’ by the state of Israel, and consequently have no official status. They are absent from state planning and government maps, and receive little or no basic public services such as electricity, water, telephone lines, educational or health facilities. In total, about 40 unrecognised villages exist in the Naqab (Negev) desert.

The twin unrecognised villages of Um al-Hiran and Atir, situated about 30km from the city of Beer el-Sabe, are prime examples. Surrounded by an expanse of the Naqab desert, and constructed largely out of corrugated iron and breeze-blocks, these Bedouin villages seem a world away from the nearby Jewish towns of Omer and Nevatim. There, the residents enjoy first-class suburban living conditions, in homes boasting generous, well-watered gardens. The living conditions in unrecognised villages like Um al-Hiran and Atir resemble those of Third-World shanty towns.

Through the use of media F.A.S.T. hopes to mobilize public opinion regarding this situation and to create an international pressure toward the State of Israel in order to first stop the next transfer that is planned for the Bedouin population in the Negev and second recognize their existence.

The cleansing of the Negev, in the south of Israel, started around 1948 and still going on. These testimonies describes the destruction and displacement of the communities of Atir and Um El Hiran

Destruction 2006: click to download information and mapsArchive_of_displacement_files/Destruction%20Negev_low.pdf
Destruction 2007 (slideshow to the right)Archive_of_displacement_files/Destruction%20Negev_low_1.pdf