Villagers say: ‘Why evict us when we can both live here? There’s plenty of space.’
From Palestine Briefing February 2015
Umm Al Hiran is the village that the Israelis plan to demolish in its entirety and replace with a new village on the same site with the same name – Hiran – but with Jewish inhabitants instead of Arabs.
The 500 Arab residents of the village have lived in the village for nearly 60 years and were in fact ordered to move there by the Israeli military commander of the Negev who gave them a lease to build a village, farm the land and graze their sheep.
The village leaders say there is no need to evict them as the Jewish settlers can move onto a site nextdoor. “We are not against them living here, but we want to stay here too and live together with them as neighbours,” says Atwa Abu Alkia’n.
They point out that there is plenty of space – 3¼ million acres – in the Negev and the settlers don’t need to move to the one small acre of land where they have been living since 1956.
Thirty Jewish settler families are currently living in portakabins a couple of kilometers away waiting for the new houses to be built so they can move in.
The Israeli state has made it clear that the new village is for Jewish residents only and the Arabs must move out.
See the village on YouTube: