Aeyal Gross writes: When discussing democracy in Israel, some people seek to distinguish between what happens within the Green Line and what happens beyond it – an undemocratic regime of occupation. They believe the occupation doesn’t weigh on Israel’s democratic character, both because it’s a temporary situation and because it has the distinction of taking place outside the state’s borders.
But the claim of temporariness has steadily eroded as the occupation nears its jubilee, and the claim that the situation is different and distinct from what happens inside the state has been eroding as well, given the similarity of many practices on both sides of the Green Line. This is exemplified by the cases of Susya and Umm al-Hiran.
The government’s decision to settle Jews on the lands of the Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran entails evacuating and demolishing one of the state’s “unrecognized” villages – communities that, despite being inhabited by citizens of the state, have no master plan, and whose residents don’t receive basic services like water and sewage. Some of these unrecognized villages have existed since before the state was established, and some are the result of the expulsion of Bedouin citizens from their lands. Israel’s military government expelled Umm al-Hiran’s residents from their original village in 1956 and relocated them to the Nahal Yatir region. [Continue reading…]