Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program and the Displacement of Palestinian Bedouins
by Fahwad Al-Khadoumi (nsnbc), IMEMC, April 7th, 2016.
Bartholomeusz, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank condemned
Israel’s latest round of large scale demolitions of homes in the
Palestinian Bedouin refugee community Um al-Khair in the occupied
Palestinian West Bank. Israel uses parts of the Negev
desert for testing weapons with nuclear material and to dispose of
nuclear waste from its not-IAEA monitored Dimona nuclear facility. Photo Courtesy: UNRWA
The director of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) for
Palestine’s Israeli-occupied West Bank issued a press release,
stressing that the UNRWA condemns the latest round of demolitions of
Bedouin’s homes in Um al-Khair, in the South Hebron Hills.
As a result of Israeli authorities home demolitions, 31 Palestinian
refugees including 16 children were made homeless, stated Bartholomeusz.
He added that this community has endured several rounds of home
demolitions and stressed that residents often faced harassment from
residents of the nearby, illegal Karmel settlement. The UNRWA West Bank
director voiced his indignation and the UNRWA’s protest, saying:
“I am appalled. Looking in the eyes of a young
Bedouin boy in a red shirt standing amongst the crumpled ruins of his
demolished home, how can anyone justify this?
Some 700 Palestinians have been affected by home demolitions since
January 2016, a number that approaches the total of affected people in
2015. Bartholomeusz added that the UNRWA is gravely concerned about
demolitions in violation of international law. The Fourth Geneva
Convention prohibits the destruction of private property and obliges
Israel, as occupying power to administer the occupied territory for the
welfare of the protected Palestinian population.
The UNRWA already urged the international community in 2014
to stand against the forced transfer of Palestinian Bedouins. In 2015
the Israeli parliament (Knesst) adopted a bill that threatens 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins from the Negev desert with being displaced. The targeting of Bedouin communities happens within two primary contexts.
For one, Israel’s continued, de facto annexation of Palestinian
territories and settlement expansion. For the other, the use of Bedouin
land, especially in the Negev, for military exercises and in part to
place nuclear waste from Israel’s non-IAEA monitored nuclear facility in
Reports from June 2015 strongly suggest that Israel tested bombs with nuclear material in the Negev desert. Within this context it is particularly noteworthy that the high cancer rates among Palestinian prisoners may be attributed to nuclear toxic waste which Israel buries near several prisons in the Negev desert.