Partying on ethnically cleansed land

Bedouin women in front of the rubble of demolished houses in Umm al-Hiran, 18 January 2017

Tamara Nassar reports in The Electronic Intifada:

Palestinians are calling for the boycott of a music festival taking place where Israel plans to ethnically cleanse tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins.  The InDnegev music festival is scheduled to take place in the Naqab desert in southern Israel from 24 to 26 October.

The area is where Israel is taking the first steps to forcibly displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins and put them in refugee camps.  Adalah, a legal advocacy group, is challenging a mass displacement that seems imminent.

An Israeli government department discussed displacement plans earlier this month that, if approved, will see Israeli forces evict the Bedouins from their homes and place them in “desert refugee or displacement camps” where they may stay for up to six years.

The Naqab Bedouins hold Israeli citizenship. But like all Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, they lack basic rights and suffer some 65 Israeli laws that directly and indirectly discriminate against them.  Israeli authorities are not offering just or permanent housing solutions, says Adalah.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is urging artists to withdraw from the festival just as they would from one in apartheid South Africa.  The InDnegev festival is sponsored by the Negev Development Authority, the government agency responsible for the “displacement,” or ethnic cleansing, of the Bedouins.  “This takes the ‘Brand Israel’ program of art-washing apartheid through culture to its logical conclusion,” PACBI stated.

With little hint of irony, the festival’s website instructs festival-goers “to respect your neighbors in the camping area” and not to bring “armed weapons, knives… and gas canisters” to the site.  But the action to remove the Bedouins from their homes is only part of a larger plan to Judaize the southern region.

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