Al-Naqab / The Negev

Al-Naqab / The Negev

The Negev desert, or al-Naqab in Arabic, in the southern part of Israel has faced dramatic demographic shifts since Israel’s creation. Between 1948 and 1953, 90% of its indigenous Palestinian Bedouin inhabitants were forced out of the Negev. Today, half of the Bedouins currently residing in the Negev live in 38 villages across the desert. These villages are designated as ‘unrecognized’ by Israel.1 As a result, Bedouins suffer from housing shortages, demolitions, and threats of force to leave their homes and their land. Instead of recognising their villages and their lands, which comprise a significant portion of the Negev, Israel works to relocate the Bedouin to government-designed towns that are contained in 1% of the Negev. These Bedouin towns have poor infrastructure, with the highest unemployment and poverty rates in Israel. Despite Israel’s attempt to separate the plight of Bedouins from that of other indigenous Palestinians, the threats faced by the Bedouin community are an integral part of the Palestinian struggle over land, and these threats continue to this day with ongoing demolitions and forced removals.

For more resources on Al-Naqab, see:

  • The Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) is the oldest institute in the world devoted exclusively to documentation, research, analysis, and publication on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The institute also has two quarterly academic journals, the Journal of Palestine Studies and Jerusalem Quarterly, both of which act as useful academic sources. IPS Report:  Palestinian Bedouins
  • The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is an Israeli human rights organization, dealing with a wide spectrum of rights and civil liberties in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. ACRI’s mandate is to ensure Israel’s accountability and respect for human rights, by addressing violations committed by the Israeli authorities in Israel, the oPt, or elsewhere. ACRI: Negev Bedouins and Unrecognised Villages
  • Adalah: The Legal Centre for Arab minority Rights in Israel, is an independent human rights organization and legal centre, working to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. Below are some useful links in relation to the plight of Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev and the Prawer Plan:

For academic resources, see:

  • Steven C. Dinero –  Settling for Less: The Planned Resettlement of Israel’s Negev Bedouin
  • Laurence Löuer – To Be an Arab in Israel


  1. An unrecognized status means that these villages have no electricity, roads, running water, or even schools, as the state refuses to extend these services to them.

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