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The Unrecognised Villages
Within the state of Israel today are some 40 Arab villages, which officially do not exist at all and do not appear on any maps. Successive Israeli governments have left them out of official plans and branded them illegal, zoning the land for agricultural use only, even though these communities have resided on it for generations. The inhabitants are Palestinian Arabs; all are Israeli citizens.
In order to persuade the inhabitants to move, the Israeli government pursues the following policies: basic services such as electricity, drinking water and access roads are withheld - the villages are forbidden to be connected to national networks; existing schools and clinics have been closed: all new constructions, including improving as well as building new homes, is strictly forbidden.
These are living communities, which have existed for tens or even hundreds of years, mostly predating the state of Israel, only wishing to be allowed to develop and thrive. Today in the face of the government policy to relocate the inhabitants - a policy that includes denying basic utilities and services and demolishing homes - they are forced to struggle to remain living on the land that they inherited from their fathers and grandfathers. Like indigenous populations all over the world, their dignity and identity as well as their livelihood are rooted in the land. Of all the forms of state discrimination against the 17% of residents of Israel who are Arab, this is certainly among the most extreme.