The High Court of Justice ruled Sunday that Israel is under no obligation to act immediately to provide Bedouin residents of the Negev. However, the court also said the state does have a responsibility to provide protection in the long term for all citizens of Israel.
In the ruling, Justices Yoram Danziger, Zvi Zylbertal and Noam Sohlberg said there is no dispute concerning the supreme obligation of the state to protect the lives and physical integrity of its citizens, but they added that there is nothing wrong with the decision of the defence establishment not to erect portable shelters in the villages.
“(We) felt confident that if the circumstances were to change in such a way as to justify the transferral of shelters to the villages – that the respondents would alter their position,” the court said.
According to a release by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Justices further noted that they did not possess any data on the mode of operation of the Iron Dome Interception System (the Department of Defence did not provide any information to the court), yet they remarked that “we believe that the dispersal and operation of this system is based upon practical considerations with no weight given to the appearance or absence of any settlements on different maps.”
In response to the ruling, ACRI Attorney Nisreen Alyan said, “Thousands of residents of Negev villages live in constant terror of rocket attacks – a fear that has come to pass and has caused physical and psychological harm. Alongside this existential fear is a sense of utter abandonment. Unfortunately, this is yet another instance of the growing alienation between these residents and state institutions”.