The Unrecognized

“The Unrecognized” is a short documentary that highlights the plight of Palestinian Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of the country, many of whom were forced off their lands following the establishment of the state in 1948.  The human rights of these citizens of Israel have been continuously violated by over half a century of discriminatory governmental policies and practices.

During the military regime under which all Palestinian citizens of Israel lived from 1948 to 1966, many Arab Bedouin were expelled from their villages and forced into a concentrated geographical area.  Today, Israel is again attempting to move the Arab Bedouin, into a limited number of government-planned towns, as plans to encourage the intensive Jewish settlement of the Naqab gather pace.

The central problem is that of “unrecognized villages” — whole communities declared illegal by the state of Israel, and therefore denied essential public services and basic human rights such as access to healthcare, education, and clean water.  “The Unrecognized” is a snapshot of the situation as it stood in mid-2005.  Interviews with Israeli Jewish and Arab academics, lawyers, and human rights activists are presented alongside testimonies from Arab Bedouin community leaders and inhabitants of the unrecognized villages.  The film provides damning evidence of a system of segregation and inequality between citizens within Israel.

“The Unrecognized” is a powerful reminder of how an indigenous national minority can be marginalized and victimized when their land is threatened by a state system of institutionalized discrimination.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Right in Israel is an independent human rights organization, registered in Israel.  It is a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-partisan legal center.  Established in November 1996, it serves Arab citizens of Israel, numbering over one million people or close to 20% of the population.  Adalah (“Justice” in Arabic) works to protect human rights in general, and the rights of the Arab minority in particular.