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Israeli court sentences 68-year-old Bedouin citizen to 10 months in prison – for trespassing his own land

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The Bedouin village of Al Araqib in the southern Negev has been demolished for well over 100 times. Its ethnic cleansing follows a similar pattern and logic to that of other Bedouin villages such as Umm Al Hiran, which saw violent ethnic cleansing operations this year, also involving extrajudicial execution of an Israeli Bedouin citizen.

Now the state reaches new heights of Kafkaesque madness: Sheikh Saih Abu Madiam, 68, is sentenced to 10 months in prison, 5 additional months of conditional imprisonment, as well as a fine of 36,000 Shekels (over $10,000), as Haaretz reported (Hebrew).  

The offense: Abu Madiam has supposedly trespassed state land – which he claims is his own.

Al Araqib is one of the nearly 40 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev. They are unrecognized, because the state expropriated the lands, and refused to recognize the dwelling places of people who have been there long before the state was established. The state has been acting legally against Abu Madiam himself since 1998. In 2006, Abu Madiam has filed a case in the Beersheba District Court for his ancestral lands to be recognized. The case involves hearings from various historical experts, and is only expected to be concluded in some years from now. In the recent state case against Abu Madiam from 2013, the state claimed that his presence on the lands he claims are his, constitute trespassing. The state claimed that until proven otherwise, he was considered a trespasser.

In a court discussion concerning the possible sentence, even the police prosecutor, attorney Gil Assaf, admitted that “this is the first time where a defendant in Israel is tried for such offenses”, and he could therefore not point to precedence which would suggest the fitting penalty… He requested 15 months prison and 90,000 Shekels fine. The judge, Yoav Attar, mentioned in his sentence that he would be harsh with Abu Madiam, despite his age, since he “took no responsibility” and “declared that he intends to continue living in the location”. The judge further admonished Abu Madiam for “insisting on factually living in the location”…”only in order to create facts on the ground”.

Let’s pause there. That last sentence, with “facts on the ground”, should ring many bells, as it is the notion informing Israel’s may illegal settlements. The people who are being ethnically cleansed, are being projected this policy of “creating facts on the ground“, while the state keeps “creating these facts” itself, incrementally and overwhelmingly, to the benefit of the Jewish State. The mentioned case of Umm Al Hiran (where a Jewish-only town called Hiran is to be built on the same location) is a classic case of this ‘overlap’ – the ethnic cleansing state considers the indigenous people to be ‘squatters’ and ‘infiltrators’, while creating new ‘facts on the ground’ atop their dwellings. This has been Israeli policy from the start. As Moshe Dayan said in 1969: “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”  

So back to the recent case – judge Attar actually deemed Abu Madiam an “invader”.

Hundreds of Bedouin villagers accompanied Abu Madiam to the court hearing, and Palestinian-Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh was also there – Odeh had been shot by the police with a rubber-coated bullet at Umm Al Hiran earlier this year, during that mentioned ethnic cleansing operation.

The Smadar Ben Natan & Pomerantz law office, representing Abu Madiam in a parallel case, issued a statement of shock (on Facebook, thanks Ofer Neiman):

“We join the shock concerning the outrageous sentence in the matter of the Sheikh Saih [Abu Madiam]. Our office represents the Sheikh Saih and his family in a parallel case, where they are also accused of trespassing their own lands, regarding which they are conducting legal procedures against the state regarding their ownership, already since the 1970’s. Although the state has admitted before the court that in the recent years no such charges were filed, the court does not see that we are speaking about political persecution, vile usage of the regime power and an attempt to foil a legitimate battle of people who are fighting for the right to their lands. Is it possible to imagine a similar situation wherein two private people are fighting over land, where one of them has the authority to imprison the other because of it?”  

Bingo. This has been the problem all along. The Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” is not an equal legal battle. It is a case of settler-colonialism, wherein the dispossessed and oppressed who stand up for their rights, are punished by the state. Like with 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi. But this is not only happening in territories occupied in 1967. This is happening in what is often regarded as “Israel proper”. But it would appear that there really isn’t anything truly ‘proper’ about Israel.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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11 Responses

  1. JosephA on December 27, 2017, 11:50 pm

    I would say that this case is shocking, but then I recall just how diabolical and insane most Israelis are for normalizing the ongoing genocide against the native Palestinians.

  2. GodWPalestine on December 28, 2017, 5:16 am

    How ironic, trespassing huh!!
    There is no such thing as Israel, Jews originally are from Egypt, Israel was a person and when they got kicked out they went everywhere across the red sea that’s why you find them in every Middle Eastern country around Palestine.
    They believe they’re God’s chosen to the point one “israeli” idiot with a black pot cover on his head was crossing the Australian borders one day and refused to be checked by customs as he claimed he is an “aboriginal” person and should be in without the checks.
    First of all you idiot, aboriginal people are one of the most nicest harmless people on earth who their land was stolen and raped by the English but they are lucky for Australians to treat them equally and look after them. Unlike your ethnic cleansing of Palestinians!!
    Second, when every non Jew enters occupied Palestine (you call it Israel) gets checked thoroughly and sometimes taken for few hours investigation and interrogations to know your exact interest in visiting such [email protected]# hole country if you’re not a jew to the point they strip you and leave you in underpants only!!
    Chasing young and elderly people, how pathetic.
    Watch YouTube videos of Robert Martin in Palestine and see how those cruel animals wishing death to all Arabs especially for Palestinians.

    • catalan on December 28, 2017, 1:32 pm

      “There is no such thing as Israel, Jews originally are from Egypt,” GodWPalestine
      This is interesting. Perhaps I am a descendant of Nefertiti and Akhenaten. I always knew I have something of the royal in me, now it’s confirmed.

      • oldgeezer on December 28, 2017, 3:27 pm

        Never to shy to self aggrandize eh catty. Probably to cover an inferiority complex or to hide that you are inferior.

        Pain the butt. That’s all you have. Being a royal pain in the butt.

      • GodWPalestine on December 28, 2017, 4:06 pm


        This is the beauty the king of Egypt threw you out even if you were related your own ancestors hated you!!!

  3. DaBakr on December 28, 2017, 5:25 am

    According to author Israel has yet again reached another Kafkaesque level of “madness”. Ok. Let’s say he’s onto something. By my unofficial count this would make about the 985th time israel has reached new ‘heights of madness’ according to MW pundits, commenters and true believers.

    . just wondering how high a nation like Israel can keep getting to on a unique scale like this without an equal an opposite reaction. Haven’t you all(well, for sure moosr has) read Yertle the Turtle? Is there not a point where it should just burst from such enormous and infinite levels of pure unadulterated evil and the stress and horrors it reigns down on its poor victims-the most suffering group of refugees in the world.

    . By now we’ve far surpassed hitler, Assad, the Roman Empire, the Aztec, ww1, the mullahs in Tehran, the North Koreans, Dutch Guyana , red Chinese, Russia, then and now, the Spanish inquisition. there has to be some kind of karmic reward for achieving levels of evil, sickness, demented, psychopathic, demonic, blood sucking, murderous and all encompassing insanity the likes the world has never seen.

    . Then I was thinking about the wonderful bleeding hearts that left wingers are notorious for being here on MW and especially for the victims of israeli evil perpetrated on the’most suffering group of humans known to mankind presently’ poor 20 year old children who have been twisted by Israeli evil into their own coven of uncontrollable bloodlust, pain and psychic torture io for plunging large chef knifes into the necks of as many Israeli Jews as they can. If it accidentally turns out to be a Muslim…?.. So they tried. They are still called a shahid.

    So due to this never ending growth spurt in Israeli evil and insanity I wondered if many thought that Israel had better watch out because a comeuppance is long overdue? And by comeuppance I mean the mullahs use their new found billions and clout -courtesy of Obama-to continue and dominate northern Iraq, support, with murderous kleptocrat Putin, their great and heartfelt friend junior Assad(who has surpassed his father’s puny accomplishments of murdering over 17,000 palestinians in a very short span of time and then calmly going back to telling his people it was all Israel’s fault.)No, the optician has over 400,000 civilians, rebels and unknown deaths under his belt and more happening every day. & Finally, the IRG with Khameini s delight will continue to supply the Iranian proxy paramilitary that controls Lebasnon and which the Lebanese govt and army are helpless against : Hezbollah with advance missiles, anti aircraft and other weapons that most likely can reach anywhere within Israel including Judea and Samaria and Gaza.

    So then I naturally wondered if the true believing anti-zionist anti-jews/israel regulars here would mind very much if suddenly Hezbollah backed by Iran, Hamas and whatever Syrian troops are left alongside IRG would launch a sudden blitz of northern eastern and shorten Israel taking it by surprise and killing 1000s of 1000s of Israel’s before the IDF could counter am effective blitz of its own. And then I thought that for certain I get the vibe strongly here that there would be a sullen but large groundswell of support for an all-out attack on Israel. Electric pulse, 1000 missiles, scuds , poison gases , tank attacks, terror tunnels, the whole shebang. And I thought that there might be quite a few members here who could easily justify such a reaction based on past experience. They may feel bad but vindicated in that they’ve been warning Israel for years.

    Of course there is a good chance it would. Backfire and Israel might recoup is losses and go on to destroy the attacking Arab armies and declare its defensible borders for and for all but let’s just say that’s a long shot. That the Arab/persian Alliance is able to break the Zionist state grip on power. The US didn’t come through and Zionism is destroyed causing a massive outpouring of millions of israeli civilians. Islamic law would now dominate and treat the two abrahamic faiths under it with kindness as long as the proper taxes are paid. I think the thought of this would bring smiles and tears of joy to so many happy faces. That they triumphed over evil. That the destruction of the most evil ideology the world ever produced: Zionism-. How happy, triumphant and justified they would feel and that any minor guilt about leftist anti zionists might feel to the new Jewish refugees would Be mitigated by their joy. That a massive war killing 1000s could bring them such joy Is simply the price one must pay to eradicate evil from the face of the earth. For surely the other evil nations like Assad, Putin, the future idi amins and the former dictators living lush lives in Arab lands will be the next target the anti-zionist, pro bds liberal heartfelt activists will turn their causes over to. A brave and compassionate new world

    • eljay on December 28, 2017, 4:14 pm

      || DaBakr: … By now we’ve far surpassed hitler, Assad, the Roman Empire, the Aztec, ww1, the mullahs in Tehran, the North Koreans, Dutch Guyana , red Chinese, Russia, then and now, the Spanish inquisition. …

      Dunno about all that, but what I do know – because I have learned it from Zionists – is that Israel:
      – is a “moral beacon”, a “light unto the nations” and a “Western-style democracy”; and
      – is not quite as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hell-holes”, China and 19th-century America.

      What I also know – because it’s painfully obvious – is that Israel is a deliberately and unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state.

    • Mooser on December 28, 2017, 8:11 pm

      . “By now we’ve far surpassed hitler…/…seen”

      Yup, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. Those stupid Zionists are always trying to punch above their weight.

      “So due to this never ending growth spurt in Israeli evil and insanity”

      The one which culminated in Israel’s illegal stolen nuclear weapons program? Yeah, that’s right up there with any cartoon-superhero villain. But if you want to only talk about the thing we can’t talk about, that’s all-right, too.

    • Talkback on December 29, 2017, 4:50 am

      DaBakr: “Hezbollah with advance missiles, anti aircraft and other weapons that most likely can reach anywhere within Israel including Judea and Samaria and Gaza.”

      What is “Judea and Samaria”? Israel’s “Bohemia and Moravia” in the post Nazi era?

      • Mooser on December 29, 2017, 1:44 pm

        “According to author Israe…/…new world “

        Wow, he tried to use complete sentences, punctuation, and only two elipses! From mutter to manifesto!

  4. Ossinev on December 28, 2017, 7:35 am

    I don`t see a problem here. There is International Law , the Geneva Conventions , Human Rights Laws , normal civilised western country laws etc etc and then there is Israeli law which overides , negates and puts to shame all other forms of law anywhere in the world as it was handed down directly from the Messiah. All those rabid anti – semites out there who predictably are criticising the actions against this despicable seasoned 68 year old shepherd of course are ignoring the fact that the gentle caring officers of the most moral political authority in the history of the universe did not shoot him on sight. As with all other existentially threatening “infiltrators” he will be treated extremely well in the most sophisticated solitary confinement regime in the entire world and in between bouts of interrogation and humane torture will be allowed to use a luxury flush toilet just like a human being.

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