The Indigenous Arab Bedouin have lived in southern Palestine for centuries, mainly in the city of Beersheba, known as Bir al-Saba’ in Arabic. The community preserved its traditional Islamic culture under Ottoman and British rule, and has continued to do so under the sedentarization polices of the Israeli state. Various regimes have come and gone in the Naqab, a region that today accounts for more than half of Israel’s landmass, but the Bedouin have remained loyal to their ancestral lands.

Following the creation of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent nakba (the mass Palestinian exodus that took place that same year), 13,000 Arab Bedouin in the Naqab were confined in a militarized zone (called sayeg in Hebrew or siyaj in Arabic), separated from both Jewish and other Arab communities. Geographically, this zone included the entire Naqab and Beersheba regions, extending from the Jordanian...

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