Cover of Emptied Lands by Alexandre Kedar, Ahmad Amara, and Oren Yiftachel
Emptied Lands
A Legal Geography of Bedouin Rights in the Negev
Alexandre Kedar, Ahmad Amara, and Oren Yiftachel

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February 2018
424 pages.
$70.00

Cloth ISBN: 9781503603585

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Since its establishment, the Jewish State has devoted major efforts to secure control over the land of Israel. One example is the protracted legal and territorial strife between the Israeli state and its indigenous Bedouin citizens over traditional tribal land in the Negev in southern Israel.

Emptied Lands investigates this multifaceted land dispute, placing it in historical, legal, geographical, and comparative perspective. The authors provide the first legal geographic analysis of the "Dead Negev Doctrine," which has been used by Israel to dispossess Bedouin inhabitants and Judaize the southern half of the country. Through crafty use of Ottoman and British laws, particularly the concept of "dead land," Israel has constructed its own version of terra nullius. Yet, the indigenous property system still functions, creating an ongoing resistance to the Jewish state. This study examines several key land claims and rulings and alternative routes for justice promoted by indigenous communities and civil society movements.

About the author

Alexandre Kedar is Senior Lecturer at Haifa University School of Law and a co-editor of The Expanding Spaces of Law (Stanford, 2014).

Oren Yiftachel is Professor of Political Geography at Ben-Gurion University. He is the author of numerous books, including Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine (2006).

Ahmad Amara is a Palestinian human rights lawyer. In 2005, he co-founded a human rights organization, Karama (Arabic for "Dignity"), in Nazareth.

"People are dispossessed not only with guns and bulldozers, but also with legal practices and strategies. Emptied Lands reveals how the painfully named and legally invoked Dead Negev Doctrine facilitates the continued dispossession of Bedouins in the Negev, the most intense and protracted land dispute within Israel. Drawing from decades of activism and scholarship, Kedar, Amara, and Yiftachel provide a powerful challenge to the doctrine, creating space for better forms of legality."

—Nicholas Blomley, Simon Fraser University

"Three of the best critical scholars of contemporary Palestine have successfully combined legal, geographical, and political analysis into a forensic study of how Israel has weaponized the law against the most vulnerable of all inhabitants of Palestine, the Bedouins. A remarkable multidisciplinary feat, this book provides an essential understanding of settler colonialism."

—Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths, University of London