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


February 2018
424 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9781503603585
Digital ISBN: 9781503604582

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Excerpts and More

Emptied Landsinvestigates the protracted legal, planning, and territorial conflict between the settler Israeli state and indigenous Bedouin citizens over traditional lands in southern Israel/Palestine. The authors place this dispute in historical, legal, geographical, and international-comparative perspectives, providing the first legal geographic analysis of the "dead Negev doctrine" used by Israel to dispossess and forcefully displace Bedouin inhabitants in order to Judaize the region. The authors reveal that through manipulative use of Ottoman, British and Israeli laws, the state has constructed its own version ofterra nullius. Yet, the indigenous property and settlement system still functions, creating an ongoing resistance to the Jewish state.Emptied Landscritically examines several key land claims, court rulings, planning policies and development strategies, offering alternative local, regional, and international routes for justice.

About the authors

Alexandre Kedarteaches at University of Haifa School of Law and a co-editor ofThe Expanding Spaces of Law(Stanford, 2014). He is a co-founder of The Israeli Association for Distributive Justice.

Ahmad Amarais a Polansky Academy Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, a human rights lawyer, and co-editor ofIndigenous (In)Justice (Harvard, 2013). In 2005, he co-founded a human rights organization, Karama (Arabic for "Dignity"), in Nazareth.

Oren Yiftachelteaches political geography and urban planning at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He authoredEthnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine(Penn, 2006), co-editedIndigenous (In)justice(Harvard, 2013) and was Chair of B'tselemthe Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

"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