In a precedent-setting ruling on Sunday, the Beersheba District Court rejected six lawsuits brought by Beduin regarding private ownership of around 1,000 dunams of land in the Negev.
Seventeen Beduin, members of the al-Uqbi family, filed the six land claims. The complex and often bitter legal proceedings went on for over six years, and discussed in detail the history of the Negev Beduin and land laws dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.
The Beduin claim the land had belonged to their families since before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and that it had come into their possession by means of purchase and inheritance over generations.
However, in 1951 they say they were evacuated from the land when the IDF confiscated it, and since then the state has not granted them permission to return, and has said the land belongs to the state and was never privately owned.
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