Fatwa allows Bedouin soldiers to return fire in evacuation

By Nir Hason

Haaretz

Adar1 22, 5765

A Bedouin Sheikh issued Wednesday an Islamic ruling under which Beduoin soldiers who take part in the evacuation of settlements were allowed to protect themselves even at the price of hurting settlers.

The Islamic ruling, or Fatwa, issued by Sheikh Kamel Abu Nadi comes after reports appeared that rabbis had issued a halakhic ruling permitting live fire on Druze and Bedouin soldiers and police officers who take part in evacuating settlements under the disengagement plan.

"Many soldiers and officers have turned to me during the last week asking what they should do in the event that they were fired on during evacuation," Abu Nadi said.

"In reaction I issued a Fatwa that if they can not avoid taking part in the evacuation and were fired on, they should return fire in order to protect themselves," Abu Nadi said.

Bazam Nafez Abulqian, an Israel Defense Forces major in the reserve and chairman of the Bedouin soldier and officer association, turned Wednesday to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz in a request to deal severely with right-wing inciters.

"After years where Bedouin soldiers served and protected settlers all over the country, they are suddenly abandoned and people distinguish their blood from blood of Jewish soldiers?" Abulqian asked angrily.

He said that since the rumor on the existence of a Jewish ruling has spread since Sunday's cabinet meeting, he has received strong reactions from Bedouin soldiers and citizens.

"I also act as a recruiter for the IDF among Bedouins. Yesterday when I arrived to recruit, people started laughing at me; there were even some who said they supported the halakhic ruling that allowed killing Bedouins," Abulqian said.

"I wonder how people would have reacted if one of us had issued a religious ruling that allowed killing those who came to demolish Bedouin homes in the Negev. How would police react then?" he asked.

Bedouin who join the IDF are subject to huge pressure from their surrounding society, which doesn't always view their enrollment in the army positively. Nowadays only 17 percent of Bedouin teenagers volunteer to join the army, which draws a lot of criticism and sometimes even causes their expulsion from the surrounding society.

The criticism toward Bedouin soldiers considerably grew after the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000, the many Bedouin casualties caused since, and the continuing neglecting of the Bedouin society by the government.