Representatives for Bedouin refugees living in an area under Israeli control in the West Bank since 1967 told the UN on Tuesday they were being discriminated against and losing their identity and culture, dpa reported.
A group of Bedouin took part in the annual meeting on indigenous people at UN headquarters in New York in a programme designed to uphold the human rights of the more than 300 million indigenous people worldwide.
Mohamed al-Korshan said there are currently 40,000 Bedouin in the West Bank, who were separated from Bedouin tribes and clans in the Negev desert and taken to the West Bank in 1948 after Israel became a nation-state. They hold Palestinian identity documents and live in UN-run refugee camps.
"Since the military occupation of the West Bank by Israel in 1967, the Bedouin in the West Bank are experiencing increasing duress," Korshan said.
"On a daily basis we encounter discrimination, social isolation, multiple counts of home demolition and dispossession, food and water insecurity, harassment by Israeli settlers, all of which constitute triggers to forced displacement," he said.
He said Bedouin cannot protect their cultural heritage and a broad range of rights.
Korshan said thousands of Bedouin families live in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military occupation. Area C covers 60 per cent of the West Bank, while Areas A and B are under Palestinian Authority control based on the 1995 Oslo Accords on the Middle East.
He said Bedouin tribes are competing with each other as well as with Israeli settlers and Palestinians for the share of scarce land and resources. As a result, Bedouin culture has been fragmented and shrinking in the decades since they have been living as refugees, subject to Israeli occupation rules.