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Relative of Bedouin teen killed by Gaza rocket pans Erdan for exploiting family’s tragedy

Israeli UN envoy Gilad Erdan holding up a picture of Nadin Awad, who was killed by a Hamas rocket, at a UN Security Council virtual meeting on May 16, 2021. (screen capture: UN TV)
Israeli UN envoy Gilad Erdan holding up a picture of Nadin Awad, who was killed by a Hamas rocket, at a UN Security Council virtual meeting on May 16, 2021. (screen capture: UN TV)

A relative of the 16-year-old girl killed last week by Hamas rocket fire criticizes Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan after the envoy highlighted the girl’s story in the opening of his address to the Security Council.

“The use of her photo by government representatives is unfortunate,” Nadine Awad’s uncle Ismail Arafat tells Haaretz, claiming that the government’s neglecting of their hometown town of Dahmash near Lod that was hit by the rocket led to his niece’s death.

Dahmash is an unrecognized Bedouin town that seven years ago the High Court of Justice ordered the state to regulate after failing to provide essential services, including bomb shelters, to the village for decades.

“Erdan held up Awad’s picture as he spoke earlier today at the Security Council, saying “she was studying biology and chemistry and she dreamed of changing the world.”

Arafat, who is Dahmash’s council chairman, told Haaretz that if the government truly cared about what had happened to his niece, it would have sent a representative to the village in addition to sending property tax representatives who have yet to step foot in the town.

Relatives walk out of the damaged home of Nadine, 16, and Khalil Awaad, a father and daughter who were killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in their village of Dahmash, May 12, 2021. (AP Photos/Heidi Levine)

“The family is homeless after losing their loved ones and is without a father, a daughter and a home, and has been forced to wander between family homes in the interim,” Arafat says.

“The situation is very difficult and [Edan] is making headlines on the backs of the family, without any reference from the authorities to [when they will be regulating] Dahmash.”

Dahmash is home to about 800 residents and was established just before the founding of Israel. Arafat tells Haaretz his parents received the land from the state in exchange for their previous slate of land near Gedera from which they were ousted. The village has never been regulated and its residents receive only partial services from the Sdot Dan Regional Council, which were granted following a lengthy legal battle.

The High Court gave the state until the end of 2021 to regulate the village in its 2013 ruling, which also required the Interior Ministry to place the town in one of the nearby regional councils. All three have rejected to take on Dahmash.

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