Israeli official warn Prawer plan will displace 100,000 Bedouins

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Al Ray Agencies | Sept 19, 2013

Jerusalem, Agencies – Former Deputy Director of the Bedouin administration Eli Atzmon has warned that the implementation of the Prawer-Begin bill will lead to the eviction of 100,000 Bedouin from their homes in the Negev in southern Israel.

During a conference organized by Jewish-Arab coalition Shutafut Sharakah, Atzmon said that the circulated displacement figures for the plan are misleading. According to Atzmon, “since the seventies, 30 per cent of Arab Bedouin do not live there and live in ‘unrecognized’ Arab Bedouin villages.” He continued, “therefore the implementation of the plan, which passed during the first reading in the Knesset last June, and is scheduled to pass for the second reading, means that almost 100,000 Bedouin will be displaced from their villages and not the 40,000 as published.”

The official, who worked for years to displace Arab Bedouin from their lands and from their “unrecognized” villages, concluded that, “the chances that the plan will be implemented are slim. It is not even possible to reach a cooperation agreement on the dispute over the land ownership between the state and the Bedouin citizens.”

The conference discussed the legal dimensions of the plan and revealed a new media campaign strategy.

Chairman of the “unrecognized” villages in the Negev Atteieh El-Asam explained at the conference that the Bedouin citizens are collectively refusing the law. According to El-Asam, they intend to take all necessary measures to prevent the implementation of the plan. “Even if the Knesset passed the law during the second reading, the plan does not have any chance to be implemented in reality. The Bedouin citizens do not want to live in a democracy where the state tramples minority rights,” he declared.

The Nili Baruch of human rights organization Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights announced that an alternative plan has been prepared with the local citizens who suggest recognizing the “unrecognized” villages. Rabbis for Human Rights also revealed that the majority of the Jewish public opposes the discriminatory Prawer-Begin plan.




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What is the Prawer Plan

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Demolition and Eviction of Bedouin Citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev) – The Prawer Plan

By Adalah.org

On 24 June 2013, the Israeli Knesset approved the discriminatory Prawer-Begin Bill, with 43 votes for and 40 votes against, for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel.If fully implemented, the Prawer-Begin Plan will result in the destruction of 35 “unrecognized”Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Naqab. Despite the Arab Bedouin community’s complete rejection of the plan and strong disapproval from the international community and human rights groups, the Prawer Plan is happening now.


The Prawer-Begin Bill is an unacceptable proposition that entrenches the state’s historic injustice against its Bedouin citizens. Adalah and our NGO partners have been challenging the Prawer Plan before courts, government authorities and the international community, but we need your help to stop what would be the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s!


Please sign our petition and visit our Facebook page to find out what you can do to Stop the Prawer Plan!


What is the Prawer Plan?

Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, inhabitants of the Naqab (Negev) desert since the seventh century, are the most vulnerable community in Israel. For over 60 years, the indigenous Arab Bedouin have faced a state policy of displacement, home demolitions and dispossession of their ancestral land. Today, 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in 35 villages that either predate the establishment of the State in 1948, or were created by Israeli military order in the early 1950s. The State of Israel considers the villages “unrecognized” and the inhabitants “trespassers on State land,” so it denies the citizens access to state infrastructure like water, electricity, sewage, education, health care and roads. The state deliberately withholds basic services from these villages to “encourage” the Arab Bedouin citizens to give up their ancestral land. If Israel applied the same criteria for planning and development that exist in the Jewish rural sector, all 35 unrecognized villages would be recognized where they are.
In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the Prawer Plan, the brainchild of former Deputy Chair of the National Security Council, Mr. Ehud Prawer. The Prawer Plan will result in the destruction of the unrecognized villages and the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens. This plan was completed without consultation of the local community, and is a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the Arab Bedouin citizens to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing, and freedom to choose their own residence.


Prawer is Happening Now
Despite complete rejection of the plan by the Arab Bedouin, and strong disapproval from the international community, Prawer is happening now. More than 1,000 houses were demolished in 2011 alone, and civil society observed the same practices in 2012. Since Prawer was announced, the government announced plans that will displace over 10,000 people and plant forests, build military centers, and establish new Jewish settlements in their place.


The Prawer Plan is today being turned into an Israeli law. On 6 May 2013, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the proposed “Law for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev – 2013” (“the Prawer-Begin Bill”, after recommendations by Minister Benny Begin were included). On 24 June 2013, the Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin Bill with 43 votes for and 40 votes against. The bill will now be sent to the Committee for Interior Affairs and Environment to be prepared for the second and third readings.


The international community has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the Prawer Plan. In March 2012, the UN Committee on the Elimination for Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed implementing legislation of the Prawer Plan, on the grounds that it was discriminatory. In July 2012, the European Parliament passed a historic resolution calling on Israel to Stop the Prawer Plan and its policies of displacement, eviction, and dispossession.


Adalah calls on the Israeli government to:
  • Cancel the Prawer Plan
  • Recognize the “unrecognized villages” and the land claims of the indigenous Arab Bedouin community
  • Halt home demolitions and forced evictions
  • Engage in meaningful dialogue with the Arab Bedouin community and the Arab political leadership to justly resolve the land claims
  • Invest in greater health, education, and employment opportunities for Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel


Find out More:

Introduction
Factsheet: Myths and Misconceptions about the Arab Bedouin in the Naqab
Article: Four Reasons to Reject the Prawer Plan, by Dr. Thabet Abu Rass and Professor Oren Yiftachel


Briefing/Position Papers:
Briefing Paper: Understanding the Prawer Plan Law, 2012
Briefing Paper: Analysis of the Prawer Plan, October 2011


Videos:


International responses
EMHRN Statement: Time for EU action on Prawer Bill, 2 July 2013
UN CERD Calls on Israel to Withdraw the Prawer Plan Law, 15 March 2012
European Parliament Passes Resolution Calling on Israel to Stop the Prawer Plan


Press Releases


Related in Media

  • ‘When I look at the Prawer Plan, I see another Nakba’ – Source
  • 2005: advisor to Peres already told US Negev “development” plan meant “relocation” of 65,000 Bedouin – Source
  • All the Facts About Bedouin Settlement of the Negev ~ by Rabbis for Human Rights
  • Adalah “Palestinian community prepares for General Strike against the Prawer Plan, get to know the people – Source
  • Every Red Dot on map: 1 of Palestine’s towns eradicated from earth. Now Israel wants to eradicate 45 more towns. – Source
  • Stand with @rhreng and support Bedouin rights! – Source
  • July 20, 2013 | Amnesty International labels Prawer-Begin Bill as racist – More
  • July 21, 2013 |Three Myths about the Bedouin ~ Rabbis for Humanrights

Related: Israel. Not looking for Peace. Nor Talks. But this… ~ The Facts







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