Saturday, March 06, 2021

Day of Rage

By Emily Mulder - August 04, 2013
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Bedouin] [Bedouins] [Prawer Plan] [Displacement] [House Demolition] [Negev Desert] [Naqab]

Palestinian demonstrators gathered for a"day of rage" in protest againts the displacement of the Arab Bedouin from the Negev.   All photos by Emily Mulder

Day of Rage

August 1, 2013-Protests rocked Israel and the West Bank in a “Day of Rage” yesterday.  Protesters responded to Israel’s decision to implement a plan which will displace the Arab Bedouin from the Naqab (Negev), severing them from their historical ties to their land and denying them the chance to be treated as more than second class citizens.

The plan will be implemented through guidelines established via the Prawer-Begin bill.  The bill aims to resolve a dispute between the State and its indigenous Arab Bedouin citizens regarding the refusal of Israel to recognize Bedouin rights to their land.

If fully implemented, the plan will result in the destruction of 35 “unrecognized” villages, relocating up to 70,000 Bedouins into impoverished urban towns.

The plan

According to Israeli organization the Negev Coexistence Forum, the Prawer Plan is a result of Decision no. 4411 "Accountability Policy Proposal for Regulating Bedouin Settlement in the Negev”, approved by the Israeli government in January 2008.  Minister Ehud Prawer was appointed by Benjamin Netanyahu to lead a committee formed to convert recommendations of the Goldberg Commision into policy on the ground.  

Palestinian man arrested by Israeli defense forces during a protest agains the Prawer Plan outside of Ramallah, Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The proposed plan was approved by the Israeli cabinet on September 11, 2011. The first reading of the bill "Prawer Plan for the Arrangement of Bedouin-Palestinian Settlement in the Negev" passed June 24, 2013 in the Knesset 43-40.   Its stated purpose is to resolve claims over land ownership, aid economic development in the Negev, and foster integration of the Bedouin into Israeli society.

The bill violates a call to Israel from the UN committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights to halt the eviction of  residents and to stop demolitions in unrecognized villages.   Plans to relocate Bedouins from the Negev were characterized as the “new frontier of dispossession of traditional inhabitants, and the implementation of a strategy of Judaization and control of the territory,” by Raquel Rolnik,  UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik.

Erasing a demographic

Anthropologist Nicola Perugini of Al Quds College and Neve Gordon of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton explain that on a geographical level, wiping away Bedouin villages is an easy task.  The unrecognized villages are not shown on Israeli maps, they are generally located on unpaved roads and there are no signs to the villages.  Current Israeli policy towards the Bedouin have made the building of permanent structures impossible.

Israel argues that because the villages are small and scattered, the government is unable to provide residents with basic services.  The goal to concentrate the Bedouin into urban towns, however, disregards Bedouins rights to their land and self-determination.

Adalah the Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel reported that the plan is discriminatory by nature.

“...the proposed law violates both Israeli constitutional law, including the right to dignity, as well as international human rights principles such as equality  and the meaningful participation in decisions concerning one’s life and well-being. Significantly, the bill also legitimizes the denial of due process rights, and thus subordination of the rule of law.”

Protesters argue that as citizens of Israel, Bedouins should be treated accordingly and given the same opportunity for prosperity that other citizens of Israel are given. The plan has enraged groups worldwide due to the fact that it is considered both racist and degrading by nature, enacted by a country which claims equality and democracy for its residents. 



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