The Israeli Knesset approved the discriminatory Prawer-Begin Bill in its first reading on June 24 2013, with 43 votes for and 40 votes against. The bill is now discussed at the Committee for Interior Affairs before the final Knesset vote. There is still time to act!
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The legislation will serve as the implementing arm of the Prawer-Begin Plan, the government’s overarching policy framework for the Arab Bedouin community. If enacted into law and implemented, the plan would forcibly displace tens of thousands of Arab
Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab
(Negev) desert in the south of Israel. It would dispossess
the Bedouin of their property and historical rights to the land, destroy the
social fabric of their communities, and condemn thousands of families to lives
of poverty and chronic unemployment.
The representatives of Bedouin villages have repeatedly attempted
to engage the government in a dialogue about the plan, but have been
rebuffed. They assert that the law
and the policy that it embodies are based on false and discriminatory views of
the Bedouin as trespassers on their land. The Prawer-Begin Plan ignores the
fact that most of the Bedouin villages have existed in their present locations
since before the establishment of the state of Israel, or were created when the
Israeli Military Government forcibly displaced the Arab-Bedouin to the Siyag
region of the Naqab in the 1950s.
A just and feasible solution first and foremost requires
recognition that the Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages are equal
citizens with equal rights. The unrecognized villages must be recognized and
planned according to fair planning standards, and the land ownership rights of
the Bedouin must be formally acknowledged.
For more information please visit:
Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights
in Israel - www.adalah.org
The Negev Coexistence Forum for
Civil Equality - www.dukium.org
Posted: 10 July 2012 (Updated: 14 April 2015)