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The BEDOUIN

We have posted more than 30 articles on The Bedouin of the Naqab/Negev over the last three years

See the JfJfP briefing note on Bedouin Palestinians of the Naqab and download our 2013 leaflet on the Prawer plan
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Did you know?



Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
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Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
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Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
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30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
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* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
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* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013
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Posts

Disillusion v. lethal weapons: the Obama-Romney choice

The least bad: the US elections from Israel-Palestine

For Palestinians and Israelis, a Democrat victory would be bad and a Republican victory worse. While Obama continues to seduce the deluded among us, Romney is making lethal calculations

Antonio Ungar, Open Democracy
October 31, 2012

I live in Israel, a state that is part of the United States of America in more senses than one. And so the unfolding of the US election campaigns affects me in a very real way. Far-fetched as it may seem, my immediate plans (my work prospects, the school my kids can go to, whether or not we can buy an apartment) all depend not just on my wife and me but also – and much more than we’d like – on Messrs Obama and Romney. Much as we might not like it the candidates have granted themselves the power to decide how reality will play out on the ground, in these distant lands. They have already told us, for example, that wars await. They have told us what arms they will be fought with, and how fast. They’ve been more specific, too, when it’s suited them. They have established which people will be able to live in the city of Jerusalem, and which people won’t. They have established whether or not armed colonists can continue stealing land in the West Bank. They’ve even decided whether or not the Palestinians will be able to have a state.

For my family, as for Palestinians and for Israelis, a Democrat victory would be bad and a Republican victory worse. There’s one thing that won’t change in these promised lands after 6 November: the Israeli government’s policy towards its Palestinian subjects. Let’s imagine for a moment that Obama wins. His victory won’t prevent another four years of Israeli expansion into the West Bank. Nor will it prevent indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population like the bombardment of Gaza in 2008. On the ground, basic injustices will follow their usual course. In the intangible realm of words and gestures, though, those of us who feel the creation of a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one is an act of common sense and elemental justice, as well as a necessary step for the survival of both peoples, will feel less alone. If Obama wins, we, the deluded, will continue urging ourselves to think – like children suspending our disbelief in a game, or adults high on our illusions – that Obama is on our side. That we’re not swimming alone, against the current. That at long last the Israelis will let the Palestinians be. Yes we can. We know all too well that it won’t happen, but thanks to the great Democratic rhetoric, we dreamers aren’t about to let go of our illusions.

The idea of a Romney victory, on the other hand, leaves no room for doubt. It would be lethal for the Jewish state and for Palestinians on both sides of the border. Netanyahu’s government is publicly making calculations and concluding that it is worth attacking Iran now, while it doesn’t have a nuclear bomb. That attack, the prime minister has said, would mean the deaths of a quarter of Israel’s population in the war that would immediately be triggered – a number that sounds to him like good news. The bad news, he has stated, is that if the attack does not go ahead now, Iran will develop a nuclar bomb and Israel would be condemned irreversibly to annihilation. In the ruthless equation of the far Right (Netanyahu is further to the Right than the bosses of the army and Mossad, both of whom are against the attack), there is no room for this slice of common sense: a negotiation with Iran and a serious, ratifiable agreement on nuclear non-proliferation would result in no deaths on either side. Nor does it fit into the Republican calculus. An eventual agreement for guaranteeing security in the Middle East would, of course, require the support of the president of the USA. It would also require an even more impossible condition: that Israel destroy hundreds of its nuclear warheads, an eventuality that only exists in the mind games that we, the deluded ones, play.

My wife and two children live with me in Jaffa, Israel. We don’t find it very pleasant to think that, if the wishes of Netanyahu, Romney and Ahmadinejad were granted, at least one of our family would die in the bombardment, obliterated by the infallibility of statistics. If it were up to us, we’d be fiercely against being collateral damage in the war that those fanatics want to wage, trying to guarantee themselves the infinite electoral victories of the future.

Antonio Ungar is a Colombian journalist and author. He has won Colombia’s Simón Bolívar prize for journalism, and his short stories have been included in twenty anthologies in over fifteen languages. His most recent novel, Tres ataúdes blancos, is being adapted for the cinema. He lives in Jaffa, Israel.

Translated from the Spanish by Ollie Brock.

This article is part of the ‘How it looks from here’ openDemocracy feature on the 2012 US elections. 

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