Israel’s Palestinian citizens are largely Bedouin – as are most of the knife-attackers. Here Joint List MK Zouheir Bahloul talks to Al Monitor about this troubled political identity – which drew him from sports broadcasting into the Knesset.
There is something Biblical about the decision of Joint List leaders to walk the land from enclaves of excluded Bedouin in the south to a razed Palestinian village on the border with Lebanon. They are followed by a motley crowd of Arab Muslims, Christians and Druze and a handful of Jews. At the moment, new MK Ayman Odeh needs to be seen reclaiming land for Palestinians. He will find it hard to fulfil all the hopes that have been placed on him.
Israel’s Nature and Parks authority have demolished small shelters, donated by the EU, for the Bedouin living in Issiwaya near Jerusalem. The aim is obvious – to clear all Bedouin out of the area so that Jewish settlements can be built there. It remains to be seen what the EU will do about this.
The Jerusalem Gate peace camp, to protest the forced removal of Bedouin from their land, is one tent near Jerusalem. So far it has been knocked down nine times. Five activists have been arrested – and two of them are still being held. A British volunteer describes brutal treatment by the police.
The popular resistance committees organised a new peace camp near Abu Dis to protect, and protest about, the local Bedouin who have been told they will be moved by force to al-Eizariyya and Nuway’imah by the Jordan valley. The IDF have so far knocked the camp down four times and confiscated property.
Richard Silverstein notices that the police, who had been asked not to come near the funeral of Bedouin youth Sami Al Jaar, disrupted the funeral – killing Sami Ziadna – in order to silence Public Enemy Number 1 Raed Salah, who was delivering the eulogy. No communal Palestinian event is free from Israeli state disruption.
Sami Al Jaar was shot dead by police during a raid on Rahat; Sami Ziadna was either shot dead or died of a heart attack when police turned up at Al Jaar’s funeral, despite requests for them to stay away. Israeli Palestinians have begun a general strike. Reports from +972 (photographic) and The National.
EU member states have drawn up a document defining their ‘red lines’ before upcoming discussions with Israeli diplomats. Haaretz has obtained a copy of the document which identifies the population transfers and new settlements which present a “focused and increasing threat to the possibility of the two-state solution.” Barak Ravid reports.
Most Bedouin tribes who used to live in the Negev were expelled by the IDF in 1948; most set up scattered encampments in the Jordan valley – from which Israeli civil authorities have tried to shift them for years, backed up by bulldozers. A legal challenge by some Bedouin reached the Supreme Court this week. What happened is largely told through ICAHD’s Facebook page, with a story from Amira Hass. Plus petition to stop the eviction of the villagers from Al Arakib.
Israel’s deadly combination of settlers and security forces have a huge arsenal of means to get Palestinians out of the Jordan valley: destroying all donor-funded amenities, closing off areas as firing zones, demolishing anything Palestinians build. Amira Hass reports.
Before Israel, Palestine was part of the Ottoman empire, then the League of Nations gave Britain a mandate to govern the territory from the Mediterranean to Iraq (north) Saudi Arabia (south). Both Ottoman and British officials recorded land ownership claims in order to raise taxes and prevent land disputes. These show that the Negev, far from being an empty desert, had many Bedouin villages in which people owned land and engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. Can this Israeli myth hit the dust before the Bedouin are forcibly moved to a ‘town’?
Mass opposition to the Begin-Prawer plan for the forcible resettling of Bedouin has led to its being, at the least, postponed and rethought. As the government’s spin on the plan became increasingly frantic – Bedouin leaders supported it… in the Bedouins’ best interest… opposition just foreign rabble-rousers … Begin himself delivered the coup de grace: he had never consulted the Bedouin on the plan and they had never agreed to it.
From the southern tip of the Negev to the northern tip of Galilee, the Israeli government could create the perfect Jewish state if it weren’t for the people in between. Sadly for the zionist dream, only the Bedouin have devised a way of desert living compatible with the area’s resources and the Galilee – well its history is just too multicultural to be truly Israeli. Ben White looks at how the government is going about getting the right people in the right places.
The language of the Israeli government about the relocation of the Negev Bedouin has recently become entirely about furnishing the Bedouin with the amenities of modernity. If modernity is characterised by the free movement of people and capital, cosmopolitan cities, separation of church and state… Israel is no more a symbol of modernity than are the Bedouin.
The Israeli government wants to clear Bedouin from the Negev because they want the land for forest (and settlers) and because of the desperate desire to be a modern western nation. Bedouin must be ‘civilised’ by urban life. Benny Begin knows few Bedouin who oppose the bill and accuses ‘NGOs and rights groups’ of politicizing the issue. Which says more about him than it does about Bedouin people. November 30, London protest.
The Israeli state has declared the Bedouin living in ‘unrecognised’ villages have to move into special townships. These are likely to be worse than the ‘recognised’ villages which, despite their status, lack the amenities which non-Palestinian Israelis enjoy. The Bedouin elders believe the way to fight for their rights is through the law. The younger ones now feel resistance must take more direct form – although they have so far got little support from other Palestinians.
It takes more than the usual amount of twisting history to make the claim that Arabs (Bedouin) have no place in the Negev desert, and that owning that expanse of land is the manifest destiny of Israeli Jews. But that hasn’t inhibited the land-grabbers who believe it’s Israel’s wild west waiting to be conquered once the natives have been ‘concentrated’ in controlled towns. Max Blumenthal details the steps to make this happen.
Jillian Kestler D’Amours begins with the Begin plan and goes back through the Prawer plan to Sharon’s Individual Settlement plan, all of which scheme to rid the Negev of its historic Bedouin residents and land-users and replace them (with dubious legality) with true, i.e. Jewish, Israeli citizens.
The executive committee of Jews for Justice for Palestinians adds its voice to the many Jewish, Israeli and human rights groups which are protesting against the wrongful treatment of the Bedouin and calls on Israeli people and government to leave these Arab citizens of Israel in their villages in the Negev, recognise them and furnish them with the amenities which all Israeli habitations have a right to enjoy.`And ditch the Prawer plan!
Israel’s Arab citizens led the protests against Bedouin displacement by the Prawer-Begin plan on the Day of Rage, August 1. Thousands from north and south Israel joined, as did large crowds in the West Bank who added their protest against displacement from the Hebron area. Protests also took took place in Brazil, Beirut, Amman, London, Morocco, Mauritania, Amsterdam, Dublin and Washington. Activists say the protests will continue into a second day.