JfJfP calls on Israel to recognise the property, dignity and equality of the Negev Bedouin

August 18, 2013
Sarah Benton

After the JfJfP statement there are a couple of the most recent statements on the situation of the Negev Bedouin.

Call to abolish Prawer plan for Bedouin

Jews for Justice for Palestinians
August 17, 2013

We in Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP) are appalled by the Prawer plan where up to 40, 000 Bedouin will be moved by force from their traditional homes into overcrowded and impoverished townships.

Around 80, 000 Bedouin live in 35 unrecognized villages in the Negev. Unrecognized villages are denied a basic infrastructure. They are neither supplied with water nor are they connected to the national electricity grid. Basic services like sewage and garbage removal are denied to these villages. No schools operate in the area and there are few health clinics, there are no tarred roads connecting the villages with the main communication networks, whilst houses and structures in the unrecognized villages, and even whole villages are subject to demolition.

The Bedouin of the Negev are citizens of Israel and therefore should be afforded all the rights that are due to citizens. Most of these villages have existed on their lands since before the establishment of the State of Israel, while others were established when the Israeli military government forcibly relocated Bedouin residents from their lands in the 1950s.

The assumption underlying the proposed law is that the 80,000 residing in the 36 unrecognized villages are squatters without rights to the land, which is a gross lie. The plan has been drawn up to clear the Bedouin out of their traditional lands and into seven planned townships and ten recognised villages. This plan violates the constitutional rights of the Negev Bedouin to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing, and freedom to choose their own residence. It constitutes ethnic cleansing.

We call on the people of Israel and the Israeli government to abolish the Prawer Plan, to recognize the Bedouins’ unrecognized villages and to provide these villages full infrastructural amenities.

Executive Committee, JFJFP

UN recognises struggle in the Negev against Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing

By Rachel Lever, One Democracy
August 08, 2013

On Thursday, August 1st, two thousands Arab and Jewish demonstrators protested in opposition to the Prawer-Begin Bill. This Bill proposes to demolish up to 40-plus villages, requisition their lands and forcibly move their inhabitants to special townships. This would be an unprecedented acceleration of ethnic cleansing.

* Previous mass clearances of Palestinians were achieved under cover of war in 1947-48 and 1967 (which many in the international community believed were defensive wars). Other clearances have been gradual, under cover of bureaucracy, “security” or spurious quasi-legal means.

* Israel is now coldly and openly planning mass forced population displacement, and has seen it voted on in the Knesset. It is a measure comparable to Apartheid South Africa’s Group Areas Act, and in Jewish memory, to the Tsarist Russian pogroms that came to a head in the 1890s.

* Also for the first time on this scale and in recent memory, it is planned to take place in the heartland of Israel against peaceful, law-abiding citizens who Israel claims have equal rights.

* The arguments and language with which this has been presented in Israel are blatantly racist, where the Bedouin population is now referred to as “invaders of the Jewish state”.

The protest last week took place at the Rahat Junction. The participants came from different Arab and Jewish localities in Israel in order to strengthen the protest against the governmental plan to demolish many of the Bedouin villages and relocate thousands to towns.

Meanwhile, there was news of an important international recognition of the issue and of The Negev Coexistence Forum, which has consistently backed the fight against demolition of the Begouin village of Al Araquib over the past 2 years.

On August 1st, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) announced that it had decided to adopt the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to grant Special consultative status to the Negev Coexistence Forum. This status enables NCF to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies by, for example, allowing NCF access to attend UN meetings, submitting written and oral statements to ECOSOC, and use UN facilities.

Occupation destroys Bedouin village for 54th time

By Palestinian Information Centre
August 16, 2013

BEERSHEBA — Israeli authorities on Thursday demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Negev in the southern 1948 occupied territories, for the 54th time.

Palestinian sources in the Negev said that the Israeli soldiers accompanied by military bulldozers abruptly raided the village and started to demolish and remove the Palestinian homes and facilities.

The sources confirmed that the soldiers attacked the residents who refused to evacuate their houses, adding that the occupation bulldozers withdrew after demolishing the homes claiming they were built without license.

Resident Aziz al-Turi said Israeli forces arrived, carrying weapons and batons to intimidate villagers in Al-Araqib before bulldozers tore down all the homes in the Negev village for the 54th time.

The occupation authorities have continued to demolish the buildings in the village of al-Araqib in an attempt to displace its residents who confirmed their adherence to their lands.

Amnesty International earlier urged the occupation authorities to immediately stop the demolition of Bedouin homes in the Negev.

See also UN, Negev Coexistence Forum
and, amongst many,
Action Alerts on left of this page.
Protests from Beirut to Brazil against Prawer plan
New nakba in Negev: day of protest
Bill to displace Bedouin proceeds through Knesset

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