Tomorrow (May 6) the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will hold a hearing on the draft Law of Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev (known as the “Prawer-Begin Plan”). Ahead of the hearing, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights reiterate their strong opposition to the plan in its current state, warning that its implementation will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents, dispossessing them of their property and historical rights to the lands, destroying the social fabric of their communities, and sealing the fate of thousands of families into poverty and unemployment. All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even planned to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages.
The organizations call on the government to act to promote the planning and recognition of Bedouin villages, in order to ensure the basic rights of Bedouin citizens in the Negev.
According to Attorney Rawia Aburabia of ACRI: “for years, Bedouin citizens have lived in villages without basic living conditions, while around them, ever more Jewish communities are established. The government must decide whether to seek a true and solution that facilitates the inclusion of Bedouin citizens into the civil and social fabric of the Negev, or whether to take belligerent steps that will only exacerbate the alienation, animus and poverty of these communities.”
According to urban planner Nili Baruch, of Bimkom, “the key to a solution to the issue of the unrecognized villages in the Negev is planning. A plan to formally recognize the unrecognized villages (such as the one initiated by the village residents themselves) will afford them their rights to education, health, fitting infrastructure, and sources of employment. Such a process would not only be the most likely to succeed, but also the most just, coming after years of neglect of the unrecognized villages, most of which have been in existence since before the state of Israel was established.”