Stop the oppression of the Arab Bedouins in the Negev

Monday, February 20th, 2012 | 20:30

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Stop the oppression of the Arab Bedouins in the Negev

The Israeli government decided to accelerate the process of expelling the Arabic Bedouins from their lands and their concentration in towns, a process which is being conducted for 63 years. The decision to adopt the Praver-Amidror Plan which would include the evacuation of about 30,000 to 45,000 Bedouins from their homes and the destruction of their villages.

This racist proposal – discrimination is contrary to all international conventions and especially to the declaration on the rights of indigenous people as adopted by the UN General Assembly – will be discussed at the current session of the Knesset on the proposed bill.

In the 1950s, during the course of the military rule which ended 1966, the government concentrated the Bedouin of the Negev – Be’er Sheva – Dimona – Arad, by evictions from their land all over the Negev.

This policy was intended to reduce the living space of the Bedouin who remained in Israel after 1948 (about 10,000 out of 100,000 and about 10% of the original area) and to facilitate the transfer of their land to the state by administrative, judicial and legislative means.

Since the late 1960s, the government concentrates the Bedouins in underdeveloped towns within their stolen land and restricts their space to smaller and smaller territories. The methods used by the state to deprive the Bedouin population in the Negev are manifold:

- Denial to recognize Bedouin villages in the Negev.

- Denial of basic municipal services such as electricity, water and infrastructure, health service and education for the poor.

-Demolishing hundreds of houses in the villages each year with aggressive methods and the use of “special” enforcement powers.

- Destruction of entire villages again and again, (Twail Abu Jaruel destroyed fifty times, and Arakib thirty times), while arresting and indicting opponents.

- Demolition orders against whole villages (Alsira, Tel Arad, Alsdir, Atir, Umm Alhin and more).

- Delays in proceeding claims of land ownership (about 600.000 acres), filed in the 1970s and counterclaims submitted 40 years later.

- Reducing the living space and threating of demolishing up to thousand houses through the extension, broadening and construction of roads (6, 31, 31A).

- Afforestation of thousands of acres by the JNF at the expense of existing villages and the establishment of settlements for Jews only.

We demand the Israeli government to:

-Immediately cancel the Praver-Amidror Plan.

-Apply full civil equality to the Arabs of the Negev. Allocate land and resources of the country without discrimination between Jews and Arabs while space planning for the benefit of all citizens living there and to adopt affirmative action policy for the disadvantaged population in the Negev.

- Stop oppressing its Bedouin citizens and enable them to lead a life of their choice and their culture in rural areas and not just in cities.

- Recognize all unrecognized villages and to connect them to infrastructure and municipal services.

- Full recognition of Bedouin ownership claims on land in the Negev.

This Petition is initiated by “The Forum of Recognition” – a coalition of organizations for the recognition of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev.

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