There’s a just solution to unrecognized villages in the Negev – but it’s not the Begin/Prawer Plan

Demolition in an unrecognized village in the NegevDemolition in an unrecognized village in the Negev

 

 

Yesterday, the Internal Affairs Committee heard the reservations of human rights organizations’ to the Begin-Prawer Plan. ‘The Alternative Master Plan is the only just solution to the issue of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev’.

 

 

 

Yesterday (Wednesday, November 13) the Knesset’s Interior Affairs Committee continued discussing the Bill for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, also known as the “Prawer/Begin Plan.” The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights presented their reservations to the bill.

 

The organizations maintain that the Prawer Plan is one-sided, arbitrary and harmful, established without adequate dialogue and in the face of widespread public opposition. It will result in the uprooting and forced displacement of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents and the eradication of villages – some of which predate the establishment of the state – in order to “concentrate” the Bedouin population in townships and recognized villages. This plan, warn the organizations, will destroy the social fabric of Bedouin community life and seal the fates of thousands of families into poverty.

 

The organizations call on the government to adopt the master plan proposed by the unrecognized villages and to prioritize the recognition of all the villages in a manner that will protect the basic rights of the Negev Bedouin citizens.

 

According to Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo, Director of Policy Advocacy at ACRI, “The present arrangement, if it passes, will only increase the alienation, hostility and poverty that exists among the residents of the unrecognized villages in the Negev. The government is promoting an aggressive and one-sided policy of destructing existing villages while simultaneously acting to establish more and more Jewish communities, some on the ruins of the Bedouin villages. It is still not too late to stop this shortsightedness – it requires a real and just solution that allows the Bedouin to be integrated in the Negev as equal citizens.”

 

According to Urban Planner Nili Baruch of Bimkom, “The key to solving the issue of unrecognized villages in the Negev is planning. The Alternative Master Plan for Bedouin Villages in the Negev, initiated by the residents of the villages themselves, will allow them to receive education, health care, proper infrastructure, and sources of employment. This is not only a more effective proposal, but a more just one.”

 

Related Materials

ACRI’s comprehensive information sheet on the Begin/Prawer Plan.

ACRI and Bimkom’s joint position paper (in English).

Unofficial English translation of the Knesset bill.

 

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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages

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