A search of the archives show how little has changed

Israel/Palestine
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Yousef Munayyer’s post earlier today have highlighted the weakness in Ethan Bronner’s version of the events in 1947-49, quoting from the reports of the time from the New York Times itself. Similarly refreshing insights can be found in the archives of other publications. I am currently working on my second book, which will focus on the Palestinian citizens in Israel. Consider this article from Time magazine in 1979, and ask yourself whether extracts like these would be printed today:

Last week the Israeli Cabinet proposed a harsh plan that would empower the government to seize 37,500 acres of Bedouin lands, with limited compensation but without right of judicial appeal, and to impel the displaced tribesmen to resettle into new industrial townships…

Abhorring the very idea of living in industrial townships, the Bedouins argue instead for the creation of their own moshavim, the model agricultural cooperatives that have been especially successful in the northern Sinai. But Israeli government officials have long insisted that the tribesmen are needed as a labor force for new industries that are planned for the Negev. Moreover, the well-equipped, high production moshavim require large tracts and expensive irrigation. And, as one senior official bluntly told TIME’s Lesley Hazleton, “I’m not giving good Jewish land and water to Arabs.

The evacuated Bedouins could well have nowhere to go at all for some time. The four new proposed industrial settlements have yet to be built, and the government has no plans for temporary housing. Shrugs Benjamin Gur-Arieh, Premier Menachem Begin’s adviser on Arab affairs: “They can double up in their tents until the villages are ready. They’re used to it.”

About Ben White

Ben White is author of 'Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide' and 'Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, discrimination and democracy'. Follow him on twitter at @benabyad and on his website www.benwhite.org.uk.

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