Dispatch from the Negev: Bedouins brace for doom, under Prawer Plan

bedouin 01
Bedouin children play in the unrecognized village of Assir in the Negev. The village was established by the Israeli military in the 1950s and now is under threat of eviction by the Prawer Plan. (Photo: Allison Deger)

In the Negev there is a village called Hiran where Jewish-Israelis live in caravans in a wooded forest planted by the Jewish National Fund. It’s a familiar scene in the West Bank, but not so much here, inside Israel. Like settlers these villagers are not planning to stay in trailers for long. Willingly they took on a lifestyle more arduous than life in a house or an apartment because they are preparing to benefit from an expulsion. Nearby Bedouins residing in the village of Umm el-Hieran will be evicted soon under the Prawer Plan, a Knesset bill that is likely to evict more than 30,000 Bedouins from their villages. And the villagers of Hiran are hovering until that happens.

abu alkin
Amneh Abu Alkin in her home in Umm Batin. (Photo: Allison Deger)

A few kilometers from Hiran and Umm el-Heiran is another Bedouin encampment, Umm Batin. Down a sandy hill Amneh Abu Alkin is perched on a rug under a plastic covering supported by four posts. Back in 2007 Abu Alkin lived in a concrete house, and concrete stops wind and rain from flooding a bedroom. But like half of the some 200,000 Bedouins in the Negev, Abu Alkin resided in an unrecognized village, meaning her last home was demolished. Then in 2003 the state recognized her village but refused her house, and every other structure, a building permit. The law only allows her to construct with flimsy material like plastic and tin.

In the tent she points to a refrigerator, explaining it has been here for only ten days because regular visits from the Ministry of Interior end with confiscations of her appliances. But at that moment she was stocked, she even had a gas stove top. Like the residents of Umm el-Hieran, Abu Alkin is also facing an eviction from the Prawer Plan. But she said that her husband is trying to negotiate an exchange from the government for an apartment in a “planned township,” localities built by the state that offer all of the amenities that are not available without a building permit: water, sanitation, electricity, paved roads, and access to education and health care.

Yet Abu Alkin is stern when she says that moving to the township is not her first choice. Planned townships have a reputation for being urban projects dabbed between desert hills. There is no vital economy– and no grazing lands for herds, a primary source of sustenance for many Bedouins. These Cabrini-Green models have become rife with crime, the logical outcome of warehousing people outside of a city with no job prospects.

“The planned towns evolved quickly into pockets of deprivation, unemployment, dependency, crime and social tensions,” notes Oren Yiftachel, professor of Political Geography at Ben-Gurion University, who argues these localities have proven themselves as unfit options. Yiftachel is one of the few experts in the field of Bedouin sector planning. He has testified in court and helped author an alternative “Master Plan” [PDF] that city workers could execute to recognize Bedouin villages without conflicting with nearby Beersheba’s most recent urban development scheme.

One of the reasons why the government group that drafted Prawer did not look to recognize more Bedouin towns is because they determined the villages interfere with city plans to expand industrial zones, Jewish National Fund forests and Jewish-Israeli localities. Hiran is an example of a locality that is locked into the district’s future blueprints, partly marked up in the location of the Bedouin village of Umm el-Heiran. These types of conflicts, the Prawer Plan says, should be resolved in favor of the planned villages over the existing villages. In practice this means: the Bedouins will have to move out so the Jewish-Israelis can move in.

Still, Yiftachel says these conflicts are few and far between and should not create the pretext for outright barring widespread recognition of Bedouin areas. He explained in a round-table last week in the Bedouin township of Hura that during the research leading up to publication of “The Master Plan for the Bedouin Villages,” Yiftachel conducted the first ever survey of unrecognized villages. He’s doing the work government officials should be doing. Rather than meeting with villagers and taking into consideration their particular type of settlement with unique characteristics, the government has decided to exclude Bedouins and Yiftachel from the planning process. Yiftachel says Bedouin villages should be thought of as a “special settlement type that have their own logic”– not unlike the recognition granted a kibbutz or a moshav (Jewish communal towns).

“Many Jews didn’t have their land registered properly–including my parents,” said Yiftachel, addressing the inherent discrimination in the Prawer Plan, which subjects only Bedouins to this special process. he continued.

What is most unfortunate is that Abu Alkin didn’t choose this life. In the 1950s Bedouins in the Negev were rounded up and dumped behind checkpoints in an area called the Siyag zone. After 1966 when formal military rule for Israel’s Arab citizens ended, displaced peoples like Abu Alkin were forbidden from constructing in their original villages and were not granted permits to continue living in the Siyag. But with no place to go Abu Alkin and the others stayed in the former military zone where they had at least made a semblance of a new life in the new Jewish state.

Over the years Abu Alkin has languished in her village, despite the upgrade to a “recognized” village. In Israel it is not uncommon in the few instances where villages were “recognized” that municipal services never arrived–or had to be enforced through a court order, which could take decades. So she and her family are cutting their losses. With the Prawer Plan posing an eviction date, it’s either living in the streets or living in the projects. She would, however, prefer to stay in her current village, so long as the state will agree to finally recognize her property and allow her to hook up to the city grid. In the Negev, even a Jewish-Israeli pet cemetery is connected to electricity, but the state says it’s too difficult to get to her remote locality.

For the 35 unrecognized villages holding out for an upgrade of status that mimic the very conditions Abu Alkin finds unacceptable, the Prawer Plan will abruptly end the possibility for thousands to finally regularize their villages.

In the 1970s the state opened a massive land registration project, which theoretically could have ended the unrecognized village phenomena. Over 3,000 claims were accepted, but after the government processed 300 claims they refused to continue. This procedure remains frozen to date despite the passing of decades. Yiftachel has studied the original claims from that time and notes they are still reliable. Of the 3,200 filings for an area encompassing 800,000 dunums, Yiftachel only found a one-percent margin of error where multiple parties claimed the same parcels.

Then in 2008 a Knesset working group decided to re-visit the issue of unrecognized villages. The Goldberg Committee recommended registering as many towns as possible, and even acknowledged Bedouins are indigenous peoples with historic ties to the land. This put an end to the “Arab invaders” discourse. But rather than re-open the exiting system, which would have given deeds to thousands of Bedouins, the Prawer Plan instead proposed a new convoluted land registration process offering only partial property titles for Bedouins with all of the required documentation. When implemented the plan will create a new land registration process where claims are matched against aerial photographs taken by the British authorities between 1944-1945. Under Prawer, these archival images will be reviewed for signs of cultivation on the plots Bedouins say they hold titles for, and for which they often have decades or even a century of records showing tax payments. But the government won’t look at these records. Prawer does not allow the government to review documents, including ones from the Israeli Defense Forces’ archives, that confirm that a Bedouin paid taxes throughout the 1950s.

In cases where claims are approved, Prawer twists the rules and forces Bedouins to give the state half of their land in exchange for compensation. If a partial claim is approved, Bedouins can only retain 25 percent of that property. By comparison, when Jewish-Israelis register their claims, there is no law that says they must give up a single handful of the earth to the state.

Bedouin 03
Interior of Abu Alkin’s home in the village of  Umm Batin. (Photo: Allison Deger)

With poor prospects to stay on their land, Bedouin families are shuffling their decks looking for their best chance of avoiding disaster. Some are protesting the bill, like the ten thousand who took to the streets of Beersheba weeks ago, with more protests planned in the coming days. Others are negotiating with the state for recognition.  Dr. Hana Sweid, a member of Knesset and former city planner has stated the Prawer Committee will likely recognize five unrecognized villages and said the government is presently reviewing which villages will recieve the change in status. Prawer itself says, when possible the state should recognize villages, so long as they do not interfere with future construction earmarked on city blueprints. But as for which villages will become recognized, right now it is a lottery.

Still more are leveraging their current residency for a trade into a planned township, hoping to strike a deal before Prawer goes into effect. This window of opportunity is expected to close once Prawer passes Knesset, because the law would allow the state to seize the land and a voluntary eviction would no longer be a bargining chip.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, On the ground reports | Tagged

{ 50 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. yrn says:

    Allison

    Looks like you don’t have anything to write about the occupied territories…..
    As if it’s the case, I am sure you have enough problems in your country to solve.
    So why waste your time in Israel.

    • Bumblebye says:

      yrn

      Hmm. Must stand for yucky racist nincompoop.

      Allison exposes blatant racism being committed by the GoI against its indigenous population, which NO other media outlet, certainly not US MSM is shouting about – at a time when one would, in the normal course of events, expect journalists to be investigating the nature of a foreign country which is the focus of so much political energy and so much financial aid – and all you can do is sneer and point and say look elsewhere. Creep.

    • Oh you have problem with people taking a stance against the racism of the regime you support?

    • Elliot says:

      Yrn – what are you doing “wasting your time” on a blog dedicated to peace and justice in Israel and the role of the U.S. in perpetuating Israel’s ongoing catastrophe?

    • talknic says:

      yrn Looks like you don’t have anything to write about

      • yrn says:

        What Else the House Farm Bill Left Out for Native Americans

        Rob Capriccioso
        July 30, 2013

        The U.S. House passed a farm bill July 11 that leaves out funding for the national Food Stamp program that many Native Americans rely on for sustenance, but that wasn’t the only Native-friendly part of the bill that was chopped.

        Take care of your problems first before you jump to satisfy your obsession with Israel.

        Read more at link to indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

        I can write pages with unsolved problems in your house yard…..

        • yrn says:

          Some more for you

          Navajos Working to Get Little Colorado River Deal Through Lame Duck. Outlook Unlikely

          The Navajo Nation is still trying to eke out a deal on Little Colorado River water rights, although an ambitious goal of trying to get it through during Congress’ Lame Duck session is looking unlikely.

          The Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012 and its companion Senate Bill 2109 caused a furor among grassroots activists on both reservations when senators Jon Kyl and John McCain unveiled it last spring. Protests across Navajo and Hopi lands culminated in a Navajo Nation Council action rejecting the bill in July.

          Read more at link to indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

        • yishai says:

          Thanks for proving our point. White settler colonialism is as vile in the US and Canada as it is in Israel, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. It is wrong everywhere it happens, and is resisted everywhere it happens. Of course we stand in solidarity with the dispossessed indigenous populations and First Nations peoples everywhere. That is the point. Lets not pretend that Germany under the nazis did not copy and emulate the US version of eugenics and the Turkish version of Armenian/Kurdish genocide. And lets not pretend that Israel and the US do not work hand-in-hand today on their respective efforts to control their territory, dispossess the racially marginalized and “inferior” and co-plan their imperial regional and global machinations…

        • RoHa says:

          “Take care of your problems first before you jump to satisfy your obsession with Israel.”

          I agree with you. The US should take care of its own problems first, and stop fighting wars for Israel, stop supporting and defending Israel in the UN, stop sending huge sums of money and stacks of armaments to Israel, stop making special concessions to Israel, etc.

          This would improve America’s financial position and improve its standing in the world.

        • yishai says:

          YRN (and also Dimadok): Thanks for proving our point. White settler colonialism is as vile in the US and Canada as it is in Israel, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. It is wrong everywhere it happens, and is resisted everywhere it happens. Of course we stand in solidarity with the dispossessed indigenous populations and First Nations peoples everywhere. That is the point. Lets not pretend that Germany under the nazis did not copy and emulate the US version of eugenics and the Turkish version of Armenian/Kurdish genocide. And lets not pretend that Israel and the US do not work hand-in-hand today on their respective efforts to control their territory, dispossess the racially marginalized and “inferior” and co-plan their imperial regional and global machinations…

  2. BrianEsker says:

    This issue has been consistently misrepresented by Israel haters of every stripe. So that’s no mystery. But this is the first article of its kind that partially accepts that the relocation of the Bedouins is a form of urban renewal. Obviously their original way of life has gone the way of the buffalo. In a place as small as Israel there are limits to living a life following your livestock’s quest for water and grazing. Bedouins have substantially self urbanized in substandard housing, without modern amenities and services. But they also haven’t been paying taxes either. The move will be overall a positive improvement in life style, education, health and integration into the larger society.

    • a blah chick says:

      If this plan is so beneficial for the Bedouins why were they excluded from the process?

      And if my towns were being routinely destroyed I wouldn’t be paying taxes either.

      • OlegR says:

        They weren’t.
        The Israeli Arab political parties that claim to represent them (and don’t and never did) were excluded.That’s why they are trying to make headlines. The protest in Galilee about a resettlement plan in the Negev
        which is funny as hell.

        • Shingo says:

          The Israeli Arab political parties that claim to represent them (and don’t and never did) were excluded.

          That’s called a distinction without a difference.

          which is funny as hell.

          You really a one saddistic and sinister puppy aren’t you Oleg?

    • esker, did you read the article? or this? link to mondoweiss.net

      • BrianEsker says:

        Robbins, I hope you’ll forgive me if I ask you in response to link an original sourcing document, only because outright lies, half-lies and distortions and utter fantasy passed off as “fact” are daily fare here on Mondoweiss.

    • ziusudra says:

      Re.: Brian Esker,
      It seems Bibi is unable to get the 900K Orthodox to work or serve.
      The 600K Retirees should work till 70.
      The 600K unemployed should be placed in modern Kibutz
      & produce ‘licence plates’ for the State.
      What kind of employment could the Bedou. find in a City?
      ziusudra

  3. dbroncos says:

    … continuing with the Zionist master plan: “We will expel the Arabs and take their places.”

  4. Prawer is not urban renewal. It is a bill that was specifically written to address the issue of Bedouin land registration. Urban renewal initiatives comes from “master plans,” like the Master Plan of Beersheba 2030, which excludes** Bedouin unrecognized villages from the development scheme totally.

    Think of Prawer as a law that stops* the 1970s claims that were accepted and says they should be tossed for a new process that will not review tax records as proof of ownership, and at best will only give a title for 50% of an approved claim. Also remember, the origins of Prawer comes from the Goldberg committee which calls on the state to recognize as many villages as possible. This of course is not happening…

    It’s also important to remember that Prawer does not provide housing alternatives. The 30,000 Bedouins that will likely be evicted (estimated number of evictions from both the Knesset and independent groups) will not be given alternative homes. So there is really no development happening for the Bedouins under Prawer. If Bedouins have money and can purchase a unit in a township, then yes, they will get state services. But as described in the article, these communities do not offer economic opportunities and have major social issues.

    Also, I just want to include that for the past 200 years Bedouins have not been nomadic in this region. So it’s not accurate to conclude their traditional way of life has suddenly changed and so they should also changed their housing. I appreciate Yiftachel’s comments on advocating the Bedouin village be considered a unique type of settlement like a kibbutz, with its own logic that suits the community’s needs.

    I have read every single Israeli land law, reviewed all of the master plans and read most of the relevant case law and I can not find one legitimate reason for relocating these people other than the Prawer Committee has exercised a severe manipulation of the law in order to construct artificial obstacles to completing the 1970s land registration.

    Prawer allows a future expansion of something an industrial zone, an expansion that is only in the blueprints process, to trump a legitimate claim that was accepted by the state (but not processed) over 30 years ago. Think about it. If the old claims were processed villages would become recognized. So why is that not happening? In cases where Jewish-Israeli villages are in conflict with future plans of an industrial expansion, or a park expansion, the city just changes the plans. No one evicts them. (Mitzpe Ilan is a good case study of this.) So in summation Prawer calls specifically to create a difference in how the law is applied, an ethnic difference in how the law is applied.

    If you have differing opinion, feel free to continue the conversation.

    • yrn says:

      Allison Deger
      Do you have so much knowledge about Emily A. Vernizzi file or Lamar Marshall…….
      did you read every single American land law ?
      Did you solve all the issues in your country?

      Criticizing is the main sport in Israel………. we have enough.
      If I would pretend to analyse and write a critic about Evictions of Native Americans, I am sure the feedback would be “what a weirdo…………”
      Same here.

      • Bumblebye says:

        How many of your tax shekels go to underwriting US racist laws, yrn? When you send a few, you can play ‘look over there’!

      • homingpigeon says:

        Actually, you can criticize the treatment of Native Americans and most people would probably agree with you. Now, about those Bedu again……

        Oh and about the blank check for baksheesh that you get from the American taxpayer, is there a point at which you’ll get embarrassed or are you comfortable with it as an entitlement for perpetuity?

  5. just says:

    Thanks Allison.

    The odious Prawer plan is a greedy, thieving, and disrespectful example of Israeli racism and expansionist hegemony. More room for the eternal victims from all over the planet to move on in and displace and dishonor the indigenous people.

    As for the Zionists posting here, there and everywhere– putting indigenous people on a reservation even as you continue stealing their land and livelihood, all the while exhorting that it is “for their own good” is WRONG and IMMORAL. We did it here in the US and have to live with that shame…………forever. Just look at that wonderful woman living under a tarp– aren’t you proud? Look at those beautiful children still finding joy and friendship with one another. Aren’t you a little bit ashamed?

    The laws are being twisted for one group’s interests over anothers’.

    Apartheid.

  6. i think this might be the best article i have ever read on the prawer plan. kudos allison.

    • just says:

      I think that you are correct, Annie. The “Prawer Plan” distilled.

      Read Allison’s article and weep. ;(

    • yishai says:

      I agree Annie,
      This is really solid Allison, and I appreciate it.
      I happen to be an Israeli Jewish anthropologist who studied forced Bedouin removal in the late 80s, during the first Bedouin Land Day demonstrations, in which I participated, and when we were fighting specifically to get those damn land cases to be actually adjudicated in the courts. I published an MA thesis on how institutionalized racism in Israeli anthropology, geography/planning, and other disciplines played a huge part in legitimating all this. Its been incredibly frustrating watching this struggle unfold in slow motion, without resolution, at such great human and cultural cost, with so many brilliant and creative protests and efforts to garner attention. The intense and obvious racism involved here can only be elided by willful and power-backed denials. Bedouin communities have been asking for Moshavim and Kibbutzim, or a Bedouin-specific agri-pastoral community set up of some kind. Yet, the same scientists who underwrite Bedouin dispossession go off on “development” missions of implied charity to advise pastoral (“nomadic”) communities on the Continent.
      We are literally witnessing a sort of slow motion Trail of Tears, on our watch. My only encouragement, which is minor for now, is that due to social media and sites like this, the fight is far less obscure than it was when I started in it…

      • Elliot says:

        Yishai,
        Thank you for your valuable perspective. Would you write more about this?

        • yishai says:

          True, i need to, its on my mind, for sure…
          I have a few pieces from before.
          Check: http://jnfebook.net
          The Volume 4 is especially useful I think, and i wrote there under my english name, Jesse. However, the link seems to be down today, I hope that is temporary…

        • tree says:

          Thanks for the link, yishai. I’ve bookmarked it for later reading. I agree with Elliot. You should write more here, please.

  7. dimadok says:

    Whenever there is a conflict between the nomadic and urban societies, there will be tensions and counter claims. While the hysterical crowd here salivates again, exposing the evil plots of Zionists( Jews), Prawler plan is a first serious attempt to bridge between the views of Bedouins, considering every plot of land as theirs to squat at, and the state of Israel, having one of the most complicated and strict laws with regard to land ownership.
    Bedouins are nomads indeed, but there are laws in Israel and they either change them via Knesset or by High Court or get on with it. I’m sure Allison will get some money together to pay for the appeal.

    • yishai says:

      dimadok:
      Literally everything you say is false, although I realise that may not be your intention. It may be, also, I do not know. But these are commonly held, and convenient misconceptions.
      Bedouin are not nomads, they are pastoralists. This is a key distinction. Nomads wander aimlessly (in theory, although there are no such human populations), and pastoralists carefully manage winter and summer (seasonal) grazing grounds in environmentally sustainable ways that ensure continued food sources for their herds and the human populations. Bedouin in the Negev have also been increasingly sedentary since the 19th century, building farms and small villages and cities since then. In real life, human beings and communities function in complex ways that defy simple anthropological and colonial categories.
      Prawer is not the first plan to deal seriously, it is the most recent attempt of the Israeli state to dispossess and ethnically cleanse this region, while still claiming a liberal humanitarian facade needed for respectability by its backers in the West.
      The Bedouin do not claim every piece of land theirs, but they also do not conveniently forget their ancestral and recent claims, deeds, land transactions, tax payments, forced removals and relocations, and disastrous but purposeful marginalization and neglect under Israeli rule since 1948.
      I am glad you and the other reflex zionists on this thread feel compelled to check this out and make defenses. It shows me the time is coming when denial will no longer remain a viable option.Healing and redress may then proceed. Folks like yourself will be surprised to find that the Bedouin are remarkably reasonable and willing to compromise in regard to their legitimate claims, if they can achieve even a shred of justice and respect. Much like the casein the rest of this wider conflict…

      • dimadok says:

        @yishai
        As one who actually served alongside Bedouins in IDF, I do agree that they are as every other humans on Earth- good and bad, right and wrong and just human.
        You should know this as an anthropologist that you claim to be. As an anthropologist you should also refrain from mixing science and ideology, what leads me to question your approach as one of the Anti-Zionist Jews publishing the research about Israel and Bedouin relations.
        Also, when you make a statement, please make sure that you do not include self-excluding remarks, such as your reference to nomads and their non-existence. The term “nomads” or “nomadic people” is widely used to describe precisely the way of life such as Bedouins, Mongols and others around the globe, so please refrain from patronizing me on that subject.
        The notion of Bedouins having deeds of land is also very controversial, since those deeds originate from the Ottoman registry, and Bedouins were the least cooperative and violently objective to any registration, rightfully believing that it would lead to the increased taxation.
        Their animus against any role of central government is one of the reasons that we have Cherkess communities in Israel, invited by Ottomans to protect their borders against Bedouin raids.
        The Prawler initiative is the riding horse for all kinds of political and ideological groups trying to gain some points and attention. Having you and Ms. Deger exersing their urges to defend the weak and right the wrongs should start back in home, say USA?

      • Elliot says:

        Yishai, thank you for your thoughtful analysis. All sounds quite reasonable.
        In your research, have you encountered any successful cooperation between the Israeli land authorities (at any level) and the Bedouin that can serve as a positive precedent for the Negev today?

        • yrn says:

          Elliot

          yishai and you share the same phenomena.
          Anti Zionist Israelis.
          he claims as you that he is still Israeli.
          Most Anti Zionist Israeli’s left Israel , gave up their Israeli Passport and some converted to Islam.
          how do you live with those two personality’s, sounds a mental issue to me.

        • Shmuel says:

          Most Anti Zionist Israeli’s left Israel , gave up their Israeli Passport and some converted to Islam.

          Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim.

          I presume that Yishai, like Elliot (and myself), is an Israeli citizen, regardless of his political views (it’s just a passport and Zionism is just an ideology). Israel is actually full of anti-Zionist citizens (at least 20%). Many of them have no need to convert to Islam, if only because they are already Muslims. Citizenship, religion, ideology, personality, mental health – all very different things, very mix-and-match. By the way, wherever did you hear that we’ve been converting?

        • gamal says:

          Bismillahi -r-rahmani-r- raheem, i took a look and there all sorts of funny transliterations, i guess yours is some how heretical and I condemn it,

          conversion to Islam(ism) is a bit like the movie Candyman, La illaha ilallah wa …….

          say three times and you of one us forever, don’t ever try to leave, try it Candyman, Candyman……

          I think the conversion thing is a cautionary tale, once you start with that Anti-Zionist leftism it leads to harder stuff, so Shmuel twice more, correctly and then a brief flogging one for the heresy, and one for, well, as U-Roy famously sang “Long time Jah a call you, and now you feel fi come”. Anyway its Reversion, everywhere error, i can never find that scimitar when I need it.

        • Shmuel says:

          gamal,

          Should you happen to find your scimitar (or cat o’ nine tails — probably anathema for a proper Islamic flogging anyway), there’s lots more heresy where that came from :-P

          I think the conversion thing is a cautionary tale

          And an attempt to dismiss anti-Zionism as betrayal/spiritual crisis/confusion/mental-illness etc.

      • ziusudra says:

        Re.: yishai,
        Thank you.
        You have Menschkeit.
        ziusudra

    • Pamela Olson says:

      These apologists are getting dumber and dumber. (yrn, I’m looking at you.) Do they think we are as dumb as they are? Why else would they make such utterly inane comments?

      I wish we could have differing perspectives from people who actually think instead of react directly from the spinal cord. That would be a lot more interesting. But of course if they do think too much, well… let’s just say it looks like the herd is thinning.

      • BrianEsker says:

        @ Pamela
        The “herd” is not thinning. It’s just that anyone who doesn’t toe the party line here get few responses published and usually become the targets of ignorant gratuitous insults. So that’s why people like me show up occasionally to see what the BDS’ers are telling each other and then leave.

        • Elliot says:

          @ Brian – sometimes the play gets rough but people get tired of having the same conversation repeatedly. We have also lost Palestinian participants because they were offended by the stuff Israeli apologists write. My sympathies are with them as it’s much more than just their feelings that are being hurt.

        • talknic says:

          BrianEsker “anyone who doesn’t toe the party line”

          Cute. Folk whose claims are FALSE, bigoted, racist nonsense are rightfully given short shrift

    • ziusudra says:

      Re.: dimadok,
      ….. Zionists (Jews)…….
      Not all Jews are Zionists.
      Evangelicals in the US & in Euro. are
      do very well sporting Hertzl & Birnbaum’s
      Ideology.
      ziusudra

  8. yrn says:

    Pamela Olson
    These apologists….. you got to be kidding, did you read any apology in my comment.
    but I am amused to be your mirror and show you how ridiculous you are .
    Did you solve your racist, social, discrimination problems in your country ?
    If yes well….. great for you.
    If not, do your country a favor and as a great activist, solve the problems of the Native Americans, Black discrimination, Mexican discrimination.
    at list you will not look like a fool.

    • Elliot says:

      Yrn – stock reply no. ___. The Israeli anthropologist, Yishai, already answered your repeated attempts to change the topic. If you want to start a blog dedicated to these issues, why don’t you. Anyway, that’s not Mondoweiss.

  9. piotr says:

    “… Israel, having one of the most complicated and strict laws with regard to land ownership.”

    It is true that Israel has unusually creative and peevish bureaucracy, but from what I have heard all “complications” and creativity go in one direction: for Jews and against Arabs (or sometimes hapless non-Jews that are not Arabs). For example, I am not sure where on the Earth outside Israel there is something like “absentee law” and most of all, the despicable concept of “present absentees”. Correct me if I am wrong, but the troubles of Negev Bedouins started from their “present absentee” status after 1948.

    For the last few years we could see two series of Knesset hearings: (a) how to evict Bedouins in the Negev “because nobody can be above the law” and (b) how to avoid evictions of settlers in West Bank in few cases ordered by Supreme Court “because no one should be removed from his home”. The idea that Jews should be restricted by law or than non-Jews should not be evicted from their homes just does not enter the mental universe of the Israeli majority.

  10. homingpigeon says:

    A tragic aspect of this is that many of the Bedu – as do Druse – will justify their service in the Israeli military as a tactic to hold onto their land. What this episode shows is that even when Arabs capitulate to the Zionists completely, they will still end up getting swindled and ripped off.

    Vote Libertarian, the only party that will cut off that welfare check completely and unconditionally. BDS the politicians – the artisans of death – from the two old parties.