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On 8th anniversary of Palestinian BDS Call, BNC calls to isolate Knesset over Prawer Plan

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[A Press Release from The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)  informs Palestinian civil society has called for freezing “Knesset” membership in Inter-Parliamentary Union in Light of Racist Laws]

Press Release:

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“Prawer Plan” to uproot and dispossess indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian Communities in the Naqab (Negev) is latest definitive evidence of the colonial nature of Zionism

Occupied Palestine, 9 July 2013 – The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) condemns the racist and colonial “Prawer Plan” which was adopted by the Israeli government as official policy and recently passed by parliament (Knesset) in the first reading. This plan calls for ethnically cleansing tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel by confiscating hundreds of thousands of dunams [1] of land that they have owned for generations in the Naqab and destroying their homes and communities to expand Jewish-only settlements in the Naqab.

On today’s 8th anniversary of the Palestinian BDS Call, the BNC, which is the largest coalition in Palestinian society, reiterates its unwavering support for the struggle of our people in the 1948 territory against Israeli apartheid and its racist laws [2] and warmly welcomes the principled support for this struggle by anti-Zionist Jewish Israelis. The BNC calls upon all people of conscience around the world to escalate BDS campaigns against the state of Israel and its institutions which are responsible for this latest chapter of ethnic cleansing against our people.

In response to the Israeli parliament’s approval in the first reading of this racist “Prawer Plan”, and given its record of enacting tens of racist laws in the past, Palestinian civil society, as represented in the BNC, calls upon the Inter-Parliamentary Union to freeze the Knesset’s membership until it repeals all racist laws that are inconsistent with international law and the principles and objectives of the United Nations and of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in particular the principle of “protection and promotion of human rights.”

The “Prawer Plan” is a new chapter of the ongoing Nakba (catastrophe) against the indigenous Palestinian people which started in 1948 when Zionist militias, and later the newly established State of Israel, uprooted and dispossessed a majority of Palestinians from their ancestral land.

The main objective of the Prawer scheme is to sever the historical ties that bind Bedouin Palestinian communities to their land. It therefore presents new irrefutable evidence of the colonial nature of Zionism in thought and practice, as well as the nature of the apartheid system which the Israeli regime imposes on our people in the 1948 territory, reaching its peak with the insistence of this regime on maintaining an exclusionary “Jewish” identity that relegates the indigenous Palestinians into an inferior status by law. This aspect of Israel’s regime of oppression recalls the defining characteristics of apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South in the United States.

The “Prawer Plan” violates universal principles of human rights, such as equality and effective participation in decision-making matters that are related to human life and well-being. It specifically violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [3], which in Article (8) states that “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture,” including “Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources,” as well as “any form or forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights.”

The plan also violates article (10) of the Declaration which prevents forcible removing of the indigenous peoples from their lands or territories.

“Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.”

All Palestinians in the 1948 territory, regardless of their different ideologies or political affiliations, are waging a determined and unified struggle against the Israeli apartheid regime that they are forced to live under in order to preserve what remains of their lands. Since the 1948 Nakba, successive Israeli governments have illegally looted and confiscated most of the land owned by Palestinians, who became citizens of the state, in order to further entrench the existing apartheid system that racially privileges Jewish citizens over Palestinian (Muslim and Christian) citizens, with legal and legislative cover. The Israeli judicial system and parliament share direct responsibility for their indispensable role in this ongoing process of dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian minority in Israel.

The time-honored logic of consistently pressuring rogue states to bring about their compliance with international law, including human rights principles, should be further applied to Israel, a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people. BDS is one of the main forms of Palestinian popular and civil resistance which aims at regaining our fundamental rights, whether individual or collective, including the rights of nearly 1.5 million Palestinians in the 1948 territory.

BDS has proven over the last 8 years to be the most effective form of international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The impressive achievements of the BDS movement in the last few months, such as Stephen Hawking’s boycott of an Israeli conference organized by Shimon Peres, and the frantic reaction of the Israeli establishment to the inspiring growth of the BDS movement across the world have underlined Israel’s vulnerability to this non-violent, rights-based movement that is anchored in international law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[1] One dunam = 1000 m2
[2] The 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines apartheid as “inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israel’s regime over its own Palestinian citizens fits this definition as it maintains more than 50 laws that racially discriminate against them.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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4 Responses

  1. just
    July 11, 2013, 9:54 pm

    What a great article!

    BDS, 1S1P1V, end Apartheid! Thanks Annie.

  2. Hostage
    July 12, 2013, 5:41 am

    The British mandatory administration taxed the Bedouin agricultural land that was under cultivation and had the RAF conduct surveys of its extent and population for the UN Ad Hoc Committees on Palestine. The survey revealed that the Bedouins had more agricultural land than the Jewish community’s total combined land holdings. Here’s a relevant portion of the UN partition plan which placed disputes regarding minority property rights under the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice:


    A declaration shall be made to the United Nations by the Provisional Government of each proposed State before independence. It shall contain, inter alia, the following clauses:
    General Provision

    The stipulations contained in the Declaration are recognized as fundamental laws of the State and no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them.

    Chapter 2: Religious and Minority Rights

    Freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, shall be ensured to all.

    No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the ground of race, religion, language or sex.

    All persons within the jurisdiction of the State shall be entitled to equal protection of the laws.

    The family law and personal status of the various minorities and their religious interests, including endowments, shall be respected.

    Except as may be required for the maintenance of public order and good government, no measure shall be taken to obstruct or interfere with the enterprise of religious or charitable bodies of all faiths or to discriminate against any representative or member of these bodies on the ground of his religion or nationality.

    The State shall ensure adequate primary and secondary education for the Arab and Jewish minority, respectively, in its own language and its cultural traditions.

    The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own language, while conforming to such educational requirements of a general nature as the State may impose, shall not be denied or impaired. Foreign educational establishments shall continue their activity on the basis of their existing rights.

    No restriction shall be imposed on the free use by any citizen of the State of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, in religion, in the Press or in publications of any kind, or at public meetings.(3)

    No expropriation of land owned by an Arab in the Jewish State (by a Jew in the Arab State)(4) shall be allowed except for public purposes. In all cases of expropriation full compensation as fixed by the Supreme Court shall be paid previous to dispossession.

    Chapter 4: Miscellaneous Provisions

    The provisions of chapters 1 and 2 of the declaration shall be under the guarantee of the United Nations, and no modifications shall be made in them without the assent of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Any Member of the United Nations shall have the right to bring to the attention of the General Assembly any infraction or danger of infraction of any of these stipulations, and the General Assembly may thereupon make such recommendations as it may deem proper in the circumstances.

    Any dispute relating to the application or interpretation of this declaration shall be referred, at the request of either party, to the International Court of Justice, unless the parties agree to another mode of settlement.

    • RoHa
      July 12, 2013, 6:05 am

      “No expropriation of land owned by an Arab in the Jewish State (by a Jew in the Arab State)(4) shall be allowed except for public purposes.”

      That’s no problem. The Jewish State can declare any purpose a public purpose.

      “In all cases of expropriation full compensation as fixed by the Supreme Court shall be paid previous to dispossession.”



      Well …

      The thing is …

      Hey! Look over there! Pictures of the Holocaust!

      • Hostage
        July 13, 2013, 2:41 pm

        That’s no problem. The Jewish State can declare any purpose a public purpose.

        No, you can’t declare any use of expropriated land for Jews only to be a non-discriminatory “public purpose”, i.e. “No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the ground of race, religion, language or sex.”

        Prof Oren Yiftachel has pointed out time and again the hypocrisy of Israeli lawmakers shreying about Bedouin use of “state lands”. He asks why Bedouin citizens with equal rights can’t use state lands for communal settlements too, just like many Jewish communities.

        Remember this is supposed to be under UN guarantee and subject to economic, political, and legal sanctions.

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