Last week, activists opposed to the Israeli government’s initiative to demolish Bedouin villages celebrated when the proposal, known as the Prawer Plan, was scrapped. But they may have clapped their hands too soon.
On Monday, the Israeli ex-general tasked with implementing the plan breathed new life into the legislation. According to Haaretz‘s Jonathan Lis, retired General Doron Almog said that he will continue preparations to implement the law. Almog’s statement came days after Benny Begin, who helped draft the Prawer Plan, said that it was dead because of broad opposition to the plan within the Knesset.
Here’s more from Haaretz:
The chairwoman of the Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee, MK Miri Regev (Likud), also announced Monday that her committee would continue to advance the Prawer bill despite Begin’s announcement to the contrary. Regev discussed the matter in the morning with the director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Harel Locker, and also spoke with Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, but neither asked her to shelve the bill, she said…
Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir will apparently replace Begin as the minister in charge of implementing the plan. Shamir’s office said that while the minister had been involved in advancing the plan for months, he has not yet been formally appointed as Begin’s replacement.
One of the main tactics now being considered is changing the wording of the bill to separate the issue of ownership claims to the land, which only affects a few thousand Bedouin, from the issue of recognizing Bedouin towns. The latter portion of the bill would then be put on a fast track, sources involved in the legislative process said.
A Knesset source told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want to scrap the entire bill, which calls for demolishing unrecognized Bedouin Arab villages, displacing tens of thousands of people and building new Jewish towns in their place. Instead, Netanyahu wants to amend the current bill so that it doesn’t have to go through the full Knesset process for passing legislation. The plan passed its first reading in the Knesset last summer. Two more votes are needed for it to become law.
The Prawer Plan sparked massive protests last month, which catapulted the issue into the global media.