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Israeli government kills plan to uproot Bedouin

Israel/Palestine
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Protesters call for the release of people who were arrested in actions against the Prawer Plan on November 30th. (Photo:  REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Protesters call for the release of people who were arrested in actions against the Prawer Plan on November 30th. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

The “Day of Rage” protests held last month by Bedouin Arabs and their allies to protest the Prawer Plan were met with defiant rhetoric from Israeli officials.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to move forward with the Israeli government’s initiative to demolish Bedouin villages, uproot their inhabitants and build Jewish towns on top of them.

But two weeks after the protests, the plan has been scrapped.  In a big reversal, Netanyahu’s office announced today that the plan has been killed after Benny Begin, the co-author of the plan, recommended that course of action.

The development, first predicted this week by Yariv Levin, the chairman of Israel’s governing coalition, will be welcomed by Bedouins as well as by right-wing opponents of the plan, who felt that it gave too many concessions.

On December 9, Levin said that the plan would probably be scrapped because the co-author of the plan admitted he never consulted with the Bedouins themselves about the legislation. Benny Begin, who helped draft the plan along with Ehud Prawer, made the admission during a Knesset hearing Monday on the initiative, though Bedouin activists have been making the point that they weren’t consulted for years.

“I wish to again make clear that contrary to what has been claimed in recent weeks, I didn’t tell anyone that the Bedouin agreed to my plan,” he said. And with that, Levin said that “there’s no chance of approving the second and third reading of the Prawer bill in its present form, because there is no justification to do so,” according to Haaretz‘s Jonathan Lis.

Levin’s comments came days after a government map was revealed that provided, for the first time ever, concrete details on what the Prawer Plan would actually entail, though it’s unclear if it was a working map or simply meant to swing Knesset votes, according to +972 Magazine‘s Michael Omer-Man. The map, prepared by Housing Minister Uri Ariel but never given to Bedouin communities, showed that 40,000 Bedouin Arabs would be displaced and that the state would take over 61,700 acres of Bedouin land.

The big question mark hanging over the news that the plan is scrapped, though, is what comes next.  The drive to solve the “Bedouin problem,” in the rhetoric of Israeli officials, won’t be stopped because the Prawer Plan has been scrapped.  Likud’s Levin has suggested that a new plan should be implemented:

The present bill should be changed significantly. I’m willing to be generous to the Bedouin that would immediately agree to join the process. Whoever won’t agree should be forcefully placed in the areas allotted to Bedouin. The agreement to join the generous outline should be limited in time, and is should be determined that the lands would only be leased to the Bedouins, not registered with the land authority as their property

Meanwhile, the status quo for unrecognized Bedouin communities–unconnected to water or electricity and bracing for demolition orders to make way for Jewish National Fund forests and new Jewish communities–holds steady.

 

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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7 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid
    December 12, 2013, 12:52 pm

    David Ben War Criminal once said “It doesn’t matter what the gentiles say. It matters what the Jews do”

    “It doesn’t matter what the gentiles say”. Yes it fucking does , Israel and this proves it.

  2. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail
    December 12, 2013, 1:19 pm

    Well, it makes good headlines (which is probably the motivation), but the ethnic cleansing existed long before this plan, and no doubt will continue after its demise. Instead of a formalised plan, it is more than likely that the slow, steady house removals and demolitions, including the sequestration of land and property will carry on as it has been doing in the West Bank for years. All Israel learns is that it is better to keep it under the radar.

  3. xanadou
    xanadou
    December 12, 2013, 2:02 pm

    On the one hand I want to believe that the Israelis are capable of rational thought and of accepting that they, too, like the rest of us, are fallible. On the other hand, there is the 65 year old history of my-way-or-the-highway arrogance. The article’s last sentence gives greater weight to the latter.

    I expect that the proponents of the Prawer Plan are hoping that this stunt? decision? will induce a coma among the public. Meanwhile the usual evildoers will work on a fast-working stealth action to be implemented when the world’s public opinion will be distracted by a massive tragedy or scandal.

    The sooner the Israelis learn what makes a world-class government, i.e., one capable of admitting a bad idea, inter alia, the better its chances of survival into history’s future. Parochial pariahs have short life spans.

  4. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    December 12, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Wrong, Israel will just do it later, in the future, like settlements.

  5. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    December 12, 2013, 2:13 pm

    They right-wing MKs are trying to scrap it — TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE UNFAIR FOR THE BEDOUIN. Nice guys.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    December 12, 2013, 5:24 pm

    RE: “Israeli government kills plan to uproot Bedouin”

    MY COMMENT: I doubt that the plan has really been “killed”. Except maybe in the sense that an evil antagonist appears to have been killed halfway through a Hollywood horror flick.
    To the extent the plan has been “killed”, one day a big boulder will be rolled away from the opening of the tomb, and the plan will be resurrected (and might even ascend into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the father almighty).

  7. Tuyzentfloot
    Tuyzentfloot
    December 13, 2013, 9:34 am

    So they weren’t going to grow pine forests on them this time. Which is a surprise. Not many people know this but in modern hebrew the words ‘pine tree’ and ‘eraser’ are homonyms and they are used interchangeably. Which is why most hebrew keyboards still have a pinetree icon for the delete button and MSPaint has a pinetree button for the eraser function. Or why the erase button draws pinetrees.

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