Knesset approves forced displacement of Arab Bedouin
Knesset approves Prawer-Begin Bill in first reading
This evening, the Israeli Knesset approved the discriminatory Prawer-Begin Bill, with 43 votes for and 40 votes against. The Prawer-Begin Plan threatens to displace tens of thousands of Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev) and dispossess them from their land, destroy tens of villages, and resolve all remaining and disputed land claims in favor of the state.
The bill will now be sent to the Committee for Interior Affairs and Environment to be prepared for the second and third readings. The Knesset may approve it and enact it as law before the closing of the Knesset session at the end of next month, July 2013.
Dr. Thabet Abu Rass, Director of Adalah’s Naqab Office, said that "The Israeli government approved the bill despite strong, vocal opposition from the Arab Bedouin community, Arab political leadership, civil society, academics, and the international community."
Government refuses dialogue
The government has refused to seriously consider Arab Bedouin input on the bill, and has ignored all alternative plans and solutions proposed by the Arab Bedouin community. Instead, the government is imposing the Prawer-Begin Bill. This plan not only violates their human rights and constitutional rights, but will also entrench poverty and marginalization of the Bedouin, and turning their communities into centres of crime, violence and poverty.
Today: Fighting eviction of unrecognized Arab Bedouin village Umm el-Hieran
In a related matter, while the Prawer-Begin Bill was being considered for its first reading, the Magistrates Court in Be'er Sheva held a hearing on the case of Umm el-Hieran. There, Israeli authorities are planning to destroy the homes and evict the residents of the Arab Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran in order to build a Jewish settlement of Hiran on the village's ruins.
Photo: The village of Al-Araqib in the Negev/Naqab has been demolished over 45 times since July 2010 to make way for forests. Photo courtesy of ActiveStills.