Bedouin in the Naqab Reject Prawer and Propose Alternative Plan
On 15 July 2013, the Palestinian public in Israel voiced its unequivocal rejection of the Prawer-Begin Plan, which threatens to displace the Palestinian Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev), uproot them from their land, and demolish their homes and villages. Demonstrations against the Prawer-Begin Plan and in solidarity with the Bedouin were held throughout the country. Dozens of Arab protestors were arrested, detained and subjected to police brutality during demonstrations in Akka (Akko) and Beer el-Sabe (Beer Sheva).
In the face of the decades-long onslaught against their rights, villages, property and lifestyle, the Bedouin in the Naqab have proposed their own alternative to the government’s plans. The Alternative Plan is based on the basic demands of the Palestinian Bedouin community and their vision of how to resolve land issues in the Naqab, particularly in the unrecognized villages.
Over three years, the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Naqab, together with Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights and Sidreh – Arab Bedouin Women in the Negev, have worked to develop an Alternative Master Plan for the unrecognized villages in the Naqab. The plan outlines a process to recognize the Bedouin villages in their existing locations and to provide identical infrastructure and services to which all Israeli citizens are entitled. The Alternative Plan is grounded in Israeli planning regulations and the rights of indigenous peoples provided for by international conventions. The Alternative Plan was formally submitted to Israeli government offices; however, the government has ignored the plan, while instead pursuing state plans to displace the people.
The basic principles of the Alternative Plan are:
Recognition of the existing Bedouin villages in their current locations on the basis of professional criteria, as well as the recognition that most of the villages predate the founding of the State of Israel or were established by military order after their people were displaced from their original villages;
The meaningful participation of the Arab Bedouin in the planning and decision-making process that will determine their future and shape their living space;
Recognition of the Bedouin village as a distinct type of village with its own social and cultural character;
Recognition of the traditional Bedouin land ownership schemes in the Naqab, and of Bedouin ownership of their land;
The creation of suitable spatial conditions to accelerate economic development and reduce the existing socio-economic gaps in the area;
Protection of open areas and natural resources, and Bedouin rights thereto;
- Protection for Bedouin rights, in particular the rights to dignity, equality and other rights protected by international human rights law.
Adalah joins the Bedouin community in rejecting the Prawer-Begin Plan and supporting the Alternative Plan as a just and workable foundation for future planning in the Naqab.
Adalah's mailer "Prawer-Begin: The Protests, the Plan and the Alternative", 18 July 2013
Adalah's "Stop Prawer" Campaign Page
(Picture: The unrecognized Bedouin village of Atir in the Naqab; Photo by Adalah)