BBSNews 201305-08 — Today (May 6) the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a draft Law of Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev (known as the “Prawer-Begin Plan”). The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights reiterate their strong opposition to the plan in its current state. The organizations call on the government to act to promote the planning and recognition of Bedouin villages, in order to ensure the basic rights of Bedouin citizens in the Negev.
According to Attorney Rawia Aburabia of ACRI: “today the government approved a plan that will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents, dispossessing them of their property and historical rights to their lands, destroying the social fabric of their communities, and sealing the fate of thousands of families into poverty and unemployment. All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even planned to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages. Rather than displacing these communities, the government should seek a true and solution that facilitates the inclusion of Bedouin citizens into the civil and social fabric of the Negev by recognizing the unrecognized villages and acknowledging their legal ownership rights to their lands.”
According to urban planner Nili Baruch, of Bimkom, “the key to a solution to the issue of the unrecognized villages in the Negev is planning. A plan to formally recognize the unrecognized villages (such as the one initiated by the village residents themselves) will afford them their rights to education, health, fitting infrastructure, and sources of employment. Such a process would not only be the most likely to succeed, but also the most just, coming after years of neglect of the unrecognized villages, most of which have been in existence since before the state of Israel was established.”