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May-31-2013 14:23printcomments

Stop the Dispossession of Negev Bedouin

Tell Israel's Minister of Finance Yair Lapid to Stop the “Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev.”

Yair Lapid - Finance Minister of Israel
Yair Lapid - Finance Minister of Israel

(NEW YORK, NY) - This legislation will lead to the expulsion of 30,000 to 40,000 Bedouin Israelis from their homes and the demolition of more than two dozen villages within three years. It would also authorize funding for hundreds of police and security officers to carry out evictions and demolitions.

The bill will have its first reading before the full Knesset on Monday, June 3 where Members of Knesset will vote on whether to approve the bill. From there, the bill would head to committee before final voting on the passage of the legislation by the full Knesset.

There is still time to stop this legislation. Remind Minister Lapid about the costs of dispossession, both in terms of the toll it will take on people's lives and the financial cost to Israel. Let him know that you oppose efforts to forcibly relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin Israeli citizens.

The Prawer Plan

The Prawer Plan, a government scheme to deal with the 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, is the latest example of the systematic violation of Bedouin human rights and the denial of basic human needs. Human rights organizations believe that implementation of the Prawer Plan, the "Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev," will lead to some 30,000-40,000 people in approximately 25 of the unrecognized Bedouin villages being forcibly relocated, while the remaining villages (approximately 10) would be officially recognized by the government and linked in with state services.

Community advocates have indicated that there are less costly, more just resolutions to the Bedouin question. The unrecognized Bedouin villages should be able to remain on their land which covers less than five percent of the area of the Negev. The Israeli government can work with Bedouin villages to create zoning plans, and to offer building permits in accordance with these plans. The government should provide basic services, including education, health care, water, sanitation, electricity, garbage collection and roads, so that the residents of these villages will feel safe, maintain their pride in being citizens of Israel, and develop the skills and resources to overcome poverty.

Tell Minister Lapid to help stop the Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev. Urge him to work with his colleagues to officially legalize the remaining 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in southern Israel, sanction their land claims which involve less than five percent of the area of the Negev, and provide Bedouin communities with government services. Encourage him to work with these communities on zoning plans and to provide the residents of these villages a mechanism to be granted building permits.

Please lend your voice, visit this page to send your letter to Yair Lapid

(Special thanks to New Profile in Tel Aviv)



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