The attempt to forcibly resettle a native minority population justifies international interest. If it continues, international intervention will be justified as well.
Members of the foreign press in Israel received an invitation this week for a tour in the south to “explore the topic” of the Bedouin population. The visit is intended to present the plan for the arrangement of Bedouin settlement in the Negev, which, according to the invitation, aims to promote “the economic development for the Negev’s Bedouin population [and] to resolve the conflict over land ownership.”
The tour, which will take place on December 10, is hosted by General (res.) Doron Almog, who heads the unit which will implement the (re)arrangement plan, commonly referred to as the Prawer Plan (named after another general, Udi Prawer, who drafted the initial document).
This military-like operation is meant to relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin – the native population of the Negev – from their homes in the unrecognized villages and into designated areas whose exact borders and locations have yet to be revealed.
There is something telling in the fact that Almog is talking to the foreign press while details of the plan are being kept secret from the Bedouin themselves. Almost 100,000 Bedouin live in the Negev’s unrecognized villages, but while Prawer Plan is set to become state law in a matter of weeks, not one of them knows whether his/her house will be destroyed or village displaced. Even the contractors that are hired to implement the plan must sign a special clause that ensures they maintain absolute secrecy on Prawer’s details; violating this clause is defined in the contract as a “national security offense.”
In fact, the only person to receive details of the designated areas for the Bedouin was Housing Minister Uri Ariel – the most extreme settler in the government – who demanded to view the maps before supporting lending his support to plan. Apparently, Ariel was satisfied with what he saw.Read More