+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Prawer Plan may not be shelved after all

Ex-general overseeing implementation of bill says he has not received any instructions to halt legislation process.

The Prawer Plan may not be shelved after all. Just four days after the co-author of the proposed law, Benny Begin, announced the halting of the bill that would see the internal displacement of some 40,000 Bedouin in the Negev, the former IDF general who heads the unit which is to implement the “relocation” told Haaretz Monday that he has not received any instructions to shelve the plan and is continuing efforts towards its implementation. Major General (res.) Doron Almog added that Begin can claim whatever he wants, but that bill is still in the legislative process.

Also, according to Israel Radio, Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir (son of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir) and a member of right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party is taking over responsibility for overseeing the Prawer plan from Benny Begin.

Read +972′s full coverage of the Prawer Plan

According to the Israeli NGO Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee indeed convened Monday to discuss how to proceed with the bill, despite the fact that schools and many public buildings were still closed in Jerusalem due to the snowstorm. MK Miri Regev, who heads the committee, corroborated what Almog said, insisting the government has not requested the bill be pulled.

Bimkom, who cooperated with Bedouin community leaders on developing an alternative plan to that of the government’s, maintains that the current plan is discriminatory and that the logical solution is recognition of Bedouin rights to the lands they currently live on, in accordance with Israel’s standard zoning regulations.

It is worth noting that when Benny Begin, who co-authored the bill, announced its shelving Thursday, he didn’t do so informally. Begin’s announcement was part of an official press conference held at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, where he stood at a podium with the insignia of the Prime Minister’s Office. This begs the question: where exactly is the Prime Minister’s Office in all this? Why has Netanyahu himself not weighed in on the issue? Is this some kind of game?

UPDATE, 6:05 P.M.: Haaretz reports that although the Prime Minister’s Office has remained mum since Begin announced the shelving of the plan – officials in the PMO confirmed Monday a statement attributed to Netanyahu, expressing the need to proceed with finding a solution to this important issue for all residents of the Negev. Officials in the Knesset added that it is preferable to continue making changes to current bill rather than tossing it and starting afresh.

When news broke last week that the plan was being shelved, Bedouin citizens, human rights groups and others critics of the plan – including right-wing lawmakers – expressed cautious celebration, hailing it as a victory, since no one thought it was a possibility that the bill be scrapped.

However, as was pointed out in these pages, “the current Israeli government did not wake up overnight and decide to take seriously the grievances of its Bedouin constituents.” It appears the news today is evidence of the fact that those who oppose the transfer of the Bedouin community from their current homes still have a very long and winding struggle ahead.

Related:
Bill to displace Israel’s Bedouin to be scrapped, Prawer architect says
What’s next for Bedouin in a post-Prawer Israel?

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. One guess is that Lieberman, who made a forceful statement against the protests, does not want to back down; the coalition is threatened. I continue to see the Israeli constitution, and government, as a War Council of interests each with its core which must be satisfied. Appeasing the Bedouin is unacceptable to some on the Council.

      In any case, saying the bill should be amended, not discarded, is saying delay in removal should be minimized, assuming amendments will not favor Bedouin objecting.

      “the logical solution is recognition of Bedouin rights to the lands they currently live on, in accordance with Israel’s standard zoning regulations” : Facially, this statement means the Plan is a denial of equal protection based on ethnicity (or race) among Israeli citizens. And that is really the heart of the matter.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        You are correct. There is no equal protection based on ethnicity. I, a Jew, have to actually buy land if I want to live on it. Were I a Bedouin I would just set up a tent anywhere I want and claim it as mine. Then I would build a house and claim ancient rights.

        The Prawer plan is/was an attempt to impose a single rule of law on all citizens, with the Bedouin being until now the ones that have consistently been squatting on land they have no rights to and demanding that everyone else accept and formalize their continued land theft.

        Reply to Comment
        • Philos

          nsttnocontentcomment

          Reply to Comment
        • Philos

          K9, nostalgic for the good old days in the Transvaal are you?

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Philos, nostalgic for the good old days of the communist revolution when you would have sent me off to a gulag to work me to death or just shot me on the spot for my opinions?

            Reply to Comment
        • K9, you tried this earlier. There are Orthodox Jews nearby waiting to settle in present Bedouin land, and they and all first settlers will, I suspect, be subsidized. While it is said that Bedouin can buy in like anyone else, that is certainly sans subsidy, for they are not wanted. Nor, once recognized, will the Community Law encourage Bedouin buy ins. While I hear that Jews may not settle in Bedouin communities, this restriction should be removed; I suspect few will want to. You say elsewhere that buy ins are out of your range; this suggests a denial of equal protection among Jews.

          The rule of law is application of common principle. If proto communities are generally consulted before incorporation, equal protection is being denied here; if zone changes generally require public hearings with those previously resident, due process is being denied here, along ethnic lines, so too equal protection thereby. If common law use rights have in the past been accepted when incorporating villages, then the rule of law is being denied here. And, at least in one case, prior military, so State, contract promise of permanence is being denied as well, so contract law is being denied, so the rule of law. The rule of law is not simply what the Knesset says must be; rather, it frames what the Knesset may do. This is the latent constitutional fight begun Prawer for ALL Israelis and the judiciary.

          I have already said that my guess is that not all unrecognized villages would survive under a legal focus. Some of the newest would fall under the reason you state–recent squatters with no long term connection to the land. But it is very clear to me that you simply want them gone and care not a jot for legal implications. The Knesset presently fits your world view, so you are all for Prawer or the perhaps soon to come Avenging Son of Prawer. A test for the rule of law is that you often don’t get everything you want, ideologically or materially. I think that would be true of this Bedouin mass case. For you, however, only removal for State rationality matters, which seems always to be associated with some definition of Jewish People rather than citizen rights. On the basis of the evidence here on 972, my only source, I think there is clear reason to believe that the rule of law is being violated both on contract and common law. As important as these Bedouin lives are, these violations will haunt beyond their hurt.

          A review of Prawer urged the inclusion of one village, promised in early military decision, as a recognized village. Bibi et all nixed this. It seems there is no interest in the rule of law unless it meets the goals of the Jewish national right. But, again, the law does not always give you what you want. This contest is over several deep principles, principles I believe essential to Israel’s future. Letting some Bedouin stay if they want is not just about them.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            That there are Orthodox Jews interested in setting up a legal community is neither here nor there. It is a red herring. The land on which they are setting up a community is state land and they went through all proper state bodies in order to get permission to do so. The Bedouin on the other hand have set up tents illegally on land that they neither purchased no have any legal claim to, nor with any permission from the state to do so. And in this specific case they have done all of that in the past 20 years while the plan for legally setting up the village was going through the various planning phases. In other words, they stole that land from right under the people that were going through all the legal steps in order to acquire the use of it according to the law.

            Bedouin are welcome to buy the land at the same price as the Jews, so that argument of yours is garbage. I must however acknowledge that you are finally backing off your previous bullshit claim that the Bedouin can not buy land in these communities like everybody else.

            And yet, you and others here demand that the Bedouin be granted land rights for land they stole from the state. This is not equal protection of the law. In fact, it is blatant non-enforcement of the law for a certain ethnic group – the Bedouin. And I repeat, I, a Jew, HAVE to buy land to live on it, but I repeatedly hear the demand here, and from you, that the Bedouin should be granted the land they have stolen and continue to steal for free. Not only that, but the demand is that the state should pay out of my taxes to create infrastructure for these illegal camps. In other words, the demand is that I pay additional money in order to for land that is being stolen by an individual ethnic group – the Bedouin – to be provided with the kind of infrastructure that everyone else pays for as part of the cost of purchasing housing in Israel. I pay. They steal land from the state, receive no punishment, and collect my money. Equal protection of the law? Right…

            Due process already took place here. There were hearings over the course of decades where the Bedouin laid out their claims for ownership of the land and in the vast majority of cases they have been unable to prove ownership. In the meantime the Bedouin have been growing in population and continued to take over more and more state land and illegally build houses and other structures. A test for the rule of law is whether the law is actually applied. In this case it is being applied selectively, to the obvious benefit of the Bedouin that receive free land for which everyone else has to pay through the nose. Your position in the matter is hypocritical.

            If 972 is your only source then you not only know very little, but you are also so conceited as to not to bother to learn from any other source, and yet pretend to pass judgement.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Interesting that you compare Israel to the Ottoman Empire, because Israel is working on an empire of its own too. It wants “The Land Of Israel”, so poetically spoken by Netanyahu (I mean Mileikowsky) and all his foreigner predecessors. Which is to be composed of Palestine, Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, half of Iraq (to the Euphrates), and Sinai (to the river of Egypt). Financed and directed by the Rothschild jewish banking dynasty. The Negev and the West Bank are just the first steps. Now I probably won’t be able to use my debit card because Abraham Foxman read this post.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            From ’48 to the early 50’s, the govt. utilized a one-two punch of declaring all Arab villages and neighborhoods a closed military area, then requisitioning their land on the grounds it was not being cultivated and finally transferring ownership to the Development Authority.

            This affected Palestinians who remained in Israel and those who petitioned the High Court were told they had no legal recourse against the certificates issued by the Minister of Finance, who was empowered under the Land Acquisition law to certify the property was not in possession of its owners and still required by the state for the purposes of security, settlement or essential development. In one judgement, Younis vs. Minister of Finance, the certificate was declared a testimony as opposed to a quasi-judicial process and so the Minister was not even required to notify the petitioner his name was going to be erased from the land register. [1]

            For this reason (among others), anyone should be rolling their eyes at this talk about rule of law and due process. Israel acquired its state lands through lawless “legal” means.

            [1] Detailed in Israeli Land Seizure under Various Defense and Emergency Regulations, JPS Winter 1985.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      The war criminal Doron Almog doubles down.

      I guess London isn’t waiting for him.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Rachamim Dwek

      The Goldberg-Prawer-Begin Plan is the best solution by far to what is essentially a cut and dry situation. Negev Bedouin are a non-indigenous group who began squatting illegaly on state land under the Ottomans in the late-19th Century. Except for 8 residential lots handed to confederation chieftains in Be’er Sheva, no Bedouin had ever owned a single iota in the Negev. Even when allowed to gain ownership at no cost, as during the British Era with the “Land Registration Law of 1921,” Bedouin refused to do so out of a reluctance to assume any tax burden.

      In 1965, like the Ottoman before them, Israel created several fully subsidised communities in hopes of gently easing Bedouin out of what was then an 80 year pattern of illegality and nearly total disregard for the groups around them. While Israel was far more sucessful than the Ottoman in convincing the majority to move into these newly created communities, there was still a substantial minority who resisted and virtually all who did so demanded that they be granted far more money than had heretofore been meted out by Israel as humanitarian compensation. The rationale offered by the Bedouin- and more often by their Leftist defenders- was that they were being handed humanitatian compensation when they should instead receive market value for land they claim to own.

      In 1973 Israel created a Land Title Settlement Unit to individually ajuducate what was then several thousand claims of land ownership. By 2002 only two-thirds

      Seeking an acceptable so

      Reply to Comment