Friday, November 19, 2010

Office of Netanyahu prevents recognition of two Bedouin villages in Negev

The Bedouin village of Araqib was no less than five times destroyed by Israeli police and army. This is a pictiure of the third time it happened, in August 2010 (I wrote about it here, in Dutch) 

The Israeli sub-committee for principal planning issues in the National Council for Planning and Construction was about to include two so called 'unrecognized' Bedouin villages in the Negev  – Tel Arad and Um Elhiran – in its new plan for the Beer-Sheva greater area. The new plan would have finally given the residents of the villages the opportunity to have an official claim for their lands, to receive basic services and most importantly, not to live under a constant threat of evacuation, as many Bedouin do.
However, two days ago the committee received a letter from the Prime Minister's  advisor for planning, Gabi Golan, demanding not to include the two Bedouin villages in the new plan. The letter repeated the old Israeli demand that the Bedouin leave their lands and their old way of life and move to the small towns Israel has constructed for them.
According to sources in the committee, cited by Haaretz, the Prime Minister’s demand was met, and the new plan, which was submitted yesterday, does not include the two villages.There are more than 40 unrecognized Palestinian-Bedouin villages in Israel, many of which were in place before the state itself came into being. Their residents are Israeli citizens, but they don’t receive basic services such as water and electricity, and occasionally, they are evicted from their homes and lands, like recently happened with the villag Al-Araqib, which was destroyed several times.
A government inquiry committee headed by Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg concluded a few years ago that the state should grant most of the villages official status, but its report, though officially adopted by the government, was never implemented.

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