The Israeli Cabinet has approved a plan to relocate more than 30,000 of the Negev Desert’s Palestinian Bedouin from their land. The move has been described by the Bedouin’s representatives as “a declaration of war on the Bedouin in the Negev”. The plan approved at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting is based on recommendations by a team from the Prime Minister’s office led by Ehud Prawer, a retired Israeli judge.
Prawer recommends the relocation of tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from their Negev villages which have not been recognised by Israel since it was established in 1948. According to the plan, the Bedouin will be compensated with alternative land in the Bedouin communities of Rahat, Kseifa and Hura; all three communities already suffer from difficult living conditions and limited infrastructure.
According to sources inside Israel (“1948-Occupied Palestine”), there are more than 45 Arab villages in the Negev Desert which are not recognised by Israel. They are home to more than 80,000 Palestinian Bedouin, hundreds of whom protested outside the Prime Minister’s Office in a demonstration organised by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. Protesters included a number of leading figures, representatives of political parties and political and popular factions, as well as Arab Knesset members.
MK Talab Al-Sanei, who took part in the protest said, “This is a clear Israeli plan which leads us to war.” Calling the plan “another Nakba (Catastrophe)”against the people of the Negev, Al-Sanei added, “We will never allow this. We have to unite and stand together against such racist plans.”