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UN body demands Israel address discrimination against non-Jewish citizens

Israeli policemen detain a Bedouin man during clashes that followed a protest against home demolitions on January 18, 2017 in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, which is not recognized by the Israeli government, near the southern city of Beersheba, in the Negev desert. (Photo AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli policemen forcefully detain a Bedouin man during a protest against home demolitions on 18 January 2018 [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images]

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) “released late last week a list of key issues relating to Bedouin citizens of Israel in the Negev/Naqab region and discrimination against non-Jewish citizens” to which Israel is obliged to respond.

According to Adalah, the Committee asked Israel to provide information on a variety of issues pertaining to institutionalised discrimination, including “steps taken to fully respect rights of the Arab-Bedouin people to their traditional and ancestral lands”.

The Committee is also concerned to find out what “assessments, if any, which Israel carried out on impact of the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People on the non-Jewish population and on their enjoyment of the Covenant rights, particularly the right to self-determination, right to non-discrimination and cultural rights.”

The UN Committee is also demanding answers from Israeli authorities regarding “concerns raised regarding the Law that it may exacerbate the existing ethnic segregation and lead to policies and budget allocation that may further disadvantage the non-Jewish population.”

READ: Negev Bedouin strike, protest Israel demolition policy

Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany stated: “We are happy to have convinced the Committee to focus on the forced displacement of the Bedouin community as one of the key concerns requiring further clarification from Israel.”

“Although the Prawer Plan for mass displacement of the Bedouin was frozen in 2013, Israel is now using other mechanisms to forcefully displace Bedouin communities. The past two years, for example, have seen a huge increase in Israeli demolitions of Bedouin homes”, she added.

“Israel has also just revealed a plan to forcefully displace 36,000 Bedouin citizens to make way for massive ‘development’ projects to be built on top of their homes and villages. All these practices are expected to receive backing from the Jewish Nation-State Law.”

READ: Supreme Court does not have power to cancel Nation State Law

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