The Israeli government yesterday announced a plan that would see tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinian citizens displaced from their communities, under the guise of development.
According to far-right news outlet Arutz Sheva, the plan unveiled by the state’s Bedouin Authority aims to “regulate” the situation of some 125,000 Bedouin citizens in the Negev who currently live in homes or entire communities that are deemed illegal or “unrecognised” by authorities.
Bedouin Palestinian citizens have faced systematic discrimination since the founding of the state, including mass displacement, segregation, land confiscation, and lack of investment.
The new plan will reportedly redraw the boundaries of existing, official townships, so as to retroactively legalise the homes of tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens.
However, some 65,000 residents of so-called “unrecognised” communities will be “relocated” to townships, where they will receive a residential plot and compensation.
The budget for the plan is said to be around nine billion shekels ($2.5 billion), including the construction of 150,000 housing units – although only 40,000 units will be allocated by 2021.
Israeli authorities have long sought to concentrate the Bedouin population into a number of official townships, communities which consistently rank amongst the poorest in the country.