Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and several other rights’ groups petitioned the High Court Tuesday to stop the government’s plan to build seven new Jewish towns in the northern Negev, destroying five existing Beduin villages in the process.
The plan is "discriminatory, wasteful and unnecessary," said ACRI, which filed the petition along with Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, and residents of the five Beduin villages plus several residents of Arad.
The petition refers to a government decision to establish seven agricultural settlements in the area of Mevo'ot Arad in October 2011. The plan was approved on the basis that it was a continuation of "the Zionist vision to make the desert blossom" and includes among its goals the "strengthening organized Jewish settlement." The total area of the planned development, approximately 45,000 acres, is described in the notes of the decision as an area almost "empty of population," containing two Jewish villages, four isolated ranches, and "sparse Bedouin scatterings."