On Monday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation reviewed a draft law known
as the Prawer-Begin plan for regulating Beduin settlement in the
The Jerusalem Post received a statement from the office of Bayit
Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked stating that the bill was passed after some changes were
made to garner the support of those in opposition.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) came to an agreement with Benny Begin,
who has been responsible for putting together and promoting his plan for
resolving the Beduin issue.
The first demand that was met in the
redrafted proposal was an agreement to first draw up a specific map that
includes exact details of the plan, which delineates the areas that would be
given to Beduin and those reserved for the state or Jewish settlement. Second, a
ministerial committee headed by the Prime Minister will be established to
monitor the implementation of the plan. Third, the timetable of the plan would
be shortened from five years to three. And fourth, a Jewish settlement would be
established on the outskirts of Arad in the Negev.
Both the Association
for Civil Rights in Israel and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights voiced
their strong opposition to the approval, stating in a press release that the
government should promote the planning and recognition of Beduin villages to
insure Beduin rights, and not support the expulsion and destruction of Beduin
ACRI lawyer Rawia Aburabia told the Post that the Right sees
this “from a demographic and security issue,” adding that “from our perspective
it is a human rights issue.
“We are opposing the law because it is a
mechanism that is brutal and anti-democratic, and will impose a solution where
around 40,000 people will be evicted from their homes and will lose the rights
on their historic land,” added Aburabia. She called for equal treatment of Jews
and Beduin in Israel.
Amnesty International said the proposal does not
adequately protect the Beduin from being expelled from their homes.
Sokol, communications and publications director for Amnesty International
Israel, told The Jerusalem Post that their organization will review the process
and continue the battle against the proposal in the Knesset by lobbying MKs to
oppose the bill.
Ari Briggs – international director for Regavim, an NGO
that seeks to ensure responsible, legal and accountable use of Israel’s national
lands – told the Post that the current plan “is not one that will solve the
issues, so we want to go back to discussions to guarantee success,” he
Briggs said he was uncomfortable that his organization was opposing
the bill, thus putting it on the same side like organizations such as Amnesty
and Adala, but “the reason for our opposition is very different from theirs.”
“We want to see a fair solution, but we want it to be based on Zionist
principles on the equal application of the law to both Jews and Arabs,” said
“Our interests shouldn’t be based just on compassion but also
effectiveness. Having a plan just for the sake of having a plan is not the idea.
We need a plan that’s actually going to work and achieve its goals. As such it
needs to go back to the committee for further fine-tuning,” he
Regavim’s southern region director Amichai Yogev told the Post that
it is not true that the Begin plan calls for the relocation of 40,000
“The Beduin say today that they don’t want to move from anywhere
and want all the land. Under the current plan, they will all be able to stay
where they are.”
There is only one Beduin settlement – Wadi el-Naam –
that would need to be relocated under the Begin plan, Yogev said, adding that
the only reason for this was its proximity to a toxic chemical
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a lawyer and political activist for the Strong
Israel party – which failed to secure any Knesset seats in the recent elections
– was furious that Bayit Yehudi went along with the plan, stating that the
national-religious party has abandoned its principles and ideology from when it
was in the opposition.
“They are forgetting where they came from and
their values, they always talked about this plan, that it was giving up land and
legalizing illegal buildings,” and now he said, they are agreeing to these
Ben-Gvir said that Regavim is backed by MK Ariel, so it is
unfortunate that he is going against it and acting like Ariel Sharon, who
withdrew from Gaza.
“The same argument was made for withdrawing from Gush
Katif [in Gaza]. They think concessions will solve the problem,” said
Ariel will become “the hero of the Beduin and is going to
create a Bedouin state,” he added.
Former Likud minister Benny Begin
proposed a plan for regulating the land of the Bedouin in 2012. The plan has
drawn opposition from both the Right, which argued that it would give away too
much and not solve the problem, and from the Left, which claims that it is not
The Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of
the Negev – along with the High Steering Committee of the Arabs of the Negev –
organized a protest on Monday outside of the prime minister’s office in
Jerusalem, denouncing the plan’s approval, reported the Palestinian Ma’an News
MK Ibrahim Sarsour (United Arab List-Ta’al) told the
demonstrators that his party rejected the recommendations and urged the Arab
public to use legal means to try and prevent its implantation, according to the
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