Foreign Ministry braces for international condemnation of Prawer plan

Issue of relocation of Beduin towns in the Negev has drawn interest in the United States and the European Union.

By YASSER OKBI
November 23, 2013 07:58
1 minute read.
Hundreds demonstrate in solidarity with Beduin citizens, August 1, 2013.

Demonstration against Prawler plan Beduin. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

 
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The Foreign Ministry was preparing to rebuff international condemnation of the government's Beduin settlement plan, known as the Prawer Bill, amid a successful campaign led by human rights organizations and activists protesting the plan.

The Prawer bill was recently approved by the cabinet and is awaiting Knesset approval. Ahead of the Knesset vote, members of the Internal Affairs committee will visit Beduin towns in the Negev on Sunday. Meanwhile, heads of the Beduin sector declared a strike because, according to them, none of them were invited to this tour that deals with their future status.

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The Post learned that the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem is taking the international campaign against the Israeli government very seriously, in light of increasing interest in the issue from international organizations and world governments, particularly in the US and in the European Union, where objections and protests against the plan are garnering widespread publicity.

Two weeks ago, Beduin Authority Director-General Yehuda Bachar hosted Foreign Ministry Director-General Rafi Barak, head of the ministry's public affairs directorate Gideo Meir and representatives from the Foreign Ministry's communications branch.

During the visit, ministry representatives heard of developments in the sector and of the difficulties and complex treatment in it.

"You are our ambassadors to the world and it is important that you see first-hand the great work the Israeli government does in favor of the Bedouin sector and in favor of the Negev in general, and relay to the whole world," said Bachar.

Barak said that "I have no doubt that regulating Bedouin settlements through dialogue and cooperation is the right move for the benefit of the country as a whole and the Beduin sector in particular."

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