Panel to discuss law regulating Beduin settlement

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to meet to consider a law meant to regulate Bedouin settlement building in the Negev.

By
May 5, 2013 20:55
2 minute read.
A woman carries produce in the Tel Sheva settlement near Beersheva

Bedouin settlement tent 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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On Monday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will look at a draft law for regulating Bedouin settlement in the Negev. Amnesty international called for the rejection of the proposal because it does not adequately protect the Bedouin from being expelled from their homes.

Shani Sokol, the communications and publications director for Amnesty International Israel, told The Jerusalem Post  that she thinks the ministries will approve the bill tomorrow, which will call for a step by step process, requiring approval each step of the way.

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She said that her organization would continue to work to stop the bill and called on the ministers to reject it.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) put out a press release on Sunday stating that it also opposed the plan.

The statement warned that the implementation of the plan would "cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents, dispossessing them of their property and historical rights to the lands, destroying the social fabric of their communities, and sealing the fate of thousands of families into poverty and unemployment."

In addition, it said that at the same time it would promote Jewish settlement in the area on "the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages."

Ari Briggs, the international director for Regavim, told the Post that their organization seeks a solution, but one that puts the plan on the table. The current plan "is not one that will solve the issues, so we want to go back to discussions to guarantee success," he said.



He predicted, according to his sources, that the bill would not pass.

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 Briggs.

"There is no map attached to this plan. If you want to put together a plan, let's have maps, let's have numbers, let's have plans," he added.

"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 said.

Former Likud Minister, Benny Begin, proposed a plan for regulating the land of the Bedouin in 2012 and it has drawn opposition from both the right, who say that it is giving away too much and not solving the problem; and from the left who claim that it is not generous enough.

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