International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality has published a report relating to accessibility of government, commercial and public services in Bedouin communities in the Negev. In light of the claims being made by the government that moving to permanent settlements will provide these services at a higher level to the Bedouin population, our annual report focused this year on the availability of these services in the government planned townships. Our findings paint a sad picture.
The report addresses the inadequate access to health services, national insurance and ministry of interior offices, bank branches and public transport in each and every one of the planned townships and the recently recognized villages of the Abu Basma regional council. An English summary can be found here.
CERD Concluding Observations
On March 13th the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination released its concluding observations on Israel. Paragraph 20 contains a strong recommendation that the Law for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev (otherwise known as the Prawer Plan) be withdrawn on the grounds that it is discriminatory. The full concluding remarks can be found here, and the full text of the alternative report submitted by NCF can be found here.
Women’s March Against Prawer
Yesterday, March 21st, a march organized by Bedouin women in opposition to the Prawer Plan took place in Be’er Sheva. Approximately 150 people joined the march, including members of the NCF.
In August, Wikileaks released an internal US government cable from 2005 that discloses the government of Israel’s intention to carry out forced relocations of 65,000 Bedouin in an effort to ‘develop’ the Negev. The relevant part of the cable can be found here, in section 7, under the title “Developing the Negev and Galilee with US Help”.
News Coverage in Jerusalem Post
Two important articles appeared in the Jerusalem Post this week. The first, published March 19th, covered the Be’er Sheva District Courts rejection of six land claims cases filed on behalf of Al-Uqbi family, including claims to the land of Al Arakib. The second, published March 22nd, covered the objection filed on behalf of a group of Bedouin to a military plan to build an intelligence complex close to their homes.