Position paper of the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) regarding the Recommendations of the Implementation Committee For Regulating Bedouin Settlement in the Negev , 2011(The Prawer Plan).
The Prawer Plan was presented as a memorandum law to the Israeli Government by the Justice Ministry on the 3rd of January 2012. In the event that the law is passed by the Knesset it will lead to the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of people from their ancestral lands, the demolition of dozens of villages and the forced removal of an agricultural people to townships rife with poverty and unemployment.
Although the proposed law is entitled “The Law for Regulating Bedouin Settlement in the Negev” it does not contain a map, nor details of the villages to be regulated. Instead, the law focuses on compensation in land and money for those who agree to accept the minimal offers specified in the proposal. Those who do not accept or who fail to apply to the courts within 5 years of the law being passed by the Knesset, will have lose their lands which will then be registered as state land.
Ehud Prawer, the architect of the plan, is the former Deputy Head of the National Security Council and subsequently serves a Head of the Policy Unit within the Prime Minister’s Office. The law is supposedly intended to end the prolonged lands dispute between the Negev Bedouin and the State. Prawer, who was supposed to implement the recommendations of a previous committee, has chosen instead to write a new programme which in no way involved input from the Bedouin community or the general public. In order to correct this omission somewhat, Government Decision, Section 3: paragraphs a-d determines that following publication of the Plan, there should be meetings with the Bedouin population in order to explain its details and to get their input (the so-called listening process) during a 45 day period which has since been extended to 75 days, until 18 March 2012.
We believe however that the law will lead to an irreversible situation in the Negev. Instead of civil equality and affirmative action after years of deprivation, the Government will introduce a system of enforcement and surveillance of the Bedouin that will only increase the inequality between Arabs and Jews in the Negev and will threaten the stability of the area and its residents.
NCF opposition to the proposed law ‘Regulating the Settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev’ derives from the fact that this is a discriminatory, non-egalitarian law which cannot be implemented in practice and will in no way regulate settlement in the Negev. For these reasons NCF totally rejects the proposed law and urges the Government to table it without delay. NCF calls on the Government to recognise all the hitherto unrecognized villages as part of the process of regulation and not to introduce a process that will lead to their eradication.
Herewith some of the problems arising from the proposed law:
Discrimination by Regional Area
The proposed Law does not recognize the property Laws and additional Laws:
Implications of the Programme
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