Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prawer Plan: Responses and Projections

The Prawer Plan was approved by the Israeli government in September 2011 and is slated to expel the native Bedouin Arab Israeli citizens from the Naqab (Negev) desert.  The Prawer Plan will displace the Bedouins to plant forests, build military bases and establish new settlements.  Almost all 200,000 of the Bedouin in the Negev will be affected.  

The international community has strongly disapproved the Prawer Plan.  Both the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the European Parliament have called on Israel to stop the Prawer Plan for its discriminatory nature and policies of displacement, eviction and dispossession, respectively. 

There is increasing concern about the ramifications of failing to withdraw the Prawer plan.  Dr. Cinton Bailey, a native of Buffalo, a resident of Israel since 1958 and a scholar of Bedouin culture, warns of a Bedouin uprising.   Bailey explains that the Bedouin community is an educated generation of professionals, teachers and university students whose families have been denied rights to the land they owned before 1948.  

Bailey notes, "[i]f someone imagines that such an operation will go down easily, he is mistaken.  Indeed, the Israel Police has begun enlisting hundreds of officers to keep the peace while these houses are being demolished, an action scheduled to get under way as early as August. The pictures from these demolition and relocation operations, seen around the world, will make the recent assault by Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner on a Danish peace activist seem like a marginal event."

Dr. Bailey's entire article can be found at Haaretz: Get ready for a Bedouin uprising.

- S.B.H.

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