Israel is planning to forcibly relocate 36,000 Bedouins in the country’s southern Negev region, an Arab legal center and human rights organization said Wednesday.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said in a press release that Israel is planning to transfer the Bedouins, who are also Israeli citizens, so it can expand military training areas and implement “economic development” projects.
The plan will be applied in 2020 and will last for several years.
“This forced transfer plan violates Bedouin citizens’ rights under both Israeli law and international law, including the right to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing and freedom to choose one’s residence,” Adalah said.
“The plan proves that Israel’s Authority for the Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev overtly discriminates against the Bedouin population and considers them an obstacle that must be removed in order to clear the path for Jewish settlement and ‘development’.”
In addition, it emphasized that the Israeli government plans to move them to poverty-hit towns in other areas of the Negev.
“In order to Judaize the Negev, Israeli authorities are implementing economic and military plans that are not intended to serve the Bedouin and, in fact, ignore their very existence. The Naqab Bedouin will pay a heavy price for these plans: they will be forcibly expelled from their homes, their communities will be demolished, and they will be exposed to potentially life-threatening health and environmental hazards,” said attorney Myssana Morany, Adalah’s land and planning rights unit coordinator.
Israel does not supply electricity and water to villages in the Negev or recognize land ownership of Palestinians in the area.
In the Negev region, there are 38 Arab villages with a total Bedouin population of 85,000 that the government doesn’t recognize.
On Tuesday, the Hebrew-language daily Yisrael Hayom said Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has unveiled a wide-ranging plan to expel some 36,000 Bedouin Palestinians from their “unrecognized” villages in the Negev. – Anadolu