(Beer el-Sabe) On 6 November 2012, following a field visit to the Naqab (Negev) organized by Adalah, a delegation of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) issued a strong public statement condemning home demolitions, calling for the recognition of Bedouin villages, and demanding the withdrawal of the government’s Prawer Plan. The delegation was comprised of four MEPs: Veronique De Keyser of Belgium, Ivo Vajgl of Slovenia, Emer Costello of Ireland, and Saïd El Khadraoui of Belgium. The public statement builds on the European Parliament’s resolution of July 2012, which raised deep concerns of the Israeli government policy of forced displacement of Arab Bedouin communities both in the Naqab and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
During the day-long tour of the Naqab, the MEPs were hosted by Arab Bedouin representatives and residents of the unrecognized villages of Wadi el-Naam, Abu Tlul, Khashem Zane, and Umm el-Hieran. The Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel discussed the Israeli government’s tactics of displacement and the reality of “non-recognition” , including exorbitant water prices, the closure and transfer of elementary schools to government-planned townships, and the establishment of new Jewish settlements on traditional Bedouin land. Of their time in the field the MEPs stated:
“The situation on the ground is very alarming. We call on the Israeli authorities to recognise those Bedouin villages in the Negev-Naqab which are located on the tribes’ ancestral land and see that their inhabitants have access to all basic services, including infrastructure, water and education as the full Israeli citizens that they are.”
“We condemn the ongoing house demolitions and lack of due process suffered by the Bedouin in the Negev-Naqab. The Israeli government’s Prawer Plan should be withdrawn as it would further institutionalise discrimination against these communities.”
Following the tour, Adalah’s Naqab Office led by Dr. Thabet Abu Rass convened an Expert Roundtable with NGO partners the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (Dukium). Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara, ACRI Attorney Rawia Abu Rabia, Haia Noach, Executive Director of Dukium, and Khalil Alamour of Alsira village detailed the various ways in which the government-approved Prawer Plan is already being implemented in the field. From the approval of the Metropolitan Plan of Be’er Sheva and the dismantling of the Abu Basma Regional Council, to the afforestation of historic Bedouin villages, the Prawer Plan is happening now despite unanimous local and international rejection of the Israeli government’s policy of displacement.
For more information, please contact Adalah’s Media Coordinators:
Salah Mohsen 052-595-0922 | Edan Ring 054-668-0085