Prawer Legislation – Halted and Revived

Special Update

Discriminatory Policies against the Bedouin Negev Communities and Developments Regarding the Prawer Plan

Prawer Legislation – Halted and Revived

Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman on Bedouin relocation announces that the plan is still on track for implementation.

Major General (res.) Doron Almog has stated that he will continue preparing for implementation despite contradiction with the announcement by former minister Benny Begin that the plan has been shelved.

An official appointed to implement the proposal to relocate Bedouin settlements in the Negev says he has received no instructions to cease preparations despite last week's ministerial announcement that the plan has been shelved.



Developments since November 30th, 2013

Police responded with violence to public demonstrations protesting the Prawer Plan which took place on Day Of Rage ”.

NGO’s, civil rights groups and activists declared November 30th 2013 to be the third day of rage protesting the Prawer Plan as part of ongoing campaigns against the government's discriminatory policies in the Negev.

Demonstrations took place at the Hura Junction in the Negev\Naqab and in Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Gaza, Berlin, Washington, Toronto and many more cities around the world. Police used harsh and violent means to disperse the demonstrations including water hoses, shock grenades, horses to trample demonstrators, and even tear gas at the Hura Junction.

Unprecedented arrests of demonstrators include actions against minors.

Fifty demonstrators were arrested including thirty in Haifa and twenty at the Hura Junction. All demonstrators arrested in Haifa were released within two days; however, most of those arrested in Hura are still in prison.  At the time of this report 8 demonstrators are still being held including two minors.  Authorities requested continued custody until the termination of procedures. This is an unusual requirement implemented only in cases of severe violence.

This past week several demonstrators were released to house arrest while eight, including minors, remain in custody. The police continue to arrest Bedouin demonstrators.

One Jewish demonstrator, Eldad Zion, was in custody for 18 days, released to house arrest only on December 17. The regional court released Zion from house arrest and gave him a restraining order from the Negev\Naqab, and from demonstrations in Israel\Palestine.

There are no precedents to the decisions taken by the State's Attorney.

We believe that the purpose of the unprecedented demands of the state attorney, and the decision regarding the arrests is to send a strong message to human rights defenders hoping it might deter them from planning future demonstrations against the governmental policies regarding the Bedouin population in the Negev

The authorities continue to demolish houses in Bedouin villages before and after November 30th. in several Bedouin villages. Further demolitions are planned and house demolition orders were distributed.

On december 26th, the unrecognized village Al Arakib was demolished for the 63rd time.

Prawer Legislation – Halted and Revived

At a press conference on December 12, 2013 the government announced that the parliamentary hearings on the Prawer plan were suspended and that the legislation was canceled.

This announcement was made in response to the participation of thousands of protesters in massive campaigns on and around November 30 in Hura and other locations. Several right wing groups also advocated for the cancellation of the plan which they perceived as too generous towards the Bedouin population in the Negev  and should include more appropriation of lands for establishment of additional Jewish settlements.

Two days after the announcement police arrest more minors from Hura and Alseid.

Bedouin activists engaged in campaigns for the recognition of unrecognized villages and against the land appropriation say that even if the Praver Plan were truly canceled this would not stop the daily demolition of homes in unrecognized villages nor would it change the oppressive practices from which the communities suffer on a regular basis.

On December 16 a parliamentary hearing was held during which it was made clear that the Prawer Plan has not been canceled. Miri Regev, Interior Committee Chairperson stated: “Benny Begin shelved the legislation on his own accord without parliamentary consent therefore the hearings on the land arrangements in the Negev will continue.

It is worth noting that Begin's announcement took place at an official press conference held at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv where Mr. Begin stood at a podium with the insignia of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The announcement of the cancellation of the plan by Mr. Begin, who co-authored the bill, took place one day after he admitted (in an unusual moment of political honesty) that he never shared the nature of the plan with the Bedouin leaders nor communities inferring that that they could not agree to the plans as claimed - daily - by army and government officials through all the public media..

What next?

In addition to the activities of individuals and human rights organization, groups of Palestinian youths in Israel continue to lead the activist campaign against the Prawer Plan. Young activists in the Negev\Naqab continue to meet to plan next steps and to support the families of the Hura demonstrators who are still in detention.

It was already stated in the Knesset, that  whether the government will change the name of the discriminatory plan or not, It will, without a doubt, continue the discriminatory policy, continue the demolitions and theft of land.



For further information see the following media articles and links

Prawer Plan may not be shelved after all

Ex-general overseeing implementation of bill says he has not received any instructions to halt legislation process.

The Prawer Plan may not be shelved after all. Just four days after the co-author of the proposed law, Benny Begin, announced the halting of the bill that would see the internal displacement of some 40,000 Bedouin in the Negev, the former IDF general who heads the unit which is to implement the “relocation” told Haaretz Monday that he has not received any instructions to shelve the plan and is continuing efforts towards its implementation. Major General (res.) Doron Almog added that Begin can claim whatever he wants, but that bill is still in the legislative process.

UPDATE, 6:05 P.M.: Haaretz reports that although the Prime Minister’s Office has remained mum since Begin announced the shelving of the plan – officials in the PMO confirmed Monday a statement attributed to Netanyahu, expressing the need to proceed with finding a solution to this important issue for all residents of the Negev. Officials in the Knesset added that it is preferable to continue making changes to current bill rather than tossing it and starting afresh.

When news broke last week that the plan was being shelved, Bedouin citizens, human rights groups and others critics of the plan – including right-wing lawmakers – expressed cautious celebration, hailing it as a victory, since no one thought it was a possibility that the bill be scrapped.

As forecast, Israel revives Prawer Plan, only days after abolishing it.

Less than one week after publicly abolishing the Prawer Plan, which implies the displacement of some 40.000 Bedouin, and as forecast by analysts, Israel has revived the plan, with a senior Israeli military official stating that there are no plans instructions to halt the legislation.

Major General (res.), Doron Almog stated that Begin, who stood for the implementation of the plan and who had recommended to stop its implementation, “can claim whatever he wants” but that the bill is still undergoing a legislative process at the Knesset.

Protests in the Negev, the West Bank, and Gaza against the Begin-Prawer plan

Canadian writers urge Israel to halt evictions of thousands of Palestinians and Negev Bedouins

Israel: Bedouin Arabs protest forced displacement plan in Negev

Israel: Soldiers and Police Attacked Nonviolent Protesters In The Negev

Right-Wing Israelis Attack Bedouin Villages In The Negev