The Israeli government and Netanyahu administration are going ahead with plans to ethnically cleanse between 30,000 and 70,000 Bedouin Israeli citizens from the area of their ancient homeland into new abodes. It is the so-called Prawer Plan (or Prawer-Begin Plan):
The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recently stated that carrying out such a relocation without Bedouin consent is a violation of international law.
OCHA also said that the proposed relocation site will put at risk the Bedouin peoples’ health and way of life. “The proposed site does not meet minimum standards in terms of distance from the municipal dumping grounds, which is likely to pose a health hazard to the communities, and provides limited access to grazing lands. Previously relocated families report negative consequences, including health concerns, loss of livelihood, deteriorated living conditions, loss of tribal cohesion and erosion of traditional lifestyles.”
It goes without saying, Israel needs to abandon this malicious plan to quite literally throw the Bedouin into the garbage.
These people being ethnically cleansed aren’t Palestinians residing in the West Bank or Gaza. They are Israeli citizens. Why are they being forcibly relocated?
The Israeli government on Sunday authorized construction plans for two new settlements in the southern Negev region, one of which is slated to be established on territory currently inhabited by a number of unrecognized Bedouin communities.
The planned establishment of Hiran and Kassif was announced during a special cabinet meeting that took place at the Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute in Sde Boker to mark the fortieth anniversary of the death of Israel’s first prime minister.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision and declared that the step would further the vision propounded by David Ben-Gurion.
The plan will ‘expedite the development of the entire Negev,’ the prime minster said, adding that Ben-Gurion ‘very much wanted to achieve’ such a goal.
Over the past weekend, demonstrations in Israel, the West Bank, Europe, the USA and elsewhere were held, in solidarity with the Bedouin, who are being rewarded for generations of willing subservience to the Israeli state with something that can easily be compared with our own country’s southeast USA Trail of Tears, brutally enforced between 1831 and 1837:
In 1831 the Choctaw were the first to be removed, and they became the model for all other removals. After the Choctaw, the Seminole were removed in 1832, the Creek in 1834, then the Chickasaw in 1837, and finally the Cherokee in 1838. After removal, some Native Americans remained in their ancient homelands – the Choctaw are found in Mississippi, the Seminole in Florida, the Creek in Alabama, and the Cherokee in North Carolina. A limited number of non-native Americans (including African-Americans – usually as slaves) also accompanied the Native American nations on the trek westward. By 1837, 46,000 Native Americans from these southeastern states had been removed from their homelands thereby opening 25 million acres for predominantly white settlement.
Israeli reactions to Bedouin protests and solidarity actions across that country have been somewhat harsh. Reactions by members of the openly racist Israeli government have been poorly reported in US media so far, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, but Haaretz reports:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the protests Saturday evening with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino. According to the Prime Minister’s Bureau, Netanyahu lauded the police force’s efforts and its ‘steadfast work in the face of the protesters.’
Netanyahu said, ‘We will not put up with such unruliness”‘and that lawbreakers would be held to account. ‘There has not been and will not be any tolerance of lawbreakers. The attempt of a loud and violent minority to prevent a better future for a large and wide population is severe. We will continue advancing the bill for a better future for all residents of the Negev,’ he said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also responded to the protests. In a post on his Facebook page, Lieberman criticized the protesters.
‘We are fighting for the national land of the Jewish people, and there are those who are trying to steal [this land] and take it over by force,’ he said, adding that he initially opposed the Prawer-Begin bill but eventually decided to support it because he was told that the Bedouin leaders had consented to the plan.
‘Just like we had feared, the Bedouin are only interested in the “carrot” – the benefits and the alternative land – while making every effort, even through violence, to oppose the “stick,”‘ he continued. ‘They must leave the land on which they reside illegally.’
Lieberman also called on the government to rethink the entire plan and nix the benefits that were promised to the Bedouin. [emphases added]
It is hard to make a comparison to this reaction to that of American politicians in the face of Native American resistance to having to leave their ancestral farms for the plains of Oklahoma. It is as if, had Andrew Jackson been Lieberman, he had stated “Screw the land deal. We’re going to sell you all on the slave blocks in New Orleans!” Or something like that.