But in this summer of 2012 when our attention is focused on Syria, Egypt, Iran and the financial crisis — we are creating by this distraction from Palestine another lull in the never ending ethnic cleansing of Palestine. A dire situation helped also by the paralysis of Palestinian politics and the apathy of the international community.
The target of the new ethnic cleansing is, among others, the Bedouins of the Naqab. Next month, the Israeli authorities are going to begin to implement the Prawer plan for the dispossession of the Bedouins of the Naqab (named after Ehud Prawer, the deputy head of the Israeli National Security Council and head of the team of experts preparing it).
Until it was finalized and authorized in September last year by the government, the Israeli strategy to dislocate the 70,000 Palestinians from the south of the country was through strangulation: denying them electricity, water, education and access to any elementary infrastructure. A policy that by itself, had it been committed anywhere else in the world would have been condemned as a crime against humanity. But it has failed so far and did not deter or break the spirit and steadfastness of the Bedouins.
Hence the Prawer plan’s more active approach: it aims to destroy physically and by force the 35 villages in which these 70,000 people live. The early stages of this plan were already executed between last September and today: already 1,000 houses were demolished. The next stage would be far more comprehensive and deadly as a special police force has been established for its execution.
This is a test for a far more important Israeli master plan devised back in 2001 by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and perfected by a successor, Ehud Olmert, in 2007.
A unilateral — and if possible with at least a tacit Palestinian Authority agreement — scheme for the final demarcation of the 21st century state of Israel. The components of this strategy are a ghettoized Gaza Strip, annexation of Area C of the West Bank (a zone defined by the Oslo agreements, comprising more than 60 percent of the West Bank) to Israel, and the creation of a Palestinian Bantustan in the rest.
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Despite complete rejection of the plan by the Arab Bedouin, and strong disapproval from the international community, Prawer is happening now. Media reports indicate that on 1 August 2012, a special police force will begin work to implement Prawer and demolish homes. More than one thousand houses were demolished in 2011 alone, and civil society is seeing the same practices in 2012. Since Prawer was announced, the government announced plans that will displace over ten thousand people and plant forests, build military centers, and establish new Jewish settlements in their place.
In March 2012, the UN Committee on the Elimination for Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed implementing legislation of the Prawer Plan, on the grounds that it was discriminatory. If Israel applied the same criteria for planning and development that exist in the Jewish rural sector, all thirty-five unrecognized villages would be recognized where they are.
In July 2012, the European Parliament passed a historic resolution calling on Israel to stop the Prawer Plan and its policies of displacement, eviction, and dispossession.
Adalah Calls on the Israeli Government to:
- Cancel the Prawer Plan
- Recognize the “unrecognized villages” and the land claims of the indigenous Arab Bedouin community
- Halt home demolitions and forced evictions
- Engage in meaningful dialogue with the Arab Bedouin community and the Arab political leadership to justly resolve the land claims
- Invest in greater health, education, and employment opportunities for Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel
Please sign our petition and visit our website and campaign page to find out what you can do to Stop the Prawer Plan!