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Bedouin tent in Negev Photo: Guy G.
Bedouin tent in Negev Photo: Guy G.
 
 

Netanyahu's controversial plan to divide the Negev

Government scheduled to vote on Negev land reform which will see Bedouins getting ownership of extensive lands next week. Elements familiar with plan criticize it, call it 'dangerous legal precedent'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 05.29.11, 23:31 / Israel News

The government will discuss a wide-scale reform in Bedouin lands in the Negev next Sunday, Ynet learned. If the plan goes through, Bedouins will get extensive lands which will be recognized by the State. Ministers are slated to vote on the plan, which was first exposed by Ynet, before a special committee decides on the extent of lands the Bedouins will receive.

 

Elements familiar with the plan criticized the government for failing to set a criteria for the granting of the claims. "The problem with the plan is that it's post-Zionist," one element said. "It ignores court rulings and will not solve the Bedouins' problem in the Negev."

 

The source added that the plan is not feasible. "The State is giving the Bedouins flase hope and can never fulfill its plans." He questioned the possibility that the Bedouins will give their consent. "To endorse the plan involves signing away claims from the State. I, as a Jew, would not sign such a thing, why should a Bedouin?!"

 

Granting 50% of claims

The details of the plan were first exposed on Ynet several months ago, but some significant changes have been made since.

 

In December 2007 the Olmert administration established the Goldberg committee tasked with finalizing the status of Bedouin lands in the Negev. A report submitted a year later recommended that some of the Bedouin claims be recognized. In January 2009, the government formed a team to implement the recommendations.

 

According to sources familiar with the report, there are some 3,000 Bedouin ownership claims in the Negev. The plan will see Bedouins receive ownership of roughly 50% of their claims.

 

"This is a dangerous legal precedent and the Bedouins will use it to claim hundreds of thousands of extra dunams," one element said. He claims that the report does not address half of the Bedouin claims whicb pertain to lands the State confiscated in the 1950s.

 

Ronen Medzini contributed to this report

 

 

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