Peres: Prawer Bill must be pursued

President Peres says plans to resettle Bedouins in Negev should be followed through. 'Talks must be held with patience, while maintaining law', Peres claims

In the aftermath of Saturday's protests against the Prawer Bill, President Shimon Peres said Sunday that the plan to resettle Bedouins in the Negev must be pursued.


"Millions of shekels were invested in this plan and I'm sure the intentions are good. Backing down would mean a step back for the Bedouins as well," Peres said.


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The president, on a visit to Mexico, noted that "one might expect this having great resistance, but the law must be abided and diplomacy utilized… The government does not mean any harm and talks must be held with patience and while maintaining the law."


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino on Saturday following the violent riots. "We will try the offenders to the full extent of the law. We will not tolerate such riots. We shall continue to advance the Prawer Bill."


Hundreds of people demonstrated in the Hura Junction in the Negev and clashed police forces.


Rahat resident Fadi al-Ubara told Ynet that the protest is "the natural response of every person who cares about his house, a natural response of someone who is treated as invisible… as a criminal.


"The State is trying to put as many Bedouins in as little space. What needs to be done is take all 45 unrecognized settlements, which have been on the map since the establishment of the State, and supply them with electricity.


According to Salman al-Mahmid, the plan was formulated "only to please the Israeli right," adding that 50,000 people would be uprooted… and nobody speaks to us."


He said that Saturday's protests grew violent "because the police and Shin Bet decided to put people to stir incitement in the protest so that they could present us as violent. We are in favor of peaceful protest."


Praver Bill review

After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Bedouins were moved, some forcefully, to the Negev area and settled there. Nonetheless, and despite the fact that a long time has passed, their ownership of the land was never legally validated and ownership claims they have submitted to courts throughout the years were never granted.


According to the Prawer Committee data, the Beduoin community currently consists of 277,777 people. The overall land subject to Bedouin ownership claims stands at 519,777 dunam.


The Prawer outline suggests several solutions to the land ownership claimants, including restitution or compensation of up to half of the possessed territory, as well as acknowledgement of non-regulated villages – as long as they are not included within the outline.


Matti Siver contributed to this article



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פרסום ראשון: 12.01.13, 08:58
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