Palästina - Israel 

Das Beduinendorf Al-Arakib
(der Friedhof des Dorfes hat die Koordinaten 31,346220; 34,781118)

und der Prawer-Plan

Email-Chronik ab 3.4.11 vom Negev Coexistence Forum (

Neueste Email zuoberst

30.8.13   18.9.13   14.10.13   31.10.13 (56. Zerstörung)  10.11.13    23.11.13 (57. Zerstg)  1.12.13   15.12.13  

5.2.13   18.3.13  10.4.13   9.5.13  
19.5.13   30.5.13   23.6.13   26.6.13   13.7.13   28.7.13   8.8.13  

2012    2011




Update from the Negev-Naqab

The Prawer Plan is shelved!  But what law will come in its stead?

Ex-Minister Benny Begin who was charged by the Government with amending the Prawer Plan (the Plan for Regulating Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, 2011) (PBP) slated to become law during this Knesset session. The Law passed its first reading in the Knesset and has been debated in the Standing Committee for Internal Affairs and the Environment.  The Government Coalition assessed it did not have a majority to pass it into law.
Not only that, but contrary to the claims of Major General (Res) Doron Almog who is the official responsible for implementing the plan, if and when it becomes law, Begin stated publicly that not only does he not have the acceptance of the Bedouin community but he has not consulted with them or presented his plan to the community. One may wonder at this statement, considering that the proposed law targets a very specific public and will have far-reaching and often devastating effects  not only on the lives of some 40,000 Bedouin, citizens of Israel, for the Bedouin community as a whole but also for all residents of the Negev, Bedouin and Jewish alike.
On Thursday, 12 December Begin called a special press conference and declared that although he felt the Plan to be fair and far reaching, it did not stand the test of reality and he had recommended to Prime Minister Netanyahu that it be withdrawn. At the press conference he claimed, contrary to his previous assertions, that in preparing the Plan as a law he had conducted hearings with the Bedouin community and over 1,000 Bedouin had participated in those hearings. Begin said that he himself had met with 600 individuals.
The tabling of the law on the one hand it gives more time to organize against it by lobbying and protesting.  We at NCF are hopeful that the lesson will be learnt and that the Government will open a real dialogue with the Negev Bedouin and consider the alternative plans that show that recognition of all the Bedouin villages is a realistic planning possibility.  On the other hand, putting Prawer aside may mean a very much harsher plan in the future that will find support among the Right wing of the Government coalition which can easily round up a majority. NCF will continue to monitor the situation very closely over the coming months. 

Sheikh Sayyach Al-Turi was Released with No Terms

On a happier note, Sheikh Sayyach Al-Turi who was arrested in November 20th and was released and banned from entering his village of Al Arakib indefinitely has been permitted by the Regional Court at December 10th to return once again to his home. 

Two Weeks in Detention: 9 of the Hura Demonstration Detainees are still under Arrest

Protesting in front of court today, demanding the immediate release of all detainees

As noted in our previous update, 28 adults and minors were detained during and after the November 30th demonstration. Several demonstrators were released, but others were detained. We know about nine people who are today, two weeks after the demonstration, still detained, and three of them minors. Such a long period of detention is unprecedented. The Police is obviously trying to convey a message to all future demonstrators, and the Beer-Sheva court unfortunately cooperates with this undemocratic attitude.


Day of Rage against Prawer Plan

While the discussion of the Prawer Plan bill continues at the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee, which prepares the bill for the second and third round of voting, the protest against Prawer Plan intensifies, in Israel and worldwide. November 30 was declared as a day of rage against the plan, and demonstrations took place all around the world. In Israel, demonstrations were held in Hura, Jerusalem, Haifa and Taibe.  

Hura Demonstration Escalates, 28 Protesters Arrested

The main demonstration, outside of the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev, started at 3:30 pm, and ended only around 11 pm at night. It was a peaceful demonstration with approximately 1000 participants, who chanted and held signs against the plan. Yet, after about an hour, when police decided to reinforce the already huge forces in the scene, including water cannons that were placed in front of the protesters, the demonstration heated up. Protesters that were standing at the front of the demonstration said that it was the Mista’arvim, policemen disguised as Arab protesters, who caused the escalation and started throwing stones at the police. From that point, the demonstration turned into a battle field. Police horsemen stormed into the crowd while protesters were running away into the field, stun grenades and tear gas were thrown into the crowd, and rubber coated metal bullets were shot by the police. A police helicopter flew overhead and two water cannons, one with blue dye, sprayed the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing stones at the police and lighting tires on the road. During that time, 28 protesters were arrested and were taken to the nearby police station. While a couple of the detainees were released on bail during the night and five more were released on Sunday morning, approximately 20 are still detained and will be brought to court today, for an extension of their arrest. 

Solidarity Visit to the Freedom Tent in Rahat

On Wednesday, November 20, the village of Al-Arakib was demolished for the 57th time. Wednesday afternoon, police came back to the village and arrested the Sheikh of the village, Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi, under the accusation of trespassing and violation of legal order. When the Sheikh was brought to court on Thursday and again on Sunday, the judge ruled that he will be released on bail, and will not be permitted to enter his own village. Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi refused to accept these release terms and was sent back to detention. Even after a reduction of the demanded bail, the Sheikh still refused to be released if he is not allowed to enter his own village. Yesterday (Thursday), Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi appealed to the district court and the judge decided to release him with no written terms until the next hearing that was scheduled for the coming week.  

On Saturday, November 30, just before the demonstration outside Hura, a solidarity visit took place at the freedom tent that was established in front of the Rahat Police Station, against the arrest of Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi, the Sheikh of the village of Al-Arakib. Tens of activists attended the visit, and were hosted in the tent by the residents of Al-Arakib. The visitors met the Sheikh who was released on Thursday, November 28, after an appeal to the District Court of Be’er-Sheva. The Tent will remain in place until the next hearing at the Be’er-Sheva District Court that was scheduled for this week. 



Update from the Negev-Naqab

Weekly discussions of Prawer-Begin Plan continue at the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset

A discussion of the “Prawer-Begin Bill”, for the regulation of Bedouin settlement in the Negev, is held every Wednesday at the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset. The committee, headed by MK Miri Regev of the Likud – Israel Beytenu party, has been discussing the general outlines of the bill for the last three weeks. Next week the committee will start discussing the specific articles and details of the bill.
During the discussions vigils take place outside the Knesset.
On Sunday, November 24th, the committee is supposed to visit the Naqab, but according to the plan the committee published it will visit Rahat, Laquie and the newly recognized villages Al-Sayyed and Wadi Rowien (Molada). The Naqab Arabs steering committee declared a general strike on the same day, since the committee will not meet any of the Arab Bedouin leaders from the Naqab and some of the Knesset members from the left will not participate in the visit.

The village of Al-Arakib was demolished, Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi is arrested 

The village of Al-Arakib was demolished for the 57th time on Wednesday, 20th November. Bulldozers and policemen arrived at the village and demolished all  the tents outside the cemetery. During the afternoon, policemen came back to the village and detained the Sheikh of the village, Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi, and four other residents, including three minors. The police suggested releasing the minors for house arrest, but this solution was rejected by their families. Around 22:30 they were released. Yet, Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi was arrested until Sunday, 24th November, when the Judge will announce his decision.
The families built a protest tent - “The freedom tent” - near the police station in Rahat, which is open to visitors and supporters. 

The Israeli Government approved the establishment of the Jewish town of Hiran at the place of the Bedouin village of Umm Al-hiran – activists were arrested while protesting outside

During a commemorative government meeting at the Negev, held last week in Sdeh Boker, the government approved the establishment of two new settlements in the Negev, Hiran and Kasif. Hiran, which is planned to be built on the lands of the Bedouin unrecognized village of Umm Al-hiran, was approved despite an appeal to the Supreme Court which has not been discussed yet.
For Further reading in Haaretz: Cabinet OKs demolishing Bedouin village, replacing with Jewish town
For a video about Umm Al-hiran and the group that intends to establish Hiran click here

During the government meeting, tens of residents, NCF activists and others protested against the approval of Hiran and Kasif, 3 protesters were arrested, and one was detained.

Student from Ben Gurion University participated in an activity day at the unrecognized village school of A-Zarnug and build ecological sitting places in the school yard. 

The Belgium Support of Bedouin group that organized the biking campaign in April and NCF purchased two computers for the school laboratory. 


Update from the Negev-Naqab

Prawer Plan Update

Protesting in front of the Knesset, Wednesday November 6th 

On Wednesday November 6th the Interior Committee of the Knesset started the discussions on the Prawer bill in preparation for second and third reading. Former minister Beni Begin opened the discussion and tried to explain the bill and its “virtues”. The discussion will continue from now on a weekly basis and the committee will hold a tour in the Naqab on November 24th. During the discussion a vigil with many women was held outside the Knesset.  

New Police Unit in the Negev

An article about “Yoav” unit, a new special police unit for the eviction of Bedouin from their villages and for backing up the demolitions, was recently published on Y-net. The article promotes the unit, which has already recruited more than 100 officers and is going to recruit another 250 officers! The Israeli government will spend a sixth (215 NIS million) of the development plan’s budget (1.2 billion NIS) of the Prawer-Begin plan, designed to develop the existing Bedouin villages, on expanding and maintaining police forces!  

Israeli Government Approves New Jewish Settlements in the Negev

The Israeli government in its session on Sunday in Sdeh-Boker will discuss the proposal to start moving Jewish people to the new planned village of “Hiran”. In the Hiran area Bedouin of the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran have lived for more than 50 years, and they are now subject to continued demolitions and evacuation orders.  


Documentaries from the Negev-Naqab were screened in Tel-Aviv cinematheque on November 6th and 7th. Eight documentaries were screened and two discussions were held about the Prawer plan and the documentation of the Bedouin community. An exhibition of photographs taken by children from the unrecognized village of A-Sir is on display at the cinematheque lobby until November 15th.  


The Prawer-Begin Bill goes to the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset in preparation for its second and third reading 

Next Wednesday, November 6th the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset, headed by MK Miri Regev (Likud-Israel Beiteinu) will review the Prawer Begin Bill, officially known as the Law for Regulating Bedouin Settlement in the Negev. The name conceals a massive programme of dispossession and displacement, as we have frequently reported.
Dr. Benny Begin, one of the later architects of the plan will open the proceedings with an exposition of the Bill and the current situation in the Negev. Mr. Atiya Al-Assam, chair of the Region Council of Unreconized Villages has requested to present the alternative plan of the Bedouin community during the hearings.
The Committee is to meet weekly in order to speed up final legislation by the end of this year or by early 2014. The Likud party (3 members) supports the Bill, the position of Yesh Atid (2) Avoda, (1) Hatnuah (1) Ra'am Ta'al (1) Shas (1) Hadash (1) Meretz (1) Yehadut HaTorah (1) remains to be seen. NGO's, including the NCF, are lobbying against the Bill among these parties.
These are bad times for Israel in which the parliamentary process is being used to further a law that, if passed, represents the tyranny of the majority. Most of the Bedouin community opposes the law which is discriminatory and even anti-democratic since it proposes forced relocation of Israeli citizens from their homes in order to eventually replace them with other Israeli (Jewish) citizens. If passed, the law will intensify the discrimination between Jews and Arabs. It will disrupt the delicate fabric of Jewish-Arab relations in the Negev, and indeed, throughout Israel.
Simultaneously to the Bill, the Government has announced a new initiative of five new villages along the Be’er-Sheva Dimona road (Route 25) on the site of several Bedouin villages. This in addition to 10 new (Jewish) villages announced in November 2011, some of which are also sited on Bedouin lands.

Repeated demolition of Al-Arakib

On Thursday October 24th Al Arakib was demolished for the 56th time in the last 39 months.

Recognized: Documentaries from the Negev-Naqab at Tel-Aviv Cinematheque

On Wednesday, November 6th and Thursday, November 7th NCF will hold two days of documentary films and discussions about the Naqab at the Tel Aviv
Cinematheque. “Recognized” the exhibition of photographs taken by children from the village of A-Sir  who participated in a NCF project that took place in the village in January 2013. The exhibition will be presented at the Cinematheque between October 31 and November 15th. “Recognized” can also be seen  at the Sourasky Central Library of Tel-Aviv University and is open daily to the public until November 14th.


Updates from the Negev-Naqab

The Israel police continue their efforts to crush the struggle of Al-Arakib

The moment of release of Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi, with his attorney, Shahda Ibn Bari

Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi was again detained on Wednesday (9.10.2013), following yet another demolition of the village the previous day (8.10.2013). This was the 55th demolition since July 2010. Although the police attempted to place the Sheikh under a 30-day restraining order preventing his return to the village, he was finally released unconditionally and went straight back to Al-Arakib to continue the resistance. 

Prawer-Begin Bill 

The Israeli Knesset reconvened today for its winter parliamentary session. In the upcoming weeks, the Prawer-Begin bill will be brought for discussion in the Knesset Interior Committee. Already accepted on the first round of voting, the bill will be brought to the committee, led by MK Miri Regev of the Likud party, for the continuance of the legislation process.  

Human Rights Activists Workshop

On October 1st 1013 the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) in cooperation with Adalah, the Legal Center for the Arab Minority in Israel, held a human rights workshop for 15 young Arab Bedouin activists in the unrecognized village of Khashem Zanneh. The 15 participants – 11 men and 4 women –are actively engaged in the struggle for recognition of their villages and against home demolitions. The training was led by Adalah Board member Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein and aimed to strengthen the participants' ability to document and advocate against human rights violations, particularly in villages that face potential displacement under the Prawer-Begin Plan for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev.
Ratb Abu Krinat, NCF field coordinator reported: ”The workshop was immensely important since people are now better informed about their rights. They realize that one can lawfully protect himself/herself during demolitions and demonstrations. Raising the awareness of human rights is very important especially after 15 young people were arrested in a demonstration in the Naqab last July”. 

The Photo-Exhibition 'Recognized' Arrives at Tel-Aviv University

“Recognized” is a collection of photos taken by the children of the village of A-sir an unrecognized Bedouin village near Be’er-Sheva prison which is under threat of demolition. All of the photos are the result of NCF’s photography workshop held in cooperation with the village committee during January 2013 and led by volunteer photographers.
The opening will be held on Wednesday, October 16th at 18:00, in the lobby of the Sourasky Central Library, Tel-Aviv University and will continue until November.


Demolitions at the beginning of the year

The beginning of the Jewish year brought more demolitions and the handing out of demolition orders for Bedouin homes in the Negev-Naqab, as well as arrests.
The first week of the new Jewish year was marked by hardship and new enforcements. Demolition orders were handed out in several unrecognized villages, including A-Zarnuk, Al-Shabi, Wadi Al-Na'am and in the recognized village of Bir-Hadaj. Two houses were demolished in the city of Rahat and in the Bedouin unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am a “Shig” (hospitality room) was demolished.

The saga of Al-Arakib

As advised in our previous update, on August 30th Judge Tishler, in a hearing at the Be'er-Sheva Magistrate Court, rejected the state's request to restrict four residents of Al-Arakib, arrested on August 26th, from approaching their village on the grounds of trespassing. The villagers returned to the village and the state appealed instantly. In the hearing at the district court on September 9th, Judge Hanni Slotki argued that although the lands in question were state lands, the freedom of movement was an important right.  It is worth pointing that the legal process regarding land ownership in Al-Arakib is still pending, and no ruling has been reached yet. The judge advised that the parties accept her suggestion: the state will demolish the tents, no more houses will be built and the villagers will be allowed to enter the village. The hearing was set for September 12th. If the parties do not reach an agreement by then, the judge will take a decision on the matter. The judge
also stated that the right of property was indeed a strong one, but the right of movement was a worthy one as well. This contrasted with what the judge said at the previous hearing when she commented more than once that she might also rule for restriction from entering the village.

Court Hearing, September 12th

On September 12th judge Slotki claimed it was decided more than once that Al-Arakib lands were state lands and decided that the Al-Arakib people would be able to enter the village area but prohibited building of any kind, including temporary constructions (tents or shacks). If they do, they will be obliged to pay the bail money they already placed at the court or else be arrested.

Al-Arakib weekly protest,  September 15th

As a solidarity action with the people of Al-Arakib, tens of protestors joined the weekly demonstration of the village on Sunday, September 15^th, in Lehavim junction.


In the past 11 days the village of Al-Arakib was demolished 3 times and in the last demolition 4 residents of the village were detained, including Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi

On Thursday August 15th, Wednesday August 21st and on Monday August 26th, Al Arakib was demolished again and again – three times in 11 days.  During the last demolition 4 of leaders of the Al Arakib struggle were detained: Sheikh Sayyah A-Turi’ Aziz A-Turi, Salim A-Turi and Sef A-Turi.
The police detained and charged them with violation of order and trespassing while being in their own village. This happened due to the fact that the Al Arakib land ownership is being discussed in court. In December 2012 the Supreme Court prevented the state to register the lands of the A-Turi and Abu Freich families as state lands and reverted the hearing to the district court. The state appealed against this ruling and asked for a hearing in the Supreme Court with an expanded assembly.
It is worth noting that previous attempts to indict the residents and activist with similar charges failed and the files were closed.

Photo: The arrested residents during the court discussion in Tuesday, Photography: Oren Ziv, Activestills

There was no hearing on the appeal filed on August 27th to the District Court for the release of the detainees because the police did not appear at the hearing. The judge was furious and demanded that the police will explain their reason for not appearing and threatened the police they will have to pay for the expenses of the trial. In a hearing last night in the Magistrate Court, the judge ruled to release the detainees with restrictions and ordered that they stay away from the village and from their families. The judge set a bail of 25,000 NIS for each detainee and said that a decision on their case will be given Friday, August 30th.  The detainees who objected being banned from the village were released late at night and went to protest all night close to the Rahat police station. The detainees are presently residing in a protest tent near the Rahat police station and demanding the annulment of their release conditions.
It seems that the state has decided, in a non-democratic act, to use the police and the courts to prevent the al Arakib people from non-violently claiming their rights and potentially will expel them from their village.
For more than 3 years the people of al Arakib have stood firm and conducted themselves in a dignified, public and legitimate way along with a judicial struggle. Their case is in court but the state is in a rush to conclude the Al Arakib story and expel the people from their village even before the court has given its verdict.


Major Demonstration Last Thursday: Demonstrators Arrested Once Again

On Thursday, August 1st,  two thousands Arab and Jewish demonstrators protested in opposition to the Prawer-Begin Bill. The protest took place at the Rahat Junction. The participants came from different Arab and Jewish localities in Israel in order to strengthen the protest against the governmental plan to demolish many of the Bedouin villages and relocate thousands to towns. Towards the end of the protest, police  arrested two young demonstrators. Hearings were scheduled to take place on Friday, August 2nd. However, these hearings were canceled, and the detainees were released without an indictment.

Thursday's Protest

Signs for Thursday's Protest

NCF Receives Special Consultative Status to the UN

On August 1st, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) announced that it had decided to adopt the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to grant Special consultative status to the Negev Coexistence Forum.  This status enables NCF to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies by, for example, allowing NCF access to attend UN meetings, submitting written and oral statements to ECOSOC, and use UN facilities.   

Meeting Between Israeli NGOs with UN Consultative Status and Mr. Andrei Abramov, the Chief of the NGO Section of ECOSOC


Many Detained Following Demonstrations,
Opposing the Prawer Plan

On Monday, July 15th, a general strike was held and demonstrations took place around the country in opposition to the Prawer Plan, which authorizes the demolition of many villages and the displacement of thousands of Bedouin citizens of the Negev.  Dozens of protesters were detained.  In Be’er-Sheva, 15 protesters were detained, and one minor was accosted but then released.  The police used violence when conducting many of these detentions all over the country. The cases of these detainees were heard on July 15th 16th, 17th and 18th.  On Monday, July 15th,  a hearing was concluded at midnight, and all those who were arrested were detained overnight.  On Tuesday, July 16th, the lawyers re-appealed the decision to detain the protesters for such a long period; four people were then released. Because the hearings ran late into the night, some were postponed to Wednesday.  On Wednesday, another four detainees were released from custody.  The rest of the detainees were released on Thursday. The police said they would submit an indictment on Thursday, July 18th, but they were not prepared to do so.  On Monday, July 22nd, five individuals were indicted on the charges of unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and resisting arrest. 

All the detainees were sentenced to one week of home arrest, a bail of 6000 NIS or more, and the authorization to participate in demonstrations only when those who paid their bail are present! 

Click here to watch a video from the demonstration.

Click here to view photos from the demonstration.


NCF Representative Turns the Attention of the UN and the Int'l Community towards the Prawer-Begin Bill 

July 8th – 12th, 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland):
Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) representative Khalil Alamour attended the Sixth Session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN EMRIP).  UN EMRIP is a component of the expert mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC).  It contains five members and was established in 2007 to deliver expertise on the rights of indigenous peoples. The Mechanism meets annually for up to five days to study and reflect on the status and rights of indigenous peoples. 

Prior to the UN event, Mr. Alamour met with community groups and journalists in Zurich and Geneva to raise awareness about the Prawer-Begin Bill and the general abuses to the rights of the Bedouin population in Israel’s Negev/Naqab.  Alamour continued this awareness raising campaign at the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva for the Sixth Session of EMRIP.
On July 8th, he led a lunch-time event at which he discussed the Prawer-Begin Bill and the status of Negev/Naqab Bedouin for an hour and a half before an attentive audience of indigenous rights experts from around the world, including a representative for the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples.  This representative was very touched by the presentation, especially by the short film about demolitions in Al Arakib.

Also, on July 8th, Mr. Alamour spoke at the Plenary Session.  At this event, he spoke to over 300 people.  

On July 9th, Mr. Alamour met with the Special Rapporteur privately.  Alamour focused this meeting on the potentially devastating consequences of the Prawer-Begin Bill.  He stated:
      The Prawer-Begin bill violates numerous articles of the UN
      Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including
      most notably Article 10, which states that ‘no relocation shall
      take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the
      indigenous peoples concerned;’… yet, there was no viable
      consultation with the Bedouin community [during the
      development of the Prawer-Begin Bill].
Professor Anaya responded, stating that he is very aware of what is going on in the Negev/Naqab, and his office is following the developments there.  Anaya also said that he would develop recommendations and announcements regarding the rights of Bedouin in the Negev/Naqab and was very happy to hear that the Bedouin population looks forward to more recommendations, announcements and active steps by the UN and the international community.
On July 10th, La Maison des Associations, a venue that facilitates exchange and dialogue between socio-political associations, hosted Mr. Alamour to lecture as well.
Reflecting on the importance of this trip, Mr. Khalil Alamour stated the following:
      Given the current political climate in Israel, the voice of
      the Negev Bedouin community is hardly heard in the
      public debate and the political decision-making process
      regarding the future.  At this time, with devastating abuses
      to our rights taking place, it is particularly important that
      the Bedouin are in direct contact  with international
      institutions, which are working for the protection of human
      rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular.
      This trip has facilitated a direct link between the Negev
      Bedouin community and those institutions and
      organizations that have influence and power. I hope that
      this move will further mobilize international institutions,
      human rights organizations and foreign governments
      to protect the rights of the Bedouin Arabs and to cancel the
      Prawer Plan.
We, at the Negev Coexistence Forum, also hope that Mr. Khalil Alamour’s trip to Geneva will stimulate international dialogue and advocacy regarding the Prawer-Begin Bill. 



The Knesset Approves the Highly Devastating Prawer-Begin Bill in the First Voting Round

Monday, June 24th, 2013 (Jerusalem): The Knesset voted in favor to the Prawer-Begin bill. Forty-three Members of Knesset voted in favor and 40 voted in opposition to the passage of the bill.  The Prawer-Begin bill will displace at least 30,000 (and up to 70,000) Bedouin citizens.

Furthermore, it will dispossess the Arab Bedouin population of its land and traditional means of production as well diminish its social structure.   The bill will cause Bedouins to be concentrated into impoverished, urban areas where their potential for self-development will be stymied.

The approval of the Prawer-Begin bill is contrary to the 2011 recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which called on Israel to refrain from forcibly evicting residents and to stop the demolitions in the unrecognized villages.  It also contradicts the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which, in 2007, called for the State to examine the possibility of recognizing Bedouin villages, allow Bedouin to control and tend their fields, and desist with evacuations that are conducted without the consent of the residents in the villages. Additionally, the concluding observations of the CERD (issued in March 2012) and of the European Parliament (in a resolution passed in July 2012) called on the Israeli government to revert the Prawer Plan.

This plan has undergone many reviews.  The first draft of the plan was presented by Ehud Prawer, the former Deputy Head of the National Security Council.  It was intended to end the prolonged land dispute between the Negev Bedouin and the State.  This draft was approved on September 11th, 2011.  National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror then reviewed and approved the plan.  Following this, Minister Benny Begin managed a "listening process" and put forth amendments to the plan, which were approved by the Israeli cabinet on January 27th, 2013.  These amendments were publicized as a reflection of Bedouin representatives’ concerns.  But, these amendments, in fact, served as baseless rhetoric and merely furthered the previous provisions outlined by Prawer and Amidror.

In May 2013, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation reviewed a bill, which was based off of the Prawer Plan, and incorporated measures that could make this already problematic Plan even more devastating for the Bedouin population. These were the following:

     • The Plan will incorporate a map, specifying which settlements
        will be added to the existing villages and the locations of
        areas of land compensation.

     • The timeline for implementation will be reduced from five to
        three years.

     • A Ministerial Committee will be appointed with the
       responsibility of monitoring the program and will receive
       periodic reports on its implementation.

     • An additional 250 police will be appended to the existing
       forces that are already tasked with implementing the plan.

The Committee then approved the bill on Monday, May 6th, 2013.

Since the initial presentation of the bill, the Israeli government has demolished hundreds of Bedouin homes.  On May 16th, a large police force, composed of hundreds of officers and supervisors accompanied by demolitionists working for the Israel Land Administration, destroyed eight houses and seven other structures in the unrecognized village of Atir.  They also uprooted 470 olive trees belonging to the villagers.

The Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) is appalled by the result of this Knesset vote.  NCF representatives believe that the Prawer-Begin plan will constitute a terrible threat and an ongoing, oppressive campaign by the State to forcibly concentrate its Bedouin citizens within a limited space.  Moreover, the implementation of the bill will be devastating for the future of civil society in the Negev and the possibility of Jews and Arabs to live their lives together in this space.

We urge all national and international activists, policy makers, journalists, and diplomats to vocalize dismay for the Knesset’s approval of the Prawer-Begin bill and fight for this bill to be revoked.

To stay updated in the aftermath of this vote, please visit the NCF website regularly.


Attention: Knesset Vote on Prawer-Begin Bill Upcoming!

On May 27th, the Knesset was scheduled to vote for the first time on the Prawer-Begin bill.  However, the vote has been delayed numerous times, and there is still not a definitive date for when it will take place.  We believe that these continuous postponements are caused by right-wing factions in the government that are altering the bill.  Following these alterations, the bill will be even more problematic and more discriminatory (according to our predictions); the compensation offered to Bedouin for their land will probably be decreased, and people who refuse to accept the compensation will likely lose their lands within three years!

After the Knesset does eventually vote for the first time, the bill will then undergo two revision sessions within Knesset committees and two more rounds of voting.  This process could take days, weeks, or even months to be finalized.  The provisions of this bill were initially drafted by Ehud Prawer and were approved by the government in 2011.  Since then, it has become a bill and has been altered slightly by Minister Benny Begin and politicians in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.   If passed by the Knesset, this bill will displace between 30,000 and 70,000 Bedouin from their lands. 

On Thursday, June 13th, a series of demonstrations (see image below) took place in opposition to the bill, which has been falsely marketed as an initiative to "regulate the Bedouin settlements in the Negev."  These demonstrations coincide with a campaign by the Negev Coexistence Forum to directly engage with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is the most responsible of all officials for the development of this problematic plan.  Two weeks ago, we sent the Prime Minister a letter in which we urged him to withdraw the bill.   Doron Almog, Head of the Implementation of the Plan, responded to our letter, stating that the plan will “bring a new era of development to the Negev area for all its residents," “will assist Bedouin to escape from their hard condition," and “will give them [Bedouin] hope for better lives."

However, this bill contradicts the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights, the recommendations of Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2011), the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2012), and an EU Resolution in July 2012--the last three of which specifically called on the State of Israel to desist with its pursuance of the Prawer Plan (the basis for this bill). 

In past couple of weeks, we have witnessed preemptive demolitions and violent evacuations on a massive scale.  These incidents include the following:
  • June 19 - Al Arakib was destroyed for the 49th time.
  • June 19 – A house the Lakia area and a house in the recognized village of Umm Batin were destroyed.
  • June 12 – a house, shop, and another structure were demolished in the recognized  Bedouin village of Kaser A-Ser.
  • June 1 -- Bedouin living in tents after their homes had been demolished twice in Atir received notices to evacuate their     tents within 48 hours.
  • May 30 – One house was demolished in Al Bat.
  • May 30 – One house was demolished in Al Rarah.
  • May 30 – Two houses were demolished in Bir al Meshash. The police fired rubber bullets, injuring a woman in her leg and a young boy in his shoulder.  Two teenagers were arrested while barefoot.
  • May 30 – Houses and tents were demolished in Atir. The residents’ belongings were confiscated.
We urge the international community to do all that it can to advocate in opposition to the Prawer-Begin plan.  One way of doing so is by clicking here to send a letter to Knesset members. 


Upcoming Vote on Prawer-Begin Bill by the Knesset

Since the Prawer-Begin bill was approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation (May 6th), we have witnessed the rapid implementation of the bill, despite the fact that the Knesset has yet to vote on it.  Since then, the Israeli Police and Israel Land Administration have carried out eighteen demolitions in the village of Atir, uprooted 470 olive trees, and demolished three houses in the recognized village of Al Sayyid.  The Knesset will likely vote on this bill in the upcoming week.  This week, NCF sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, asking him to withdraw the bill. This bill would facilitate the State’s relocation of many communities and the demolition of Bedouin villages.  We ask all of our supporters to assist us in our campaign to oppose the passage of this draconian bill.

Legal Vigil Disrupted by Police

On Monday, May 27th, NCF and Bedouin activists held a vigil in Beer Sheva to draw attention to the upcoming Knesset vote on the Prawer-Begin bill. A vigil of this sort did not require a permit from the police.  Nonetheless, the police intervened in the event, asserted that it was an illegal assembly, and detained NCF employees--Haia Noach and Amir Abu Quider.  We see this police intervention as part of an ongoing campaign to intimidate activists, especially in the lead up to the Knesset vote.

Solidarity Visits in Atir

For the past two weekends, NCF has held solidarity visits in the village of Atir, where 8 houses were demolished on May 16th. 


Ministerial Committee on Legislation Approves the Prawer-Begin Plan

The approval of the Prawer-Begin Plan on Monday, May 6th, 2013 by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation marks a drastic step towards institutionalizing the State’s discriminatory and racist policies regarding the Negev-Naqab. If implemented, this will result in the Negev becoming an area “as clean as possible of Bedouin,” depriving the Arab Bedouin of their lands and their traditional agriculture. The proposed Plan will result in the disintegration of their communal life and their forced concentration to under-resourced, urban townships. This will profoundly affect their capacity for self-development and is contrary to the traditional, agricultural character of a significant portion of Bedouin society. The law signifies the continued Judaisation of the area, isolating the Arab-Bedouin and effectively depriving them of their civil rights. It will prevent the development of the Negev for all its residents, including its Jewish residents.

The Committee’s decision, in fact, gives the go ahead for the forced evacuation of thousands of citizens and the destruction of many villages. This stands in contradiction to the recommendation of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2011), which called upon Israel to desist with the forced evacuation of Bedouin inhabitants and to cease the demolitions of their homes in the unrecognized villages. It is also contrary to the recommendation of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2012), which called on the State of Israel to shelve the Prawer Plan for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev (2011), which is the basis of the law just passed by the Ministerial Committee.

Furthermore, the Ministerial Committee made a number of conditions that could make this already problematic Plan even more devastating for the Bedouin population. These are the following:

     • The Plan will incorporate a map, specifying which settlements
     will be added to the existing villages and the locations of areas
     of land compensation.

     • The timeline for implementation will be reduced from five to
     three years.

     • A Ministerial Committee will be appointed with the res-
     ponsibility of monitoring the program and will receive periodic
     reports on its implementation.

     • An additional 250 police will be appended to the
     existing forces that are already tasked with 
     implementing the plan.

These terms were dictated by extreme Right-wing members of the Committee and the Government. They demonstrate the political interests underlying the legislative process and expose the intent to supervise, centralize and direct the Prawer-Begin Plan. By decreasing the timeline for expelling tens of thousands of citizens from their lands, limiting the Bedouins’ property rights and displaying a map designed to ensure that “the Bedouin will not be given too much land” while also increasing the police force responsible for the expulsion, the Committee has created a program that will maximize Jewish ownership of Negev lands without any consideration of the Bedouin community’s needs, civil rights and connection to the land.

The State has Begun to Implement the Prawer-Begin Plan Before Knesset's Approval

Thursday, May 16th, 2013 (Beer Sheva): A large police force and the Israel Land Administration (ILA) barricaded the unrecognized village of Atir in the northern Negev, carried out demolitions in the village, and uprooted many trees.

7:30 am: A large police force composed of hundreds of police officers and supervisors accompanied by demolitionists working for the Israel Land Administration arrived in the unrecognized village of Atir, near the village of Hura community. First, the authority closed off community access roads and put up barriers.  Then, escorted by a heavy police force, they brought in demolition tools.  The authority went on to destroy eight houses and seven other structures.  They then uprooted 470 olive trees belonging to the villagers.

Atir has existed in its current location since the beginning of the 1950s. According to the Prawer-Begin Plan, recently approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, but not yet approved by the Knesset, the land on which Atir Village is located will be evacuated and forested by the Jewish National Fund.  Though this Plan is not yet finally approved, and although it authorizes that people who are evacuated be contacted prior to the demolitions and offered compensation agreements, the action that took place today indicates that the police and ILA have already begun to act independently of the legislative process.

MK Merav Michaeli was present during the demolition along with representatives of NCF.   MK Michaeli met with the villagers following the demolitions and said the following:
          This event has left women and children without a home
          and without hope for the future. Instead of sitting with
          the Bedouin community to find a good solution for all,
          the government continues to act in violence and endanger
          all residents of the Negev.

Upcoming Vote on Prawer-Begin in Knesset

On Monday, May 27th, the Knesset will vote on the Prawer-Begin Plan.  This is will be the most critical vote on this bill yet.  We ask all of our supporters—both in Israel and abroad—to employ every advocacy tactic at their disposal to urge the Knesset to reject this bill.


The Prawer Plan Was Approved by the Legislative Ministry Committee on Monday, May 6th:
The Negev Coexistence Forum Opposes this Ruling

On Monday, May 6th 2013, the Legislative Ministry Committee approved the Prawer Plan.  This is a serious step towards institutionalizing the discriminatory and racist policies of the State in the Negev.  This law will result in transformation of the Negev into a region composed of impoverished Bedouin enclaves, wherein the Bedouin population will be forced to take on an urban and dense livelihood and abandon their traditional ways of life. In other words, we will see the Arab Bedouin population dispossessed of its land and traditional means of production as well its social structure diminished.   Furthermore, Bedouin will be concentrated into impoverished, urban areas where their potential for self-development will be stymied. 

The implementation of this decision will cause tens of thousands of civilians to be evicted.  A scenario of this sort is contrary to the recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2011), which has called on Israel to refrain from forcibly evicting residents and to stop the demolitions in the unrecognized villages.  It also contradicts the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2012), which had called on the State to withdraw the discriminatory law (proposed in 2012) for regulating Bedouin settlement in the Negev that legalizes the on-going policy of home demolition and forced displacement of the indigenous Bedouin community.

We believe that this law formalizes a process that is destructive to the future of the Negev. It is to our dismay that the State has designated extensive resource towards police enforcement of a violent and oppressive strategy, since these resources could be directed to recognizing existing villages.  Such resources could be used to develop infrastructure, improve the welfare of the population and pursue the long-term interests of all residents of the Negev—Jews and Arabs.  We have done and continue to do everything we can to oppose the existing legislative process—a process that does not incorporate the Bedouin community when it comes to determining the future of this population in the Negev.  The process is unilateral instead.

A demonstration that was held Monday morning in front of the Prime Minister was the first step in a series of protests and resistance tactics.  This was followed by a community conference on Wednesday aimed at organizing community members and NGOs to work together in order to stop this problematic bill.

We call on the public to join this fight for civil equality in the Negev.


Cycling Tour for Recognition and Equality

A cycling tour, hosted by NCF and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) in cooperation with a group of international activists (from three Belgian NGOs), took place from April 2nd to April 6th.  Festivities kicked off Monday night with a meet-and-greet meal at NCF’s Multaka-Mifgash Cultural Center; about fifty individuals attended this event. 

During the tour, the 35 participants rode everyday between 13 of the villages in the Negev-Naqab. These villages included Umm al-Hiran, which the government plans to replace with a Jewish settlement called Hiran; Hashem Zane, which was recently zoned for the expansion of Route 6 where homes now stand; and Al Arakib, which has been destroyed 45 times.  Participants from abroad were hosted in the villages and took part in cultural events conducted by the villages’ Bedouin residents.  During the tour, the international activists joined the Bedouin community in protesting the government’s devastating and discriminatory policies.

NCF spokesman Ofer Dagan stated the following about the tour:

        The cycling tour is a project aimed to broaden the scale of
        solidarity actions between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel
        and amplify our mutual call for a change in policy that will
        allow for coexistence in the Negev and throughout the State.
        We hope that the tour will also achieve closer intercultural
        relations on the ground by working together towards equality
        and mutual respect and by resisting the current policy, which
        is devastating for all citizens of the Negev.

NCF's Racism Report Published and Receiving Significant Press Coverage

On Thursday, March 21st 2013, NCF published a report, which presents an updated picture of the gap between the state services that are allocated to Jewish verses Bedouin Arab villages in the Negev-Naqab.  This report was developed in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The report demonstrates that the population density of the Bedouin towns ranges from a ratio of about one thousand people per square kilometer to up to 2,700 people per square kilometer.  Meanwhile, in Jewish towns, the ratio does not exceed 400 inhabitants per square kilometer.  The report further reveals that the unemployment rate in the Bedouin townships is substantially higher than the average in southern Israel.  This is, at least in part, due to the fact that there are no employment bureaus in most Bedouin towns. 

Furthermore, the report demonstrates that with regards to public services—banking, postal, transport and communications, there is a big deficit in service accessibility in Arab towns compared to that in Jewish towns. For example, the Jewish town of Omer has a full mail service, bank, and phone service infrastructure for it 7,000 inhabitants.  Conversely, the nearby Bedouin town of Tel Sheva has only partial postal and telephone services and no bank branches for its 16,000 inhabitants.

This report received media coverage from both Hebrew and English editions of Haaretz newspaper as well as a local television news station and extensive coverage in Arabic newspapers.  The article from the English edition of Haaretz can be found here:

NCF Hosted Conference Regarding the Forced Relocation of Bedouin in the Negev-Naqab via the Begin Plan

The Recognition Forum and NCF jointly hosted a conference on Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 19:00 at the Tzavta Cultural Center in Tel Aviv.  At the conference, Bedouin leaders and Jewish activists served as the panelists and discussed a bill, which included Minister Begin recommendations for the Prawer-Amidror Plan, for forcibly relocating and resettling Bedouins.  This bill has been altered two times, approved by the government, and is now awaiting review by the new Legislative Minister’s Committee.  If approved by the Legislative Minister’s Committee, the bill will be submitted to the Knesset for the first call. 

This bill, if implemented, will significantly endanger tens of thousands of Bedouins who will be uprooted from their villages, homes, and ways of life. They will also lose the possibility of returning to their lands in the future as a result of the plan. To coerce the Bedouin population to leave their lands, the State has begun a wide-scale series of house demolitions and destruction of crops.

The conference was attended by over a hundred individuals, including Arab, Jewish and international audience members. 



Umm Al-Hiran/Hiran: New Video Exposes Dispossession Underway

The Negev Coexistence Forum invites you to watch a new video by Yoav Galai, NCF's Coordinator of the Interactive Unrecognized Villages Documentary Project. This film was developed as part of an EU supported project, which NCF conducted in conjunction with Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights.  Click here to watch the video.

The video contains interviews with Salim Abu-Alqian, a resident of the village of Umm Al-Hiran—a Bedouin village under serious threat of demolition, and with a member of a group of “settlers” (within the Green Line).  This group will soon settle in Hiran, a Jewish settlement that is planned to be built on the ruins of the current village of Umm Al-Hiran.

Human Rights Workshops in Unrecognized Villages

This project was made possible with the support of the European Union.

Also as part of the joint NCF/Adalah project, we have begun to organize Human Rights workshops in unrecognized Bedouin villages that face the threat of demolition. The first workshop was held in the village of Wadi Al-Na’am on Saturday, February 16th. The workshop included three discussion sessions.  The first, led by Attorney Aram Mahameed of Adalah, dealt with demolition orders and the Right to Protest. The second was led by Michal Rotem, NCF’s Content Coordinator. It focused on effective and strategic use of media and technology in publicizing villagers’ campaigns. The participants learned how to document events in their villages and to share photos and information via print media and social media. The third session, led by NCF’s Field Coordinator Ratb Abu-Krinat, concentrated on preparing the villagers for upcoming Human Rights campaigns.  The participants distributed roles amongst themselves and discussed ways of making Human Rights campaigns sustainable by mobilizing the community.

Local Committee Head Mr. Libad Abu Afash said, "The  local committee acknowledges the importance of awareness raising activities in the village and, in particular, for addressing the multitude of legal issues and challenges facing the Bedouin community, especially in light of governmental plans for Wadi Al-Na'am."

NCF would like to thank the village committee of Wadi Al-Na’am for its role in making the first workshop successful.

Attention: Volunteers Needed for a Cycling Tour in the Unrecognized Villages 

In early April (2/4/13—6/4/13), NCF will host a cycling tour in cooperation with a group of activists from Belgium. During the tour, which will last for five days, the participants will bike everyday between a few villages.  Another group will be walking between the villages.  Each night, the activists will be hosted in one of the villages and will meet with the local community.

NCF needs English/French speaking volunteers to escort the activists and assist with translation (from Hebrew/Arabic). We invite you to join us for one day or more.

For details, please contact Ofer: 050-9391299,

Multaka-Mifgash Presents: An Introductory Workshop Regarding the Situation of Bedouin in the Negev (Led in English)

NCF is proud to announce the commencement of its annual Introductory Workshop in English. The Workshop will include a series of lectures regarding the following: recognized and unrecognized villages, women’s status within Bedouin communities, and health issues amongst Bedouin.

The workshop will be held on March 17th and 18th at the Multaka-Mifgash Cultural Center.


Hello and happy New Year! We hope that the year is off to a good start.  For 2013, NCF has made international outreach a priority.  We ask that you help us reach our outreach goals by sharing our updates with your friends and colleagues and encouraging them to subscribe.  Many thanks!
MK Begin’s Amendments and Recommendations Approved

On Sunday, 27 January 2013, the Israeli government approved Minister Benny Begin’s recommendations and minor amendments to the Prawer Plan. The recommendations and amendments were intended to address Bedouin concerns about the Prawer Plan, which could displace up to 70,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel, but they will not address these concerns in the least.
The newly approved plan states that "the government will recognize as many unrecognized Bedouin villages as possible, provided that the land on which the villages are located doesn't contradict the regional planning program."  However, the Metropolitan planning program was developed taking the locations of the unrecognized villages into only very minimal consideration.  Therefore, much of this land will be used for governmentally assigned purposes and only a very small area will remain for the future planning of rural communities.

Significant Case in the Israeli Supreme Court
In a recent case, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the State will not be able to register contested lands as state-owned land.  The District Courts will also be required to review and arbitrate over Bedouin claims to land.  This court case involved State counter claims that were submitted more than 30 years after Bedouin filled land claims.
The counter claims process started in 2004 to pressure Bedouin claimants to settle their claims more rapidly (less than one fifth of all land claims were “settled” between 1970 and 2000).  This process enables the State to submit land claims that oppose Bedouin claims through legal hearings in a District Court. Since 2004, the State has won every legal hearing, and the contested land has been registered as state-owned land.
According to official Israeli Land Administration (ILA) figures from 2007, the ILA had submitted 401 counter land claims and had won, as a result of those cases that were ruled over, an area of more than 50,000 dunams in just three years. 
In the recent Supreme Court hearing, on 30 December 2012, the Court decided that the case should return to the District Court and  be discussed in detail there.  This week, the State approached the Supreme Court and requested that that the decision made on 30 December 2012 be heard again in a special hearing with an expanded judiciary.


A Worrisome Series of Demolitions 

On Thursday, 17 January 2013, Negev Bedouin experienced a series of devastating demolitions.  In the morning, police forces entered the village of Al Madbakh, and bulldozers destroyed two houses there.  One house was also destroyed in the village of Lakia.  Thursday afternoon, Al Arakib was demolished for the 46th time. 

Japanese Embassy Visit to the Negev 

The First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy Mr. Kikuchi visited unrecognized villages and the town of Sequib A-Salam to study and see firsthand the situation of the Bedouin. 

Children's Photography Workshop

The Negev Coexistence Forum's annual photography workshop started a month ago in the Bedouin unrecognized villages of A-Sir and Hashem Zane.  On the first day of the workshop, children received cameras.  In the days that followed, professional documentary photographers, who volunteered to take part in this project, taught the children how to use the cameras and how to document their lives and events in their own villages. This past Wednesday was last day of the workshop.  It concluded with a party at which participants received one of their shots as an impressively enlarged print along with a disk containing all of their photos. 

After a wave of mounting pressure from Bedouin residents in the Negev and human rights groups, the Be'er Sheva municipality agreed to sell wine during its annual wine festival outside the grounds of the city's historical Big Mosque.

Despite this, photos that were taken during the event display the fact that people took alcoholic beverages into the mosque's yard, contrary to the agreement that was reached between the police and the Leading Committee of Negev Arabs.

 Photo by Alberto Denkberg

ILA brags about demolitions

This week, the Israeli Land Administration (ILA) boasted on its website that it set a new "record" in the struggle against illegal building in the Negev by demolishing 26 Bedouin structures in one day.

In a statement on the ILA website, the organization also bragged about having convinced seven Bedouin citizens to demolish their own homes to avoid paying fines or facing lawsuits.

NCF strongly condemns this recent wave of ILA demolitions in the Negev, which left numerous families without a roof over their heads. The ILA also demolished solar panels, which, for residents in Rachmeh village, served as their only source of electricity.


Negev Coexistence Forum (
Dukium: "Al Arakib: A background paper about the summer of demolitions"
Dukium nach der 6. Zerstörung im Oktober: ergänzt (Anfang Nov. noch nicht im Internet)
Haaretz: Reclaiming the desert  (27.8.10)
The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev (RCUV), Website seit 2008 nur unvollständig betreut.
Videos der Zerstörungsaktionen: youtube, 10.8.10 ; youtube, 14.9.10