Rabbis for Human Rights watches with great concern the violence that erupted in Hura in protest against the Begin/Prawer plan.
We call on the government at the very least to finally reveal the data about the consequences of the plan. We also call on the government to withdraw from the plan that has no legitimacy in light of the principles of equality and justice in Jewish tradition, in the Israeli Declaration of Independence and vis-à-vis international standards of treatment of indigenous populations, and in light of an agreed alternative plan for reaching a settlement (which the government has chosen to ignore). Even the Jewish public in Israel does not support the plan, as illustrated by a survey we initiated.
The survey found:
A majority of the Jewish public objects to the Begin/Prawer plan (42.8% oppose versus 32.4% support) considering its cost. A majority of the public think the Bedouin claims to the land are fair (47% versus 34.6%). But before those claims were presented to them the majority of the public thought that the Bedouin were taking over the Negev (88%). 35% of the public were surprised by the Bedouin claims because they heard otherwise in the media. The survey was conducted by the Panel’s Institute for Rabbis for Human Rights.
On the events at the demonstrations against the Prawer plan
We are not able to find out who started the violence in the Bedouin protest in Hura. But of course RHR denounces every show of violence and views these events as a bad omen of what might happen if basic justice is not seen and done by the interior committee.
Our experience has shown us that there are significant gaps between the positions of the Bedouin community and the government, but we have also seen several cases where conflict occurred as a result of ignorance and lack of dialogue in cases where there were no gaps or the gaps could have been bridged. Therefore it is paramount for the interior committee to hold hearings with the Bedouin community as equal citizens with equal rights. Instead of talking to the community the way they have done so far about implementing a predetermined plan, there must be a willingness to make far-reaching changes in order to reach agreement.
We call on the government: Reveal the data to the public and the parliament
After many efforts to avoid providing clear data, the architects of the Begin/Prawer plan started to use the number 30,000 as the number of Bedouins who will be uprooted if the law is implemented (RHR is afraid the number might reach 40,000 and that the number 30,000 was calculated by an average Bedouin family size of only five people, whereas the average family in the sector is larger).
But there are two other critical numbers that every responsible legislator must demand from the plan’s architects:
- According to them, how many unrecognized villages are designated for demolition and how many for recognition?
- Of the 650,000 dunams on which the Bedouin live and/or claim ownership, how much is expected to remain in the Bedouins’ possession after the implementation of the law? (According to the Panels survey, a majority of the Jewish public thinks that the Bedouin are “taking over the Negev,” but when informed that the Bedouin demands amount to 5.4% of the Negev territory [for 30% of the Negev population], a majority of Israelis think that is fair).
- More about the moral and practical failures of the Prawer plan
- Everything you wanted to know about our protest against the Prawer plan