Israeli-Arab party Balad calls on foreign countries to intervene and stop the demolition of Beduin homes.
Israeli Arabs and supporters of the Beduin community protested in front of the Knesset on Monday in opposition to the Prawer-Begin plan, which was scheduled to be presented for its first reading.
The vote ended up being delayed.
Israeli-Arab party Balad sent a letter to the ambassadors of foreign countries calling on them to intervene and stop the demolition of Beduin homes and the implementation of the government’s Prawer-Begin plan, which seeks a compromise by legalizing 63 percent of Beduin-claimed land and regulating their settlement in the Negev.
The letter calls for their governments to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop “the demolitions and land confiscations” and to recognize their “ownership of the land.” Balad sent the missive last week, requesting urgent intervention following the demolition of 18 Beduin structures in Atir-Umm al- Hiran by the government earlier this month.
According to Balad, the aim of the Prawer-Begin plan is “to expel our people from their land in the Negev.” The letter states that Atir is one of the 35 villages in the Negev that the Israeli government refuses to recognize and that existed before the establishment of the state. In addition, these villages lack basic services such as water, electricity, schools and medical clinics, the letter stated.
The Israeli-Arab MKs claimed that the government intends to replace the confiscated land with Jewish settlements, and to expand the metropolitan area of Beersheba at the expense of the surrounding Arab citizens. Their letter also stated that international organizations and the European Parliament oppose the plan.
Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, said, “This is not how a normal state or even a dictatorship treats its citizens because it is very obvious that the aim of this plan is to expel the Palestinian citizens from their land and develop the land for the Jewish population.
“This state thinks that the Palestinians don’t own anything, that they don’t know history. The state acts like we weren’t here before the state,” she claimed.
Zoabi went on to explain that the state knows that Arabs own the land and that formal ownership was not normally practiced before 1948 and during the British Mandate and Ottoman periods.
“We didn’t immigrate to Israel, it was Israel that immigrated to us,” she said, adding that “it is humiliating” that she now has to prove that she owns the land. Zoabi further alleged that, despite paying taxes, Arabs are not receiving services such as water and electricity, and that Israel wants to expel the Beduin.
According to the Balad MK, this would be the second such expulsion by the state, as, according to her, it similarly expelled Arabs in 1948.
Asked by the Post if a compromise is possible, Zoabi replied, “We can’t compromise.
It is about stolen property.”