The eviction theme is being played out today most prominently in the ever expanding settlements in occupied territory taken in the 1967 war, but variations take place in Israel itself, the most prominent being the concentration, eviction and harassment of the Arab residents of East Jerusalem. Even further below the radar is the terrible treatment of the Arab residents of the Negev Desert, where one Arab community's meager infrastructure at Al Araqib has been demolished by Israeli bulldozers literally dozens of times.
In the Negev Desert more generally, the Israeli government seeks to sweep approximately 40,000 Arab Bedouin, who are Israeli citizens (although second class because not Jewish) into concentrated housing, leaving the area where they have lived since before the founding of the state free to be used by Jewish Israelis as they see fit. The infamous Jewish National Fund (JNF) practice of "re-forestation" is as usual involved. This attempt to make it appear nothing was present before the JNF arrived to plant trees is most famously exhibited at Canada Park, American Independence Park and other such "parks" where Palestinian towns used to sit. Note the clever naming to make Western outsiders feel involved and also to project an environmental improvement theme. This laundering of odious projects is an Israeli specialty.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has produced detailed information on how this Bedouin removal proposal, called the Begin Plan (named after noted Israeli practitioner of terror in his youth and Israeli Prime Minister in later years, Menachem Begin) would operate. The plan says in the introduction
"The development of the Negev is one of the most important national tasks in theDevelopment means, of course, more Jewish settlements, which Israeli always considers an advance. Increasing the Jewish population of the Galilee to the north is also a national project. Any American should recognize this kind of only-one-people-allowed idea as antithetical to liberty and justice for all, but at the same time it is fundamental to Israel as an exclusive Jewish state. You won't hear about any of this from Washington.
coming decade and the government has decided to advance it in various ways."
ACRI makes these points among many others:
Yes, it's outrageous, but yet another blatant ethnic-cleansing operation for a nation designed to wrest a land away from the indigenous people, a project that has run remarkably smoothly for the last 65 years and that continues with plenty of American money flowing in from a Congress eager to send even more. I hope you will read ACRI's full account. You are supporting this in full if you are an American with over $3 billion going to Israel from the United States government every year and a promise from Obama for more to come.
- Around half of the Arab population in the Negev – some 90,000 people – live in 46 Bedouin towns and villages. This accounts for just five percent of the entire land of the Negev region. Israel does not recognize 35 of these villages.
- ...the Begin Plan is...based on an erroneous assumption that views the Bedouin as “squatters,” ignoring the fact that most of the villages have been in existence in their current location since before the establishment of the State of Israel. Other villages were established by coercive transfer during the period of martial law. Like its precursor, the current plan also seeks to restrict the Bedouin to a specific area and to forcibly apply this policy.
- While seeking to demolish dozens of villages and displace thousands of people, the Government is simultaneously promoting the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are due to be built on the ruins of Bedouin villages.
- The bill fails to take into account the circumstances of each specific unrecognized village and instead treats all of the villages as a single entity, without examining the relevant facts in each specific instance.
Israel has modified the Golden Rule to read: When you get the chance to do unto others as wrongly as has been done unto you, do it with a will!