We’ve just received the welcome news from our allies on the ground that the Prawer Plan to forcibly relocate over 40,000 Israeli Bedouin from their ancestral lands is no longer under consideration by the Israeli Knesset. The recent demonstrations on both sides of the Green Line, and throughout the world, succeeded in raising enough doubt about this plan to help take it off the table.
Your voices, in concert with the Bedouin communities in the Negev, Jewish-Israeli activists, and the unanimous Palestinian resistance, revealed the plan’s lack of integrity and accountability.We now know, if and when a future plan is developed, we have the ability to stop it in its tracks.
As we celebrate the Prawer Plan being scrapped, we understand that this victory is temporary.
This does not mean the Bedouin communities in the Negev will be treated as equal citizens, or hooked up to the basic services they require, or have their ancestral land claims will be recognized. Dozens of Bedouin villages remain unrecognized by the Israeli government, lacking basic infrastructure such as water, sewage, and electricity, and Bedouins continue to be forbidden from building, buying or selling a home, receiving full government services, or running for or voting in local government elections. Many Bedouin homes and villages are still slated for demolition (the village of Al-Araqib has already been demolished over 60 times).
Now more than ever, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and all of us, must continue to raise our moral voice in favor of equal rights for the Bedouin and recognition of their ancestral land claims.
We can exhale for now, with relief the Prawer Plan is no more, and then take a new breath and get ready to continue the work to ensure that the Negev Bedouin, and all people in the region, have what they need to thrive.