Israel plans expulsion of Bedouin Palestinians

Issue 

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem drew attention on October 10 to plans by the Israeli government to expel 27,000 Bedouin Palestinians living in what is known as “Area C” of the occupied West Bank.

Israel's Civil Administration is planning to expel the Bedouin communities living in Area C. In the first phase is planned for January. About 20 communities, involving 2300 people, will be forcibly transferred to a site near the Abu Dis rubbish dump, east of Jerusalem.

Area C, making up around 60% of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is where most Israeli colonisation is concentrated, with the largest Israeli settlements and military training zones.

Palestinians who live in Area C have long faced severe discrimination under Israeli military rule, particularly when it comes to issues of housing. For example, a 2008 United Nations survey found that 94% of building permit applications by Palestinians were denied by the Israeli occupation authorities.

In September, the Israeli cabinet approved a plan for the Negev in southern Israel to forcibly relocate about 30,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens.

The transfer plan is directly linked to efforts to “Judaise” the Negev. As Ramat Negev Regional Council mayor Shmuel Rifman put it, if the Israeli government does not “finalise the Bedouin settlement it will be very hard to enhance Jewish settlement in the Negev”.

In the West Bank, the same logic is at work. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has released a fact sheet on the displacement of Bedouin near Jerusalem, in which they note: “The Bedouin’s current homes are located in an area that holds strategic significance for further expansion of Israeli settlements.”

Thus in the de facto one state that exists between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River, Israeli authorities are planning mass expulsions of around 60,000 Palestinians, specifically in order to free up more territory for Jewish settlements. The Nakba (“catastrophe”, as Palestinians refer to the ethnic cleansing that accompanied Israel's founding in 1948) never finished.

[Reprinted from www.eletronicintifada.net .]

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