The Bedouin situation in Israel continues to trouble me. I have written about my visit to the Negev on this blog before, and the stream of information that comes to me from this region does not show any constructive progress.
To be clear, I am troubled because the Bedouins are Israeli citizens, not refugees, but they appear to be treated without the respect that all of the citizens of Israel should have. 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs. Given the sorry state of global Arab-Israeli relations, in my view the Israeli state should focus on integration and constructive engagement with these Arab citizens of Israel in order to show the way things could and should be.
One of my Israeli friends, a former IDF air force pilot, says that the greatest threat to the future of Israel is not from outside its borders, but from within. I think he is right, and I hope more people recognize this and act now to promote socio-economic cooperation and integration between the Jewish majority and the various ethnic groups that make up the Arab citizens of Israel.
Below is the latest news sent to me on May 11 from the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages of the Negev:
A FEW DAYS AFTER APPOINTING A MINISTER FOR DEVELOPING THE NEGEV AND THE GALILEE THE AUTHORITIES DEMOLISH 4 HOMES IN THREE UNRECOGNIZED VILLAGES
A large number of policemen accompanied by a helicopter and tractors raided three unrecognized villages (Al-Zaroora, Al-Bhaira and Al-Qattamat) and demolished 4 homes: two in Al-Zaroora, one in Al-Bhira and one in Al-Qattamat. They also forced Mohhamed Al-Qoran from Al-Bhaira to demolish his shop under the threat of paying a large fine. The RCUV looks at this attack as the real face of the so-called the Negev and the Galilee Development Plan which does not take the Arabs into account. This development means more suffering and home demolition for the Arabs. The RCUV calls upon the Higher Follow Up Committee for the Arab Affairs and Arab MKs to support it in its struggle and to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Olmert and Shimon Peres to discuss the situation and put pressure on them to end home demolition. The RCUV will rebuild the demolished homes. Friday prayers will be hld in Al-Bhaira near the demolished homes.
–The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev
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