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The Anguish of Israel's Bedouin

Israel's Bedouin tribes are calling upon the government to stop their forced relocation under the Prawer law, and use dialogue and compromise to avoid more violence.
A protester holds a placard as another holds an Islamic movement flag during a demonstration to show their solidarity with Bedouin citizens, near the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel August 1, 2013. Hundreds demonstrated against an Israeli cabinet plan to relocate some 30,000 Bedouin citizens who live in unrecognized villages in Israel's southern Negev desert and relocate them to towns built by the government. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX127DJ
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If anyone thought that the Prawer Bill to regulate Bedouin settlement in the south of Israel would pass quietly, the demonstrations and conflicts of the past few days prove that he was mistaken. The implementation of the law and attempts to forcibly evict the Israeli Bedouin from their unrecognized settlements in the Negev and move them to planned new settlements will only deepen the rift between them and the state of Israel and ultimately lead to bloodshed.

It is very reasonable for the state to want to pass a law regulating the Bedouin settlements, either through financial compensation or by providing alternative plots of land to anyone forced to abandon their own. The far-reaching land grab by the Bedouin clans of the south has created a situation that requires intervention. On the other hand, almost any time that the state has tried to find an equitable legal solution that also meets the tribal needs of the tribal people, the Bedouin have pulled out the claim that “This land belongs to me and my ancestors,” effectively ending the discussion.

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