The issue of the Bedouins in the Negev is one of the most difficult issues facing any Israeli government. It is a sensitive and mainly flammable issue. Many people meddle in it, particularly those who are mostly interested in fanning the flames.
There have already been violent protests, and it’s reasonable to assume that there will be more protests. After all, there are groups within Israel, both Jewish and Arab, which are interested in lighting the bonfire.
The discussion of the Bedouin issue is legitimate. Different countries have dealt in different ways with the recognition of native populations’ rights. The Scandinavians had the Sami people (the Lapps), the Australians had the Aboriginal people and the Americans had the Indians. Each democratic state adopted its own solution.
One thing is clear: The arrangement offered by Israel is probably the most generous and decent arrangement, compared to other countries. Israel is offering every Bedouin family in one of the unrecognized communities generous solutions, which include both a piece of land and infrastructures.
But the coalition of incitement and deception – which includes Adalah, Balad, rights movements and the Islamic Movement – is unhappy with these solutions. This coalition also has the Haaretz newspaper, which is fanning the flames, at its service.
It should be clarified that there is a huge difference between a critical stance against the state’s conduct and major deception, which has one result: Lies and incitement. There is no need to mention that the coalition of incitement and deception chose the second option – not a battle for the Bedouins, but another opportunity for an anti-Israel campaign.
Last week, the Supreme Court decided to approve the evacuation of Bedouins from Umm al-Hiran to allow the construction of the new town of Hiran. According to Prof. Aeyal Gross, Haaretz’s commentator, “The residents, who are about to be evacuated from the community and whose homes are about to be demolished in favor of the Jewish community of Hiran – have been living there for 60 years, after moving to the Nahal Yatir area in 1956 at the military governor’s order.”
Had these been the facts, we should have joined the protestors against the brutal eviction government. The problem is that Gross’ statement is inaccurate, to say the least.
The facts are, first of all, that the Bedouin expansion to the compound allotted to Hiran began only after the decision was made to build the new community. It’s written in the ruling. There are aerial photos that prove it. But Gross wasn’t wrong. He misled his readers. If there is an opportunity to spread another lie about the Zionist expulsion, the coalition of deception and incitement will seize that opportunity.
Secondly, most of the Bedouins who were in the areas discussed by the Supreme Court willingly accepted the arrangement proposed by the state, according to the Prawer outline. The outline included generous land allotments in the adjacent recognized community of Hura, including an exemption from payment for the land, an exemption from payment for infrastructures and additional compensation for the transfer.
Thirdly, up until two years ago, the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages of Negev – which are at the heart of the conflict – was headed by Ibrahim Aloquili, who tried to advance an arrangement with the state. The members of the coalition of incitement and deception didn’t like it. They worked to present him as a collaborator and oust him. Why? Because radical elements wanted a militant line. “Aloquili has been seen for a long time now as a person who is sabotaging the attempts of other leaders to advance a more hawkish line vis-à-vis the government,” they argued. The picture is becoming clear.
Other solutions can and may be presented. The Supreme Court’s decision can be criticized. But that’s not what Haaretz did. It misled its readers. It failed to mention the fact that most Bedouins supported the arrangement without being forced to. It failed to mention the fact that the Bedouins expanded to the community of Hiran only after it was decided to build it. It failed to mention the fact that the Bedouins’ families are not being thrown out on the street but are receiving a generous arrangement from the state. Why were these facts concealed from the readers? We know the answer. It’s not criticism; it’s incitement and deception.
Not everyone who opposes the Prawer Plan is an enemy of the State of Israel or the Zionist enterprise. But for many, the Bedouin issue has turned into another propaganda tool as part of the attempt to present Israel, and the entire Zionist enterprise, as an enterprise of oppression, discrimination and expulsion. This is the reason why the campaign has become international.
Admittedly, the lies are winning. Even the European Union has already volunteered to save the Bedouins from the Zionist regime. In the face of the lies and distortion, all that is left is to present the facts.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Ynet News.com