Interruptions, yelling and expulsions took place in the Knesset Wednesday morning as former minister Benjamin Begin listened to speakers criticize his proposed law, called “Prawer Plan”. Several Left and Arab MKs and supporters from various human rights NGOs railed against the bill, claiming it would result in up to 40,000 Arab-Bedouin citizens losing their land. This was the bill’s second discussion. The first took place on November 6.
MK Dov Khenin of Hadash also expressed his concern about the law and said that it sets the stage for the evictions of entire communities on a national basis. Khenin went on to say that the law includes unprecedented sanctions such as the evacuation of civilians from their homes within 30 days. MK Khenin added he was very worried about this law. “It seeks to uproot citizens from their homes on a national basis, while it also calls for harsh punishment of up to two years in prison if someone remains on his land,” he said. “This law will bring us to a catastrophe!” Khenin warned. “This is a transfer plan, it is a colonial scheme that does not respect the country’s citizens,” Khenin said
Haia Noach, CEO of the Negev Coexistence Forum, an NGO that supports the Arab-Bedouin, told the “Jerusalem Post” she believed the government was trying to push the bill through as quickly as possible, wanting to show that a “democratic process” was involved. “But this isn’t democracy,” she said, calling it instead a “tyranny of the majority.” Noach said she believed the Arab-Bedouin would remain steadfast, as “they did for many generations, since the government isn’t offering a fair and just solution.”
On Sunday, the Israeli government authorized construction plans for two new settlements in the southern Negev region, one of which is slated to be established on territory currently inhabited by a number of Bedouin communities.