Israeli cabinet to discuss Negev land grab plan 31May11 June 1, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre -  31 May 2011

Israel will discuss next week a wide-ranging plan designed to claim land in the Negev desert, the Israeli Ynet has reported.

Ynet said it had learned that if the plan is approved, the Arab Bedouins will gain possession of large blocks of land providing them housing in fixed towns that will be recognized by the Israeli state.

The land has been estimated at 200,000 dunums, given that the Bedouins actually own 1.1 million dunums of land in the desert.

Although the plan has so far failed to set criteria for granting land claims, the cabinet is expected to vote on the plan as a board will be tasked with determining the area of land to be divided among the Bedouins, whose consent is still unclear.
According to Ynet, the plan received heavy criticism for providing hundreds of thousands of dunums of land and not setting criteria for claims. Informed sources have argued that the plan is “post-Zionist” and “ignores court rulings and will not solve the Bedouins’ problem in the Negev”.

Regardless of the plan actually stripping the Bedouins of the remaining 900,000 dunums, other critics have called the plan a “dangerous legal precedent”, saying that the Arab nomads will use the plan to acquire hundreds of thousands more dunums of land. They added that the report does not address half of the claims pertaining to lands claimed by Arabs in the 1950′s.

According to the Arab1948 website, 180,000 Arabs own around a 1.1 million dunums in the Negev desert. It says that 90 percent of them were displaced beginning in the Nakba of 1948, and that Israel later seized their land.

The website put the amount of land belonging to the Bedouins before the Nakba at 11 million dunums.

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