MK’s Anger over ‘Vulnerable’ Bedouin Encampments
The government bears responsibility for rocket attack casualties in illegal Bedouin communities, MK Talab Abu Arar (Ra’am Ta’al) has said.
In a letter sent Saturday, Abu Arar accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government of doing too little to protect over 100,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in unauthorized encampments in the south.
“The state is ignoring roughly 120,000 people who live in unrecognized communities,” he charged. “They are not protected by the Iron Dome, and the state takes no responsibility for providing shelter. Not even temporary bomb shelters.”
Two sisters were seriously injured Monday when a rocket hit a Bedouin village near Be’er Sheva. On Saturday, a rocket hit a Bedouin village near Dimona, killing one man and injuring four other people, including a four-month-old baby girl who suffered serious wounds.
“Recent days have taught us that the Bedouin villages are more vulnerable than the rest of the country,’ Abu Arar wrote. “The number of casualties is dozens of percentage points higher, indicating ongoing neglect and a clearly discriminatory policy of the Netanyahu government.”
“Unfortunately, the state treats unauthorized Bedouin villages like ‘open areas,’” he added. He called on the government to “act quickly” to provide more protection to residents of illegal communities.
Hundreds of villages and hamlets have been illegally built on state land in the Negev. The unauthorized structures often lack basic infrastructure, including electricity and water.
In 2013, the government created a plan aimed at solving the problem. The initiative, dubbed the Prawer Plan, would have seen the state legalize many of the illegal communities, while relocating other communities to more central areas with existing infrastructure. Residents were to have been compensated for the state land they were moved from.
The plan was abandoned following major resistance from Negev Bedouin.