Israel: Bill will force Bedouins to pay for destruction of their own homes
An urgent appeal to the United Nations The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality today appealed to various representatives of the UN to avert the passing of a discriminatory legal amendment aimed at placing the payment of house demolitions on homeowners. The proposed law will not apply to settlements beyond the Green Line and the main victims will again be the Bedouin-Arabs in the Negev.
On Monday, 27 June 2011, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset approved the bill for its second and third reading. Under the proposed law, homeowners can be ordered to pay for the demolition of their homes by the State of Israel. Member of Knesset Hana Sweid brought to our attention that the bill would be presented to the Knesset plenum in the coming days. The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) urgently requested the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous People, Prof. James Anaya; Special Rapporteur on adequeate housing, Ms Raquel Rolnik; and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, and international human rights groups for their assistance and intervention to stop this law. The bill does not apply to residents of settlements in the Occupied Territories following the reluctance of MK Ze?ev Elkin (Likud). In light of this amendment, it is clear that it is aimed primarily at the state's Arab citizens. The main victims of the proposed law will be the Bedouin-Arabs who live in the unrecognized villages. Many of their homes are currently subject to demolition orders. This population suffers on a daily basis as a result of state policy and various authorities regularly violate their rights. ACCORDING TO KHALIL ALAMOR , a member of NCF Secretariat, this law will deeply hurt the Bedouins who live in the Negev. Since the establishment of the state, the residents of the unrecognized villages have lived without rights ? without electricity or running water. In the coming days the Knesset is expected to vote on the bill that will force the Bedouin to pay for the destruction of their own homes despite the fact that the state does not allow them the means to construct legal dwellings. The NCF views the proposed law as a serious violation of equality and fundamental rights that are protected by the law of the state and calls on it abandon it immediately. According to Michal Rotem, spokesperson of NCF, "This is a discriminatory and racist law which only increases the alienation and isolation of the communities of the Negev. There is no doubt that its objective is to harm the Bedouin-Arabs living in the unrecognized villages in the Negev and to force them to abandon their land and move to the townships . Apparently the State of Israel in 2011 has different laws for different citizens. We hope for the fast and direct intervention of the various UN representatives to block the proposed law".