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The Israeli Bedouin

Israel Bedouin

By Jim Carey

This week Occupy will consider the situation of Israeli Bedouin. While most readers of Atención have some familiarity with the recent (and, at a lower level, continuing) conflict between Israel and Gaza, much less information has been publicized concerning the situation of minority populations within the State of Israel itself. The Occupy presentation and discussion, to take place on Monday, August 24, at1pm in the television room of the Hotel Quinta Loreto, will focus on the Bedouin, once nomadic herders and traders, now largely settled.

Lecture Occupy SMA
“The Israeli Bedouin”
By David Stea
Mon, Aug 24, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel TV room
Loreto 15

In 1858 Ottoman Turkey imposed a policy of “sedentarization” upon the Bedouin, a process accelerated after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The great majority of the Bedouin, over 200,000, inhabit the Negev Region in the southern part of Israel. The Bedouin are also the fastest growing population on Earth (5.5 percent by current estimates).

Less than four years ago, the “Prawer Plan” was proposed to forcefully displace 30,000 to 40,000 Israeli Bedouin from their ancestral homeland, based on their residence in “unrecognized” villages (and the inhabitants therefore “trespassers on State land”). The Prawer Plan, which has resulted in numerous international demonstrations, was placed on partial hold at the end of 2013, although more than 1,000 houses had already been demolished. However, the full plan may yet be implemented depending upon policies of the increasingly conservative government toward more of those Bedouin dwelling in the Negev Region.

The session is to be led by Dr. David Stea, who has worked with native people in the US, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and elsewhere for almost a half century. His acquaintance with the Bedouin, which began in 1968, expanded with research conducted later in parts of Israel inhabited by these tribal people.

For readers with further interest in this process, writings on the global political economy of Israel by Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler, are highly recommended. Although Israel is not among the “oil rich” countries of the Middle East, ongoing efforts to extract shale oil from the northern Negev has been accompanied by disputes over gas deposits, disputes that have impacted the Bedouin.

You are invited to join the discussion. All our events are free.


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