Israël offre aux Bédouins de Généreuses Compensations
pour les Terres qu'ils ont accaparées
Par Emmanuel Navon dirige le Département de Science politique et de Communication au Collège universitaire orthodoxe de Jérusalem et enseigne les Relations internationales à l'Université de Tel- Aviv et au Centre interdisciplinaire d’Herzliya. Il est membre du Forum Kohelet de politique publique.
i24News.tv – 6/12/13
Comment une question intérieure israélienne (un programme gouvernemental pour résoudre les litiges fonciers dans le désert du Néguev) est-elle devenue une affaire internationale qui attire l’ire du Parlement européen ? Pourquoi des manifestants s’opposant à la politique du gouvernement israélien dans le Néguev brandissent des drapeaux de l'OLP ? Et comment expliquer que Benjamin (“ Benny") Begin, un ancien Ministre et " Prince du Likoud » et co-auteur du « Plan Prawer-Begin” ait fourni aux ONG anti-israéliennes le scénario de rêve pour diffamer Israël dans les médias internationaux ?
Le mot « bédouin » vient de l'arabe Badawi, qui signifie « nomade .» Les Bédouins sont originaires de la péninsule arabique, d’où ils ont progressivement migré à la recherche d'eau et de nourriture. Ils furent convertis à l'Islam au 7ème siècle. La plupart des Bédouins qui vivent aujourd’hui dans le Néguev y sont arrivés au début du 19ème siècle. C’est à la fin du 19ème siècle que les autorités ottomanes ont commencé leur sédentarisation forcée. Après la deuxième guerre mondiale et l’émergence d’Etats indépendants au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord, les migrations saisonnières nomades de Bédouins ont pris fin. Dans la plupart des pays, la sédentarisation forcée a eu un prix. En Syrie, le tribalisme bédouin a été interdit par le parti Baath en 1958, et en Egypte le gouvernement a rasé en 1999 des camps bédouins au nord de Nuweiba.
En Israël, après la guerre d'Indépendance, il y avait environ 12 000 Bédouins dans le Néguev. Ils ont tous obtenu la nationalité israélienne en 1954, et beaucoup d'entre eux servent dans des unités d'élite de l'armée israélienne. Depuis 1948, la population bédouine d'Israël est passée à environ 200 000 personnes. Cette forte croissance a généré de sérieux problèmes de développement urbain et de propriété foncière. Près de la moitié des Bédouins d'Israël vivent dans des campements qui ont été construits illégalement sur des terres d’Etat, sans l’accord du gouvernement et sans planification urbaine appropriée. Selon le Ministère de l’Intérieur, et comme chacun peut le constater sur Google Earth, les Bédouins construisent environ 2 000 nouvelles structures illégales dans le Néguev chaque année.
Le gouvernement israélien ne reconnaît pas ces “favelas orientales” parce qu'elles sont illégales et parce que ceux qui les ont construites, en faisant fi du droit, sont incapables de fournir des titres de propriété. En effet, la plupart des revendications de propriété foncière portées par les Bédouins devant les tribunaux ont été rejetées pour manque de preuves, ainsi que sur la base sur des photos aériennes de la période du Mandat britannique, qui montrent qu'il n'y avait pas de terres cultivées à l'époque dans le Néguev .
Les Bédouins d'Israël ont poursuivi leurs constructions illégales bien que le Gouvernement israélien ait construit des nombreux villages et villes pour les Bédouins dans le Negev (telle que Rahat, la plus grande ville bédouine du monde). Ainsi, près de la moitié des Bédouins d'Israël vivent dans des bidonvilles construits sur le domaine public. Les fonds pour ces constructions illégales proviennent des pays du Golfe, et le financement s’effectue via la branche nord du Mouvement islamique en Israël. Le gouvernement israélien pourrait et devrait faire respecter la loi et l’État de droit dans ce Far-West. Au lieu de cela, il a décidé de trouver un compromis avec les Bédouins. C'est là l’essence du "Plan Prawer-Begin».
Ce projet est à la fois immoral et irréaliste. Il est immoral parce qu'il abandonne la souveraineté nationale, récompense le vol et l'anarchie, et méprise l’État de droit. Il est irréaliste parce que les Bédouins eux-mêmes le rejettent, et parce qu'ils sont prêts à empocher les terrains et l'argent que le gouvernement leur offre, mais pas à respecter la loi en échange.
Le Plan Prawer-Begin appelle à la légalisation de 63% des terres bédouines revendiquées (mais non prouvées), à l'attribution de 54 000 ares de terres aux Bédouins, et offre de compensations financières généreuses pour les terres volées que l'Etat récupère (l’Etat paie de l'argent pour récupérer ce qui lui a été volé). En retour, précise le plan, le vol des terres doit cesser et tous les litiges fonciers entre les Bédouins et l'Etat seront considérés comme réglés.
En privé les Bédouins ont du mal à croire que le Gouvernement israélien fasse preuve d’une telle crétinerie. Mais en public, ils ont décidé de rejeter ce marché de dupes sous la pression d’ONG dont l’objectif est de délégitimer Israël et qui ne veulent pas manquer une occasion de contester la souveraineté d'Israël dans le Néguev.
Toute une armée d'ONG financées par le Nouveau Fond d’Israël (FNI) a orchestré une campagne de diffamation contre Israël en présentant les Bédouins comme des indigènes sans défense et victimes du «nettoyage ethnique». Ces ONG comprennent Adalah , l'Association pour les droits civils en Israël ( ACRI ) , le Forum du Néguev pour l'égalité civile ( NCF ) , Bimkom , et Rabbins pour les droits de l'homme ( RHR) . Le RHR est allé jusqu’à produire un film (Fiddler sans toit) qui compare les Bédouins aux victimes juives du régime tsariste antisémite.
La tragédie ultime du Plan Prawer-Begin est qu'un ancien " Prince de Likoud» soit devenu «l’idiot utile" des ONG anti-israéliennes. Dans les contes de fées, des grenouilles se transforment en princes. Au Likoud, le processus est en sens inverse.
IsraelHayom – 6/12/13
In every direction in which one looks, the
The territory is riddled with tens of thousands of very large, very beautiful homes. The picturesque scene, however, is blotted by the massive scale of illegal Bedouin construction. What is often known as the "scattering of villages" is actually one large chain that stretches to the horizon. Those charged with combating the phenomenon are helpless to stop it.
Beersheba-Arad-Yeruham is shaping up to be the desert's Bermuda
Triangle. This massive swath of land, dozens of times the size of central
Israeli law, which bars bigamy and polygamy, is not recognized in this neighboring state. The same goes for the laws governing traffic and road regulations. Building and zoning laws are routinely disregarded. When the State of Israel makes an attempt to restore this lost triangle's place in the puzzle, it is met with a complete lack of cooperation and violence. Thanks to the efforts of the Islamic Movement and other radical elements, the triangle is gradually disengaging from the mother ship. What is even more ominous is the fact that it threatens to take with it other parts of the country.
The Bedouin are a Semitic people whose origins trace to
During the 1948 War of Independence, tens of thousands of Bedouin
residents of the
Since that census more than 60 years ago, the state has sought numerous times to win Bedouin consent for resettlement in neatly allotted, orderly and legally recognized townships. This was not always done with the wisest approach. In the early 1950s, when a military regime was imposed on the state's minorities, the Bedouin were forced into two specially designated zones for living and pursuing their nomadic lifestyle. These areas, which were ringed by fences, were known as the major Siyagh (Arabic for "the permitted area") and the minor Siyagh.
After the military regime was dismantled, it became clear that it was impossible to run a Western country with part of its population being nomadic in nature. Water, electricity, education and health services could only be provided to citizens with a fixed address.
The State of Israel built seven townships specifically for the Bedouin population: Kuseife, Tel Sheva, Segev Shalom, Aroer, Hura, Lakiya and Rahat. Whoever so wanted received a plot of land and connection to the main grids. Just half the Bedouin, particularly the poorer segments, took up residence these seven towns. The other half insisted on remaining in the scattered shantytowns and filing legal claims over ownership rights on the land.
Of the thousands of claims filed between 1967 and 1976, the courts reviewed only a few hundred. All the claims were determined to be baseless. The resettlement process that began then is being resumed now with the Prawer-Begin plan.
There are 300,000 Bedouin in
Today, 120,000 Bedouin live either in recognized towns and cities in the
Thousands of other buildings and structures are clustered together near the municipal boundaries of the legally recognized townships. This illegal construction enjoys the best of all worlds: building without the need for a permit; no need to pay municipal taxes; water and power are provided through pirate grids; and the residents still enjoy state-provided services like schools, medical clinics, and sporting facilities. On the main street that runs through Lakiya, one can notice that on the right side is a row of legally built structures (and a sidewalk), while on the left side, beyond the blue line that represents the municipal boundary, one can see illegally constructed buildings (and no sidewalk).
Just to get an idea of the scale of Bedouin land claims, consider that
the entire State of Israel encompasses 5.2 million acres. If we were to
subtract the total land mass used by the Israel Defense Forces for training
purposes, we are left with 2.7 million acres set aside for civilian purposes.
The Bedouin are demanding almost
Another startling fact to consider is that over 7 million Israeli
citizens either own or rent
In recent years, the state has begun retroactively granting recognition to 11 illegal villages that belong to the Abu Basma regional council. The Bedouin have requested recognition for 45 additional villages, but aerial photographs reveal that the number easily surpasses 1,000. If one defines a village as any plot of land holding a cluster of tents, then there are more than 2,500 villages scattered in the desert.
A forced whitewashing
Al-Said is one of the villages currently in the process of being legalized and whitewashed. The dilemma is a sticky one. There is a municipal master building plan, but the residents there continue to ignore it while building without permits. Funds have been set aside to build a main road, but it cannot be paved yet because a particularly powerful clan has built a fence that runs along its planned route. The electricity and water grids cannot be installed nor can schools be built because somebody has encroached on just about every acre there.
The Abu Basma regional council has refrained from enforcing zoning laws
so as to "preserve relations of trust with the residents,” as it told the
court. Somebody built a beautifully designed, four-story home and surrounded it
In 2003, the Bedouin petitioners were offered a legalization proposal whereby the Israel Land Administration would grant 20% of the land as a legally recognized entity while they would then receive monetary compensation for relinquishing the remaining 80%. Very few of the petitioners agreed.
The al-Sanaa clan -- to which United Arab List-Ta'al MK Taleb al-Sanaa belongs -- from Lakiya was one of them. Lakiya was one of our stops along the tour through the Bermuda Negev. As part of an agreement, the state granted the al-Sanaa tribe dozens of developed plots of land with completely built infrastructure and sporting grounds. Nonetheless, tribal leaders are preventing a full-fledged resettlement in the area. Why? Perhaps to avoid a situation where they are forced to acknowledge entering an agreement with the Zionists. Perhaps it is because of the Victorian manner in which the resources are being distributed, whereby bloodlines determine who gets to build on a certain plot of land. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that a decade later, nearly all of the developed plots in Lakiya remain unused.
Lakiya's main reservoir is a tiny hill surrounded by a plain. The scenic view is far less interesting than the reservoir itself, which is surrounded by barbed wire and security cameras on the roof of a nearby building. A thin, black tube snakes through the reservoir, extends to the nearby hill, and reaches the adjacent cluster of buildings. The water is pumped by the Mekorot national water company with our tax money, or, in this case, protection money.
Mekorot is not the only one. The Israel Electric Company, the National Roads Company and the cellular service providers all prefer to pay "protection" money every month -- with receipts recognized by the tax authorities -- rather than deal with the millions it would cost to cover the damages done to equipment.
The next stop on our tour is Hura. The infuriating green flags of Hamas flutter visibly. All of the mosques that we saw are designed to resemble mini al-Aqsas. Hundreds of developed plots that are ready for construction have been empty since the 1970s, waiting for the Abu-Aljan clan to assume control. The state failed to grasp the inner workings of the tribal politics. Since somebody else claimed ownership of these plots, the Abu-Aljan tribe refused to take what had been set aside for it.
Meanwhile, the state ordered the demolition of a different home
belonging to the same tribe in the
Somebody in the village fired two shots into the air. The commander of the police force said that he was in no way willing to accept responsibility for one of his charges being injured. The house was left untouched.
The third stop on our tour is Bir Hadaj. The state has legalized property in the town and it has approved a master plan in areas where there are no claims of ownership. All the territories are divided up so that each section is allotted to one family -- one family being tantamount to one woman, so a man with four wives would receive four plots of land. Each house would be attached to about three-quarters of an acre for agricultural use.
Even the neighborhood of "Banim Mamshichim" was officially put on the map. But the designated owners want no part of it. The residents of Bir Hadaj have no desire to enter the designated grounds. Instead, they insist on living in scattered shantytowns that are disorderly and unrecognized while shedding tears claiming persecution.
The state, however, did not do nearly enough. In 2008, the government was presented with the Goldberg Report, which recommended legalizing a large portion of the outlaw construction and compensating those squatters in other parts. Three years later, the current government is ready to implement those recommendations by way of the Prawer plan: Existing Bedouin towns will be expanded, new townships will be built in accordance with demographic and occupational considerations -- agricultural, rural, suburban, urban -- and all of the claimants will receive 50% of the value of the land as compensation.
The recently approved Begin Bill makes the package even more attractive: The claimants would be compensated with between 50% and 63% of alternate plots of land while the rest would come in the form of monetary compensation. The petitioner is not required to prove a thing or to produce documents. All that is needed is a vague claim that their family was here generations ago.
The townships currently in existence are not realizing their full potential. A huge project in Rahat which was funded by the state currently stands empty. It is hard to explain why. Lakiya's master plan is tailored for a population of 35,000 people. In practice, however, there are only 10,000 residents.
An outstanding example of a successful resettlement of the Bedouin
population is what took place in the town of
What used to be the old Tarabin is now the newest neighborhood of Omer. The new Tarabin, however, is not devoid of warts, for there are those who want to enjoy the services provided by the municipality without having to pay municipal taxes. And the State of Israel is chasing its own tail.
An illegal haven
Meir Deutsch is a 30-year-old activist who serves as field coordinator
for Regavim, an nongovernmental organization which monitors illegal use of
state lands. According to Deutsch, the Zionist side has its finger in the dike.
A native of
"During navigation exercises, I saw the Bedouin villages and thought to myself, 'There are two options here -- either the State of Israel is discriminating against and persecuting the Bedouin since they don’t have highways or infrastructure, or it's illegal and the state has yet to begin evicting them.'"
As an operations officer in the south, he heard that uniformed police
did not enter Bedouin villages. That was when he realized that "the State
of Israel doesn't exist." When he completed his military service, he
decided to devote himself to the
Where do you expect them to live?
"Now, after the legalization of the towns in Abu Basma, there will
be 18 recognized Bedouin towns. That's not a small amount for 200,000 people.
The Begin law gives them generous compensation. A Jew can't live in a Bedouin
town, as the High Court of Justice case involving Segev Shalom proved, but a
Bedouin can certainly live in a Jewish town. Even
One of the arguments is that life in the urban environment contradicts the spirit of the nomadic Bedouin.
"First of all, a fraction of a percent of them deal with
agriculture or shepherding herds. There's also not enough land in the state to
enable 200,000 Bedouin to shepherd herds. Secondly, even townships that are
agricultural in nature need to be authorized legally. The immigrants from
"I'm not saying that the Bedouin need to be placed in high-rise apartments like those who were evicted from Kfar Darom during the disengagement plan, but the state gives every Bedouin over the age of 18 between one and four dunams for free. After four years of army service, I didn't get a single meter."
Deutsch is just as familiar with the
"The alienation from the State of Israel stems from a sense of persecution," he said. "The state invests a significant amount of money here, but, subjectively, a child who grows up in these shantytowns bears a sense of persecution that is undeniable. When we continue to allow life to go on in an illegally built village that has no infrastructure, we perpetuate the socio-economic inequality, the despair, the crime. Most of the younger generation which isn't incited by charities or Arab members of Knesset wants education, progress, legalization of their towns. There is no vacuum. The State of Israel was never here, so the Islamic Movement entered the picture.
"You can see how the way in which the men and women dress here has come to resemble the Taliban and other fundamentalist streams of Islam. The conflict with the State of Israel has went from being a civic dispute to a nationalist dispute."
Deutsch brought up the sense of alienation felt toward the state. The
polygamist tradition among the Bedouin has created a shortage of eligible
women. This leads to women being "imported" from the territories and
"At Soroka [University Medical Center in Beersheba], you could see Hanukkah miracles in which a woman gives birth to babies three months apart," he said.
The lie being propagated about "historic Bedouin villages" is
dismissively brushed aside by Deutsch. The town of
An aerial photograph taken in 1990 by Survey of Israel, the government's official mapping body, shows a tiny cluster of tents. A photo shot in 1945 shows a sliver of tilled land.
"We are not claiming that the Bedouin weren't in the
We climb aboard an old Cessna-127 aircraft. From a higher altitude we
see the black hole that is the Bermuda Triangle: a tiny state comprised of
65,000 illegally built structures. To put it in perspective, left-wing
organizations claim that settlers in Judea and
The Bermuda Triangle that lies between
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Bedouin of the