By: Amos Gvirtz, Human Rights and Peace Activist
The state uses time and time again the legal system to create a situation whereby the Bedouins' wish to realize their basic human right to have a roof over their head is made illegal.
The government is again preparing a racist legislation which causes a clash between legality and ethics.
A proposal for a law based on a initiative named after its authors the "Prawer-Begin program", has just been adopted by the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Issues. It aims at moving 30000 people from their lands – Bedouin citizens in the Jewish Homeland, and transfer these lands to Jewish citizens!
This proposal adds to a series of laws affecting the Bedouins in a way that causes a clash between the legal order and morality.
I do not know what the legal ground was for expelling Bedouin citizens from their land until 1959. In the 50s in the last century, Israel evacuated Bedouins from the Negev, allegedly to allow for army training and ensure the Bedouins' protection. They were promised that they would be able to return to their land within half a year. They were not allowed to do so. The state used the legal system to dispose of their land, and send the Bedouins to new places (an area restricted to the triangle linking Beer-Sheva, Arad and Dimona) without creating a legal base for their settlements.
The Planning and Building Law was enacted in 1965. Based on this law, the restricted region to which the Bedouins from the Negev had been re-settled was declared "agricultural land", i.e. land reserved for cultures, on which building is prohibited. In effect, this legislation created again a situation whereby the Bedouins' wish to realize their basic human right to have a roof over their head is in contravention with the law!
We have a law against incitement to racism. We don't have a law against racist practice. If there were such a law, we would run the risk to see the government of Israel outlawed.