The implementation of the Prawer Plan is expected to uproot around 40,000 bedouins from their homes (Photo: Reuters)
Following a heated debate in the Israeli parliament this week, a law that would have promoted the forced relocation of thousands of Arab Bedouins was scrapped.
Likud party Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin declared he would not turn what has been dubbed the "Prawer Plan" into a law, according to AFP. The agency also reported that the implementation of the plan was cut short upon the recommendation of Benny Begin, the man who would have enforced it. Begin suggested to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt debating the law, which he accepted.
The controversial Prawer Plan did not go past a first reading in parliament. It raised objections by Israeli lawmakers, including the Israeli Right, which objected to the land and cash benefits allotted to Arab Bedouins as compensation. The Left called it "racist."
If implemented, it would have expropriated more than 800,000 pieces of land and expelled 30,000 to 50,000 Bedouins from their ancestral homes in the Negev desert in southern Israel, according to Electronic Intifada, a Palestinian website.
“Thirty-five unrecognised villages would also be demolished, culminating in an unnervingly blatant ethnic cleansing campaign that will occur under the nose of the international community. These Palestinian Bedouins will be expelled to one percent of the land,” it added.
The Israeli government justified the plan as an attempt to address the problem of unrecognised Bedouin villages in the Negev.
Opposition to the plan sparked street protests in Palestine and around the world. In the third wave of protests, held on 30 November, demonstrations were organised in the occupied West Bank, including Ramallah, the Gaza Strip, Haifa and Jerusalem. Several cities across Europe, North America and the Middle East also held protests in solidarity.