UPDATES 11 am Israel time, Sunday, December 1 2013:
The Syrian war in Lebanon continues to escalate with unconfirmed reports from Syrian rebels overnight of the attempted assassination of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah by a suicide car bomber. 22 of Nasrallah’s bodyguards were apparently killed in the blast–but Nasrallah himself escaped with “minor” wounds.
Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess. An alternate theory is that Hezbollah staged a fake blast in Lebanon to to disguise its losses in Syria–so that families of the dead will believe that their sons died in Lebanon and not Syria.
In the meantime, increasingly deadly clashes between the Lebanese army and Palestinian militias resulted in 8 deaths in Tripoli yesterday.
There are currently an estimated 280,000 Bedouins living in the Israeli Negev. The vast majority of these Bedouins (approximately 210,000) live in Bedouin cities and towns such as Rahat (pop. 60,000) and Hura (pop. 20,000).
The main problem concerns the 70,000 Bedouin who live outside of these cities and towns.
Anyone driving through the northern Negev can see the problem in one second.
From just north of Beersheva all the way to Mitzpe Ramon, and from Beersheva to Dimona and further south, both sides of the road have become “home” to thousands of scattered Bedouin ramshackle metal “houses”. In some cases, two or three families may have grouped themselves together; in many more, individual families have just decided to set down roots.
In one sense, these Bedouins are still Bedouins in the “romantic” traditional sense; they herd their sheep, goats, and camels over the surrounding largely-barren landscape. But as already suggested above, in another sense, these Bedouins do not fit into the usual conception of “Bedouins”. They are not nomadic and do not move with their herds to find food. At each Bedouin “house” there is a large supply of stacked hay (purchased from a hay producer) to feed their animals when they overgraze the land, and a large water tank for their animals and themselves.
The number of these “ramshackle” homes is exponentially increasing as the Bedouin birthrate soars.
The primary problem is that virtually all of the land on which these ramshackle homes are being built–with no permits–is government land. Currently, however, the Bedouins claim 519,777 dunam (128,439 acres) of the land as theirs primarily by virtue of “squatters’ rights”.
It is this context that FM Lieberman said yesterday: “We are fighting for the lands of the Jewish people and there are those who intentionally try to rob and seize them.”
It is in this context that the government has begun trying to implement the Praver Plan (also spelled “Prawer”). Described as an economic development plan, it is an attempt to solidify the status of Bedouin communities, develop Bedouin communities economically, and resolve claims over land ownership.
To accomplish these goals, the Plan calls for around 70,000 Bedouin to be relocated to larger Bedouin towns and cities in the Negev.
This of course has led to outcries from self-proclaimed “human rights” groups around the globe that Israel is “stealing the land of the indigenous people of Palestine.”
Stealing the land that the Bedouins never had in the first place-and that they only live on now by virtue of “squatting.”
In any case, this is now all coming to a head as yesterday was proclaimed “A Day Of Rage” by the Bedouins throughout Israel.
And a day of rage it was with more than 280 violent incidents involving rocks, Molotov cocktails, IEDs, burning tires and more. IDF soldiers and numerous Border Policemen were wounded. Dozens of rioters were injured by rubber bullets and riot control measures.
One senior security official commented on yesterday’s events: “We are in a war – any other description would be a distortion of reality.”