Bedouin seeks change through the new Israeli government

Jerusalem (AP) —In the weeks before his Arab party made history in Israel by joining the ruling coalition, Saeed Al-Kulmi was informed that his relatives and neighbors would be demolished. say.

This was a clear indication of the future challenges of the United Arab List. Small islamic party It played an important role in forming Israel’s fragile new government and now wants to secure profits for the Arab minority, including the poor Bedouin community in the South.

Arukurumi, 49, lives in the heart of Bedouin in the Negev Desert. Here, tens of thousands of people live in unrecognized villages where basic services are largely cut off, and homes and other structures are built without legal permission, putting them at risk. It has been. Dismantling by Israeli authorities.

In recent years, Israel has sought to relocate Bedouin to an established town, which states that the state can provide modern services and improve their quality of life. Bedouin sees such efforts as a way to uproot their ancestral lands, disrupt their traditional lifestyles, and lock them into poor, criminal communities.

Israel is planning to establish A new community catering to Jews On the land where Bedouins have been expelled, many fear that Israel is replicating settlement activities in the occupied territories with the aim of expelling Bedouins and changing the demographics of the region.

Al-Kurmi has spent years negotiating with the government to approve some of the Bedouin villages, but during the 12-year reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-wing party ruled the state and its bureaucracy. , Says that such efforts have been repeatedly hampered.

The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, a rights group that closely tracks demolition, states that the country has soared from 697 in 2013, when it was dealing with a coronavirus pandemic, to 2,586 last year.

“When Netanyahu came to power, he increased the number of demolition by a factor of 10. Only war-torn countries would demolish as many homes as they would be demolished in the Negev,” said Al-Kurmi. I did.

He says his own relatives were ordered to demolish the new government in the weeks before it was approved by Congress and sworn on June 13. He abstained for “private reasons”, but his party offered a decisive margin at 60-59 votes.

According to Al-Kurmi, the new government will eventually approve eight villages, which will remove the threat of demolition and give access to services.

“The far right recognized that these eight villages were recognized, or more, that people had progress and solutions, and they didn’t want it,” he said. .. “They ordered hundreds of demolition orders in two weeks and launched a media campaign against me.”

Now that UAL has made history by becoming the first Arab party to join the coalition government, Al-Kurmi wants to continue negotiations and work with other parties to improve the situation in the South.

“I want the Arab Bedouins in the Negev to choose their way of life. Those who want to live a traditional farming life like Bedouins should have the opportunity to do so in their land. What’s wrong? “He said.

Bedouin says the right-wing group Regavim, which claims to be working on a “Zionist vision,” cannot expect the government to serve “illegal squatter camps” that were established without a central plan. I will.

“Israel wants to give them all the benefits of living in modern Western societies. The only way to do that is to bring people together in some way,” said the responsibility of the group’s international sector. Said Naomi Khan. Of national rules “

UAL also leverages its political influence to secure larger budgets for housing, infrastructure and law enforcement, and by resisting or rolling back discriminatory laws, the non-Bedouin Arab minority in Israel. I hope to support the faction.

The Arab community, including Bedouin, makes up 20% of Israel’s population. They have citizenship, including the right to vote, but face widespread discrimination. They have close family ties with the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Palestinians in Gaza, primarily equating their causes, and many Israelis suspiciously see them. ..

Al-Kurumi has no illusions about the challenges facing his party. The coalition includes eight political parties from the entire political spectrum. After expelling Netanyahu and casting four votes in less than two years, three right-wing parties desperately joined in to avoid the next election.

“It’s an experiment,” Alkhrumi said. “Can we influence governments, benefit our society and abuse existing political situations, or can we protect ourselves? The easiest The thing is to stop saying I’m not involved. I came back and got Netanyahu again. “

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