x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Timeline: Bedouin in the Negev desert

Timeline: Bedouin in the Negev desert.

First World War After the war, the British Mandate in Palestine brings order to the Negev. The changes hurt the Bedouin financially.

1927 A report describes the Bedouin as the “untamed denizens of the Arabian deserts.” The British establish the first formal schools for the Bedouin.

1948 During the Arab-Israeli War, most Bedouin in the Negev flee or are expelled to Egypt or Jordan. Of the 65,000 who lived in the area before the war, about 11,000 remain.

1949 The Israeli army moves thousands of Bedouin to a small area east of Beersheva. In November, 500 families are expelled to Jordan.

1950s – 1960s Israel moves Bedouin to the Siyagh (Arabic for “permitted area”) in the north-east. The government deports many who try to return. Based on an 1858 Ottoman Land Law, Israel declares that most of the land in the Negev is government-owned.

1963 Moshe Dayan says: “We should transform the Bedouin into an urban proletariat ... the Bedouin would not live on his land with his herds, but would become an urban person who comes home in the afternoon and puts his slippers on.”

1970s – 1980s Few Bedouin are able to continue to graze their goats, and instead begin migrating in search of work.

1968 – 1989 Israel establishes townships for housing of Bedouin. Within a few years, half of the Bedouin move into townships. The largest is the city of Rahat.

2002 Israeli State Comptroller report concludes that the townships were built with minimal investment, and infrastructure in the townships had not improved much in three decades. Most homes are not connected to the sewage system and the water supply is erratic.

Dec 2007 Israel establishes the Goldberg Commission to draft a plan to settle all the Negev Bedouin into townships.

Jan 2009 Israel appoints another team headed by Ehud Prawer. It amends the Goldberg recommendations and the new plan becomes the “Prawer Plan”. Unlike the Goldberg proposals, the Prawer plan does not legalising unrecognised Bedouin villages or their historic ties to the land.

Sept 2011 Israeli Cabinet approves the Prawer Plan.

March 2012 A committee in the prime minister’s office approves the plan.

June 2012 The Knesset is expected to vote on the plan.