Nakba in the Negev: Oh To Be A Dead Jewish Dog

by
Abby Zimet

In a rare concession to widespread opposition, Israel recently (and probably temporarily) scrapped its Prawer-Begin plan to forcibly relocate 40,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their unrecognized villages to state-planned townships - shades of South Africa - as part of their decades-long strategy to "transform the Bedouin into an urban proletariat.” But the relentless erosion of the Bedouin and their agricultural heritage goes on apace with "smaller Prawers" every day: the demolitions of houses and entire villages, the confiscation of thousands of acres of Negev land, the chasing of shepherds from their flocks and now the construction of another SodaStream plant at Rahat, a planned township suffering from the same poverty,  unemployment, lack of basic services and other woes that mark all the others likewise "excluded from the blueprints of development." A potent reminder of Israel's unbridgeable gap between have and have-not is the comfortable Jewish settlement where the Goldog ranch house, kennel offering "close medical care," and lovingly decorated pet cemetery all boast the "civil-engineered trappings of placid suburban life" - water, electricity and waste removal. All of which the Bedouins, in their nearby hardscrabble settlement, lack.

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