IX. Detailed Recommendations

To the Government of Israel:

  • Establish an independent mechanism, such as a special commission, to investigate the way in which land allocation, planning, and home demolitions are implemented with regard to the rights and entitlements of the Bedouin population. The commission’s work should be guided by the right to housing as defined in Israel’s international human rights obligations and should give special regard to any discriminatory and arbitrary impact that current policies and practices have on the Bedouin population.
    • The commission should be fully independent and make comprehensive recommendations as to how the government can provide secure tenure, adequate housing, and protection against forced evictions for residents of unrecognized villages.

To the Ministry of Interior, and to National, District and Local Planning Authorities:

  • Conduct a comprehensive examination of Bedouin citizens’ residential needs, in consultation with their communities, and create a national master plan and corresponding regional and local outline plans to address their housing and community needs.

o Ensure the right of communities to choose residential options. Offer a range of settlement options to Bedouin citizens, not only urbanization.

  • Review immediately the plans submitted by the Bedouin community and their advocates for recognizing and developing the unrecognized villages and/or for the creation of other rural and semi-agricultural residential options for Bedouin.
  • Review the jurisdictional boundaries of the seven government-planned Bedouin townships and the nine newly recognized/established villages/townships, and where these boundaries are insufficient to meet the housing and livelihood needs of the population, plan for their expansion. Where the government and planning authorities have already submitted or approved expansion plans, ensure that these are adequately funded and constructed in a timely manner. Jurisdictional expansions should never occur on land with contested land claims as it will be virtually impossible for Bedouin to live on these plots of land.
  • Establish transparent and just criteria for the creation/recognition of new residential localities in Israel.
  • Create legislative guarantees for the inclusion of Arab citizens of Israel, including Bedouin, in the planning process, including representation on planning bodies and mandated public sessions of these bodies in which affected individuals can participate.
  • Cancel the Wine Route Plan. If the policy of establishing individual farms in the Negev continues, farms must be publicly tendered and awarded based on objective and transparent criteria. These farms should not be created on ancestral Bedouin land over which the Bedouin have registered a claim to title.
  • Pay compensation for land expropriated for public purposes according to its full value, as determined by an independent assessor.
  • Impose a moratorium on all Bedouin home demolitions and evictions until the aforementioned review has taken place and appropriate measures have been taken to ensure that the rights and interests of the Bedouin will be fully respected and protected in future implementation of planning and development policy.
  • Enact legislation that provides the greatest possible security of tenure to residents of houses and land, and ensures that any evictions are carried out in a nondiscriminatory way and in accordance with international human rights norms.
  • In cases where victims of home demolitions have been, or are, unable to provide for themselves immediately following a demolition, take immediate measures to ensure that adequate alternatives are available, including temporary housing.
  • Separate the question of land ownership from the provision of services and official recognition of unrecognized villages.
  • Withdraw all outstanding counter-claims lawsuits and establish a special tribunal for adjudicating land ownership claims that recognizes the traditional land ownership customs of the Bedouin and accepts evidence of possession, use, and ownership other than a formal land deed (tabu). The special tribunal should be guided by the principles spelled out in the UN Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination’s General Recommendation No. 23 on Indigenous Peoples. These include the recommendation that governments take steps to return indigenous peoples’ land and territories traditionally owned by them, and, only when this is not possible, due to factual reasons, grant fair and prompt compensation.
  • Place in the public domain comprehensive information regarding home demolitions and forced evictions in the Negev, and comparative data on similar enforcement actions against unlicensed building elsewhere in Israel.
  • Issue invitations to the UN special rapporteur on adequate housing and the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people to study the problems of the Negev Bedouin and provide recommendations.
  • Ratify the International Labour Organization Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (Convention No. 169).

To the United States and other international donors:

  • Ensure that any aid funds allocated to, or used by, Israel for development of the Negev region are not used for further home demolitions and are conditioned on non-discrimination in planning, land allocation, and development.
  • Urge Israel to conduct planning in consultation with the affected communities and to provide compensation and adequate alternatives to all those threatened with forced eviction.
  • Urge Israel to publish all information regarding home demolitions and forced evictions in the Negev, and comparative data on similar enforcement actions against unlicensed building elsewhere in Israel.

To the United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing and the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people:

  • Raise concerns with the government of Israel about ongoing evictions and home demolitions in the Negev.
  • Request an invitation to conduct a visit to the Negev to study the problem in more depth and make recommendations addressing indigenous land claims.
  • In any consideration of Israel’s reports to UN treaty bodies, request specific information about Israel’s treatment of the Bedouin, with regard to issues of non-discrimination, land allocation and access, adequate housing, and evictions.