Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Fight in the Negev

The New York Times details a land dispute between the Bedouins of the Negev Desert and the Israeli government:

The contest over this small patch of desert reflects a clash of cultures, of modern and traditional lifestyles and laws of ownership and increasingly, for many Bedouin, of loyalties and faith. Part of Israel’s Arab minority, the southern Bedouin, who now number more than 170,000 and make up a quarter of the population of the Negev, established good relations with the young Israeli state. Unlike most Arab and Muslim citizens of Israel, many have volunteered to serve in the Israeli military. But none of that has eased the tensions over the land in the Negev. The area lies in Israel proper, not in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which the Palestinians want as part of a separate state. Originally nomads, the Negev Bedouin had settled into a largely sedentary lifestyle by the time the Israeli state was founded. Israel did not recognize their land claims, and about a third to half the Bedouin of the Negev now live in dozens of unrecognized villages . . .

Steve Clowney

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