Global Ministries joins letter opposing displacement of bedouin

Global Ministries joins letter opposing displacement of bedouin

#Palestine, #Israel

Global Ministries’ Co-Executives, Rev. Julia Brown Karimu and the Rev. Dr. James Moos, joined colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing concern about Israel’s plans to displace bedouin from their home in the Negev Desert.  Israel’s effort is called the Prawer Plan.

The full text of the letter follows:

October 16, 2013

The Honorable John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Secretary,

On behalf of the signing organizations, we write to express serious concern about the proposed Prawer Plan in Israel, which will forcibly expel Bedouins from their ancestral land in the Negev. We ask that you convey in the strongest terms to Israeli government officials that the Prawer Plan, as well as continued settlement activity, forced displacement and home demolitions in the West Bank, is unacceptable and must not be allowed to move forward. The advancement of such activities raises serious doubt as to Israel’s commitment to meaningful peace negotiations.

As you know, the Prawer Plan, if fully implemented, could destroy as many as 35 Bedouin villages and forcibly expel as many as 70,000 people from their ancestral land. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, “the process of displacement, home demolition and dispossession faced by the Palestinians and Bedouins in the occupied territories is, in fact, an extension of the ethnic cleansing policies of 1948 and places Israel’s own Arab citizens in a situation little different from that of those living under occupation.” Though the legislation faces two more rounds of votes to become law, the Israeli government is already demolishing Bedouin homes in the Negev.

Bedouins are one of the most marginalized sectors of the population in Israel. Although they hold Israeli citizenship, the Israeli government has consistently refused to provide official recognition to Bedouin villages and has failed to provide them with basic services such as running water, health care or adequate educational facilities.

Although Bedouins comprise 30 percent of the population in the Negev, the Prawer Plan would reduce Bedouin ownership of land from 5 percent to 1 percent. Ten new Israeli agricultural settlements are planned for land that will be forcibly cleared as part of the Prawer Plan, revealing clear economic advantages for Israelis to occupy this Bedouin ancestral land.

While ostensibly being proposed for humanitarian purposes, the Bedouins who would supposedly “benefit” from the plan were not consulted in the process, have consistently opposed the plan, and have called on the international community to join them in expressing opposition to the Prawer Plan.

We greatly appreciate the significant commitment of time and energy you have devoted to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Palestine and Israel. This hard work must not be jeopardized by actions that work in direct opposition to a peaceful and just resolution.

We welcome an opportunity to discuss these matters further with you or your staff.


Shan Cretin, General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Eli S. McCarthy, PhD, Justice and Peace Director
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Rev. Julia Brown Karimu, Co-Executive
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. James Moos, Co-Executive
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

J Ron Byler, Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Marie Dennis, Co-President
Pax Christi International