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Ben-Gurion University
Ben Gurion University's one sided and Palestinian orientated conference: "THE NEGEV BEDOUINS: DEVELOPMENT OR DISCRIMINATION?"

Habitat International – Housing and Land Rights Network
The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages and
The Geography Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Invite you to:
Special Mini Conference
The Negev Bedouins:
Development or Discrimination?
Thursday 12 March, 2008, Senate Building, Room -136
This event is part of a special fact-finding mission
to investigate the situation of the Bedouins in the Negev
conducted by Habitat International Housing and Land
Session One
15:15-16:45 Law, Planning and Human Rights
Chair: Yizthak (Yanni) Nevo
Havatzelet Yahel, General Prosecutor, Southern District
Hana Sweid, Member of Knesset
Millon Kothari, South Asia Coordinator, Habitat International
Session Two
17:00-18: 45 Bedouins between Development and Stagnation
Chair: Jafer Farah, Chair, Mossawa
Amal al-Sana’a – Director, Ajeec
Sultan abu-‘Obayyid, Co-director, Shatil’s Southern Office
Cheir al-Baz, Welfare Office, Shqeib al-salam and unrecognized
Members of the International Delegation
Miloon Kothari
New Delhi, Asia Coordinator, Habitat International, Director of CHOERE and 2001-2008
UN special Rappateur on adequate Housing
Prof. Rudolfo Stavenhagen
el-Colegio University, Mexico, past deputy director of UNESCO, UN Special Rapporteur
on indigenous people
Prof. Anthony Coon
expert in urban and regional planning, author of: Town Planning and Military
Occupation, Strathclyde University, Scotland
Advocate Steve Kahanovitz,
director -- Legal Resource Centre, Johannsburg, expert on land and housing legislation
and litigation
Sharon Helen Venne
a Cree lawyer, author of Our Elders Understand Our Rights: Evolving International Law
Regarding Indigenous Peoples
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta
Founder and President of Palestine Land Society (London). Author of: From Refugees to
Citizens at Home
Joseph Schela
Middle East Coordinator, Habitat International Coalition, Housing and Land Coalition,
Angie Balatta
Researcher, Habitat International Coalition, Housing and Land Coalition, Africa, Cairo
Dr. Jihad al-Sana'a
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. Oren Yiftachel
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Advocate Suhad Bishara

A First in the History of the Arabs inside the Green Line:
An International Mission Investigates the Situation
of Arab Citizens in al-Naqab

An international mission investigating the human rights conditions of the
Arab citizens in the Naqab begins its work today, Sunday, 8 March 2009. The
mission's goal is to illuminate the facts of Arab rights to land ownership,
adequate housing ad services, and the violation of those rights. The
fact-finding team is comprised of prominent experts in the fields of human
rights, physical planning, international law and indigenous peoples
affairs. The team includes experts from Europe, the Americas, Asia and
Africa, as well as a local team of experts.

The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages of al-Naqab (RCUV) has
been working for over a year to prepare for this mission. Due to political
constraints, however, the RCUV's work has been discrete, but running
parallel to the highly publicized Goldberg Commission. The Israeli Knesset
formed that Commission to advise the government on the establishment of
what is described as an "Authority for Regulating the Settlement of Bedouin
in the Negev." The Housing and Land Rights Network of the Habitat
International Coalition, a global alliance operating to defense housing and
land rights for over 30 years, has worked in cooperation with the RCUV to
plan and select international experts for this investigative task. The
announcement of the fact-finding mission has been delayed until the
mission's work begins, in order to avoid official interference that would
impede the mission.

Following considerable study of the situation in al-Naqab by way of
documentary sources, the fact-finding mission team has begun its in-country
work this morning. To provide for verification of findings, the program
will involve several site visits with Arab land owners, displaced and
dispossessed persons through Saturday. The mission will end by issuing a
set of preliminary findings and recommendation at the end of the visit, and
issue its full report in the near future.

The RCUV considers the timing of this mission to be especially auspicious,
given the current formation of the far-right government in Israel, and
while the people of al-Naqab have suffered from serial deceptions by
governments that have claimed to seek a just solution to the issue of Arab
lands and the recognition of the "unrecognized" villages. In fact, the
State only seeks further confiscation of Arab lands in al-Naqab and to
continue dismissing and denying services to some 46 "unrecognized"

The RCUV sees the Goldberg Commission's recommendations as the
confirmation of its worst fears, demonstrating that its purpose is no less
that to serve as an instrument of more government pressure to seize as much
Arab land as possible in al-Naqab for the settlement of another one million
Jewish settlers.

The fact-finding mission team is composed of the following members:
The members of the international team include:
• Anthony Coon, emeritus professor of urban planning at Strathclyde
University, Glasgow (Scotland);
• Steve Kahanovitz, lawyer with the Legal Resources Center in Cape Town,
South Africa;
• Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
(2001-08) and, currently, coordinator of HIC-HLRN South Asia Regional
Programme in Mumbai, India;
• Rudolfo Stavenhagen, former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of
the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (2001–08)
and Mexican sociologist and professor at Colégio de México (Mexico City).
The members of the local team include:
• Khalil al-'Amur, resident of al-Sirra unrecognized village and a
teacher of mathematics;
• Salman Abu Sitta, founder and President of Palestine Land Society
(London) and researcher on Palestine land and people;
• Jihad al-Sana', lecturer at the Department of Mathematics and Computer
Science (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba) and resident of
Laqiyya, one of the seven government-planned townships in al-Naqab;
• Oren Yiftachel, professor of urban planning, geography and political
science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba;
• Suhad Bishara, lawyer with Adalah: The Legal Centre for Arab Minority
Rights in Israel.

The mission is charged with the following tasks:
1. Research and study the situation of the Arabs in al-Naqab and the
violations of their rights, and to know the depth and dimensions and source
of the suffering that they are living, particularly in the unrecognized
2. Study the historical rights of the Arabs of al-Naqab to their land, in
particular their property rights to those lands according to international
3. Study and investigate the laws, policies and practices with relation to
land confiscation and discrimination affecting tenure and equitable
distribution of lands;
4. Investigate the property rights of Arab citizens' of al-Naqab in light
of international laws and norms;
5. Investigate the laws, policies and practices of Israeli governments as
they pose obstacles to enjoyment of the rights to land, housing and
services affecting the residents of the unrecognized villages;
6. Research the possibilities of recognizing the "unrecognized" villages
on their lands;
7. Research the prospects of establishing new villages for residents who
do not own land;
8. Submit recommendations concerning any discriminatory policies with
regard to land confiscation, house demolition, denial of services and
affecting the essentials of life and livelihood.

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