By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium News, October 8, 2011
In his speech to Congress on May 24, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that “of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights.”
This is, of course, a variation on the oft-cited claim that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Leaving aside places like Lebanon and now potentially Tunisia and Egypt, one can ask just how “real” are these democratic rights the Prime Minister claims for Israel’s Arabs? Here is some recent evidence that speaks to this question.
–At the end of September, the Israeli government announced “a plan to displace 30,000 native Bedouin Arabs [all of whom are Israeli citizens] … from their homes [in the Negev].”
This would constitute “the biggest dispossession plan of Palestinians issued by Israel since 1948. It would forcibly relocate about half of the Bedouin population from their existing villages, which are older than the State of Israel itself.”