Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Israel Boycott's UPR Process

According to an article in the NY Times today, Israel became the first country to boycott the UN's Universal Periodic Review process. Rather than setting a negative precedent, the move is being seen as a response to perceived bias.

Israel’s decision reflects its longstanding frustration with the council’s perceived anti-Israeli bias, diplomats said. Over half the resolutions passed by the council since it started work in 2006 have targeted Israel, which is also the only country to feature as a standing item on the council’s agenda.     
One of the many items under review over the past decade has been Israel's accounting of water access. Israel counts only residents within Israel proper and settler's in the OPT, excluding Palestinians when accounting for access to water statistics.

Read more at:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prawer Plan: Responses and Projections

The Prawer Plan was approved by the Israeli government in September 2011 and is slated to expel the native Bedouin Arab Israeli citizens from the Naqab (Negev) desert.  The Prawer Plan will displace the Bedouins to plant forests, build military bases and establish new settlements.  Almost all 200,000 of the Bedouin in the Negev will be affected.  

The international community has strongly disapproved the Prawer Plan.  Both the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the European Parliament have called on Israel to stop the Prawer Plan for its discriminatory nature and policies of displacement, eviction and dispossession, respectively. 

There is increasing concern about the ramifications of failing to withdraw the Prawer plan.  Dr. Cinton Bailey, a native of Buffalo, a resident of Israel since 1958 and a scholar of Bedouin culture, warns of a Bedouin uprising.   Bailey explains that the Bedouin community is an educated generation of professionals, teachers and university students whose families have been denied rights to the land they owned before 1948.  

Bailey notes, "[i]f someone imagines that such an operation will go down easily, he is mistaken.  Indeed, the Israel Police has begun enlisting hundreds of officers to keep the peace while these houses are being demolished, an action scheduled to get under way as early as August. The pictures from these demolition and relocation operations, seen around the world, will make the recent assault by Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner on a Danish peace activist seem like a marginal event."

Dr. Bailey's entire article can be found at Haaretz: Get ready for a Bedouin uprising.

- S.B.H.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blue Planet Project and Lifesource's Paper on the Right to Water in Palestine

Last month, the Blue Planet Project and Lifesource published a paper on water issues in the West Bank and Gaza.  While covering a very different situation than what we looked at in the Naqab/Negev desert area, their paper gives a very good overview of the water sources and the politics and policies surrounding water usage.

It's also a very well laid-out report, and organizes its sections effectively and clearly.  The report can be viewed here:

The Lifesource website has more information about water issues in the West Bank and Gaza:

- F.B.J.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5-page Preliminary Report

Today, we held our preliminary presentation for the law school.  Many people showed up, and the presentation went very well.  By a lucky coincidence, three judges from Israel happened to be in town, and came to our presentation!

Everyone asked interesting questions, and we are looking forward to giving our full report in September.

You can read the preliminary report here:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

ActiveStills and Al Araqib

A man irrigating his new planted olives trees, after Israeli authorities demolished houses and uprooted olive trees in the unrecognized village of Al Araqib, October, 2009

 A photographic documentation of the Al-Araqib village between the years 2009-2011. Al-Araqib is one of the 45 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert, south Israel. Since July 27, 2010 till the end of 2011, the village was demolished 33 times. Despite of daily harassment, ongoing house demolitions and the Israeli government's determination to forcefully transfer the Bedouin population out of their historical land, the residents of Al-Araqib continue to struggle for  their land.

The Activestills collective was established in 2005 by a group of Israeli and international documentary photo-graphers, out of a strong conviction that photography is a vehicle for social change.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Other Arab Spring - a movement for natural resource access

Thomas Friedman posted a fascinating op-ed piece in the N.Y. Times the other day, positing that basic resources like food and water play a major role in the Arab Spring political movements.

Says Friedman in this article:
"All these tensions over land, water and food are telling us something: The Arab awakening was driven not only by political and economic stresses, but, less visibly, by environmental, population and climate stresses as well. If we focus only on the former and not the latter, we will never be able to help stabilize these societies."
Link here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/opinion/sunday/friedman-the-other-arab-spring.html

- J.K., F.B.J.