Sheetrit: Panel to find way to compensate displaced Bedouin
Committee to work out ownership dispute between government, Bedouin over unrecognized Negev villages.
Housing Minister Meir Sheetrit announced Tuesday that a public committee would be formed in the coming weeks to formulate some sort of solution to guarantee Bedouin compensation for land they have been displaced from, but claim is their own.
The committee is to reach a solution over the ownership dispute between the Bedouin and the state over land in the Negev.
Bedouin representatives will comprise half of the members of the committee, which will be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice.
The committee plans to reach a solution to guarantee compensation for displaced Bedouin - either by granting alternative property or financial compensation. The committee will present the solution and its implementation within three months.
Sheetrit announced the formation of the committee after meeting with Bedouin representatives of unrecognized villages.
In addition, the Housing and Construction Ministry announced it would establish a statutory authority that would deal with Bedouin issues, to be made up of workers from the Bedouin sector.
Unrecognized Villages Council chair Hassin al-Rafa'iya praised the decision to form the committee and said he was pleased with the policies Sheetrit has advocated.
Bedouin have been at odds with the state for years over ownership of land in the Negev. The Bedouin claim to own 800,000 dunam of agricultural and residential land, property which comprises some 6 or 7 percent of Negev land. The land in question is currently considered state land.
Some of the Bedouin who claim ownership of this land have been relocated in recent years to other plots, which are themselves subject to ownership claims by other Bedouin. Relocation of Bedouin thus does not solve the land problem, but rather prevents the development of permanent communities.
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