I wish to invite Associate Scholar participation in a colloquy on the subject raised by the following message exchange.
We received the following message from the Regional Council of Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in Israel on 23 September requesting assistance:
My name is Josh Berer, I work for the Regional Council of Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in Israel. I am writing to make you aware of the plight of this besieged and threatened indigenous community. At present, there are 45 villages with a combined population of more than 80,000 people, all citizens of Israel and therefore deserving the same rights before the law as Jewish citizens in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The use of the word 'unrecognized' denotes the fact that the Israeli government refuses to provide them with basic infrastructure and services, such as water, electricity, sewage, garbage collection, paved roads, or medical services within the villages. The purpose for this lack of recognition is a stated policy goal of eradicating the traditional Bedouin way of life by making life as difficult and unpleasant as possible, thus forcing them to move to cities and settled towns. All houses and structures within the villages are under constant threat of demolition (having been deemed 'illegal'), and the residents of the villages have, per capita, the highest rate of health problems within Israel, due to their lack of clean water and access to medical services. All told, the situation of the Bedouin is an atrocity, a pox on the face of a state which considers itself a democracy.
The reason I write to you is because, with your background both in International Law and Indigenous People's Rights, I feel that you will see in us a kindred spirit across the sea. At the moment, the Regional Council is simply seeking to increase the visibility of the Bedouin cause on the international stage. We are making contact with other organizations and networks of people who have similar goals and backgrounds, in order to raise awareness of our cause. In the future, we hope to petition the Israeli government with the help of the international community, and let them know that the persecution of the Bedouin people on their ancestral lands is not in silence.
Thank you very much for your time, and I hope we can be in contact soon to discuss more ways in which our organizations can help each other.
Josh Berer, RCUV, Israel/Palestine
My reply was as follows:
Dear Mr. Berer,
Thank you for reviewing the situation of the Bedouin on behalf of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in Israel.
The situation of the Unrecognized Bedouin in Israel is revealing of a deep seated problem that demands remedy. Like many other Fourth World peoples in the world, the Bedouin in Israel share the experience of denied fundamental human rights by a state authority.
There are many things that can be done politically, legally and economically; and the most important of these is political information. You are obviously clear about what must be done to achieve international awareness of the situation of the Bedouin in Israel. We are willing to work with you to develop and achieve an effective strategy and plan of action.
As I am sure you are aware, the first step is not just to ask for help (and this is clearly an important step), but it is necessary to have a strategy and plan that incorporates your internal commitment to organize and act consistently on a long-term basis.
Your situation is similar to that of many Fourth World nations throughout the world. Working with other nations with similar experience and political background can place the Bedouin of Israel in a more visible position to argue its case. The key to your success is in the willingness of your people to organize and take action on an achievable strategy and plan. That willingness and commitment sustained over time can and will win the political change you seek.
Let's discuss what your options are for strategy and a plan of action.
If you are interested in participating in this colloquy, please contact me directly. email@example.com
Hello I see you are involved in indigenous studies...I am very interested in work to preserve indigenous knowledge systems...and the ways that these indigenous peoples view their realities...I am fascinated that frequently they see relatedness in all things and do not objectify interactions as we are prone to do in the West...peace and compassion to you Carol