In late 2007 the Israeli government voted to create a commission to make recommendations on the Bedouin issue, to “solve the problem of the Bedouin in the Negev.” With Judge Eleizer Goldberg presiding, the so-named Goldberg Commission comprises 8 people, 6 Jews and 2 Arabs, neither of whom are residents of the unrecognized villages.
Yoram Bar Sela – expert on land issues and attorney for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Bilha Givon – Bar Kayma Negev Sustainability NGO director
Yosi Shai – Vice Director in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Dudu Cohen – Director of the Ministry of Interior in the Negev
Sharon Gamsho – Vice Commissioner for Allocations in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Macro Economy and Lands
Faisal el-Huzayel – Deputy Head of Mayor of the Bedouin city of Rahat
Ahmad el-Asad – Municipal Head of the Bedouin town of Laqiya
They published their findings on November 20th, 2008, and they give us cause to be cautiously optimistic. They include:
- Recognize most of the villages.
- Allow most of the homes to go through a legalizing process
- A committee to be established to hear and settle traditional land claims
Of course, these are simply recommendations, the Knesset must vote on whether or not to accept all or part of the findings, but this signals a change in the political tide, and is evidence that the work of the RCUV has not gone unnoticed. We view this report as extremely positive, and wait with anticipation of the next step the government will take regarding the Bedouin.