Menu

World

Israel approves plan to transfer some Bedouin Arabs; rights group calls plan 'racist'

An Israeli government statement says the Cabinet has approved a plan to recognize some unauthorized Bedouin Arab encampments and move others to urban areas.

A leading rights group criticized the program.

About 30,000 Bedouins live in shantytowns in Israel's Negev desert. Bedouin say they've owned the land for decades, but Israel contests that. It's concerned about unauthorized Bedouin building in that area.

According to the proposal, Israel would compensate Bedouins who move. Those who do not move after five years would lose their ownership claims. The statement did not say how many would be told to move.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel called the plan "racist." It charged Monday that Israel would displace Bedouin citizens while promoting new communities for Jews.

Israel's parliament must approve the plan.