Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Claim for Native Title Threatens Jewish State

By Jonathan Cook - Hura, the Negev
Palestine Chronicle

"Nuri al Uqbi's small cinderblock home in a ramshackle neighbourhood of Hura, a Bedouin town in Israel’s Negev desert, hardly looks like the epicentre of a legal struggle that some observers say threatens Israel's Jewish character.

Inside, the 68-year-old Bedouin activist has stacks of bulging folders of tattered and browning documents, many older than the state of Israel itself, that he hopes will overturn decades of harsh government policy towards the Negev’s 180,000 Bedouin......

He also has a copy of the treaty signed in 1948 between 16 Bedouin tribes, including the Uqbi, and the new Israeli army, pledging loyalty in return for a guarantee that they could continue living on their lands.

Mr Yiftachel said the legal battles of the Bedouin should be compared to those waged by other indigenous peoples in countries such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, India and Brazil. “Like them, they are fighting for recognition of ‘native title’,” he said."

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