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Letter: Forceful Removal of Bedouins

To the Editor:

In this season when we bundle up to go see a Christmas pageant and lovingly set out our family Nativity sets — cows and camels and sheep — we sing again the songs that speak of the wonder of stars and shepherds. The modern-day shepherds include 70,000 Bedouin people living in the Negev who are Palestinian citizens of Israel. These Bedouin people are threatened with compulsory and forceful removal from their ancestral lands under a policy of the Israeli government called the Prawer plan. Provision has been made for these nomadic households in urban compounds where they may live together, but will no longer be able to care for their flocks and herds. After years of deprivation — denial of water and electricity and schools because their villages were not recognized by the Israeli government — these Bedouin people are now to be deprived of their land, even though they are citizens. The government wants the land the shepherds have inhabited for centuries for the use of its Jewish citizens.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is growing stronger because the government of Israel continues its steady conquest and displacement of indigenous people. People of goodwill cannot remain silent, and are not helpless. Bravo to American Studies Association. Bravo to all the brave ones who do what they can do. A broad network of Palestinian organizations, church groups and other nongovernmental organizations has gathered resources at www.bdsmovement.net. Bravo to those who express our support for an actual, real, on-the-ground peace for all the people of Israel/Palestine.

The Rev. Susan Langle

Trinity Episcopal Church

Claremont

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To the Editor: On Christmas Eve, the Rev. Susan Langle of Trinity Episcopal Church in Claremont wrote with compassion regarding the situation of the Bedouins in Israel. She alleges that the government of Israel has used threat and compulsion. Further she goes on to applaud the divestment and sanctions movement exemplified by the American Studies Association. While the Rev. Langle’s …