CAMERA Prompts NY Times Correction on Bedouins

CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted correction of a caption in an online New York Times slide show concerning the controversial Prawer-Begin plan to regulate Bedouin settlement of the Negev. As noted originally on our Snapshots blog, the original caption (screenshot below), grossly inflated the number of Bedouin who face relocation a short distance under the plan.
The caption overstated the number of Bedouin to be relocated, stating:
Bedouins and supporters protested last weekend against the plan to forcibly relocate about 70,000 residents from 35 unrecognized villages.
As CAMERA wrote to Times editors, The New York Times itself correctly reported one week ago that, according to human rights groups opposed to the Prawer-Begin plan, 30,000 to 40,000 Bedouins will be relocated as a result of the controversial initiative. This figure is consistent with the number provided by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which notes that 30,000 Bedouin living in unrecognized communities will have to move a short distance, while 60,000 more also living in unrecognized locations will be permitted to stay where they are.

Indeed, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which opposes the plan, reports: “The plan will lead to the uprooting and forcible eviction of dozens of villages and 30-40,000 Bedouin residents.” Rabbis for Human Rights, which also opposes the plan, writes that it “could potentially cause the demolition of 34 ‘unrecognized’ Bedouin villages in the Negev and the forced expulsion to urban areas of 40,000 Israeli Bedouin.”

According to the Prawer-Begin Plan itself, there are 70,000-90,000 Bedouin who currently live in unrecognized communities, and “the vast majority of residents who reside in locations that today are not regulated will be able to continue to live there in the future within formalized settlements.”
In response to CAMERA’s communication, The Times has commendably corrected the caption, which now appears as follows:
In addition, a correction was appended at the bottom of the article which accompanied the slide show (“In an Israeli Plan, Bedouins See a Threat to Their Way of Life“).
Unfortunately, the article itself, by Jodi Ruderon, was highly misleading about the number of Bedouin facing relocation and requires clarification.

There remain 35 unrecognized villages like Abdeh, with a total of 70,000 residents, who could face forced relocation. . . .

Most would get half or a quarter of the land, plus some cash. The rest of the land would be seized by the state for its own use, or redistributed to Bedouins from far-flung areas . . .

Seven paragraphs later, towards the very end of the article, the article quotes a representative of the government, reporting that Ami Tesler said “he hoped that 80 percent of the Bedouins would remain in place.”

Nowhere does the article make clear that government officials and opponents of the plan, who agree on little else, both acknowledge that relocation would apply to 30,000 to 40,000 Negev Bedouin, and that another 30,000 to 40,000 (depending on which figures you accept) who live in currently unrecognized villages will be permitted to remain in place. (And according to the government, as many as 60,000 out of 90,000 Bedouin living in unrecognized communities — the vast majority — will be able to remain where they are.)
For more New York Times corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.

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