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Settling for Less

Settling for Less: The Planned Resettlement of Israel's Negev Bedouin

Steven C. Dinero
Series: Space and Place
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Settling for Less
    Book Description:

    The resettlement of the Negev Bedouin (Israel) has been wrought with controversy since its inception in the 1960s. Presenting evidence from a two-decade period, the author addresses how the changes that took place over the past sixty to seventy years have served the needs and interests of the State rather than those of Bedouin community at large. While town living fostered improvements in social and economic development, numerous unintended consequences jeopardized the success of this planning initiative. As a result, the Bedouin community endured excessive hardship and rapid change, abandoning its nomadic lifestyle and traditions in response to the economic, political, and social pressure from the State-and received very little in return.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-982-6
    Subjects: Anthropology, History, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

    (pp. xxiv-xxvi)
  2. Chapter 1 Planning in the Negev Bedouin Sector
    (pp. 1-35)

    In an ideal world, new town planners operate in the realm of Utopianism. The true planner, the authentic planner, the planner on the cutting edge, is he or she who sits and dreams, who is willing to ask the most dangerous of questions, such as “What if?” The planner of the twenty-first century does not even think of these as dreams, but rather as the blueprints of a new reality in the making; the planner is simply the mechanism and the catalyst that makes these dreams come true.

    The planned town then is the actualization of the dream, that which...

  3. Chapter 2 Segev Shalom—Background and Community Profile
    (pp. 36-63)

    The founding of the Negev bedouin town of Segev Shalom/Shqeb as-Salaam (Hebrew/Arabic) was officially inaugurated in 1979 as the result of a unique agreement struck between Azazmeh Sheikh Ouda and the state, and was designed to allow the tribe to settle on its own traditional lands rather than to be relocated on others’ land as had been the case with the other tribes that had resettled years earlier. Together with Aroer and K’seifa, the two towns that had been created in 1982 (Swirski & Hasson 2006: 14) within the context of the Tel Malhata project, these three localities comprised theMoatzah...

  4. Chapter 3 Planning, Service Provision, and Development in Segev Shalom
    (pp. 64-91)

    As suggested in Chapter 2, population growth in Segev Shalom has been steady, taking off roughly at the point when this study was initiated in the early 1990s. It is apparent as well that a great deal of growth, both in population as well as in the early beginnings of economic activity, also has begun to occur in the town, most especially since the year 2000.

    While state planners are quick to point out this growth (and to take credit for it), I noted in the previous chapter that bedouin residents often perceive that much of what has occurred has...

  5. Chapter 4 Health and Education
    (pp. 92-118)

    As seen in Chapter 3, an analysis of planning in Segev Shalom and throughout the resettled bedouin sector reveals mixed outcomes. There is no question that some successes may be noted, and a failure to do so, or to condemn the state at every turn regardless of what the statistics show—though commonplace in the Negev today—is simply disingenuous.

    On the other hand, like much of the change now under way in the Negev bedouin community, the planning has been inconsistent, spotty, haphazard, and at times implemented in such a poor and neglectful fashion that often any positive outcomes...

  6. Chapter 5 Negev Bedouin Identity/ies Development in Segev Shalom
    (pp. 119-144)

    Through its policy of land confiscation and forced resettlement, it may be said that the Israeli state has sought over the past four decades to de-territorialize, control, encapsulate, assimilate, proletarianize, and essentially “debedouinize” this Arab minority community. As this chapter further reveals, this active policy of social conquest has had little success in accomplishing the state’s sought-after goals, but, rather, has only served to strengthen the resolve of the community against these aggressive measures. It has fostered unanticipated consequences that, from a Jewish Israeli perspective, are problematic at best.

    As the following suggests, the social changes fostered by the forced...

  7. Chapter 6 The Resettled Bedouin Woman
    (pp. 145-165)

    As the previous chapter has shown, resettlement has fostered a variety of social changes in Negev bedouin life, manifested within a nexus of mechanisms through which new bedouin identity/identities formulations have begun to emerge. Much of the rapid change associated with the resettlement initiative also has been manifested through the socially and politically contested environment of gender relations and role change. In previous studies (Dinero 1997; 2006), I have analyzed these evolving gender roles in the Negev bedouin community as well as the changing role of marital dynamics, most especially as seen in the rise in polygynous marriage. In this...

  8. Chapter 7 Bedouin Tourism Development Planning in the New Economy
    (pp. 166-185)

    The bedouin of the Negev Desert have undergone considerable social and economic change since the Israeli Government forcibly began concentrating and then resettling them over the past four decades, in the process altering their lifestyle away from pastoral nomadism. During this same period of resettlement, a small but growing tourism industry has been developed in the area around the marketing of “traditional” Negev bedouin nomadic culture.

    As my previous study on the topic suggests (Dinero 2002), this sector has been dominated historically by Jewish Israeli entrepreneurs, who sought to express a narrative not of post-nomadic bedouin life in Segev Shalom,...

  9. Chapter 8 Segev Shalom—A City on the Edge of Forever?
    (pp. 186-204)

    The issues raised in the preceding chapters now bring me back to the question, once again, of the role of planning in the bedouin sector today, and how/if/whether it is even reasonable or fair to believe or to expect planning to be the interlocutor in resolving what appears, prima facie, to be such an intractable set of political, economic, and social problems in this minority sector. In order to answer this question, I wish for the moment, and for the sake of deconstructing what is so clearly a highly charged issue, to change the subject (though in truth I am...

    (pp. 205-206)

    It has been nearly two years since I last spent time in the Negev conducting intensive research on the bedouin community. During that time, life continues for everyone in this study; timely discussion of this subject is, as with most things in the Middle East, like aiming at a moving target.

    On this day, I am walking down the beach with Kher El-Baz, Director of Social Services in Segev Shalom. He and I are both in Miami—more than 10,000 km from his home in Tel Sheva—for the same reason, namely, to attend the convening of a small conference...