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Israel plans to severely restrict Arab home construction

Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian killed when Israeli police staged a pre-dawn raid on the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to demolish several homes on January 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

On the orders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli parliament is debating whether to make a law restricting Arab residence in Israel even more stringent.

According to Israeli rights group Mossawa Center, which advocates the rights of the Arabs in Israel, the Kaminitz Bill aims to accelerate the demolition of Palestinian homes. 

The motion, which also criminalizes "unauthorized" housing and construction by Palestinians, is expected to pass its final reading in the Knesset next week, the group said. 

The Mossawa Center explained how the Israeli occupation authorities have restricted the expansion of Arab communities in Israel. 

Israel, it said, “has allocated lands and provided planning services for over 600 Jewish communities since its establishment in 1948, yet it has not created a single Arab locality aside from the seven it established to concentrate the Bedouin community in the south."

The Israeli regime also refuses to recognize many of the pre-existing Arab villages, it added.

Israeli police detain a Bedouin protester on January 18, 2017 in the village of Umm al-Hiran near Beersheba in the Negev desert. (Photo by AFP)

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Israel, instead, has shown a “deliberate unwillingness to approve master plans for Arab localities and distribute building permits [that] has given rise to a housing shortage in official Arab localities, leaving many with no option other than to build and inhabit structures that are not officially recognized.”

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