Reasoning from History: Israel's “Peace Law” and Resettlement of the Tel Malhata Bedouin: Israel Studies

Havatzelet Yahel, Ruth Kark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As part of the peace accords with Egypt over 30 years ago, Israel was required to evacuate the Sinai Peninsula and to transfer its three military bases to the Negev. The largest of them was moved to Tel Malhata in the northern Negev. Toward its establishment, it was necessary to evacuate and resettle the Bedouin residents. The article reconstructs and analyzes the steps that preceded this process, including specific legislation, attempts to reach agreements during the legislative process, and the program that was ultimately accepted and implemented. It traces the circumstances that made it possible for the resettlement to take place without extensive public protest and without the authorities having to resort to enforcement. It examines the implications of this process for the long-term relationships between the State of Israel and its Bedouin citizens. Moreover, a complex of factors is presented, both changing and permanent, internal and external, that influenced the outcome. The contribution of this study lies in its scrutiny of the successes, limitations, failures, and future implications of the process through the perspective of time. Thus, it can serve as the basis for understanding the contextual changes that have taken place from then until today.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)102-132
Number of pages31
JournalIsrael Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • 20th century ; Agricultural land ; Arab-Jewish relations ; Articles ; Bedouins ; Bedouins -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Israel -- Negev ; Demographic aspects ; Diplomatic negotiations in international disputes ; Emigration and immigration ; Evacuation of civilians -- Israel -- Negev ; Expropriation ; Forced migration ; Forced migration -- Israel -- Negev ; Government regulation ; History ; Ideological state apparatus ; Israel ; Jewish studies ; Jewish-Arab relations ; Land ownership ; Land tenure -- Israel ; Laws, regulations and rules ; Malḥatah, Tel (Israel) ; Military bases -- Israel -- Negev ; Negev ; Pacific settlement of international disputes ; Peace negotiations ; Peace treaties ; Relocation ; Residential buildings ; Social conditions ; Tel Malhata (Israel) ; Towns ; Treaty lands ; Tribal land


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