Interview with the UCSC Committee for Justice in Palestine (On the Prawer-Begin Plan)

Yesterday we visited a student booth in the plaza of UC Santa Cruz, inspired by a very creative ad poster that I came across (picture). The UCSC Committee For Justice in Palestine is a controversial yet strong-standing organization here on campus. We interviewed Elaine Ejigu, a knowledgeable member of the committee, on the social justice issues the organization hopes to bright light to. Elaine is a 4th year UCSC Legal Studies and Feminist Studies double major. You can contact her for more information at elaineejigu@yahoo.com. – Eric Cleveland

TRANSCRIPTION BELOW:

Eric: What is the UCSC Committee For Justice in Palestine?

Elaine: The UC Santa Cruz Committee For Justice in Palestine is a school organization made up of students who are pro-Palestine and advocates of Palestine here at UC Santa Cruz. It is not unique, there are students for justice in Palestine all over the nation. Recently we had members, including myself, attend the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference in Stanford. We all have the common goal and are currently in the process of trying to pass divestment, which is to take away funds from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We face some opposition on campuses, but what we are trying to do is just educate and get the word out, and have as many people as possible see our side of it.

 

Eric: What is the Prawer-Begin Plan, and what is the underlying history behind it?

Elaine: The Prawer-Begin Plan is a plan by the Israeli IDF military and also the government. They are going to displace 30,000 people. The government has already been displacing Palestinians in Israel and Palestine since 1948, after the war, and they had a working relationship with the Bedouins, who are, like the Palestinians, an ethnic minority. They left them alone, but now they are saying, “We are going to take your land now. We are going to take your homes. You have this certain amount of time to leave”. 30,000 people will be displaced, basically.

 

Eric: What effect will it have on the Palestinian Bedouins if it carries through?

Elaine: Internally displaced persons, is what I’m thinking…I have no idea what the [Bedouins] will do. People living in occupied territories are already under terrible conditions, with a lack of water, food, and electricity, and are constantly being raided by the Israelian military. So, it’s probably not going to be good.

 

Eric: What are your hopes and goals for this rally?

Elaine: We want to reach out to the student population, we are doing that in as many ways as possible. We want to maybe encourage people to join our organization, or at least come to more events and find out more about it. When we try to pass divestment again and the SUA, which is the student government [at UCSC], we hope that more people will come out and support it, give testimonies at the meeting when we present it, and, who knows, maybe it will be successful.

 

Eric: How can our viewers help support your cause?

Elaine: Research it, a good link is the “US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation”, look up that website. Al Jazeera is a great news source that isn’t biased. Anything like “students for justice in Palestine”, anything about that or related. Even if you are pro-Israel, just try to balance your views. If you don’t know anything about the conflict, look at Palestinian voices and sources, as well as Israelian ones.

 

Eric: Do you have a website or social media outlet?

Elaine: We have a Facebook page, the UC Santa Cruz Committee for Justice in Palestine. Its public, anyone can look that up or like it. We also have the UC Santa Cruz Divest page. They both make posts, so that may be something to look up.

6 thoughts on “Interview with the UCSC Committee for Justice in Palestine (On the Prawer-Begin Plan)

  1. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=6581

    “…Under the plan, most of the Bedouin living in shanty towns will be able to continue to live there, with the communities being properly zoned and for the first time bolstered with electricity and water infrastructure and access to modern healthcare, education and social services.

    Only 30,000 of the 100,000 Bedouin who live in squalid and illegal encampments will be forced to relocate, and the move will be to developed lots in nearby farming, suburban or urban communities, with compensation. Half of these residents (15,000 Bedouin) need to move for their own good, because they’re squatting in a toxic waste dump.”

    Also, what are the “Palestinian Beduins” ?

    The Beduins have traditionally seen themselves as part and parcel with Israel. They serve in the IDF. They are part of the social fabric of Israel. Don’t try to own them for your own anti-Israel purposes.

    • Thank you for your reply and the link to the article. I don’t have any anti-Israel purposes as you claim though, I was simply interviewing a Palestinian advocacy group at my school because I was curious on the issue they were bringing awareness to. Though I appreciate your opposing viewpoint; opinions come from all directions and spark interesting debate. The Prawer-Begin plan is definitely a controversial topic that needs to be discussed from all angles in order to reach a justifiable conclusion. Thanks again for your input. -Eric

      • > I don’t have any anti-Israel purposes as you claim though, I was simply interviewing a Palestinian advocacy group

        My bad, apologies! I was addressing the advocacy group, not you personally.

  2. “Only 30,000 of the 100,000 Bedouin who live in squalid and illegal encampments will be forced to relocate,”

    I stopped reading there. Only 30,000? Like forcing people to leave is totally okay? Disgusting. Shame on the Israeli government. Shame.

  3. Hi, foo, as to your questions: have you asked the Bedouins what is best for them? because it sounds like you speak in their name and knows what’s good for them. I actually have talked to quite a few, and they all oppose to the prawer plan.
    just look at the massive protests that took place in Israel on November 30th, and decide if that looks like people who are happy as they are about to have electricity and water.

    THE REAL QUESTION IS HOW COME THEY DON’T have electricity, running water, education, and equal rights (as the jews) already. especially, as you said, if they are such an integral part of the israeli “social fabric”.
    THE MAJORITY OF THE BEDOUINS DOESN’T WANT THIS PLAN!!!!!! (they in fact came up with an alternative plan. look it up).

    Here’s another question for you: how come a Bedouin village is Illegal, but a Jewish settlement that would build on the very same land is legal? (for a specific example, one of many, read about Al-Hiran). It might be my not-that-good- english, but i don’t know another word for that other than ETHNIC CLEANSING.

    “Only” 30,000 will be forced to relocate? are you serious? that’s a HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE (and at the minimum).

    what you (or the sources you choose to quote) call “shanty town” is people’s life style, where and how they have been living for many many years, long before Israel even knew it was Israel. a little respect and sensitivity.
    THAT’S AN ULTRA PRIVILEGED PERSPECTIVE (*question your privileges?).

    what are Palestinian-Bedouins? well, what are Palestinians? Palestinians are the Indigenous people on the land (including Jews). Bedouins–refers to the life style and culture of the specific group of people.

    by the way, the newspaper you quoted “Israel Hayom” is a propaganda newspaper, privetly owned by Sheldon Adelson (one of the big supporters of Netanyahu), who has a very clear political point of view (and TONS of money). should i write more…? There are much better sources out there, if you really want to learn about it, and not just defend Israel at any cost.

    -Maayan

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