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Israel: Minority Groups

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what work his Department is undertaking with partner countries to address the inequalities experienced by Bedouin Arab communities in Israel.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We are concerned about the inequalities faced by Bedouin Arab communities in Israel. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv is particularly focused on issues related to housing and supports several Arab town planning projects in Green Line Israel. These projects provide professional training and practical solutions for dozens of urban planners and engineers in Arab towns, helping them to overcome planning obstacles. This year our projects include: establishing an engineers' task-force, professional advice for Arab local authorities in planning matters and a piece of research into planning obstacles.

We continue to lodge our concerns about ongoing evictions and demolitions with contacts at Israel’s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Agriculture and to encourage the development of a policy based on genuine consultation, which secures the buy-in of the community. We have pursued this with Prime Minister Netanyahu's chief advisor on Arab affairs, who told us that the state has invested 1.2 billion NIS in Bedouin education, employment and infrastructure.

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