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IMF sees Israel GDP growth unchanged at 3.4%

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it expects Israel's GDP growth to remain stable at 3.4 percent in 2014, but noted that social disparities pose a threat to the economy. "Israel's economic fundamentals remain strong. GDP growth is solid, unemployment is low and inflation remains firmly anchored within the one-three percent target range," the International Monetary Fund said after its latest review of the economy. "The financial sector is in good health and the external position is strong," the report added.

Bedouin face eviction as Israel builds new towns

Some 50 years after Israeli authorities gave them the land, the Bedouin of Umm al-Heiran village face eviction to make way for two modern towns. Located in the Negev desert, the village is home to some 150 Arab Bedouin families -- 1,000 inhabitants -- who live in small, concrete buildings, relying on solar panels for electricity and raising livestock. But more than half a century of calling Umm al-Heiran home now looks set to end.

Israel drops controversial Bedouin relocation plan

Israel is scrapping a controversial draft law to relocate tens of thousands of longtime Bedouin residents of the Negev desert, an official said Thursday. Benny Begin, tasked with implementing the so-called Prawer Plan, said he had recommended to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "end the debate on the law" in parliament. "The prime minister accepted this proposal," he said at a Tel Aviv news conference, days after it emerged that the governing coalition was divided on the proposed legislation.

Israeli Bedouins ask Kerry to intervene over resettlement plan

Israeli Bedouins ask Kerry to intervene over resettlement plan JERUSALEM, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Arab members of the Kenesst addressed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, accusing Israel of "ethnic cleansing" against the Arab Bedouin population in the Negev desert.

Arab Bedouins protest against Israeli plan to move them into towns

By Noah Browning HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) - Hundreds of Bedouin Arabs and their supporters clashed with Israeli forces on Saturday in protests against a government plan to force 40,000 Bedouins living in the southern Negev region to leave their villages. The plan has not only angered the Bedouins but also spurred many other young Arab citizens of Israel to associate it with Israel's occupation of Arab East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and so identify themselves more closely with demands for a Palestinian state.

Protests held against Israel plans to evict Bedouins

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Saturday against an Israeli draft law aimed at evicting Bedouin residents from the southern Negev desert. The government in January approved a bill calling for the relocation of 30,000-40,000 Bedouins, the demolition of about 40 villages and confiscation of more than 700,000 dunams (70,000 hectares) of Negev land. The draft legislation was adopted by parliament in a first reading in June but it has to pass two more readings in the Knesset before it becomes law.

Arab women push to the fore in Israel local vote

From billboards across Nazareth shines the discreet smile of Hanin Zuabi, a controversial Arab woman MP who is hoping voters will chose her as mayor of Israel's largest Arab city. This 44-year-old former maths teacher, her black hair cut into a sleek bob, is the only woman running for leadership of the sprawling northern city revered by Christians as Jesus' childhood home. Zuabi is just one of a growing number of women from Israel's Arab minority vying for office in Tuesday's elections across 191 municipalities.

Israel's Arab Bedouin citizens feel betrayed by eviction plan

By Noah Browning ATIR, Israel (Reuters) - Khader Abu al-Kian's dusty village of Atir has never existed on any official map, and now it is disappearing before his eyes. For decades he and his fellow Arab Bedouins eked out a meager existence in the Negev desert, largely under the Israeli government's radar. But soaring property costs and a housing crisis are driving a new appetite in Israel for land and development opportunities, and even the harsh Negev looks good.

Israelis pessimistic over talks with Palestinians

Nearly three quarters of Israelis think it will not be possible to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians even if stalled peace talks resume, a poll published on Friday said. When asked: "If negotiations begin again do you believe that it will be possible to reach a final agreement with the Palestinians?", 71.6 percent of those interviewed answered "no", compared to 21.7 percent of those who thought it was possible. The remainder had no opinion on the matter.

Israeli Arabs scuffle with police after house razed

Israeli police fired tear gas at hundreds of Arabs, some of them throwing stones, who protested at the demolition of a house in the northern Israeli village of Bartaa on Friday. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP two protesters were arrested but there were no reported casualties on either side. "About 300 Arab demonstrators protested after a house demolition in Barta," she said. "Some of them threw stones at police and blocked the main road for a time. Police dispersed them with tear gas and made two arrests," she added.
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