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January 24, 2012 4:01 pm

Solar Energy For All of Israel and Land for the Bedouins

avatar by Yosef Abramowitz

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Solar energy for all of Israel's citizens

The author, Yosef Abramowitz, with Haj Mousa Tarabin at the Ketura Sun Solar Field at Kibbutz Ketura, Israel Photo: Hannah Schafer

If solar energy is working for Haiti and its good enough for the kibbutzim, then certainly solar energy should be an option to all the citizens of Israel seeking a more sustainable and friendly approach.

Unfortunately, if solar licenses are only issued to Jewish land owners, which is currently the case, Israel is not only depriving part of its citizenry the opportunity to be more environmentally conscious, it’s also providing the world with an example of undemocratic policies.

As a society we are on the edge of history, waiting for approval of the first solar license provided to a Bedouin solar field. About a third of the Negev are made up of Bedouins and we are all lucky that Haj Mousa Tarabin, his family and tribe are willing to be the pioneers at a difficult time politically in the relationship between the Bedouin and the State, to provide land for an 8 megawatt solar field which can hopefully usher in a solar revolution to the Bedouins and the state of Israel.

Assuming the approval is made, a single field should not be the only gesture made by the Israeli government towards the Bedouin people. For there to be energy independence through renewables in the State of Israel the best thing is for a historic land compromise between the Bedouin and the State of Israel that would create a just and mutually beneficial solution to the long-running ownership dispute over large tracts of land in parts of the Negev.

This will bring $3 billion dollars of investment and thousands of green jobs to the poorest community in the State of Israel. We should give them the investment, jobs, and dignity they deserve by approving Bedouin solar licenses and laying the framework for a just compromise on a historic land deal.

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