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Protests from Beirut to Brazil against Prawer plan


AUGUST 1: Israeli police fire tear gas as Israeli Arabs protest against the government’s Prawer Plan, on road 65 on August 1, 2013 near Arara, Israel. Activists declared a ‘day of rage’ across Israel and Palestine in protest against the Prawer-Begin Plan, which if implemented will displace tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens from their homes in the Negev desert. Photo by Oren Ziv/Getty Images.

Hundreds rally in Negev against Israeli plan to displace Bedouins

By Ma’an news
August 02, 2013

NEGEV – Hundreds of Palestinian residents of Israel rallied Thursday afternoon against Israel’s Prawer Plan which could displace thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev from their land.

The protestors gathered near al-Arakib village where Israeli forces have demolished tents and tin-roofed houses more than 50 times.

A Ma’an reporter in the Negev said Israeli police deployed heavily in the area trying to prevent demonstrators from reaching the main road.

Protestors chanted slogans against “the racist plan” as they waved Palestinian flags.

The reporter added that hundreds of displaced Bedouins started to return to their villages early Thursday morning.

Former Arab member of Knesset Talab al-Sani said Israeli police behaved in a provocative way and prevented demonstrators from accessing the village. Solidarity activists, locals and internationals, have helped residents of al-Arakib rebuild their tents and movable houses every time Israeli forces demolished the village.

A lawyer who joined the rally, Shihdeh Ben Berry, told Ma’an there was only one goal behind the protest and similar protests — to thwart the Prawer Plan. “The people of Israel suffered in the past by the Nazis, and today they are mirroring their suffering against Palestinian minorities causing them to suffer the same and even more.”

He highlighted that the Prawer Plan had not been approved yet, “and in case of approval, a group of Palestinian human rights supporters and legal experts will complain to the High Court of Justice.”

The so-called Prawer-Begin Bill calls for the relocation of 30,000-40,000 Bedouin, the demolition of about 40 villages and the confiscation of more than 700,000 dunums of land in the Negev.

It was approved by the Israeli government in January and by parliament in a first reading in June, and two more votes on it are expected.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay slammed the bill last week, urging the Israeli government to reconsider its plans.

“If this bill becomes law, it will accelerate the demolition of entire Bedouin communities, forcing them to give up their homes, denying them their rights to land ownership, and decimating their traditional cultural and social life in the name of development,” Pillay said.

There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.

The government has said it would “as much as possible” grant legal status to Negev villages that are currently unrecognized by the authorities if they met a minimum population criteria. But those criteria have never been stated.

A cabinet statement has said “most” residents — who do not currently receive government or municipal services — would be able to continue living in their homes after the villages are granted legal status.

AFP contributed to this report.


At least 20 arrested in mass protests over Bedouin relocation plan

Demonstrations, held at two separate locations in Israel’s north and south, oppose plan by which 40,000 people would be evicted from their homes.

By Zafrir Rinat, Ha’aretz
August 01, 2013

More than 1,000 people gathered Thursday for two separate demonstrations to protest the government’s plan to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev. Police arrested at least 20 of the demonstrators.

The protests, which took place at two different locations in Israel’s north and south, are part of the expression of ongoing objections to legislation of a contentious bill that calls for the relocation of as many as 40,000 Bedouin from areas not recognized by the government as residential.

“It’s exciting to see the awakening of the young people of the Negev and elsewhere to our struggle over our lands and our homes,” Amir Abu-Quidar, a Bedouin activist from the unrecognized village of Al-Zarnug. “The government does not recognize the Bedouin villages and withholds essential services so that we will lose hope and leave. We are not invaders or nomads. We will continue to live and work our lands, which we have owned since before the establishment of the state,” Abu-Quidar said.

One of the demonstrations, which took place at the Lahavim Junction in the northern Negev, was attended by about 1,000 people, most of them Bedouin from the area. Numerous police personnel were on hand and there was no violence or disturbance of the peace. However, protest organizers reported that at the end of the demonstration a few of the protesters were detained by police.

Twenty arrests were made at the second focus of protests at Wadi Ara, on Route 65 northeast of Hadera. According to the police, attempts were made to block traffic; however, the protesters said a few people were arrested on their way to the protest.

Protests against the relocation plan, recommended by the Prawer Committee in 2011, are being organized by Bedouin grass-roots groups and human rights organizations. The groups say that the government efforts to promote a law that would resolve land-ownership issues would seriously impair their rights. They note that the arrangement being offered does not compensate the Bedouin fully for land that has been expropriated from them in the past. It would also allow for the demolition of homes by administrative order, which would impair their right to petition against the demolition, they say.

According to human rights groups, the plan would mean the eviction of some 40,000 Bedouin from their homes. They are calling for the recognition of the Bedouin’s rights to the land and their right to live in existing villages. However, officials who were involved in formulating the Prawer plan say that it represents a compromise with the Bedouin and is a fair resolution of property demands. It offers the possibility for the first time for Bedouin to live in recognized villages with electrical and water infrastructure, its proponents say.



Bedouin protesters, August 1st, 2013. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Hundreds protest Bedouin displacement in the Negev

Demonstrations against the Prawer-Begin Plan continue on a second ‘Day of Rage’ with hundreds demonstrating in the Negev, and standing off with police.

By Matt Surrusco, +972
August 02, 2013

Omar Naammeh stood alone about 50 feet back from the concentration of approximately 700 protestors, mostly youth, on a dusty elevation overlooking Lehavim Junction, along the Tel Aviv-Beer Sheva highway, south of Rahat in the Negev.

“The people here began to recognize they will lose their homeland,” said Naammeh, 60, of Beer Sheva, explaining what he believes has motived a growing number of Bedouin citizens of Israel to demonstrate against the Prawer-Begin Plan. The proposed policy would see tens of thousands of Bedouin living in Negev villages unrecognized by the State of Israel forcibly relocated into planned communities.

Click here for +972′s full coverage of the Prawer Plan

Demonstrators at the August 1 rally, one of a few that took place across Israel and the West Bank, and the second “Day of Rage” demonstration in the last few weeks, included Palestinians, Israelis and internationals, from young children to seniors.

According to a police spokesperson, 400 police officers, some in riot gear, were on hand, including 10 police on horseback, who stood off with demonstrators after some knocked over and pulled aside barricades, pushing forward toward the line of police that blocked protestors from nearing the highway.

One organizer Hind Salman, from Laqia, said activists made the decision not to push forward and attempt to block the road, as had been done at a demonstration two weeks ago in Sakhnin and on August 1 in the northern village of Arara, where at least 20 people were arrested.


Protesters against the Prawer Plan at a demonstration at Arara in the North of Israel, August 1, 2013. Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org.

During the bus ride from Jerusalem, Hassan Towafra, 26, a student at the Hebrew University, said he was at the July 15 demonstration in Beer Sheeva, but expected more people to attend demonstrations on August 1.

“The last two weeks more people have been talking about Prawer,” including Knesset members, Towafra said. “More people watched the last demo on T.V. and now they want to take part,” he added.

Wearing a Palestinian flag as a Superman cape, Firas Badarna, 27, a university student from Sakhnin, said some of the younger protestors attend just to take a photo and say they were there.

Bedouins and activists protest near the Tel Aviv-Beer Sheva highway, near the town of Lehavim, against the Israeli government’s Prawer Plan. (photo: Activestills)
Wesal Yaseen, 21, a university student from Kafr Manda, said many of the young people at the demonstration likely did not understand the implications of the Prawer Plan.

“If you go and ask them, ‘What is the Prawer Plan?’ They don’t know,” she said.

But, she added, Bedouin young people are beginning to understand how the plan could affect them.

Naammeh, the man from Beer Sheva, said the younger generation of Bedouin traditionally has not participated in protests. However, the prospects of displacement have made them more politically involved.

He said his community has held regular protests on Fridays. The Day of Rage rally was larger, with a more diverse crowd.

“This [demonstrations] will continue until the Prawer Plan will disappear,” Naammeh said.


Activists rally across Israel, West Bank against plans to relocate Beduin

Some 20 Israeli-Arab activists arrested as demonstrations take place nationwide against Prawer-Begin plan. Hundreds demonstrate in solidarity with Beduin citizens, August 1, 2013.

By Tovah Lazaroff, Ariel Ben Solomon, JPost
August 01, 2013

Hundreds demonstrate in solidarity with Beduin citizens, August 1, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Two police officers were lightly injured and 20 Israeli Arabs were arrested in a Wadi Arra demonstration on Thursday that was part of a day of rage against Israeli plans to relocate Beduin.

While the demonstrations were mostly geared toward the Prawer-Begin plan to relocate at 40,000 Beduin in the Negev, activists who participated also protested against an IDF plan to evacuate 1,300 homes in the South Hebron Hills from an area known as Firing Zone 918.

The largest demonstration at the Lahavim junction south of Rahat drew 1,000 people. Other demonstrations took place in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza. According to activists rallied also occurred in Amman, Beirut, Morocco, Mauritania, Amsterdam, Dublin, Washington DC and Brazil.

Most of the demonstrations passed peacefully, according to police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. But the Wadi Arra demonstration turned violent after protesters tried to block the road, he said.

Salah Muhsan, the media director of the Arab legal rights group Adalah, who was at the demonstration in Wadi Arra and said that the demonstrators were pushing to reach the highway, but the police formed a wall, pushing back protesters and firing tear gas. He added that he believed around 20 people were arrested, but said he was still gathering information on detainees as Adallah lawyers will help represent those detained.

According to activists, protestors also blocked traffic at the Hizme junction. They said that clashes broke out with Israeli security forces who responded with stun grenades and in some cases clashed with protestors.

The last protest against the Begin-Prawer plan was held on July 15 and organized by the Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership – Comprising Arab MKs, leaders of local authorities and other prominent public figures. In contrast, this protest was a grassroots effort organized largely by youth on Facebook, said Muhsan. Arab protesters came from all over the country.

The government- sponsored plan – which narrowly passed its first reading in the Knesset last month – offered the Beduin a compromise – recognizing around 63 percent of Beduin land claims, including compensation payments and providing new, fully-functioning communities. The Beduin and their supporters do not accept the plan and see the state as trying to confiscate their land. The state argues that the state is being generous by recognizing and compensating for land, which for the most part was not legally registered.

The protests come one day after the state submitted its response to the High Court of Justice defending its decision to evict 1,300 Beduins from a firing zone in the South Hebron Hills.

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Rabbis for Human Rights have petitioned the HCJ on behalf of the Beduin, who they have lived in that area for generations and have a right to remain.

The state told the court that it was imperative that the land be used for training, as it has since 1980.

It explained that it has been a closed military zone since then. It provided extensive detail with regard to its multiple attempts to evict the Beduin from that area dating back to 1980 when it was first declared a closed military zone.

At the time, it said, there were no permanent homes in the area, including in the caves, where some of the Beduins now live.

Since then, it said, the IDF has demolished Beduin homes, confiscated herds, sealed caves and destroyed wells in the area of Firing Zone 918.

According to the state, 60 percent of the land in Firing Zone 918 was survey land, 18% was state land and only 23% was private Palestinian property. The Beduin, it said, have not presented any proof that shows their rights to the land.

A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for the fall.



Protest in London August 1st 2013. Footballer Mahmoud Sarsak joined the protest. Photo by See Li. .

Solidarity with Palestinian Day of Rage against the ethnic cleansing Prawer Plan”

Solidarity with Palestinian Day of Rage against the ethnic cleansing Prawer Plan 

 Thu Aug 01 2013 at 06:00 pm

Venue : The Apartheid Embassy at Kensington High Street opposite W8 5ED [ 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB]

Protest at the London Apartheid Israeli Embassy in solidarity with Palestinians on their next “Day of Rage” against the Prawer Plan to ethnic cleanse them. On 1st August Palestinians will protest again against this racist plan, which was passed its first reading in the Knesset on 25th June.

The Plan aims to
* confiscate 800,000 dunums of land in the Naqab desert
* expel over 50,000 Palestinian Bedouins
* demolish 35 unrecognized villages
* confine 30% of Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab to 1% of the landThis London protest was at the request of Palestinians citizen of Israel who are organising this day of action:

“We call on international solidarity activists to organize demonstrations on the same day in their own cities, and to spread awareness of the biggest impending ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians by Israel since 1948 through writing petitions, sharing information on the Naqab and Prawer Plan, or by any other show of activism.”

On July 15 Palestinians demonstrated from Bir Sabe’ to Jerusalem, West Bank to the Galilee, Haifa to Gaza. Dozens of Palestinians were either injured or arrested since July 15 by the Israeli forces. Throughout the past week protests have been constant within Palestine, with Beirut in Lebanon and Cairo in Egypt also joining in.

London protest: Israeli Embassy on Kensington High Street opposite W8 5ED (near W8 4QB; tube: High Street Kensington)

For further details about the Day of Rage see: https://www.facebook.com/StopPrawerPlan
Twitter: #AugustRage #StopPrawerPlan
#آب_الغضب #برافر_لن_يمر

For further info on the London protest please contact: 07880 731 865

For further info on the Prawer Plan:
Demolition and Eviction of Bedouin Citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev) – The Prawer Plan” by Adalah


Solidarity with Palestinian Day of Rage – Demonstration in London Today 1 August 2013

From Jews sans frontieres
August 01, 2013

Hope you will be able to come to this important protest – the JNF’s (Jewish National Fund) $4 billion “Blueprint Negev” project is central to the Prawer Plan: to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Bedouin from the area. For more on the Stop the JNF Campaign see www.stopthejnf.org.

Solidarity with Palestinian Day of Rage
against the ethnic cleansing Prawer Plan

1 August, 6pm, the Apartheid Israeli Embassy
Kensington High Street, W8 5ED [2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB]

Protest at the London Apartheid Israeli Embassy in solidarity with Palestinians on their next “Day of Rage” against the Prawer Plan to ethnically cleanse them. On 1st August Palestinians will protest again against this racist plan, which was passed its first reading in the Knesset on 25th June.

· The Plan aims to: confiscate 800,000 dunums of land in the Naqab desert

· expel over 50,000 Palestinian Bedouins

· demolish 35 unrecognized villages

· confine 30% of Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab to 1% of the land

This London protest was at the request of Palestinian citizens of Israel who are organising this day of action:
“We call on international solidarity activists to organize demonstrations on the same day in their own cities, and to spread awareness of the biggest impending ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians by Israel since 1948 through writing petitions, sharing information on the Naqab and Prawer Plan, or by any other show of activism.”

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