New nakba in Negev: day of protest

July 18, 2013
Sarah Benton

This posting has these items:
1) Mondoweiss: Protests against Prawer Plan to forcibly move Negev Bedouin spread across Israel/Palestine;
2) PNN: Israel Arrests 3 Palestinians Participated in Prawer Plan Protests;
3) Malik Samara, Al Akhbar: New Nakba Hits the Negev;
4) Ben White, Al Jazeera: Fighting new Nakba in the Negev;
5) +972 live blog: Protests across Israel/Palestine against Prawer Plan;
6) Islam Times: Over half of Israeli Arabs support call for new Intifada: Poll;

Protests against Prawer Plan to forcibly move Negev Bedouin spread across Israel/Palestine

By Annie Robbins and Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss
July 15, 2013

A few images from day long protests and strikes across Israel/Palestine in opposition to the Prawer Plan, which will forcibly move up 70,000 Bedouin from their unrecognized villages in Israel into government-approved towns. This action is receiving international protest and condemnation.

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July 15th: #DayOfRage demonstrations against Prawer plan throughout Palestine. Blocking Yefet street in Yafa, Palestine48. Photo and caption by Ronnie Barkan.

Here’s a videofrom Jerusalem.

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Following a weekly sit-in in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)’s courtyard by families and supporters of Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) rallied outside as part of a national “Anger Strike” against the Prawer Plan, an Israeli proposal to forcibly displace 40,000 Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev). Photo and caption by  Joe Catron.

Israel Arrests 3 Palestinians Participated in Prawer Plan Protests

Palestine News Network
July 17, 2013

Israeli Police arrested Tuesday, three Palestinians from al-Taybeh city in the 1948-occupied territories,, and accused them of throwing stones during demonstrations launched to protest Prawer-Begin Plan on Monday.

The Israeli Magistrate Court in Kfar Saba is due to examine the extension of the period of their detention.

It’s worth mentioning that the court has postponed the trial of 5 activists from the city till 27/11/2013 including those who participated in protests against Prawer Plan.

Israel’s Prawer Plan: New Nakba Hits the Negev

By Malik Samara, Al Akhbar
July 16, 2013

Bedouins of the Negev desert are facing perhaps the most dangerous attempt yet to cleanse them off and expropriate their land, in what Palestinians are calling a “New Nakba.”

In the south of occupied Palestine, a vast stretch of desert land has remained largely absent from the Arab consciousness. The Negev, which once made up fully 50 percent of historic Palestine, is home to 300,000 Palestinians today.

If the measure passes, Palestinian Bedouins could see 35 of their villages destroyed in an attempt to squeeze the whole Arab population onto 1 percent of the desert.The largely Bedouin population, which makes up a third of all Palestinians living on the lands occupied by Israel in 1948, have roots in the area that go back to the fifth century BC. The Israeli authorities have subjected the Negev’s people to repeated attempts at “resettlement” and land expropriation, trying to force as many Palestinians as possible to settle within the confines of a small area in order to seize their lands.
The Israeli government has succeeded so far in corralling nearly half the population into an area Palestinians refer to as al-Siyaj (the Fence), while the rest have fought to remain in 45 villages across the Negev unrecognized by Israel, which therefore refuses to provide the most basic services.

In perhaps one of the most dangerous transfer plans adopted by the Israelis since 1948 under the guise of “developing the Negev,” the Netanyahu government signed off on the Prawer Plan in 2011, which seeks to expropriate 800,000 dunams (1 dunam = 1000 square meters), and expel between 30,000 and 50,000 Palestinian Bedouins in the process.

The plan passed its first reading in the Knesset in June and a committee was formed on July 15 to complete the approval process, with a second and third reading scheduled for Fall 2013. If the measure passes, Palestinian Bedouins could see 35 of their villages destroyed in an attempt to squeeze the whole Arab population onto 1 percent of the desert.

This will have a devastating effect on Bedouins and their tribal way of life. In the name of improving their lives by moving them into more developed urban centers – with only modest services such as schools and clinics offered – Israel hopes to break the communities’ ties to their land and culture, so it can be more easily expropriated, either for settling Jews or for military purposes.

In Rahat, one village “recognized” by Israel, local resident Iman al-Sanea explains that nearly 60 percent of the town’s 60,000 residents live under the poverty line. Here, young people have no hope whatsoever of finding work.

Nevertheless, the Bedouins of the Negev are struggling to foil attempts to subject them to another Nakba. On Monday, a national day of rage against the Prawer Plan was organized, leading to protests throughout occupied Palestine, including many areas within the Green Line, including the Galilee and the Triangle area in the country’s center.

Many young people now active in the Negev complain of negligence from their political leaders – including their representatives in the Knesset – who offer little more than one compromise after another.

This has prompted these young activists to pursue fresh ideas to mobilize people against the Prawer Plan, such as organizing simultaneous Nakba events in 10 Negev villages, linking the Palestinian catastrophe to the new expropriation plan.

The activists have made headway in improving ties to Palestinians in other areas who tend to know little about the plight of the Negev. Their latest protest quickly spread to other parts of Palestine, breaking the area’s isolation, which is but a further attempt by Israel to fragment Palestinian national identity into localized ones, be it in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, Akka, or elsewhere.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Fighting new Nakba in the Negev

Popular resistance against the Prawer plan has united Palestinians of all affiliations and origins.

By Ben White, Al Jazeera
July 17, 2013

From the refugees in 1949 looking over the Lebanese border at the land from which they were expelled, to the students in the Gaza banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from studying in the West Bank, Israeli colonisation has fragmented the Palestinian people over the decades with walls, fences, guns, bureaucracy and propaganda.

Overcoming that fragmentation has become further complicated in recent times on account of the moribund state of representative bodies like the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as well as the long-running split between Fatah and Hamas.

In the last few years, however, there have been moments when particular circumstances have prompted coordinated resistance, at least on a grassroots level, amongst Palestinians wherever they may be. One such example was the widespread protests prompted by the massacre in Gaza in 2008-9 (otherwise known as Operation Cast Lead). Another example is when Palestinians coalesced around the prisoners’ hunger strikes to launch solidarity activities from Haifa to Ramallah.

This week has seen Palestinian flags raised and slogans chanted regarding the same outrage, from Jerusalem to Syria and Tunisia

Now, Palestinians have united around opposition to a pending Israeli government plan to expel tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from communities in the Negev that await destruction in the name of ‘development’.

The Prawer plan, some years in the making, is part of a historical drive by the Israeli government to prioritise and privilege Jewish settlement in the Negev while forcing Bedouin citizens – those who weren’t expelled in the first decade of the state’s existence – to live in approved zones and shanty towns.

On Monday, protests took place all across historic Palestine – in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and inside Israel – after the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel called for a general strike and protests against Prawer. As plans for demonstrations were made from Nazareth to Hebron, Palestinians also hit social media to raise awareness and link up their actions, using hashtags like #AngerStrike and #StopPrawerPlan.

In Beersheva, to the south, a city ethnically cleansed in the Nakba and not far from many of the villages the Israeli government will seek to uproot under Prawer, a demonstration was targeted by the police and a number of protesters were violently arrested. In the north, some 400 people took part in a protest near Sakhnin in the Western Galilee, where another dozen participants were arrested. There were further demonstrations by Palestinians at Umm al-Fahm and many other towns and villages.

Meanwhile, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship were joined by those under military rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where demonstrators rallied in solidarity with the ‘Anger Strike’ in Ramallah, Hebron, and Nablus. Even in a small village like Hussan, near Bethlehem, Israeli forces broke up a peaceful demonstration against the Prawer plan. The coordinated day of action also reached prisoners, with Palestinians in Gilboa jail announcing their participation and support.

What is interesting here is not simply how, in the words of Palestinian activist and blogger Abir Kopty, “protests took place across Palestinian cities and villages from the river to the sea”, with people “communicating and organising, to defy a ‘border’ that”, Kopty told me, “separated us physically but failed to do so mentally”. Even more unusually, she pointed out, “Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza joined their brothers’ and sisters’ struggle within 48 hours, when it is usually the opposite”.

Salah Mohsen, spokesman and media director of legal rights centre Adalah, called the 15 July demonstrations against Prawer “an extraordinary show of solidarity”, with Palestinians from “the Galilee, the Triangle, and the Naqab joined by activists from around the world”. Kopty remarked how the protests, to her mind, show that “hope lies in the determination of the youth”.

The art of Palestinian resistance
As if to prove her point, West Bank-based Palestinian activist Linah Alsaafin linked the events to Land Day, describing the Anger Strike as “assert[ing] that despite political division, non-representative and collaborative leadership, Palestine remains from the river to the sea, with the Bedouins in the Naqab an integral component of the Palestinian population”.

This week has seen Palestinian flags raised and slogans chanted regarding the same outrage, from Jerusalem to Syria and Tunisia. Briefly, colonially-imposed borders seemed weaker, as Palestinians demonstrated that new strategies have emerged and will continue to develop as a means of confronting the age-old problems of fragmentation and artificial divisions.

Protests across Israel/Palestine against Prawer Plan

+972 Live blog
July 15, 2013

Protests took place across Israel and Palestine Monday against the Prawer-Begin Plan, which if implemented, will displace tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel from their villages and homes in the Negev.

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

Protests were planned in Beer Sheva in the morning. At 4 p.m., protests took place in Gaza City, Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus. In the late afternoon, demonstrations were held in Umm al-Fahm, Sakhnin and Jaffa. A protest in Jerusalem was scheduled to begin later in the evening.

In addition to the demonstrations, Palestinians activists and civil society groups called for a general strike to protest the Prawer-Begin Plan. Banks, local authorities and private businesses shuttered their doors in solidarity with the Bedouin.


Update (10:55 p.m.):

Clashes broke out at the Damascus Gate East Jerusalem demonstration against the Prawer Plan after police arrested a Palestinian youth. Stones were being thrown at police and cars in the area. At least three people were arrested and one police officer was reported to have been seriously injured.

Update (9:40 p.m.):

The protest against the Prawer Plan at Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem began a short while ago. Police forces were present.

Update (8:30 p.m.)

Over two dozen protesters were arrested throughout the country at demonstrations agains the Prawer-Begin Plan Monday. Eight police officers were lightly injured.

The protest in Jaffa dispersed without police interference after nearly two hours.

Some 200 protesters blocked Yefet Street in Jaffa as part of a protest against the Prawer-Begin Plan, July 15, 2013. (
A final protest at East Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate was scheduled to take place at 9 p.m.

Update (6:37 p.m.):

In Jaffa, roughly 150 people gathered at the city’s Clock Tower Square and were blocking Yefet Street at the time of this report (see picture below).

150 people protested against the Prawer-Begin Plan in Jaffa’s Clock Tower Square, July 15, 2013. (Photo:
Israeli riot police in Sakhnin were using tear gas and ‘skunk water’ trucks in an attempt to disperse the protest there after demonstrators blocked a main road. +972 received initial reports of 14 arrests and fields that were set alight by tear gas canisters.

At the demonstration in Ramallah, protesters attempted to march toward the adjacent Israeli settlement of Beit El but were being blocked by Palestinian Authority police.

Update (5:53 p.m.):

A second protest took place in Gaza against the Prawer-Begin Plan to displace Negev Bedouin Monday afternoon. Roughly 100 people gathered in the Unknown Soldier Square (al-Jundi Square) with signs and chants against the Prawer Plan and Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza’s al-Jundi Square demonstrate against the Prawer Plan, July 15, 2013. Photo by Joe Catron.
Update: (5:40 p.m.):

Some 1,000 protesters were blocking an intersection in Sakhnin in protest of the Prawer Plan. Another protest started at the same time in Umm al-Fahm.

At protest against the Prawer Plan, Palestinian citizens of Israel block an intersection in Sakhnin, July 15, 2013. Photo by Irene Nasser.

Update: (4:28 p.m.):

Several hundred Palestinians in Ramallah began marching in solidarity with Bedouin Palestinians in the Negev Monday afternoon. Similar protests took place earlier in the day in Beer Sheva and were scheduled to begin in cities across the West Bank and Israel.

Update (1:50 p.m.):

Several hundred Palestinians in Gaza City protested against the Prawer Plan outside the ICRC offices in the city Monday morning. The protest, which was associated with the PFLP, took place alongside a weekly vigil for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. A dedicated anti-Prawer protest was scheduled to take place later in the day in al-Jundi Square.

Protesters against the Prawer-Begin Plan outside the ICRC office in Gaza City, July 15, 2013. Photo by Joe Catron

Update (1:15 p.m.):
Police arrested a total of 14 people at the Beer Sheva protest against the Prawer Plan, civil rights group Adalah reported.

The following video appears to show the beginning of the arrests at the demonstration (around the 0:58 second mark):

Update (11:35 a.m.):
Police forcefully broke up the protest in Beersheva against the Prawer Plan, arresting around 10 people. More updates to come.

Israeli police arrest a protester against the Prawer Plan in Beer Sheva, July 15, 2013. Photo by [A woman is injured]

Update (11:00 a.m.):

Several hundred Bedouin, Palestinian and Israeli activists from around the country demonstrated in the Negev (Naqab) against the Prawer-Begin Plan late Monday morning. Large numbers of police and riot police were on the scene.

Hundreds of Bedouin and activists protest against the Prawer Plan in the Negev, July 15, 2013. Photo by

The plan, which recently passed its first reading in the Knesset, would lead to the eviction and displacement of tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel.

A Palestinian general strike was called in cities across Israel. Additional protests were set to take place in cities throughout Israel, the West Bank and Gaza later Monday.

Over half of Israeli Arabs support call for new Intifada: Poll

By Islam Times
July 17, 2013

More than half of Arab citizens of Israel support the call by a member of the Knesset (parliament) for an Intifada (uprising) in Israel in protest to the planned relocation of Bedouins living in Israel’s southern desert of Negev, a survey shows.

Over half of Israeli Arabs support call for new Intifada: Poll According to a phone survey conducted June 18 to 20 by Haifa University on 1,504 Israeli Arab adults, 58 percent of the respondents said they throw their weight behind an Intifada.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they are opposed to the call, while 1% had no idea.

During the heated debate in the Knesset on June 24 over the law which legalizes displacement of Bedouin people from the Negev Desert and their resettlement in nearby towns, Afou Agbaria got up to the podium and denounced the bill.

“I am in favor of a new Intifada, because you are causing a new Nakba in the Negev,” he said.

Palestinians refer to the May 15, 1948 occupation of Palestine as the “Nakba Day”, which means the Day of the Catastrophe in Arabic, to mark the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948

The opinion poll also found that 63 percent of Israeli Arabs support Iran’s nuclear energy program, while 35 percent oppose with two percent having had no idea.

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted toward military objectives.

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