Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in several villages Monday to protest an “Israeli” plan to expel up to 40,000 Bedouins from the al-Naqab desert, local media reported.
In Ber Sabba, the main city in the al-Naqab, “Israeli” police attacked a demonstration against the so-called Prawer Plan after demonstrators refused orders to clear the streets.
There, police arrested at least 14 people and injured a number of others, including a Palestinian Member of “Israel’s” Knesset, according to Ma’an News Agency.
“Only 14 people were arrested,” said an “Israeli” police spokeswoman in al-Naqab.
MK Jamal Zahalka suffered injuries after being assaulted by police, his Balad Party said. Other MKs who partook in the protest included Ibrahim Sarsour, Ahmed Tibi and Talab Abu Arar.
In the village of Hosan, west of Bethlehem, “Israeli” forces used sound bombs to attack a rally, Palestinian official news agency Wafa, said.
The sound bombs left protesters temporarily deaf, Wafa cited an activist as saying.
Meanwhile, Palestinian-owned stores closed up shop in observance of a general strike called for by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens, an umbrella organization set up to defend the interests of Palestinians living inside the Green Line occupied since 1948.
“Israel’s” Prawer Bill, which has passed a first reading at the Knesset, seeks to force tens of thousands of Arab Bedouin from their villages and into permanent outposts. If passed, the displacement plan would also see “Israel” expropriate 850,000 dunums of Arab land, and lead to the destruction of at least 40 Bedouin villages not recognized by the Zionist entity.
More protests are scheduled to begin in other cities including Umm al-Fahm and Majd Al-Kurum.
Demonstrations will also take place in Yafa, al-Quds, Ramallah, al-Khalil, Nablus and inside the Green Line in al-Ludd and Ramle.
The Adalah legal center decried the Prawer plan as “constituting unlawful racial discrimination.”
“The bill disregards property rights… and imposes a second punishment on these citizens,” a letter prepared by the organization said.
“The Bedouin community as a whole… will receive less than one percent of al-Naqab lands… and a tenth of the area they claim as their ancestral lands,” they added.
About half of the roughly 160,000 Palestinian Bedouins residing in al-Naqab live in unrecognized villages.
According to the letter sent by the legal center, the bill “sets harsher preconditions for registering the land, and includes a waiver of any monetary compensation.”
The “Israeli” government maintains that the Bedouins do not own the land and claims they live there illegally.