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Bedouin village in Negev Photo: Herzl Yosef
Bedouin village in Negev Photo: Herzl Yosef
 
 

Bedouins protest against State

Hundreds carry signs in south protesting against State's alleged attempt to drive them out of their land by failing to connect unrecognized villages to water system 'If they dare approach our land, it will not be good,' protestor says

Ilana Curiel
Published: 10.03.09, 16:53 / Israel News

Hundreds of Bedouins and Jews demonstrated Saturday afternoon at the Goral Junction near Beersheba in protest of what they said was the State's failure to connect the unrecognized villages in the area to water.

 

The protesters also claimed the state is stealing the villages' land.

 

The protest was relatively quiet, unlike the demonstration that took place two weeks ago. The protestors marched from Lehavim Junction to Goral Junction in what they called a "water convoy". They carried signs that read, "The Bedouins in the Negev are thirsty for water and recognition" and "The State and JNF are land thieves".

 

One of the protestors, Nuri al-Ukbi, told Ynet, "The State of Israel is depriving people of water in order to force them to leave the Bedouins' permanent communities. The authorities have waged a war to strip us of our land and give it to the JNF (Jewish National Fund).

 

"We are not Jews, so where is our place? Where is our children's future? The situation is bad, I feel alone against the State of Israel. If they dare approach our land, it will not be good and all the Bedouins will mobilize to prevent this."

 

Noam Tirosh, of the coexistence forum in the Negev was also at the demonstration, and said he believes the situation can be changed through a joint struggle by Jews and Arabs.

 

"We just passed the summer months and citizens of the State of Israel have yet to be connected to any proper infrastructure. The State, through the JNF, is doing everything it can to conspire against the Bedouins and take over their lands in a brutal manner," he said.

 

Yousef Abu Zeid said the protestors were shouting "No more". He said, "We inherited this land from our forefathers and no one has the authority to touch it. I hope we succeed. We plan to push forward with our public activity and continue protesting legally.

 

"We will go to the law. We live in this state and we are its citizens and we want to contribute to it, but we must also be allowed to build villages and live our lives. This reality causes serious unpleasantness between Bedouins and Jews."

 

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