Some 3,000 protesters marched in Beersheba
in protest of the Begin-Praver outline for Bedouin
settlements regularization in the Negev,
and made their way to the government offices and court in the city. Some protesters raised the Palestinian
flag, together with signs that read "with spirit and blood we will redeem our land."
Police shut down several intersections and roads between the city's market and government offices in order to allow the protest march, yet were still surprised by the large number of demonstrators and feared the protest would turn violent and provocative. Additional police forces were called to the area in order to maintain order.
Asma, one of the protesters, said: "I am part of the Arab minority in the country. We live on lands that belong to us, yet the country tries to take them away from us. It is 2% of the entire Negev territory." She further complained that "following the Nakba,
the State does not treat us as equal citizens."
|Bedouin protesters in Beershea|
Fadi Alziadna, another protester, said: "The country is letting us down. In any other country the minorities have rights, but here it is different. The situation keeps getting worse. I am glad that people came to this demonstration, it will help us fight for our rights to the Bedouin settlements." Former Knesset Member Taleb el-Sana, member of Steering Committee for Planning and Protection of Arab Rights in the Negev, said they will do all they can in order for the bill outline not to pass.
The government approved the Praver report in September 2011, which made an outline to the regularization of the Bedouin settlement in the Negev, in order to resolve the Negev land ownership claims while offering an outline of a compromise that includes relocation and financial compensation to end the illegal settlements.
Last January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
announced that NIS 1.2 billion ($330 million) have been allotted for the execution of this program, in which existing settlements were supposed to be expanded and absorb residents in the Abu-Basma Regional Council. In addition, the establishment of new villages was announced as part of the program, yet the plan was received with mixed feelings both among Bedouins and among critics from the Right.
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