Hours after Bedouins clashed with police
in Beersheba, hundreds of Israeli-Arab citizens held demonstrations throughout the north Monday, blocking main roads in protest of the Prawer Bill for regulating Bedouin settlement in the Negev.
Hundreds of Wadi Ara and Umm al-Fahm
residents took to the streets and blocked the main entrance to the city as well as parts of route 65, while some 300 people protested near the Yovalim Junction. Fourteen people were arrested during the protest there.
Additional protests were held throughout Israel's Arab communities including near the Misgav Junction and in the communities of Majd al-Krum, Qalansawe, Tira, Tayibe, Baqa al-Gharbiyye and Jatt.
Umm al-Fahm protest (Photo: Zoomout, Adahm Mohamad)
The protest in Wadi Ara along route 65 ended without incident, but police have yet to succeed in clearing the protesters from the road.
During the demonstration, protesters chanted "we'll give our lives for Palestine", "Prawer will not pass," "Israel is a terror state" and "The State wants to expel us from our lands."
Blocking route 65 (Photo: Zoomout, Adahm Mohamad)
Opposition to the bill has consolidated Israel's diverse Arab community, prompting all of the Arab banks to shut down, all of the Arab regional councils to strike and most Arab-owned businesses to close shop.
During the protest in Beersheba,
several protesters were injured
in clashes with local police. Fourteen were detained and two police officers were injured as well. One protester was arrested after threatening a police officer he would "take care of him and his family."
Beersheba protests (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
The strikes and protests were declared by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel
and with the help of horsemen and Central Control Unit fighters, police dispersed the demonstration and cleared a road the protesters were blocking.
Arabs parties say the proposed law would lead to the expulsion of tens of thousands of people and the eviction of entire villages to allow the State to take over the land.
Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi
said: "The government is pushing the Arab minority to a corner of confrontation instead of listening to their needs and equalizing the living conditions. We will keep fighting to cancel the Prawer Bill. Only in Israel there is a different law for the Arabs in the Negev. It is not a regularization plan, but an exclusion plan."
The bill attempts to address the legal aspects of the issue of Bedouin settlements in the Negev, including the regularization of the land claims in the Negev.
The State's position is that the existing law does not allow approving such claims, but due to the special social and economic conditions in the Negev, it is proposed to establish special arrangements to solve the issue. The arrangements include compensation in the form of money or land.
However the strikers and demonstrators are protesting against the plan, which according to them will rob the Bedouins of 800,000 hectares of land.
"The land of the Negev belongs to those who reside in it, not to Bibi," Negev protesters chanted, referencing Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu,
party is is responsible for the bill.
Maor Buchnik also contributed to this report
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