Bedouins have lived in the Negev and cultivated their traditional lifestyle since the dawn of history. The Begin-Prawer Plan
seeks to displace them and compel them to move into urban settlements that would condemn them to a life of hardship, poverty and unemployment.
The significance of this plan is clear: The Bedouin people are forbidden to continue being Bedouin. Expulsion and resettlement are two concepts that we as Jews have experienced in our recent history, and the deep psychological scar it caused has not left us.
The Begin-Prawer Plan is an insidious design against a population with historical rights. It is the right of those who are subject to expulsion to protest and resist such a discriminatory plan, and it is the duty of every person who believes in human values to lend a hand to a hand of friendship and support in the bitter struggle to deprive the Bedouin of the ground beneath their feet.
Not only do they have a right to demonstrate
among the cities of Israel
and make their rage and sorrow heard, but it is our duty to prevent any suppression of these democratic protests.
The fact that among the protestors there were a few that engaged in violent behavior is entirely unacceptable. But that does not justify the heavy hand of the police suppressing civil protests. The silencing of the protests supporting Bedouin rights is a black stain on the conscience of our society.
Author Sami Michael serves as the president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)