Day of Rage Planned against Displacement of Naqab Bedouins

JERUSALEM, November 30, 2013 (WAF) – Palestinians and supports around the world are planning a day of rage on Saturday against the so-called Prawer Plan, an Israeli scheme to uproot and displace thousands of Arabs from their homes and land in the Naqab desert, south of Israel.

A press statement by the Prawer Won’t Pass group said that thousands of protesters are expected to participate in the central demonstration planned Saturday afternoon in the Naqab.

Parallel protests are also planned in Gaza, Ramallah, Haifa, Berlin, The Hague, Cairo and 25 other cities around the world.

“This is a critical moment: the fate of up to 70,000 Palestinian-Bedouin indigenous to the Naqab will soon be determined,” said the press statement.

The Prawer-Begin Plan allows Israeli police to use force in the expulsion of Palestinian-Bedouins from their home and land. It will also permit the police to arrest and imprison any Palestinian-Bedouin up to two years for violating the law.

The plan negates Palestinian-Bedouin ownership rights in their ancestral land, it gives Israel’s Prime Minister unprecedented powers to implement the plan and it legitimizes the use of violence and coercion in the execution of the plan.

Moreover, it is plan that has at its heart the demographic transformation of the Naqab area by expanding Jewish-Israeli presence on the expense of the indigenous Palestinian-Bedouins.

“In short, the Prawer-Begin Plan rises to a crime against humanity as delineated in the Rome Statue, Article 7.1 (d) and 7.2 (d),” said the statement.

“The state is treating us like objects to be shunted about,” says Huda Abu Obeid, a law student and an activist against the Prawer Plan. “We are being denied the basic right to decide our own fate – to decide where to live and how to dispose our property, our basic right to a home. But we will not give up and will continue to resist the Plan nonviolently.”

“The government is trying to present the plan as ‘in the best interest of the Bedouin,’ while with one hand it is acting to destroy Bedouin villages through the Prawer Plan and with the other it is building new Jewish localities in the Negev, some of these in the very same places where the villages stand today,” she said.

“The plan is titled ‘The plan to regularize Bedouin settlement in the Negev’, but it does nothing to solve problems and regularize our settlements – it stipulates only destruction,” says Fadi El-Obra, a 29-year-old from the Arab Naqab town of Rahat, active against the Prawer Plan.

“What about the people the government plan to deprive of their homes? We Palestinian Bedouins live in the villages because our livelihood depends on it; you cannot uproot an entire population and urbanize it without consultation – and that is precisely what the government is doing,” he said.