Police arrested a total of 28 people on Monday at protests called to press the
government to stop implementation of the Prawer-Begin plan to regulate Beduin
land claims in the Negev.
Fourteen demonstrators were arrested and two
officers were lightly hurt at a protest held in front of the offices in
Beersheba of the committee for regulating Beduin villages.
people protested at the Yuvalim junction near Sakhnin in the Western Galilee,
and police arrested 14 people there for participating in an illegal
Officers used crowd dispersal means.
The bill to
implement the Prawer-Begin plan has passed its first reading in the
The plan is based on a proposal by a team that was headed by
Ehud Prawer, then-head of policy planning in the Prime Minister’s Office, to
provide for the status and economic development of Beduin communities in the
Negev; resolve claims over land ownership; and establish a mechanism and
timetables for binding implementation and enforcement.
Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership – which includes all the Arab political
parties, as well as NGOs working with the sector – announced a general strike in
their communities for Monday.
Haia Noach, CEO of the Negev Coexistence
Forum, which supports the Beduin, told The Jerusalem Post there was unnecessary
“police brutality” at the protest near Sakhnin. She estimated that there were
around 250 to 300 protesters.
“It is not reasonable to go on with the
plan, because it will create a clash between the government and the people,” she
Demonstrations were also held in other parts of the country, with
one set for Jaffa in the evening.
Noach said that Ramadan and the heat
may have led to a lower turnout than expected.
Amichai Yogev, southern
region director for Regavim – an NGO that seeks to ensure responsible, legal and
accountable use of Israel’s national land – told the Post that police
intelligence officers and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) believe that
there were hardly any Beduin at the protests and that participants were mostly
Arabs from the North.
Beduin tend not to fly Palestinian flags at their
protests, he said.
What these protesters and NGOs are trying to do is
make “everyone see the Beduin as Palestinians – they want to impose the
Arab-Israeli conflict onto the Beduin even though they do not care about
nationalism,” Yogev said.
“The Beduin sit at home and let the [other]
Arabs protest,” he said.
Yogev said that some Beduin will say they agree
with the bill, but the problem is the NGOs such as Adalah – The Legal Center for
Arab Minority Rights in Israel – which want to create chaos and make the problem
In regards to the Prawer-Begin bill, he said that there are
many in Bayit Yehudi and the Likud who want to make changes to the legislation
to make it less generous to Beduin.
Ben Hartman contributed to this