A-Sanaa: Police attacked me during evacuation in Negev

Just a week after right-wing National Union MK Effi Eitam said he was injured by the police at Amona, United Arab List MK Taleb a-Sanaa has made similar accusations. A-Sanaa said on Wednesday the police attacked him as he tried to prevent the evacuation of 2,500 dunams of land in Rahat, near Beersheba. Early in the morning, officials from the Israel Lands Authority and dozens of police arrived to carry out the operation on agricultural land that the authority says was being farmed illegally. The officials used tractors to destroy crops that the Beduin were cultivating. A-Sanaa said he was hurt as he tried to prevent the eviction. "I tried to use my body to stop them from working and the police hit me and pushed me to the ground," said a-Sanaa, although he added that he received no injuries. However, a police spokeswoman denied the MK's version of events. "Nobody touched him, nobody beat him up, and nobody was violent towards him. All of his statements to the press are false," she said. "Taleb a-Sanaa ran almost one and a half kilometers and after he ran he simply sat down. He was tired. He rested, got up and continued to walk," she added. A-Sanaa said that unlike in Amona, there were no protesters at the evacuation, although this was because the police prevented "hundreds" of demonstrators from entering the area. He added that the underlying dispute was not about the illegal farming of land but about ownership. "These people have documents to show that the land is theirs and it does not belong to the State of Israel," he said, adding that the authority therefore doesn't have any jurisdiction over the land. However, Lands Authority spokeswoman Ortal Tzabar refuted a-Sanaa's arguments. "They just say this. They don't have any documents," she said. "In all the court cases that there have been about this until now, they have lost…they are now afraid to go to court." Last year the Lands Authority cleared 11,000 dunams of land, but reckons the Beduin still illegally occupy 500,000 dunams in total. On Wednesday, the authority's Yisrael Skop said it carried out the eviction for the benefit of the whole Beduin sector. "The Beduin that illegally invaded this farm land hurt only their fellow law-abiding Beduin. They can rent the same land for the same purposes at NIS 2 a dunam," he said. Although, like Eitam, a-Sanaa said he was attacked by the police, he said the eviction of the Beduin was "a totally different issue" from that of Amona. "The Beduin are not settlers," a-Sanaa said. "This is their land and they have houses and cemeteries on it. With Amona, there was a decision from the High Court to evacuate the settlers...Here, there is no High Court decision and there is no order. If there was an order, we would respect it."