World Bulletin / News Desk
Clashes erupted Sunday between Israeli security forces and protesters from the Negev angered by a visit a Knesset's committee to the region.
“The Israeli Police fired tear gas against the protestors. At least 10 people suffered gas suffocation," Awad Abu Freih, spokesman for the local committee of Al-Araqib village, told Anadolu Agency.
“The Israeli police arrested two protestors; Younis Abu Abed, 35, and Taha Adnan Saied, 30," he added.
The residents of the region staged a general strike against the visit of the panel, which is in charge of overseeing the implementation of Israel's Prawer-Begin plan to relocate the Bedouin communities in the region.
The Islamic Movement in the Negev in a statement condemned the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.
"We strongly condemned the excessive use of force against the demonstrators who had gathered to express their rejection of the Prawer law," the movement said in a statement.
The Israeli government said the plan aims to regulate Arab communities in the Negev, but the Arab Bedouins fear that Israeli authorities would confiscate their land for the interest of Jewish settlements.
Israel classifies approximately 40 villages in the Negev Desert as "unrecognized," arguing that the roughly 53,000 Arab Bedouins living there cannot prove their ownership of the land.
Israeli authorities have repeatedly demolished Bedouin homes in the area.
Yousef Abu Zayed, head of the committee for Al-Araqib village, accused the Israeli authorities of trying to "steal" their lands.
“The Israeli administration by this racist law is trying to strip us from our land, put us in cramped areas and build settlements for the Israelis,” he told AA.
“We, the Negev residents, will use all legal means to protect our rights,” he added.
Arab Knesset member Talab al-Sana told AA that the that the Knesset committee did not coordinate the visit to the Arab villages with the local committees in Negev.
“The police used force against peaceful civilians while they are protesting the visit,” he said. “The Israeli government considers us as enemies, and this is not acceptable.”Last Mod: 24 Kasım 2013, 17:38