Saturday, December 7, 2013

Keeping the Rage alive: The Prawer Plan and Attempts at Transfer

Protesters being dispersed by water cannons, see link to photos below
It has been a week since the “Day of Rage,” when thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest plans by the Israeli government to implement the Prawer-Begin plan, which aims at transferring tens-of-thousands of Bedouin Arabs living in “unrecognized” villages into established settlements, and making way for new Jewish towns in their place. The protesters, who were mostly Palestinian-Israelis (or known by the state as “Israeli-Arabs,”; those who live within the 1948 borders of the Israeli state and hold Israeli citizenship), together with leftist Jewish groups, sent a strong message to the Israeli government, and the Israeli population at large, that they will not remain oblivious to the oppressive plans of the Netanyahu government.  During the day of rage, protest took place in Hura, Haifa and Jaffa in Israel, and also in Palestinian parts of Jerusalem, and in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, in addition to places throughout the world.   

Despite the large protests, the Israeli government remains adamant to move forward with plans to transfer the population, and while it is still being discussed in the Knesset Internal Affairs committee, it should go to the floor for parliamentary approval in the winter session. Therefore, it is essential to spread the words in order to halt this racist plan and keep it on the agenda. I for one, if in Israel, or abroad, will continue to protest this plan. 

As an Israeli citizen, for me, this plan just reconfirms that Israel, in place of reconciling with its history and recognizing the Nakba, and other injustices done to almost 20% of the population, it continues a policy of transferring Palestinians to make way for Jewish settlements (in addition to expropriating lands). 

Protesters being dispersed in Hura, see link to photos below
To read on about the Prawer Plan, here are links to two organizations that are at the forefront of the struggle for justice on behalf of the Bedouins in the Negev: First, there is Adalah and its page with links about the Prawer Plan, and a position paper it sponsored; and then there is the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, with plenty of information. Also, if tweeting, look for the #hashtags: #برافر_لن_يمر #פראוורלאיעבור and #StopPrawerPlan  (choose the language!)

Lastly, the internet news site, 972Mag, has compiled a nice collection of images of the protests and the clashes that ensued, showing excessive police force, which used stun grenades, water-cannons, and teargas to disperse crowds.

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