Israel's Public Security Minister Warns Against Major Protests Over Bedouin Relocation Plan

Aharonovitch has already said 400 more policemen would be needed to prepare for what is likely to occur when so-called Prawer plan goes into effect.

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The government should expect major demonstrations, particularly in the south, when the plan to regulate Bedouin land claims in the Negev is launched, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told a Knesset panel on Wednesday.

Aharonovitch was addressing a hearing of the Knesset Finance Committee on the resources required to maintain internal security. He referred to crime in Arab society and the need to strengthen the rule of law in that sector, and addressed the eventual implementation of the so-called Prawer plan.

“I expect problems, fire in the south and the blocking of roads, in response to efforts to regularize the Bedouin communities,” he said. Aharonovitch has already said 400 more policemen would be needed in the southern district to prepare for what is likely to occur when the law goes into effect.

Events on Monday give credence to Aharonovitch’s forecast. Some 1,500 people demonstrated in Be’er Sheva against the plan on Monday, blocking a main road and clashing with police, who arrested 14 people for assaulting a police officer and rioting. There were also clashes between demonstrators and police at the entrance to Umm el-Fahm and at the western entrance to Sakhnin, at the Yuvalim junction in the north.

I’lam, the Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, has started to gather signatures on a petition to be sent to the Israel Press Council, protesting the fact that most Israeli media outlets ignored Monday’s protests against the Prawer plan.

A demonstration against the Prawer plan in Be'er Sheva. July 15th, 2013.Credit: Ilan Assayag

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