Bedouin Protest in Jerusalem Demands End of 'Neglect' in Israel's South

Demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister's Office is the continuation of protests against the JNF's forestation work in the Negev, where Israel's Bedouin demand recognition and development

Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia
Demonstration for the recognition of Bedouin localities in the Negev, on Sunday.
Demonstration for the recognition of Bedouin localities in the Negev, on Sunday.Credit: Emil Salman
Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia

Around 200 Bedouin and other activists demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem Sunday morning to protest the Jewish National Fund’s forestation work in the Negev. The demonstrators demanded that the government end its “policy of discrimination and neglect."

The protest was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and the National Council of Arab Mayors. Protesters demanded that the government grant legal recognition to the Negev’s unrecognized Bedouin villages and develop the area. They also demanded that everyone arrested during the protests of the past three weeks be released.

Sunday’s demonstration is part of an ongoing protest that began with the JNF’s tree-planting operation in the Negev three weeks ago. The plantings sparked clashes between police and demonstrators, and more than 60 Bedouin were arrested. Some have since been released.

Umm al-Fahm Mayor Samir Mahamid, who attended the demonstration, said his council’s goal is to bolster Arab residents of the Negev. The protesters have a clear message, he said – “let residents of the Negev live with dignity.”

Mahamid demanded that the government treat the Bedouin as “residents and human beings” and speak with them as equals, adding that he hoped both left and right would work together “to truly solve the humanitarian problem in the Negev.”

Ibrahim al-Turi, a social activist from the Negev, said he was afraid some Arab leaders agreed with the government’s policy. Like Mahamid, he said the demonstrators’ message is clear – “there is no negotiating over the Negev’s land, and nobody has the right to bargain over them.” This land “belongs to the residents, not the politicians,” he continued, and the protesters won’t abandon their struggle.

The Bedouin living in the Negev had said that the JNF’s forestation plan was being carried out in fields occupying their farming and herding zones, where residents had planted wheat a month prior.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Election ad featuring Yair Lapid in Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel's Negev region.

This Bedouin City Could Decide Who Is Israel's Next Prime Minister

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister