Jaffa: Hundreds rally against Prawer Plan

Published December 8th, 2013 - 09:06 GMT

Hundreds of supporters of the Islamic Movement in Israel rallied in Jaffa in protest against the Prawer Plan on Saturday.

Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament Ibrahim Sarsour, Masud Ghanayim and Talab Abu Arar participated in the rally, as well as Sheikh Hammad Abu Daabis, the leader of the Islamic Movement in southern Israel.

The rally marched from Ajami Mosque to the Gazan Park in Jaffa with the protestors waving flags of the Islamic movement as well as signs denouncing Prawer Plan.

Israeli police and special units deployed heavily in the area in response, but no clashes or detentions were reported.

"The Arab population of Negev declares here from Jaffa that they will never abandon their land no matter what the toll is," Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour said during the rally.

We will not allow the Prawer Plan to pass, and Israeli politicians have to change their mind for their own interests and for the sake of their people," he added.

Knesset member Masud Ghanayim said that the Plan shows that Israel is planning to "concentrate the largest number of Arab citizens in the smallest possible piece of land."

Talab Abu Arar, a Bedouin Knesset member from the Negev town of Ararah, greeted the people of Jaffa for hosting a rally against the Prawer Plan.

"We have never been united before as we are now against this plan," he said.

"Go back to where you came from because that will be easier than passing this plan," he added.

The rally follows last week's Day of Rage, in which tens of thousands took to the streets in around 30 cities across Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and around the world in protest against the plan, which if implemented will displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins.

The Israeli government approved the Prawer-Begin plan in 2011, in what it says was an attempt to address the problem of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

The 2011 proposal was formulated without any consultation with the Bedouin community and rights groups slammed it as a major blow to Bedouin rights.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the plan will forcibly evict nearly 40,000 Bedouins and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.

Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people.

The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.

Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20% of Israel's population.

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