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Negev workers launch strike against Prawer Plan

February 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm

A full general strike paralysed the Negev’s towns and villages on Sunday, 24 November. The strike, which was staged by various institutions and commercial organisations, was held in protest of a visit to the Negev by the Interior Committee, an Israeli governmental body preparing for the second and third Knesset readings of the Prawer Plan.

The Israeli police arrested two protesters at the entrance to the town of Rahat, after protesters sought to block the passage of a vehicle carrying the Interior Committee members. Protests against the committee’s delegation erupted in all the places it visited, compelling the committee to change its scheduled route. The Israeli authorities set up roadblocks at the entrance of Al-Sayid so as to prevent protesters from reaching the delegation’s location.

Meanwhile, in the Arakib village of the Negev, Sheikh Sayah Al-Touri totally rejected a court proposition to release him on condition that he is deported two kilometres outside of the village. Al-Touri said he prefers to remain in prison over leaving Arakib. Last week, occupation forces destroyed the village for the 62nd time and Al-Touri and his three grandsons were arrested and interrogated for establishing houses in the village without permits. While Al-Touri’s three children were later released, the court has approved a decision to extend his detention.

Popular protests continue to escalate against the steps taken by the Israeli government to implement the Prawer Plan. The plan entails the confiscation of 800,000 dunums of land, the forcible eviction of 70,000 Bedouins from their villages and the demolition of 35 “unrecognised” villages.

Youth organizations in the Negev announced that, so far, they have gathered more than 10,000 signatures from villages in the Negev in opposition to the Prawer Plan. Active youth and national forces continue a joint effort against the plan, organizing daily protests across Palestinian villages and cities, as well as worldwide. 30 November has been declared a day of rage and central protests are expected in the Negev, Haifa, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza.