Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel Usama Al-Okaibi yesterday accused Israeli police of cracking down on his movement to hinder aid being delivered to Palestinians in the Negev, the Anadolu Agency reported.
“The Israeli police summoned me four times during the last few days,” Al-Okaibi said. “They aim to stop out assistance to the poor in the Negev and the residents of the marginalised villages.”
“They threatened us to cancel the Day of Gratitude, which was organised yesterday [Saturday], when we carried out tens of projects, including paving streets, repairing homes and helping the poor.”
Al-Okaibi said that authorities are afraid that the Islamic Movement was behind the Day of Gratitude’s projects, noting that “this was the work of the Islamic Movement before it was banned, but today, many of the noble and loyal Palestinians in Israel carry out such work.”
Israel banned the Islamic Movement in Israel last year, considering any member affiliating to it or serving it a criminal who would be subject to a prison term.
The Israeli authorities summoned Al-Okaibi four times over his charitable activities and attempted to put him under house arrest, but he resisted, he explained.
Around 220,000 Palestinians live in different villages and towns in the Negev; some of them, Israeli studies say, were established hundreds of years ago.
Successive Israeli governments have failed to recognise Palestinian ownership of these villages and therefore refuse to supply them with basic services such as electricity and water.
The Supreme Follow up Committee for the Negev Residents accused the Israeli occupation governments of carrying out a plan to displace Palestinians from this area “slowly” using “fragmented demolition policies.”