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Israeli prosecutors file charges against former Palestinian MK

Jan. 30, 2017 11:04 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 31, 2017 12:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli prosecutors on Monday filed a list of charges against Palestinian lawyer and former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Talab al-Sani, accusing him of assaulting Israeli policemen and “obstructing police works” while carrying out its tasks in recent protests against Israeli Prawer Plan, which would forcibly relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinians in ‘unrecognized’ Palestinian villages in Israel’s southern Negev desert.

Israeli media reported that a court session would be held in the Beersheba magistrate court on Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. to “look into the list of charges.”

The prosecution accused al-Sani of sitting with other activists in front of an Israeli police vehicle to prevent Israeli forces from detaining an activist during a protest that was organized at the entrance of the Sde Boker kibbutz in the Negev.

Al-Sani said in a statement that the charges brought against him and the impending court session aimed “to spread fear in an attempt to stop the public struggle,” stressing that “these Israeli procedures will only strengthen the determination of the public.”

He added that Israel has accused many activists protesting against the Prawer Plan before with similar charges “in an attempt to turn the right to protest into a crime.’

“The only one that should be accused is the Israeli government for violating the rights of its Arab citizens especially the right to have a residence, which is a sacred right,” al-Sani said.

“The Israeli government guarantees the right of residence and construction for Jews only and practices ethnic cleansing, expelling and aggression against the Arab society in Israel,” the statement concluded.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.

Most Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel when many were forcibly transferred to the village sites during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel's military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.
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