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Clashes break out in Negev as police disperse anti-Prawer protest

Nov. 30, 2013 5:37 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 2, 2013 11:19 A.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- Clashes broke out on Saturday between Palestinians and Israeli police as police violently dispersed a protest against Prawer Plan in the Negev.

Dozens of Israeli police and police officers on horseback used batons and water cannons to disperse protesters, according to a Ma'an reporter on the scene.

Protesters responded by throwing rocks at police officers, who detained a number of protestors.

Over a thousand activists raised Palestinian flags and anti-Prawer slogans in the protest in Hura village in the Negev. Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset, Ahmed al-Tibi and Jamal Zahalka, also participated in the protest.

Ahmad al-Tibi told Ma'an that "the protest was meant to emphasize that Prawer will not pass on the ground, even if it does in the Knesset, because it's essential goal is to displace the indigenous Arabs from their towns."

Al-Tibi added that "this resolution will not be respected because it is racist."

Meanwhile Zahalka said "the plan will lead to a confrontation between Israeli and the indigenous people in the Negev, and Israel will have to deal with the repercussions."

Zahalka called on the Israeli government to stop the plan and begin talks with representatives of the Palestinians from the Negev.

The demonstration in Hura is one of 24 protests against the Prawer Plan scheduled for Saturday worldwide.

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.

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

Other estimates put the number of Bedouin residents to be evicted by the Prawer Plan at 70,000.

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

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