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Israel approves new town in Negev

Dec. 3, 2013 7:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 4, 2013 3:52 A.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- The Israeli planning and building committee on Tuesday approved the construction of a new town in the Negev, as the state continues to implement the Prawer plan to displace the Bedouin population.

Shizaf will be part of the Ramat Negev Regional Council, and it will include 250 housing units for young couples, the Ministry of Interior announced.

Ramat head Shmulik Rifman praised the decision and thanked the minister of interior, "who understood the importance of establishing this town which will house religious and secular Jews."

He added: “We hope to start construction two years from today."

Demonstrations took place in nearly 30 cities across Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, as well as around the world on Saturday, in a "Day of Rage" against the Prawer Plan. It was the third "Day of Rage" against the plan so far this year.

Protesters were met with force by Israeli police and in the West Bank, and dozens were detained amidst clashes as police attacked demonstrators.

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.
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