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Israeli authorities start forestation in Negev Bedouin village

May 13, 2014 6:18 P.M. (Updated: May 14, 2014 3:31 P.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) – The Jewish National Fund on Tuesday started tree-planting around the Arab Negev village of Awajan which locals consider a step toward displacing the Bedouin residents.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli police detained the head of the regional council of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in Negev Atiyeh al-Asam along with three minors.

In addition, a city councilor from the nearby al-Laqiyya village Mirei al-Sani was officially notified by Israeli authorities that he must remove a tent in the village where protestors meet.

A higher guidance committee for Bedouin residents of the Negev denounced the detention of al-Asar while he was visiting the village of Awajan to attend protests against the Jewish National Fund.

“This detention is an attempt by police to frighten residents and discourage them so as to stop their legal struggle against their lands and houses,” said the committee’s facilitator Said al-Kharoumi.

Head of the northern Islamic movement in Negev Sheikh Osama al-Uqbi described the detention of al-Asam as a “political pursuit.” Knesset member representing the Islamic movement Talab Abu Arara also described the detention as “political.”

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