Nearly 1,000 demonstrators came to Jerusalem on Monday to protest the recent increased demolitions of Bedouin homes and evictions in the unrecognized villages of the Negev. When the rally, held opposite the Knesset, was finished, a "refugee camp" was set up in the Rose Garden to house families left homeless by recent government demolitions. The protest was organized by NIF grantee Regional Council for Unrecognized Negev Arab Villages (RCUNV).
Demonstrators in Jerusalem on Monday protest
the destruction of Bedouin homes.
"We are prepared to negotiate over the future of the unrecognized villages," H'ssein Al Rafiya, Head of the RCUNV told NIF News. "We are prepared to compromise. We understand that the Bedouin of the Negev must pay a price in reaching an agreement. But we are not prepared to allow our people the indignity of having their homes bulldozed and property seized. These demolitions must stop and we will stay here, protesting opposite the Knesset, until they cease."
The catalyst for the current protest was last month's demolition of over 20 Bedouin homes in the unrecognized Negev village of Um Al Hiran. The resident's property was confiscated and taken to storage to make way for Hiran, a new Jewish village. The government has already destroyed 110 Bedouin homes in the Negev this year, more than in all of 2006, and the events in June set off alarm bells for the Bedouin as the police, for the first time, destroyed an entire village.