Hundreds of Arab-Bedouins and activists demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem Sunday morning to protest the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) forestation work in the Negev. The demonstrators demanded that the government end its “policy of discrimination and neglect.”
Arab-Bedouin demonstrators protesting near the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem, Sunday, January 30, 2020 (Photo: Zo Haderech)
The protest was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, headed by former Hadash MK Muhammad Barakeh, and the National Council of Arab Mayors. Protesters demanded that the government grant legal recognition to the Negev’s “unrecognized” Arab-Bedouin villages and develop the area.
They also demanded that 40 young people arrested during the protests of the past three weeks be released. Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) participated in the demonstration and said the Israeli government want “as much land as possible and as few Arabs as possible. It’s a policy of ethnic cleansing”
According the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), “The intent of JNF’s ‘foresting’ is clear: To seize as much land as possible and prevent Bedouin communities from accessing their lands.” Jessica Montell, executive director of the Jerusalem-based Human Rights Organization, Hamoked, added: “Don’t be fooled by any green-washing. JNF’s mission is to dispossess Arabs/Palestinians in Israel and the occupied terrirories.”