Hundreds of Palestinians took part in a protest today in the Arab-majority city of Umm, north of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1948, in support of Palestinian Bedouins facing Israeli apartheid policies in the Naqab region, south of the country.
“The issue of Naqab is the issue of every Palestinian facing the policies of occupation and apartheid. Naqab is not alone in this existential battle that he is facing,” said one of the protesters.
Yesterday and the day before, dozens of Palestinian Bedouins were wounded in a crackdown by Israeli occupation forces on a protest against continuing Israeli forestation work on land residents say they privately own near the southern city of Beer al-Sabe.
Some 500 protesters took part in Thursday’s demonstration, which began at 3pm (13:00 GMT). They were met with hundreds of Israeli forces who fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, as well as skunk water.
At least 15 Palestinian protesters were arrested during Thursday’s events in Naqab, according to local media reports. The demonstration took place at the entrance to the Palestinian Bedouin village of Sa’wa at a main highway intersection on Route 31, east of Beer al-Sabe.
The recent escalation began on Monday, when bulldozers from the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a quasi-governmental agency, arrived with heavy police protection in the nearby village of al-Atrash and razed Bedouin farming lands, in order to plant trees.
Bedouin Palestinians protested against the move and confrontations have continued for days. Videos and images shared on social media showed Israeli forces violently arresting and beating residents who arrived to defend the lands they use for farming wheat and barley.