Some 1,000 people march through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday evening in protest of the Prawer-Begin Plan, which will see the demolition of several dozen ‘unrecognized’ Bedouin villages in the Negev and the uprooting of at least 30,000 residents of those villages.
Alongside Tel Aviv residents, demonstrators were bused in from Arab villages and cities in the Galilee and the Negev to gather in Habima Square at sundown Saturday. The square was packed with local parents and their young children, who regularly play in the garden and who were drawn to the drums and the action of the protest. Many of the demonstrators were affiliated with Hadash, a few with Meretz and many more were politically unaligned. At 8 p.m. the procession started moving through some of central Tel Aviv’s main streets heading toward Likud’s headquarters on King George St. At one point eggs were thrown at protestors from a rooftop while other bystanders seemed supportive of the march.
Speakers at the event said the state is planning a mass deportation of Bedouins from their homes while promoting the establishment of new Jewish villages and towns on the same land. They called upon the government to scratch the Prawer Plan and find a solution to problems in the Negev in a joint effort with and for the benefit of all its residents. The Prawer Plan bill is expected to be brought before the Knesset for a second of three votes in late October. Saturday’s demonstration was not covered by any of the main Israeli news sites and papers.