Major Negev NGO offices burned down over the weekend

Security cameras captured a masked assailant set fire to the offices of one of the most important NGOs in the Negev, hours before a major protest for the rights of the Bedouins. The Beer Sheva offices of the Arab-Jewish Centre for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation (AJEEC), were gutted by fire over the weekend, just hours before a major demonstration against the Israeli government’s plan to resettle tens of thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev. Luckily, the offices  were closed at the time and no one was hurt.  The current suspicion is arson, as there had been an attempt to torch the offices just a week before and the same masked assailant was reportedly captured on cameras on both occasions. Major Negev NGO offices burned down over the weekend Click below for more pictures from the scene:

AJEEC, the flagship project of the the largest project of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development NISDEP works extensively in Bedouin communities. It has drawn negative attention from Israeli right-wingers, who oppose its advocacy for Bedouin rights, and from Bedouin conservatives, who oppose its coexistence work and mixed-gender activities. The abundance of opponents and the lack of any organisation or person taking responsibility or marking the scene of the assault in any way meant it was not immediately clear whether the perpetrators were Jewish or Bedouin conservatives. “Whoever carried out this criminal deed obviously objects to the process of empowerment of the population, the building of Arab-Jewish partnership and the Arab Bedouin population’s realization of rights in the Negev,” AJEEC director Amal Elsana Alh’jooj ד said in a press release. “The values represented by the Center are the basis of any sane and developed society.”