Scotland’s Youth/Student Network is urging people to support the Palestinian call for international solidarity in their fight against an Israeli law which, if approved, will devastate the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinians.
The Prawer-Begin Bill is effectively a blueprint for the removal of between 30,000 – 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in the Naqab Desert region in historical Palestine. If successfully introduced, the Plan will uproot some 40 villages and confiscate over 850,000 dunums of land.
The legislation, approved for implementation by the Knesset (Israeli Government) on 24th June 2013, does not mark a departure from Israel’s long-standing policy towards the Naqab since before 1948. Palestinians of the Naqab have long been a target of the Israeli State. Evictions, house demolitions, land confiscation, discriminatory planning regulations and arrests are amongst the tactics employed to ‘encourage’ the indigenous population to ‘move on’ to free up more land for Israeli housing settlements and military training facilities.
If the Plan is fully approved by the Committee for Interior Affairs and Environment it could become law as early as July this year, before the closing of the current Israeli Knesset session. If this likelihood materialises it will be virtually impossible for Palestinians of the Naqab to challenge any future evictions or demolitions within their already vulnerable communities.
Many people living outside of Israel/Palestine look back at the history of the conflict and ask why the international community never spoke out against the crimes committed with the endorsement of our own governments.
We ask whether we might have acted then to prevent the situation we find ourselves in today; where our own governments support – both politically and financially – a state which is responsible for the creation of the world’s largest refugee population. Today however, we need not merely reflect on this question. Israel has set the wheels in motion for a project which aims to destroy the lives of tens of thousands of indigenous people, attempting to erase from history every trace of their link to the land. It has been described by Palestinians as ‘the Nakba (catastrophe) of 2013’.
Palestinians have issued a call to support their resistance to the Prawer Plan by holding solidarity actions in our own cities. On 15th July this year Palestinians held a general strike in opposition to the Plan, and protests were held in cities across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian MKs (Knesset Members) blocked roads during demonstrations described as ‘illegal’ by the Israeli police. During the protests dozens of people were arrested and injured. Palestinians have called for a second day of action to take place on August 1st, when they will confront the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority once again.
In Scotland there will be actions taking place in Edinburgh, organised by We Are All Hana Shalabi members. To find out more or to participate, please e-mail:
Beyond this there is the ever-growing movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which offers a vehicle for us to directly challenge governments, companies and organisations which collaborate with the Israeli State in spite of its on-going crimes against humanity. We all have the opportunity and indeed the responsibility to take action against the Prawer Plan, and all of Israel’s crimes, today.
To find out more about the Prawer Plan:
Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel:
European Coordination Committee for Palestine: