[Limerick] #StopPrawerPlan – No to Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians in the Naqab Desert
At 2pm on Saturday 30th November on Bedford Row in Limerick City, the Limerick branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will hold a demonstration to protest Israel’s biggest act of ethnic cleansing since 1967, as part of an international day of action called for by Palestinians.
The so-called Prawer Plan will see the forced removal of some 40,000 Palestinian Bedouin from their ancestral homelands in the Naqab/Negev Desert, in the south of the Israeli state, and relocation in a series of townships. The aim of this act is to remove the Bedouin from the land so it can be utilised for ‘Jewish planning’ – the aim being to minimise the amount of land lived on by Palestinians citizens of Israel.
Under the current, already unfair, regime almost half the Bedouin population of the Naqab (40,000 people) live in 35 villages on ancestral land that constitutes less than 5% of the total area. The majority of these villages pre-date the establishment of the Israeli state, yet Israel refers to them as ‘unrecognised villages’. As the inhabitants are non-Jewish citizens, the state has chosen to treat them as ‘illegal communities’, denying them essential rights and services such as connection to the electric, water and transport networks, and refusing to provide medical, postal and educational services. Israel treats construction within these villages as illegal and regularly demolishes the homes of the residents. The Israelis have demolished the village of Al-Arakib more than fifty times.
Despite these punitive and discriminatory policies, the Prawer Plan will mark a new low in the Israeli regime’s treatment of this Palestinian community – effectively destroying its independent existence, it will dispossess and corral its citizens into townships which constitute less than 1% of the area of the Naqab, thereby ending their traditional way of life.
Despite opposition from Bedouin leaders, along with Israeli and international civil and human rights groups, the Prawer Plan has been endorsed by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and will shortly go forward for legislation in the Knesset. Meanwhile, the state, in conjunction with rightwing Israeli groups, has begun a campaign of intimidation against the Bedouin.
The EU has criticised the plan, but has taken no concrete action to prevent it, even though the plan is a blatant violation of the human rights clause of the Euro-Med privileged trade agreement between the EU and Israel. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has condemned the plan saying it will “legalize the ongoing policy of home demolitions and forced displacement of the indigenous Bedouin communities.”
The Irish government has remained silent and the Irish media has refused to report on any on of this. Therefore, it is up to ordinary people like us to stand up make noise about this incredible act of state outrageous state racism. On November 30th, the Palestinian movement against Prawer has called for an international ‘day of rage’ to protest the plan. The IPSC is therefore holding this action to help highlight this vitally important issue. Please come along.