Sixteen Palestinians detained in the occupied Naqab as they resist land confiscation and colonialism

Photo: Walid al-Abra/Arabs48

The occupied Naqab of Palestine is rising up to reject the colonial plans of the occupation, with the launch of a general strike in the villages of the occupied Naqab to protest against village and home demolitions.

Occupation forces attacked Palestinian protesters in the southern part of occupied Palestine, in the Naqab. Palestinians are striking to reject the Israeli occupation’s plan for ongoing ethnic cleansing and forced Judaization of the area.

Occupation forces razed a tent as heavily armed Israeli police forces surrounded the villages of Al-Atrash and Al-Ruwais, preventing residents from entering the area. The police protected bulldozers and the KKF (Jewish National Fund), which began bulldozing the land for the second consecutive day.

The continuing attacks against the people of the Naqab and their land are part of the ongoing Zionist colonial plans for ethnic cleansing and an attempt to erase the Palestinian presence, as the Israeli regime views the Naqab as a strategic location for its colonial projects. Indeed, members of the Likud party arrived at the area where the land was being razed, making clear the intention of the project. The politicians present included former ministers, war criminal Avi Dichter and Miri Regev, known for her frequent anti-Palestinian incitement and attacks on Palestinian cultural institutions. Dichter planted the first tree in the razed area, as a symbol of the seizure of the land.

Palestinian youth have risen up in recent days against the Israeli occupation police in order to confront the scheme aiming at the confiscation of 800,000 to 1 million dunums of land in the Naqab. The ongoing colonization throughout occupied Palestine is reflected in these crimes against Palestinians in the Naqab, including demolitions and forced transfer.

There is no infrastructure in the Naqab area, no hospitals or institutions, and the children of the Naqab walk dozens of kilometers daily to reach their schools. The Zionist government is racing against time to consolidate the Judaization and militarization plan for the Naqab, attracting and recruiting Jewish colonial settlers to settle on the lands plundered from Palestinian villages, which have been stripped of recognition, displacing their residents and gathering them on the smallest possible area of land, while the residents of the “fence” area in the Naqab face a further danger of displacement.

The number of the Arab Bedouin population in the Naqab before the Palestinian Nakba, perpetrated by Zionist armed forces in 1947-48 was approximately 90,000, and they were organized into 95 tribes. Most of the Bedouins in the Naqab were expelled during and after the Nakba in 1948 and became refugees in the surrounding Arab countries and in Palestinian areas that were not occupied by Israel in 1948. Therefore, only 11,000 people remained in the Negev in 1952.

As of today, a general strike called in the villages of Naqa’ Bir al-Saba, al-Atrash and Khirbet al-Watan schools began, while a sit-in was set up on the lands to be demolished. The school strike expanded to include the villages of al-Atrash, Sa’wa, Bir Hadaj, al-Zarnouk, al-Ruwais and Khirbet al-Watan.

At the same time they announced a series of measures of struggle, including a strike in some villages and a mass demonstration next Thursday.

At this moment there are already 16 Palestinian resisters arrested in the Naqab today, 11 January, by the occupation forces, of whom several are minor children and three are women.