A Palestinian girl is arrested during a demonstration in Negev on 12 January, 2022.
(Photo credit: AFP)
Israeli police detained dozens of Palestinians in the southern Negev region during the early hours of 18 January, as protests over Jewish National Fund (JNF) forestation plans in the area continue.
Israeli police invaded the towns and villages of Al-Zarnouq, Abu Talool, Khashm al-Zina, and Tel al-Sabe, capturing nearly 41 Palestinians, including several children, the youngest of which is only 10 years old.
According to local media, those arrested by Israeli occupation forces were accused of participating in protests against JNF’s intention to plant trees in Negev, which Palestinians regard as an attempt to uproot them from their land.
Last week, Palestinians in Negev clashed with Israeli police and JNF workers in Al-Atrash and Saawa villages, one of six Palestinian communities in the Al-Naqe area.
Dozens of Palestinian Bedouins were also injured during the Israeli crackdown on a protest against the Israeli forestation operations on land inhabitants claim they own near Beer al-Sabe in the south (Beer Sheva).
In December, the JNF began the first stage of its forestation plan in the Al-Naqe area, covering over 300 dunams.
The Israeli government, however, put pressure on the JNF to abandon its plans when four Arab Knesset members representing Palestinians in the Negev warned that they would not vote in favor of future regulations proposed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s cabinet.
Ever since, protests in the Negev have persisted, as have solidarity demonstrations by Palestinians in Haifa, Umm al-Fahm, and Nazareth.
The Higher Steering Committee for Arabs in the Negev (HSCAN) has declared that daily rallies outside the Israeli court in Beer Sheva city, where the detainees are on trial, will continue to demand their immediate release.
It labeled the Israeli police crackdown on the protests as “barbaric” and demanded a probe into what happened.