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Israeli forces arrest 41 Palestinians as Negev protests rage on

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli security forces detain a man as Palestinians protest in the village of Sa’we al-Atrash in the Negev Desert against an afforestation project by the so-called Jewish National Fund (JNF), on January 12, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli regime’s forces keep up their crackdown on ongoing protests in the Negev Desert in the south of the occupied Palestinian territories.

Tensions grew in Negev early last week after diggers and bulldozers of the so-called Jewish National Fund (JNF) razed some Bedouin farming lands there as part of a controversial tree planting program or afforestation. The provocative move triggered large rallies, which met with brutal crackdown and mass arrests.

Reporting on Tuesday, the Palestine al-Yawm television channel said the forces had rounded up at least 41 Palestinians, in their most recent bout of coming down hard on the rallies.

According to the channel, the arrestees included some minors.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) news outlet said the victims were rounded up from the villages of al-Zarnouq, Abu Talool, Khashm al-Zina, and Tel al-Sabe in Negev, adding that the youngest of the captives “is only 10 years old.”

A rights group urged the occupying regime to stop its “life-threatening crackdown” on the protest rallies.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) said Israeli security forces had exceeded its authority and endangered the lives of protesters by using rubber-coated bullets, teargas, stun grenades, as well as skunk water. It further said the Israeli police had also used drones to drop teargas grenades on the protesters, condemning such use of drones as “extremely dangerous, disproportionate and unlawful”.

The desert houses around 300,000 Palestinians.

“Some 100,000 of the Palestinians are currently living in 35 unrecognized villages that Israel considers illegal, and it refuses to provide them with electricity, water, education, health, and transportation,” the MEE noted.


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