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Including minors, Israeli forces arrest over 40 Palestinians in Al-Naqab

Al-Naqab (The Inside Palestine)- Israeli occupation forces arrested over 40 indigenous Palestinians, including minors, after raiding several villages in the Al-Naqab desert, south of 1948-occupied Palestine, at the dawn of Tuesday, on the grounds of the recent protests against Israel’s bulldozing works in their lands.

Local sources reported that earlier today, well-armed Israeli occupation soldiers stormed several villages of the Al-Naqab desert, including al-Zarnouq, Abu Talul, Tel as-Sabi and Khashim Zanh, and arrested over 40 Palestinians, including minors, on the grounds of participating in the recent protests against Israel’s bulldozing and demolition works in their lands.

Since the start of the protests, the Israeli forces arrested over 140 Palestinians from the Al-Naqab.

Last night, the forces also arrested 7 Palestinian youths, including 5 minors, from the al-Zarnouq village.

Last week, hundreds of peaceful Palestinian protesters took part in a large demonstration in several villages of the Al-Naqab against Israel’s repeated demolition and bulldozing works in their lands.

The Higher Follow Up Committee of Arabs in the Naqab, a local umbrella body that represents Palestinians in the area, announced a general strike in response to Israel’s demolitions.

“We took the decision to undertake proactive measures, beginning with adopting a cumulative resistance programme over a period of six months that will lead to a regional general strike and a massive demonstration outside the prime minister’s office, and the internationalisation of the issue to expose the racist practices [of Israeli authorities] before international institutions,” the committee said in a statement.

The general strike was announced in villages facing the threat of Israeli demolition including al-Atrash, al-Sawa, al-Zarnouq, al-Ruwais, Beir Haddaj and Khirbet Watan.

However, the Israeli occupation forces stormed the Palestinian villages in the Al-Naqab desert and started violently attacking and arresting the peaceful protesters who gathered to denounce the demolition work.

The Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs directly and intensively towards the protesters to disperse them, resulting in the suffocation of dozens of them due to gas inhalation. They also used skunk water cannons to disperse the nonviolent protesters.

This all started on January 9, when the Jewish National Fund (JNF) began several days of the so-called “planting trees” on disputed land in the Al-Naqab.

For over three days, the Israeli bulldozers carried out demolitions on lands of local Bedouins used for cultivation.

The forces closed off the villages and prevented the residents from entering their lands. Thus, the Palestinian residents moved their protests to the entrance of the villages.

The Israeli demolitions in al-Naqab are part of a controversial Israeli plan, led by the JNF, to plant trees in the region.

Last month, Israeli forces attacked Palestinians in six villages: al-Mashash, al-Zarnouq, Bier al-Hamam, al-Ruwais, al-Gharaa, and Khirbet Watan, destroying crops and excavating soil.

The JNF and the Israel Land Authority (ILA) were planning to plant hundreds of trees on lands from the six Bedouin villages, which had all received demolition orders and faced the displacement of thousands of residents “in the name of developing the area.”

‘Israel’ has used the forestation projects as a tactic for land grabs and to prevent Palestinians from returning to lands from which they have been displaced.

The residents say that such policies are an attempt to pressure them into being internally displaced despite Bedouins having lived on or near these lands prior to Israel’s establishment in 1948.

There are almost 100,000 Palestinians live in 35 Bedouin villages in the Al-Naqab and are all unrecognized by the Israeli occupation government who views the Bedouin residents of these villages as illegal squatters and does not provide them with basic services or infrastructure, including electricity, water, sewage systems, roads, schools or hospitals.

The Israeli occupation government considers those Palestinian villages “unrecognised,” and therefore they are under threat of demolition.

Source: QNN

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