Above Photo: Arab Israelis shout slogans as they stage a protest in the mostly Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel in solidarity with Bedouin communities in the Negev Desert on January 14, 2022 (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty Images).
The recent events at the Negev, which were punctuated by popular Palestinian confrontations with the occupation army, in which men and women alike participated in the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land in the occupied Negev, brought back to our memory the scenes of Palestinian steadfastness in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem, and the events of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. It was also reminiscent of the Intifada of the Stones, and the events of Land Day, in which the Palestinian people rose up in defense of the land of Palestine, and in rejection of the occupation’s plans to uproot the Palestinians from their land and expel them from their homes as part of a settlement plan that has been ongoing for the past century. However, it has still been unsuccessful in persuading the Palestinians to emigrate from their land voluntarily.
The recent razing operations carried out by the extremist right-wing occupation government, which targeted the Naqa area, east of the city of Tel El-Saba in the occupied Negev, under the pretext of forestation of barren lands, is an extension of the occupation state’s anti-Palestinian policy. This policy consists of repression, arrests, raiding homes and assaulting innocent people, with the aim of pushing the Palestinians to surrender – and, thus, not confront the racism of the occupation, or thwarts its ongoing settlement plans in the occupied Negev region.
The successive occupation governments refuse to recognize the right of the Palestinians of the Negev to live in their villages, which are over 45 in number. They are also being deprived of infrastructure and electricity and the occupation is forcing them to live in a crowded manner in a very tight area of the Negev land, which makes up over half of the geography of historical Palestine. It is practicing a racist policy that contradicts the claims of the occupation governments that the Israeli state is an oasis of democracy and a model for coexistence between the Palestinians and the Occupation.
The occupation government’s attempts to control, by armed force, the six Palestinian villages in the Naqa area, east of Beersheba, and its insistence on expelling its more than 30,000 Palestinian residents confirms, once again, the impossibility of coexistence with the occupation’s racism and the continuous policies of Judaization of the Palestinian land. It also exposes the falsehood of the claims made by some who believed that, if they offered political support to the extremist Bennett-Lapid government, in return the occupation would agree to establish an infrastructure for the Palestinians in the occupied Negev. The recent events in the Negev confirmed that the Palestinian supporters of the extremist occupation governments live in illusions far from reality.
The scenes of steadfastness that we all followed through the uprising of our people in the occupied Negev in the face of the occupation army, the solidarity vigils in support of this national movement in Gaza, Umm Al-Fahm, Haifa, Jaffa and Nazareth, and the statements of support issued by the Palestinian forces in support of the Negev uprising, confirms the unity of our Palestinian people in confronting the occupation. It also proves that resistance, in all of its forms, including popular and armed resistance, is a national means around which the Palestinian people are rallying, and they now see comprehensive confrontation as the only way to uproot the occupation from the land of Palestine.
Although the Fatah movement issued a statement rejecting the occupation’s aggression against the people of the Negev, it is worth noting that the PA and PLO, along with their official bodies which are meant to represent the Palestinian people, have remained silent in the face of the heated events in the occupied Negev, as if these events do not concern them. It is as if they are afraid to denounce the extremist actions of the Bennett-Lapid government for fear of the government depriving them of the economic privileges enjoyed by its leaders from occupied Ramallah.
In conclusion, we declare our solidarity with our people in the occupied Negev, and we consider their support a national duty that should be performed by all Palestinians. The Palestinian people, wherever they are, are being targeted for expulsion by the Zionist occupation governments. The victory of our people in the Negev in this confrontation that was imposed on them by force is a victory for all Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.