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Israeli forces violently suppress Palestinian protest in Naqab | News | Al Jazeera

Israeli forces violently suppress Palestinian protest in Naqab | News | Al Jazeera

Dozens of Bedouin Palestinian protesters wounded by Israeli forces who fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.
More than 80 Palestinians have been detained since the protests began on Monday [Al Jazeera] By Zena Al Tahhan
Beer al Sabe, Israel – Dozens of Palestinian Bedouins have been wounded in a crackdown by Israeli forces on a protest against continuing Israeli forestation work on land residents say they privately own near the southern city of Beer al-Sabe (Beer Sheva).
Some 500 protesters took part in Thursday’s demonstration, which began at 3pm (13:00 GMT). They were met with hundreds of Israeli forces who fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, as well as skunk water.
At least 15 protesters were arrested, according to local media reports. The demonstration took place at the entrance to the Palestinian Bedouin village of Sa’wa at a main highway intersection on Route 31, east of Beer al-Sabe.
Huda Abu Obeid, a local activist, said the police attacked the protest shortly after it began.
“They used a lot of violence, beatings; there are people injured and others detained,” she told Al Jazeera.
The recent escalation began on Monday, when bulldozers from the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a quasi-governmental agency, arrived with heavy police protection in the nearby village of al-Atrash and razed Bedouin farming lands, in order to plant trees. Israeli officials said the land being planted is state-owned .
Protesters held up signs saying, ‘The Naqab’s land are for its people,’ during Thursday’s demonstration [Al Jazeera] Bedouin Palestinians protested against the move and confrontations have continued for days. Videos and images shared on social media showed Israeli forces violently arresting and beating residents who arrived to defend the lands they use for farming wheat and barley.
At least seven people, including three children, were briefly detained on Monday and a local journalist was beaten. On Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished two sit-in tents in the villages of al-Atrash and al-Sa’wa, fired stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets, and arrested some 20 people. Villages were also shut off, with residents prevented from entering and exiting.
At least 80 Palestinians have been detained since the protests began, including minors, lawyers told Al Jazeera. The vast majority remain in detention.
Marwan Abu Freih, a lawyer representing some of the families and a field coordinator with the Adalah human rights group, said, “There is a clear escalation.”
“It is unprecedented that JNF bulldozers are arriving with this amount of protection – hundreds of police, special forces and mounted police – this has never happened here before,” he told Al Jazeera.
He said police “blockaded villages, placed checkpoints and stopped traffic – prevented people from going home and school buses to enter and exit”.
‘Creating facts on the ground’ The JNF is mandated with developing and leasing land for Jews only, and owns 13 percent of Israeli “state land”. State land makes up 93 percent of all land in Israel .
Abu Freih said that the current JNF forestation work is set to affect thousands of dunams of privately owned Bedouin land in the area of Naqe al-Sabe, which is home to 28,000 residents living in six villages that have never been recognised by the Israeli state.
He, along with residents, said that while many of the families had lived on these lands prior to the creation of Israel in 1948 and some arrived there in the decades that followed, the lands had historically not been registered with the state.
Between 1970 and 1979 Israeli authorities allowed residents to file for registration, which they did, but more than 40 years later, their land-ownership cases remain open in the Beer al-Sabe District Court, with little progress.
“Ninety-nine percent of the cases have not been ruled on yet,” Abu Freih told Al Jazeera, adding that the JNF “is trying to create facts on the ground”.
Israeli forces used skunk water to crack down on Thursday’s protest [Al Jazeera] Abu Obeid said that the residents’ demands are clear.
“Recognise all the villages that are unrecognised – the first on this list are the ones in the Naqe al-Sabe area,” she said.
“Secondly, recognise Bedouin ownership over their lands, which they have owned and lived on since before Israel and before 1948,” she told Al Jazeera.
Some 300,000 Palestinian Bedouins, who hold Israeli citizenship, live in the Naqab region, which makes up about half of the entire country’s landmass.
More than 90,000 of them live in at least 35 Israeli-deemed “unrecognised” villages under threat of demolition, with the state viewing them as “trespassers”.
In 2019, Israeli authorities announced a plan to forcibly transfer 36,000 residents in unrecognised villages to other townships.
Authorities have refused to connect the majority of unrecognised villages to the national electricity or water grids and do not provide them with basic services, such as paved roads and sewage systems.
Between 2013 and 2019, Israeli forces demolished more than 10,000 Bedouin homes in the Naqab.
‘Judaizing’ the Naqab This week’s developments come as part of decades-long Israeli government policies to “Judaise” the Naqab region through million dollars worth of development projects aimed at enticing more Jews to live in these areas, documented in Israeli official statements and plans, and human rights reports.
The Israel Land Authority (ILA), which administers the JNF, plans to plant some 45,000 dunams in the Naqab with trees “to conserve open spaces and nature from illegal control,” according to official Israeli statements.
The JNF makes up almost half the governing board of the ILA, which controls the vast majority of land in Israel.
“The Israel Land Authority wants to hold land, which is their job. Bedouins are squatters, and one way to make them stop doing that is by planting trees. They subcontract the JNF to then carry out the work,” Alon Tal, an Israeli member of parliament who worked at the JNF for more than a decade overseeing forestry, told Israeli media .
The majority of the land that the JNF acquired from the state took place between 1949 and 1953, and is classified as “absentee property” – belonging to Palestinian refugees who were expelled by Zionist militias during the 1948 war to create the state of Israel.
Residents have pledged to continue confronting the heavily armed Israeli forces that arrive every morning to allow forestation work [Al Jazeera] Abu Freih said that while the lands zoned for forestation can be used to develop the unrecognised villages, authorities want to prevent this.
“They want to concentrate the largest number of Bedouins on the smallest mass of land,” and to “prevent the families from owning and farming their lands”.
Meiqel al-Hawashli, field coordinator for the regional council of unrecognised Bedouin villages, agreed.
“The Naqab makes up about 13 million dunams (1.3 million hectares) of land. There are 300,000 Bedouins living on only 400,000 dunams (40,000 hectares) of that,” he told Al Jazeera.
“All of their projects in the Naqab have to pass through unrecognised villages – the state does not want to recognise them, or people’s ownership over these lands,” added Hawashli.
As razing and forestation work on these lands continues, residents have pledged to continue protesting and confronting the heavily armed Israeli forces that arrive every morning.
The Higher Follow Up Committee of Arabs in the Naqab, a local umbrella body, announced a general strike that began on Monday.
“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.
Mobilisation is also taking place on a national level, with protests organised on Thursday and Friday in the town of Umm al-Fahm in the north, Kufr Kanna, and by Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University.
“They bring all this police because they know that these lands belong to people,” Abu Obaid told Al Jazeera.
“They treat it as though no one lives here – as though this land isn’t being farmed every year.”
Source: Al Jazeera

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Royals in the Snow: Winter Photos of Kate, Meghan and More | PEOPLE.com

Royals in the Snow! See Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton and More Royals Braving the Cold Whether they’re hitting the slopes or bundling up for a winter day engagement — there’s nothing like a royal snow day
By Stephanie Petit Updated January 13, 2022 03:05 PM Skip gallery slides FB Tweet More View All Next Slide 1 of 17 Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Bristol, UK – 01 Feb 2019 Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock
Although snowy weather slightly delayed their train, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry didn’t let it prevent them from meeting well-wishers gathered in Bristol in February 2019.
1 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement 2 of 17 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Enjoy Skiing Holiday Credit: John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty
Family photo! All bundled up, Prince William and Kate Middleton posed with son Prince George and daughter Princess Charlotte during a March 2016 ski trip in the French Alps.
2 of 17 View All 3 of 17 Queen Elizabeth II 1979 Credit: Pete Case/Mirrorpix/Getty
Snow won’t stop Queen Elizabeth from going out for a horseback ride, as proven by this photo from January 1979!
3 of 17 View All Advertisement Continued on next slide. Advertisement 4 of 17 Diana William And Harry Skiing Holiday Credit: LECH, AUSTRIA – APRIL 10: The Princess Of Wales With Her Two Sons, Prince William And Prince Harry On A Chair-lift During A Ski Hloiday In Lech, Austria (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana took her sons skiing from a young age. Here she is with Prince William and Prince Harry in some bright outfits as they take to the mountain in 1991.
4 of 17 View All Advertisement 5 of 17 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Enjoy Skiing Holiday Credit: John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty
William and Kate know you’re never too old for a snowball fight!
5 of 17 View All 6 of 17 Duchess Of York And Eugenie In Klosters Credit: Tim Graham/Getty
When winter weather hit, Eugenie shared a throwback photo on Instagram featuring her sitting on the shoulders of her mother, Sarah Ferguson. “All this snow got me remembering how cool mum and I were in the 90s,” she captioned the shot.
6 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement Continued on next slide. Advertisement 7 of 17 Royal visit to Scandinavia – Day Four Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/AP
Prince William and Kate joined forces with the Norwegian royals in Feb. 2018, braving the cold with Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit during their royal tour.
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Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, took in the snow during a Jan. 2010 engagement.
8 of 17 View All Advertisement 9 of 17 DUCHESS OF YORK WITH BEATRICE AND EUGENIE ON SKIING HOLIDAY Credit: Martin Keene – PA Images/PA Images via Getty
Do you want to build a snowman, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice?
9 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement Continued on next slide. Advertisement 10 of 17 Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Bristol Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images
Despite the cold, Meghan opted to hold her gloves as she shook hands with fans gathered in Bristol.
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The monarch opts for an umbrella as flurries fall after attending a morning church service.
11 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement 12 of 17 The Prince Of Wales And Princes William & Harry Skiing In Klosters Credit: Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty
Prince Charles and his two sons take a break from Switzerland ski trip in 2000.
12 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement Continued on next slide. Advertisement 13 of 17 Sarah Ferguson And Diana In Klosters Credit: James Andanson/Sygma via Getty
In 1988, Princess Diana and Fergie hit the slopes together.
13 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement 14 of 17 The Prince Of Wales & Duchess Of Cornwall Visit BBC Roath Lock Studios Credit: Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty
It’s not real snow, but Prince Charles still had fun testing out a snow blower while visiting the set of Doctor Who in 2013.
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Kate, William and Princess Mette-Marit of Norway check out a snow sculpture in Oslo during their 2018 visit.
15 of 17 View All Advertisement Advertisement Continued on next slide. Advertisement 16 of 17 Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge host lunch for military personnel, London, UK – 04 Dec 2018 Credit: REX/Shutterstock
Kate jokingly gets ready to join a snowball fight (well, with fake snow!) during a Christmas party held at Kensington Palace for military families in December 2018.
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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip make the winter trek to church in Jan. 2010.
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