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Bayit Yehudi: Probe Arab MKs over Beduin protests

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Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck

Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Bayit Yehudi called for Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to investigate Arab MKs for incitement Sunday, following their participation in protests against the Prawer-Begin Plan for land in the Negev that turned violent Saturday night.

MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) wrote a letter to Weinstein in the name of her party, extensively quoting speeches Arab lawmakers gave about the Prawer-Begin Bill in the Knesset on June 24 of this year, which she said incited to violence.

“MKs incited in the plenum and clearly called for violence if there is progress in legislating and implementing the Prawer Bill,” Struck explained. “We can see a direct connection between their calls for violent protests and the events in the south Saturday, which endangered the lives of police and citizens in a way that is unacceptable in a democracy.”

The Prawer-Begin Bill is a five-year economic development initiative seeking to regulate Beduin settlement in the South. It aims for a compromise solution for tens of thousands of Beduin currently scattered in unrecognized villages throughout the Negev, legalizing 63 percent of claimed land.

On Saturday night, Beduin and their supporters staged violent protests against the bill in several locations across the country, lightly wounding 15 police officers.

Among the lawmakers quoted in Struck’s letter are UALTa’al MKs Ahmed Tibi and Taleb Abu Arar, who participated in the demaonstrations.

“What would you do if you were going to be expelled from your homes? Once people were expelled in the 1948 Nakba, and some will be removed again…. When we say the word ‘intifada,’ it means an uprising. It is not the privilege of Arabs in the south to rise up, it is their responsibility. It is a human right to defend your home,” Tibi said in June.

Abu Arar said in June that the Prawer Plan is “a declaration of war on the residents of the south, and I am one of them….This law will not be respected. We will step on this law with our feet…. This is how the government is inviting an intifada in the heart of the Negev. The Beduin will rise up, and I warn the government of Israel.”

Abu Arar was called by the police for clarifications following the rioting, but was not officially investigated.

Other MKs who were quoted include Afo Agbaria of Hadash, who said “I am in favor of a new intifada, because [the government] is starting a new Nakba.”

Tibi said in response that it is his “democratic right and moral responsibility to participate in demonstrations and make my voice heard against the displacement plan called Prawer and I will continue to demonstrate against it.”

Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.

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