The “Day of Rage” rocked the nation of Israel Saturday, spreading to the UK after calls for action went viral.
Hundreds of Bedouins and protestors gathered in Israel in a “Day of Rage” to voice their opposition to the governments plan for the resettlement of 40,000 people; a majority of them Bedouins, in the Negev Desert. The Prawer-Begin plan was designed to settle matters of land disputes among the Bedouin population within Israel’s borders. While the plan was called by Israeli officials as a “historic compromise” on behalf of the Israeli government, human rights organizations and the like are condemning the relocation efforts.
From Gaza City to East Jerusalem, the “Day of Rage” began peacefully, with protestors chanting “fascists” at Israeli government officials. Things turned for the worse when the peaceful gathering culminated in rage, ending with protestors pelting stones at police officers.
Israeli police fired tear gas, water cannons and used stun guns against protestors, all in all detaining 11 protestors. 10 police officers were reported injured and several law enforcement vehicles were damaged.
The “Day of Rage” is in direct opposition to not only the Prawer-Begin plan, but the “systematic ethnic cleansing” of Arabs in the region by Israeli government officials, says protestors. Revelations from Haaretz detailed a plan by the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division to develop “a balance” between the Arab and Jewish population by settling more Jews in Galilee. Haaretz’s findings also show that the settlement organization plans on bidding on development sites, totaling the “absorption” of 100,000 new citizens in Galilee.
The “Day of Rage” went as far as the United Kingdom, where clashes between protestors and police made the headlines.
The protests in the United Kingdom were backed by a number of high profile British artists, among them writers and musicians, who signed onto an open letter to the British and Israeli governments, in an effort to halt the proposed relocation efforts.
The high profile British artists are calling for the British government to curtail Israel’s ambitions and use any type of leverage to prevent Israel from abusing the Bedouin’s sovereignty.
A statement in the open letter to the British government said “There can be no ‘business as usual’ with a state which preparing to ethnically cleanse 70,000 people. It’s time to start challenging Israel’s racism and apartheid policies,”
“Day of Rage” protests are planned to continue throughout the week, with demonstrators setting up plans to hold rallies in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Lambeth and London this coming Saturday. Meanwhile Palestinians in Israel are planning on joining the mass demonstrations.
While the initiative has not been confirmed yet, Israeli officials show no sign of abating in face of the growing discontent.
The U.N. weighed in on the issue, with Ban Ki-Moon Secretary of the U.N., urging Israel to retract plans to relocate the Bedouin population and build new Jewish settlements.
Even some Israeli media have voiced their opposition to the proposal, claiming that the Bedouin population are citizens of Israel, granted legal status in the 1950s.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been vocal on the issue, saying that the expansion of settlements is nothing more than Israel claiming right to its land.
“(Israel) will not be subjected to any restrictions concerning settlement,” said Netanyahu while meeting with the Israeli right-wing Likud bloc.
“Day of Rage” protests are set to continue throughout the week.
by John Amaruso