Hundreds of Palestinian residents of the Negev desert have rallied for the fourth consecutive day to protest Israeli attempts to evict them from their lands.
The Bedouin protesters on Thursday clashed with security forces over an Israeli plan to relocate thousands of Palestinians in the region to other places and purportedly plant trees in the most contentious areas.
The peaceful protests were met by attacks with rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas and skunk water which caused several injuries and suffocation cases.
According to media reports, Israeli forces opened fire on the protesters, shooting one Palestinian in the head. Several Palestinians have been arrested over the course of previous days.
Most Bedouin communities in the south are not recognized by the Israeli regime. They are deprived of basic services such as water and electricity.
UN, EU urge Israel to stop demolition of Bedouin village in West BankThe European Union and the United Nations have called on the Israeli regime to halt its plan to raze a village belonging to Palestinian Bedouin families in the occupied West Bank, saying such actions are contrary to international law and undermine peace efforts.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the office of Nikolay Mladenov, the UN Middle East peace envoy, condemned Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian dwellings in the Abu Nuwar community and the regime’s “preparations to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar,” located east of Jerusalem.
The expulsion of several dozen Bedouin families from Khan al-Ahmar is seen as enabling future expansion of the Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim.
“Israel should stop such actions and plans for relocating Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank,” the tweet read. “Such actions are contrary to international law and undermine the two-state solution.”
The European Union also said in a statement that the demolitions “together with plans for new settlement construction for Israelis in the same area, exacerbate threats to the viability of the two-state solution and further undermine prospects for a lasting peace.”
The EU “expects the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions and fully meet its obligations as an occupying power under International Humanitarian Law,” the statement said.
Several European countries, including Britain, France and Ireland, also joined forces to prevent the demolition plan by Israeli troops.
“In accordance with our long-standing policy, we therefore condemn such a move, which would strike a major blow to prospects for a two-state solution,| said Britain’s Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt while addressing the parliament.
The Negev desert is historically inhabited by Arab tribes, socially related to the tribes of Sinai, the Arabian Peninsula and Jordan. The Palestinian Authority says Israel is committing crimes against Palestinians in the Negev region.