The Israeli government sent bulldozers and Israeli riot police to demolish the Negev Bedouin village of Al Arakib for the 9th time on Sunday and again on Monday, shooting the residents with rubber bullets, beating them with batons, injuring 11 people, 5 of whom were hospitalized. The police have arrested 11 Israeli human rights activists, including some of the most prominent in Israel who attempted to help the residents rebuild the village.
Israel Lands Administration (ILA) Development Director Shlomo Zeiser said "We are making an effort to find a final solution to what's happening in Al-Arakib," and "We are preparing the ground for planting," clearly implicating the JNF, which has now built a new camp in Al-Arakib (under Israel Police protection) for its bulldozers to plant a forest there, prevent the return of the Bedouin forever and cover up all traces of Bedouin life in the demolished village. These shocking statements were printed only in the Hebrew edition of YNET's 1/16/11 report, and omitted from the English edition.Tell Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ILA Chief Yaron Bibi and ILA Director Shlomo Zeiser: American Jews - and the world - will not stand by as you try to wipe out an entire Arab village in Israel!
What's happening in the Negev - and in Israel - is unprecedented."Israel feels like Alabama in the 1940's,"
said Israel's Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog a few days ago of the growing anti-democratic wave, as Lieberman announced McCarthy-like investigations into Israeli human rights and peace groups whom he accused of aiding terrorism and undermining the IDF. Herzog and 7 other Labor Knesset Members have now resigned from the Netanyahu-Lieberman government as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and 4 other MK's quit the Labor party to remain in power.
The government may be planning to destroy as many as 20 more unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, and another 40,000 citizens of Israel are in danger of similar brutality, if we - the American Jewish community and others who care about democracy in Israel - do not send a clear and forceful message to them now. Join the thousands who are speaking out to Netanyahu, Lieberman, and the leaders of the ILA in the words of Joseph Welch to Joseph McCarthy:
"You've done enough! Have you no sense of decency at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" Stop the destruction of Negev Bedouin villages and the expulsion of Israel's Bedouin citizens from their homes - once and for all.
Tell JNF leaders in Israel - including JNF-KKL World Chair Efi Stenzler - and in the US: Stop planting forests and building on demolished Bedouin villages in Israel!
For background, click here to read Devorah Brous' "Seeing the Unseen: The Forgotten Palestinian-Israeli Problem," a viewpoint column in the current issue of the Jerusalem Report.
If you've already signed earlier versions of either of the above 2 petitions, please use the email, Facebook and Twitter links on the petitions to ask your family and friends to sign them - and send these newly updated messages to Avigdor Lieberman, the leaders of the ILA and of KKL-JNF in Israel. Or just click below to forward this email to others.