Hundreds of people protested in Jaffa on Saturday afternoon against the controversial Prawer Plan aimed at resettling the large majority of Bedouin in the Negev.
There were no disturbances reported, according to Army Radio. A large demonstration was also taking place in Haifa later Saturday.
The events came a week after 15 police officers were injured and 40 people were arrested during a violent protest at Hura junction in the Negev against the Plan. Protesters threw stones at security forces deployed to the organized demonstration, which attracted over 1,500 people. Police responded with stun grenades and water cannons to disperse the protest.
Eight people, including four minors, have so far been charged in the disturbances.
Last Saturday was marked as an International Day of Rage against the plan with protests also taking place in Haifa, Jerusalem, the northern Triangle area and in the West Bank in places near Ramallah and Hebron. Protests were also held in European cities.
Israeli leaders harshly condemned the violence, with police calling it an “attempt to start a war.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to advance the plan for “a better future for all residents of the Negev,” adding that security forces would have “no tolerance for those who break the law.”
Opponents of the plan, including Arab MKs and Bedouin leaders, promised that the violence was just the start of their campaign against the plan.
“When there is rage and anger, it is okay to block a road,” former Arab MK Talab Abu Sana told Channel 2 Sunday. “This is part of expressing an opinion, not a crime. The police should have shown understanding; they never prosecute a settler or Haredi or any Jew who blocks roads — but the police treats us as an enemy.”
The Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, also known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, was drawn up by former Likud minister and Knesset member Benny Begin and approved by the Cabinet in January.
It calls for Israel to officially recognize and register the vast majority of Bedouin settlements throughout the South, and compensate the residents of 35 unrecognized villages — some 30,000 to 40,000 people — who are to be moved off state-owned land into towns built for them.
The Israeli government says the plan will give the Bedouin the services and economic opportunities they currently lack. But where the government sees investment, Bedouin and human rights activists see a land grab tinged with anti-Arab racism.
In January, Netanyahu said the plan was aimed at ending the 65-year-long reality wherein the state lost control of land settled by semi-nomadic Bedouin tribes. It would also “put an end to the spread of illegal building by Negev Bedouin and lead to better integration of the Bedouin into Israeli society,” he said.