The Israel Police, in cooperation with prosecutors from the Southern District, filed eight indictments Monday against individuals authorities claim were involved in clashes Saturday during a demonstration against Israel’s controversial Bedouin resettlement plan.
Four of those detained and charged were minors, police said. Earlier Monday, indictments were filed against two youths who prosecutors said attacked police during the demonstration.
On Saturday, 40 people were arrested and 15 police officers were injured during the clashes in the Negev that broke out between police and protesters at a demonstration against the Prawer Plan.
Demonstrators threw stones and reportedly Molotov cocktails at the security forces deployed to the organized protest, which attracted over 1,500 people. Police responded with stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the demonstration.
That demonstration was held as part of the International Day of Rage against the plan which also saw protests in Haifa, Ramallah and Hebron as well as cities in Europe.
Police on Monday ordered media outlets to hand in photographs taken at the demonstration in the Negev. The unusual order was approved by the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court.
“All the media in the State of Israel to hand over any documentation of the riots at Hura Junction and the surroundings on November 30, 2013,” a text message sent Monday to reporters and photographers read, as reported by Haaretz.
The Association of Israeli Journalists slammed the order calling it an ”attempt to use journalists as an investigative tool.”
We “consider it a serious blow to the trust between the public and the press,” the organization said in a statement.
Haaretz, Channel 2 News and Channel 10 News said they intended to challenge the order.
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.
Critics have called the plan a forced population transfer, with some even referring to it as an “ethnic cleansing” scheme.
Around 200,000 Bedouins live in the Negev, most concentrated in an area around the city of Beersheba.
They lived under military rule until the 1960s, and have since resisted government efforts to move them into seven larger, recognized communities. Bedouin say those towns are rife with crime, poverty and the same lack of basic services they currently face.
The urban setting also makes their traditional occupation, raising livestock, much more difficult.
While the Prawer Plan allows for the “overwhelming majority” of Bedouin to receive recognition for their villages and houses, Bedouin advocates say that there are no obstacles to recognizing all of the current villages in place.
Against claims that services are too expensive to provide to scattered settlements, they charge that isolated Jewish towns and farms in the Negev have been given such services while Bedouin requests have been ignored, an accusation the government denies.
Bedouin and the government have frequently clashed over land claims. Many Bedouin have lived in their unrecognized homes and towns for decades, but few have any documentation.
The Prawer Plan has sparked several protests in Israel over the past year, and has drawn condemnation from international bodies.
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.
AP contributed to this report.