Last week we met with Sheikh Abu Aziz and his son in the Negev. His village, Al-Araqib, has been demolished more than 50 times since 2010. The family has lived there since 1905. The village has never been recognized by Israel - no electricity, no water, no schools, no roads. Luckily it is a short distance from a major highway.
He told us Israel wants to "kill Arab history - plant new Jew history." As we sat under the 108-year-old tree - the only tree he has left - he told us "nothing else is left to receive you." He has only one tree left, but the JNF (Jewish National Fund) has planted what looked to me like thousands of trees, all around him. The sheikh said, "the Palestinian is not the terrorist, but the one who is stealing from the Palestinian people." He said Netanyahu will never make peace, "he who makes peace does not steal land."
Read more about our visit to Al-Araqib in my next blog post.
Please contact elected officials to continue to pressure Israel to stop implementation of the Prawer plan. I suggest you write to President Obama and say something like:
The Israeli Knesset is discussing implementation of the Prawer Plan, which will result in the destruction of more than 35 unrecognized villages in the Negev and the removal of more than 70,000 Bedouin, citizens of Israel who have lived there for more than 100 years. Their land is being seized for a "park" for Jewish residents of the area around Beersheva.
Please use your influence (or substitute "make US aid to Israel conditional on") halting implementation of the Prawer Plan now being discussed in the Knesset.