A ritual sukkah shelter outside the Israeli Consulate in Boston's Park Plaza. Photo courtesy of Joel Wood.
Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston today protested Israel’s planned expulsion of more than 40,000 Bedouins by constructing a ritual sukkah shelter outside the Israeli Consulate in Park Plaza.
The demonstration, according to the group, marks the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and simulates the Bedouin homes facing demolition.
In June, the Israeli Knesset passed the first of three votes approving the Prawer Plan, which would displace an indigenous population of Bedouin — Arab Israeli citizens — from their current villages in the Negev desert, which are unrecognized, unregulated and denied access to water, electricity and schools.
The Israeli government would seize land for new military bases, industrial sites and communities for Jewish Israelis, forcibly moving Bedouin people to government-sanctioned settlements.
The Prawer Plan has sparked protests throughout Israel, the Palestinian Territories and the world; the United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, said, “If this bill becomes law, it will accelerate the demolition of entire Bedouin communities, forcing them to give up their homes, denying them their rights to land ownership, and decimating their traditional cultural and social life in the name of development.”
The bill is predicted to go up for a second vote this October. Bedouin leaders and human rights groups hope to create an alternative plan to address issues pertaining to Bedouin citizens living in the Negev.
Jewish Voice for Peace’s Sukkot demonstrations, which are taking place in cities across the nation, aim to join worldwide activists, including Jewish organization T’ruah and the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, in pressuring the Israeli government to stop the Prawer Plan.
Boston activists said they planned to place phone calls to Israeli Consul General Shai Bazak, asking him to pass their concerns on to the government of Israel.
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