Israel should repeat 1948 military operation in Negev against Palestinians, says general
A top Israeli reserve general had called for a repeat of the 1948 military operation that led to Israel's control over the Negev ("Naqab") Desert and the displacement of thousands of Palestinians.
The general was commenting on protests by Palestinians in the Negev against Israeli razing of their lands.
Major General Yom-Tov Samiah, who served as commander of the Southern Zone in the Israeli Army during the Second Intifada, said in a tweet: "Operation 'Yoav' will soon return to liberate the Negev. Luckily General Shaike Gavish [who led the operation at the time] is alive. He will pass on some lessons."
He added: "If we continue at this rate of loss of control we will have to retake the Negev and Galilee. Civil war is on the doorstep."
Operation 'Yoav' was launched by Israeli forces in October 1948 to capture the Negev Desert, when 23 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed and their populations made refugees in Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza.
בקרוב שיחזור מבצע יואב לשחרור הנגב. מזל שהאלוף שייקה גביש עדיין חי, יעביר לקחים. אם נמשיך בקצב הזה של אובדן שליטה נצטרך להשתלט מחדש על הנגב והגליל. מלחמת אזרחים בפתח וכולם מתעסקים עם פאקקטה אומיקרון pic.twitter.com/Rjv1BH4PrA— יום טוב סמיה (@YomTovSamia) January 14, 2022
Israeli daily Haaretz warned on Thursday that "the Israeli government might find itself facing the biggest security threat since the wave of protests in May", when Palestinians inside Israel and occupied the occupied West Bank simultaneously protested Israeli expulsion orders of Palestinian families in Jerusalem's Shiekh Jarrah district.
Palestinians in Haifa and Um Al-Fahm, inside Israel, rallied over the weekend in solidarity with the Naqab. Palestinian factions in the West Bank have called for protests this week as well.
'A new strategy'
Ameer Qweider, a Palestinian activist from the village of Tel Sabae in the Negev, told The New Arab that Israel is pursuing a "new strategy" toward the region.
"Back in 2013, the Israeli Prawer Plan aimed at expelling tens of Palestinian villages in the Naqab at once and replace them with a whole settlement project," explained Qweider.
"Protests back then forced the government to suspend that plan. Now, they are trying to advance by taking small steps, planting trees on the only land available for our villages and razing land."
On Friday, Israeli police forcibly dispersed a central demonstration outside the village of Saawah in the Negev, arresting over 100 Palestinians, many of whom have since been released.
"For the first time in a long time Israeli police used launcher-drones to throw tear gas at us," said Qweider.
"Israeli police even chased protesters into the village itself and wounded some 20 people with rubber bullets, before stopping all razing works in Saawah itself. However, razing continued in other areas of the Naqab."