Ongoing tensions waged between security forces and the Sinai Bedouin
El Arish – Exclusive:
A group of Sinai Bedouins calling itself “the Sons of the Sinai tribes” called all Sinai Peninsula’s tribesmen to unite in an open-ended sit-in at el-Ajra border between Egypt and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is expected that the sit-in will take place on October 1st, 2009 in protest against the continued detention of more than 1000 Sinai Bedouins. The Egyptian government has not responded to pleas for the immediate release of the Bedouin detainees or for pumping money into the impoverished north Sinai to improve their living conditions.
In a strongly worded statement, they asserted that ” Injustice has exceeded all the limits of tolerable thresholds it is evident that the governing authority views us as inferior. Police continue to rob us of our dignity and our independence where many are held in detentions and are compelled to plead guilty, regardless of being guilty or not. The Egyptian government insists on treating us as if we are not sons of the same land where it takes arbitrary actions against us”.
Some of the grievances against the sons of Sinai tribes were cited in the statement where the government put restrictions on the extracting of underground water, and seizing the cultivated land and establishments of investment projects forcing many young people to adopt illegitimate and devious measures of livelihood.
The statement also criticized hindering of the “people of Sinai” with regards to the cement industry.
In the statement, the Sinai Bedouin, were adamant with a number of basic demands including the “immediate release” of two of the leading Sinai Bedouin figures namely Mussad Abu Fagr, Yahya Abu Nasira, the issuing of verdicts with the absence of the Bedouins.
Other demands included:
Accelerating of establishing the Cement Plant for Sinai’s youths canceling the entire debt of the country’s small farmers,
Activating the role of the agricultural societies,
Permitting of fishing along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts,
Terminating ban on all forms of hunting,
Lifting the trade embargo imposed on Al-Salam Bridge
The statement concluded with demands that, the brutal methods used by the regime’s officials and police with the people of Sinai must end and the problem of drinking water must be solved for the rural and urban areas in Sinai by immediately implementing a comprehensive development program