Israel razes Bedouin village for fifth time
Village residents have been living at the site before Israel was established
Bulldozers entered the Al-Araqib village to raze what residents had rebuilt after the village was destroyed less than a month earlier. Israeli police reportedly detained a number of peace activists present at the scene to stop the latest demolitions.
A spokesman for Israel’s National Police did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the demolitions and arrests.
On 17 August, Israeli authorities demolished the village for the fourth time after it was razed two-weeks before. Residents rebuilt dwellings shortly after the initial demolitions, undertaken to make way for a Jewish National Fund park.
The efforts to rebuild were prompted by decision by the Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel after the village was first torn down. Locals said following the last demolitions that they intended to rebuild their homes.
The last demolitions were carried out during Ramadan, which Palestinian-Israeli Knesset member Taleb As-Sana described at the time as inhumane. He added that the razing of Bedouin homes was “a declaration of war” against the Negev inhabitants and would only create violence.
Israel deems Bedouin village ‘illegal’
On 27 July, all 40 homes in the Al-Araqib village were destroyed and 300 residents, all Israeli citizens, were evicted during the raid after an Israeli court deemed the village illegally built on state land. The Bedouin residents say they have proof of land ownership, and have been in court for several years.
At least 200 children were left homeless as a result, as police removed residents property into prepared containers, and bulldozers razed buildings and sheepfolds, local activists said in a statement. Fruit orchards and olive grove trees were destroyed in the process.
Israeli activists who were present at the initial demolition described the move as an “act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy.”