Israel Reportedly Razes Bedouin Village for Fifth Time
14 September 2010
AL-ARAQIB, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities reportedly destroyed a rebuilt unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev on Monday for the fifth time in two months.
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 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.”
Israel Razes Village Again
Ayse Alibeyoglu, Aljazeera
10 August 20101
Israeli authorities have reportedly used "unnecessary force" to demolish the homes of Bedouins in a village in the southern Negev desert, according to a witness.
Joseph Dana, a writer and filmmaker living in Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera the village of al-Araqib was bulldozed in the early hours of Tuesday morning - for the third time in three weeks.
"We were jolted from our sleep at about 05:00am (0200 GMT) by roughly 100 to 200 border police officers in full combat and crowd dispersal equipment.
"The police quickly rounded up the 30 or so activists away from the temporary village structure which was rebuilt in the past few days. Unnecessary force was used to control the activists and several minor injuries were reported," Dana told Al Jazeera.
Al-Araqib, which had about 40 homes and 300 residents, is one of 45 Bedouin villages not recognised by Israeli authorities.
It was demolished in late July by the Israel Land Administration, briefly rebuilt with temporary shelters, then destroyed again last week.
An Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Talab el-Sana, had barricaded himself inside al-Arakib at one point last week before it was demolished, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
"While the police were dealing with the activists, bulldozers destroyed all of the village structures. Most building material was then removed from the scene in order to ensure the highest degree of difficulty in rebuilding the village," he added.
"The destruction of the village lasted approximately one hour and during its course, one Israeli activist was arrested after being brutally thrown to the ground."
According to Dana, two Palestinians and one Israeli activist were also arrested in the area around al-Araqib "on Monday night."
"One simply cannot imagine the scene when 200 armed combat police officers descend on a village in the desert at 05:00 AM (02:00 GMT), while a construction crew systemically demolishes every structure leaving the residents literally in the open desert air with nothing.
"There was little to no thought or remorse on the faces of the police officers while the village residents and their supporters were left visibly shaken.
"As soon as the police and construction crews left the village, residents began to rebuild all the structures that were demolished with the assistance of Israeli and international supporters."
See video of 14 September demolition