Dec 24, 2010
RAMALLAH: The Israeli Lands Administration (ILA) inspectors backed by large police forces on Thursday demolished the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Araqib for the eighth time in recent months.
The village, located in the southern Negev Desert, was demolished for the seventh time in November, but as in previous instances, it was immediately rebuilt.
Volunteers from the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and several political activists had helped the villagers of Al-Araqib rebuild their homes every time the Israeli authorities demolished them. The activists said that they would continue to rebuild structures in the village.
Awwad Abu Freih, the spokesman of Al-Araqib’s village committee, said that the Israeli police used force to evict the residents from their homes and corrugated iron roofed dwellings.
Abu Freih added the Israeli bulldozers then began the demolition process. The official said police acted violently during the clashes that erupted in the area after razing of homes.
Abu Freih said the Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone and prevented journalists from entering it to cover the demolition.
He noted the demolitions were “a routine procedure. Dozens of police officers arrived followed by bulldozers. They razed all the houses. They ruined everything we built and left nothing. It’s a big disgrace.”
According to the official, the “demolition aims at establishing farms for Jewish residents of Givot Bar settlement at the expense of the village residents.”
He added that the demolition is a message from the Israeli government that it will not recognize the village. “All attempts to uproot the residents of the village will ultimately fail,” Abu Freih stressed. “The attempt to uproot Bedouin citizens from their communities constitutes a serious insult to all Bedouin.”
The Arab member of the Knesset Talab El-Sana said “the demolition operations lead to unrest and disobedience in the Arab sector in general, and the Negev in particular. We are victims of the State of Israel.”
El-Sana, of the United Arab List party, said that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “crossing red lines” and “declaring war on the Arab citizens.”
He warned that the “Israeli use of violence against Arab citizens will lead to new circles of violence in the area.”
The Israeli police claim they were taking measures to charge the residents of Al-Araqib with demolition expenses, estimated at millions of shekels.