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Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structures in the Negev

March 1, 2017 2:40 P.M. (Updated: March 1, 2017 9:38 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities demolished Palestinian structures in the town of Rahat and in the village of Kuseifa in the Negev region of southern Israel in two separate incidents Tuesday morning, under the pretext that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits.

Israeli news site Arab48 reported that Israeli police forces stormed Neighborhood 9 in Rahat as bulldozers demolished an exterior wall and were preparing to demolish other homes in the city.

East of Rahat, in the village of Kuseifa, Israeli police escorted bulldozers to demolish a home there, witnesses told the news outlet.

The report added that Israeli police and bulldozers stationed near the Nebatim airport near the entrance to the village of al-Surra were also preparing to carry out demolitions.

Bedouin communities in the Negev have been the target of a heightened demolition campaign in recent weeks, following Israeli leaders publicly expressing their commitment to demolish Palestinian structures lacking difficult to obtain Israeli-issued building permits across Israel and occupied East Jerusalem in response to the Israeli-court sanctioned evacuation of the illegal Amona settler outpost.

A raid to demolish homes in the unrecognized Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran in January left two people killed, including a local Palestinian math teacher, sparking widespread outrage among Bedouins and the wider Palestinian community.

Meanwhile, a week prior to the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran, Israel demolished 11 Palestinian homes in the city of Qalansawe in central Israel, leaving many Palestinian families homeless.

The demolitions have sparked widespread protest, and recently, a group of Bedouin reservist soldiers announced that they would refuse to report for duty, citing “betrayal” by the Israeli state and a wider cultural of racial discrimination.

Right groups have argued that the aim of home demolitions is to forcibly displace Palestinians from the region, regardless of their status as residents of the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem, or as citizens of Israel -- despite the varying legal justifications used by Israel in each instance.
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