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Israeli authorities damage crops in Negev-area Bedouin village for 3rd consecutive day

March 7, 2017 4:31 P.M. (Updated: March 7, 2017 6:04 P.M.)
NEGEV (Ma'an) -- For the third consecutive day, Israeli authorities damaged crops belonging to Palestinian Bedouins in Negev in southern Israel on Tuesday, according to local sources.

Locals told Ma'an that bulldozers belonging to the Israel Land Authority leveled lands and “ruined” agricultural crops near the Negev village of Wadi al-Niam under heavy Israeli police protection.

Israeli authorities, locals said, claimed that the lands were property of the state of Israel.

Neither an Israel Land Authority or Israeli police spokesperson were immediately available for comment on the incident.

Residents of Wadi al-Niam are among tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins living in what the Israeli government has deemed as “unrecognized” villages in the Negev, and as a result face ongoing displacement at the hands of Israeli authorities.

Because Bedouins generally lack titles to the lands their ancestors have historically grazed and lived on, it is difficult for them to prove their right to live and work on the lands, which were declared property of the state of Israel in 1948.

Israeli authorities have cracked down the Bedouin community in Israel since the beginning of the year, as home demolitions have come into the limelight, notably due to the outrage caused by the demolitions in the town of Qalansawe and the deadly demolition raid in Umm al-Hiran in January.

In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video to address settlers of the Amona outpost, assuring them that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are often forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits, due to what rights groups have attributed to discriminatory zoning policies in Israel which have excluded many Palestinian communities in Israel, notably Bedouins, from being included in the regional and municipal development plans.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages are a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish-Israeli communities.

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