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Israeli authorities deliver demolition orders in Bedouin village in Negev

March 8, 2017 3:16 P.M. (Updated: March 8, 2017 6:02 P.M.)
(File)
NEGEV (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders in the Bedouin village of Rakhama in the Negev of southern Israel on Wednesday morning. 

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli authorities arrived to the unrecognized village under police protection and hung demolition notices on the walls of several homes in the area. The notices stated that the homes were slated for demolition due to lacking difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permits.

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 Israeli 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.

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.

While Bedouins of the Negev are Israeli citizens, the villages unrecognized by the government have faced relentless efforts by Israeli authorities to expel them from their lands in order to make room for Jewish Israeli homes.

The classification of their villages as “unrecognized” prevents Bedouins from developing or expanding their communities, as their villages are considered illegal by Israeli authorities.

Israeli authorities have also refused to connect unrecognized Bedouin villages to the national water and electricity grids, while excluding the communities from access to health and educational services, and basic infrastructure.

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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