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Israeli land authority destroys crops planted by Palestinian Bedouins in Negev

March 14, 2017 3:08 P.M. (Updated: March 15, 2017 11:23 A.M.)
(File)
NEGEV (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Land Authority (ILA) on Tuesday morning destroyed fields of wheat, barley, and other grains planted by Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev desert of southern Israel, according to locals.

Residents told Ma'an that bulldozers and tractors under heavy police protection plowed and destroyed crops that had been planted by Palestinian Bedouins in the outskirts of the villages of al-Surra, Tal al-Milih, and Kseifa in the Negev.

Neither an ILA nor Israeli police spokesperson were immediately available for comment.

Last week, for the third consecutive day, Israeli authorities damaged crops belonging to Bedouins in the Negev-area village of Waldi al-Niam under the claim that the lands were property of the state of Israel.

Earlier this month Israeli forces also demolished a home in Kuseifa, with locals reporting at the time that forces deployed near al-Surra as well, seemingly in preparation for further demolitions.

Residents of Bedouin communities in the Negev 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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