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Israeli forces demolish Palestinian Bedouin village for 119th time

Oct. 3, 2017 7:05 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 4, 2017 5:34 P.M.)
Bedouin woman sits in front of the ruins of her family house in the Bedouin village of al-Arakib in the Negev Desert, north of Beersheva, 2010 (AFP Photo/David Buimovitch/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev) region of southern Israel on Tuesday for the 119th time since 2010, Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa news agency reported.

Aziz al-Turi, a local activist, told Wafa that Israeli bulldozers accompanied by Israeli police forces raided the village and demolished its makeshift homes "without any consideration for their residents, and despite of the bad weather conditions," the report said.

“The (Israeli) police is always trying to provoke us … The demolitions will not frighten us and will not deter us from rebuilding our homes,” he was quoted as saying.

An Israeli court ruled last month that six residents of al-Araqib must pay 262,000 shekels (more than $72,000) for previous demolition costs, in addition to 100,000 shekels ($27,693) to cover the costs of the state’s lawyer. It was only the latest payment in which the village has had to compensate Israel for its routine demolitions in the village.

According to al-Araqib residents, before the latest court ruling, the village was ordered to pay more than two million shekels (approximately $541,000) for the cumulative cost of Israeli-enforced demolitions carried out against the village since 2010.

Al-Araqib is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Bedouins in the Negev reside in unrecognized villages.

The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel.

Many of the Bedouins were forcibly transferred to the village sites during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel's military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.

Right groups say that the demolition of unrecognized Bedouin villages is 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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