Bedouin residents of al-Araqib watch as the Israeli Authorities destroy a structure used as a mosque. Photo via: Rabbis for Human Rights
Israeli authorities demolished last week all residential facilities and dismantled makeshift tents set up by Palestinians in the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev) desert, in present-day Israel, for the 174th consecutive time.
Israeli police raided the village and dismantled the tin homes the locals build every time their village is knocked down. Residential tents were uprooted and shacks dismantled, displacing dozens of Palestinian Bedouins, including children.
Some 240,000 Palestinian Arabs live in the Negev desert, half of whom live in villages and residential communities, some of which have been in place for hundreds of years. Israel does not recognize their ownership of the land and refuses to provide them with basic services such as water and electricity.
The first demolition of al-Araqib took place in late June 2010. Villagers insist on remaining in their village and rebuilding after every demolition process.
Like the 34 other Bedouin villages “unrecognized” by Israel, al-Araqib does not receive any services from the Israeli government and is constantly subjected to threats of expulsion and home demolition.
These “unrecognized” villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, following the creation of the state of Israel, when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and made refugees.
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Naqab Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages, which the state refuses to provide with a planning structure and place under municipal jurisdiction.
ACRI said the Israeli government uses a variety of measures to pressure Bedouins into relocating to government-planned urban centers that disregard their lifestyle and needs.