Bedouin residents of al-Araqib watch as the Israeli Authorities destroy a structure used as a mosque. Photo via: Rabbis for Human Rights
The Israeli authorities on Thursday demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in the Naqab desert for the 179th time since the year 2000, Anadolu Agency reported.
The agency quoted a member of the Local Committee for the Defence of Al-Araqib, Aziz Al-Turi, as stating that this is the fourth time the village, which is inhabited by 22 families, has been demolished since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Al-Turi added that Israeli police had arrested his son Saeed during the demolition process, but later released him with the intervention of lawyers.
Al-Turi stressed that the villagers: “Will rebuild their village, despite the repeated demolitions.”
According to previous reports, the village, which is located in the Naqab desert, is one of 51 “unrecognised” Arab villages in the area, and is constantly targeted for demolition by Israeli bulldozers, for which Bedouins are then charged.
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.