Israeli bulldozers demolished homes in the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Naqab Desert, for the 100th time on Wednesday, in addition to a home in the Naqab village of Atir, local activists said.
Israeli police reportedly imposed a blockade on al-Araqib before carrying out the demolitions, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.
Activist Saleem Araqeeb said that Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by military jeeps, stormed the village in the morning, forcing the locals to leave their houses and demolish them [or face worse consequences].
The activist said that demolitions in al-Araqib continue to take place, even after the Israeli Higher Court of Justice ruled that al-Araqib’s lands do not belong to the state.
He said that local Israeli authorities, who dispute the ruling, have filed a lawsuit demanding the court to order residents of al-Araqib to pay a daily fine of 5,000 shekels (approximately US$1280).
Demolitions, in addition to denial of basic services and access to infrastructure, are part of an ongoing campaign by Israeli planning committees against Bedouin villages in the Naqab Desert, where roughly 70–90,000 people live.
In May 2013, an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill setting a framework to implement the evacuation of “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Naqab, most of which existed before the state of Israel came into being.
Both Al-Araqib and Atir are among some 40 Naqab villages that Israeli authorities have deemed “unrecognized,” arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in them cannot prove land ownership.
Some 100 homes in unrecognized villages have been demolished since the beginning of 2015, while Israeli authorities have issued demolition notices to hundreds of others.
Photo: Demolition in al-Araqib. Source: IMEMCnews.
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