Israel razes Bedouin village for 53rd time in three years

A boy stands on the remains of a home destroyed by Israel in the Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb in the Negev Dessert in this undated photo. (Photo: Emanuel Yellin)

Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Israeli forces used bulldozers to demolish Bedouin-owned sheds in the Negev desert for the 53rd time in three years Tuesday, a Palestinian news agency reported.

A Bedouin chieftan told Ma'an that swathes of police escorted the bulldozers as they razed al-Araqeeb village, which is not recognized by the Israeli government, for the 53rd time since July 2010.

The demolition comes one day after thousands of Palestinian and Bedouin protesters took to the streets in towns across the West Bank, Gaza and inside the Green Line to oppose an Israeli bill that would forcibly expel tens of thousands of Bedouins from the Negev Desert.

"They have brought down all the sheds we built for the summer," Araqeeb chieftain Sheikh Sayyah Abu Mdeighim was quoted as saying by Ma'an.

Araqeeb, home to roughly 500 people, is one of about 40 Bedouin villages in the Negev not recognized by Israel's Land Authority.

Following the 38th demolition of Araqeeb last year, villagers said they wanted apply with Guinness to claim a record for the number of times Israel has demolished a village.

A bill currently before Israel's Knesset would forcibly expel up to 40,000 Bedouins who live on land Israel claims as its own.

If passed, the displacement plan would see Israel confiscate about 850,000 dunums of Arab land, leading to the destruction of Araqeeb and other villages not recognized by the Jewish state.

(Al-Akhbar, Ma'an)

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