The Israelis have demolished the Negev Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb for the 42nd time, as security forces corralled its inhabitants in the local cemetery.
Witnesses said that a huge number of police officers stormed the village with bulldozers in the early morning without notice, calling on inhabitants to leave at once. Police officers were reported to be acting under orders from the Israel Land Administration.
In defiance of the Israeli measures, the villagers said that they will rebuild their homes yet again, despite Israel’s claims that they do not have the right to live on the land that they own.
The village has been demolished by Israeli police dozens of times as Beersheba District Court ruled against several lawsuits brought by members of families who live in Al-Araqeeb. The court said that the land belongs to the state, but the villagers insist that it belongs to them, having inherited it from their grandfathers, who paid property taxes to the then-ruling Ottoman Empire and later to the British Mandate authorities. Gravestones in the cemetery prove that some families have lived in the the area for at least 140 years.
The Jewish National Fund plans to include the land in a new forest project in the Negev Desert.