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Israel demolishes Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb for 110th time

Palestinian demonstrators takes part in a protest against the demolition of their homes by Israeli troops in the village of Alaraqeeb [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]
Palestinian demonstrators takes part in a protest against the demolition of their homes by Israeli troops in the village of Alaraqeeb [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev region of southern Israel for the 110th time this morning.

Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, raided the village, which is “unrecognised” by Israeli authorities, in the morning and started the demolition, while Israeli police closed all entrances leading to the village.

$541,169

    is being charge Bedouins in Al-Araqeeb are being ordered to pay for the Israeli-enforced demolitions of the village since 2010

Israeli forces first demolished the village in 2010 and it was last razed in early February.

“No matter how many times they demolish and destroy our village, they will not break our spirits,” local committee member Aziz Sayyah told Ma’an during the previous demolition raid. “Al-Araqeeb is ours and we are here to stay.”

Al-Araqeb is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognised” by the Israeli state. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognised villages.

Read: Israel demolishes Arab-Israeli’s home without notice

Demolitions targeting Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have sharply increased since the beginning of 2017, including an Israeli police raid to evacuate the unrecognised Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hiran which turned deadly in January.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolition of Al-Araqeeb and other unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

The classification of their villages as “unrecognised” prevents Bedouins from developing or expanding their communities, as their villages are considered illegal by Israeli authorities.

Israeli authorities have also refused to connect unrecognised Bedouin villages to the national water and electricity grids, while excluding the communities from access to health and educational services and basic infrastructure.

Al-Araqeeb’s residents have been ordered to pay more than two million shekels ($541,169) for the cumulative cost of Israeli-enforced demolitions carried out against the village since 2010.

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