Israeli bulldozers backed up by police officers demolished the village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev Desert for the 115th time today in an attempt to expel the residents and confiscate their land, Arab48 has reported.
The village is one of many which are “unrecognised” by the Israeli government.The police officers were backed-up by Special Forces and representatives of the so-called Israel Lands Administration.
They entered the village in the early morning and started to demolish the houses. Residents were prevented from obstructing the demolition process.
“The vehicles and bulldozers destroyed the structures and tents that shelter our families,” explained local residents.
We are now displaced again. The bulldozers were protected by the police. They did not take into consideration the current spell of hot weather in the area.
The demolition of Al-Araqeeb comes amid threats by the Israeli government to demolish mobile homes in the village of Umm Al-Hiran as well. The village is readying itself for the police to storm in and carry out the threat.
“The police have continued their provocation,” said Raed Abu Al-Qayaan, the head of the local council in Umm Al-Hiran.
“We in the village appeal to Arab leaders and citizens to come to the village and stand with us to confront the plans to uproot and displace us from our homes.”
The Supreme Steering Committee of Negev Arabs has rejected the state’s demolition policies and is fighting against the displacement plans. It called on residents to participate in the extended meeting to be held next Sunday in the village of Hura. It confirmed that the meeting will discuss the final arrangements for a large popular sit-in in Beersheba in protest against the government’s racist house demolition policy.
Also on the agenda will be the repercussions of the decision by Minister Ayelet Shaked to register Arab land in the western Negev under the Israel Lands Administration, and to agree on practical steps to be taken against this arbitrary and racist decision.
The Israeli authorities have for many years been trying to destroy the remaining 3,200 acres of land in the vicinity of Al-Araqeeb, which sits five miles north of Beersheba, even though the land in question is subject to land registration procedures and the issue of ownership has not been yet resolved.
The government refuses to recognise the existence of some 45 Arab villages in the Negev and is constantly targeting them for demolition and uprooting their residents. Meanwhile, it continues to build settlements in the desert for the benefit of Jewish immigrants.