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Israel demolishes Bedouin village for 120th time

Israeli forces demolish the Bedouin village of the Negev desert on 3 October 2017

Israel today demolished the Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev desert for the 120th time, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The site reported that staff from the Israel Land Authority (ILA) accompanied Israel Police and bulldozers who raided the village and demolished the makeshift homes made out of tin that the residents build every time the village is demolished.

An Israeli court ruled last month that six residents of Al-Araqeeb must pay 262,000 shekels ($72,000) for previous demolition costs, in addition to 100,000 shekels ($27,693) to cover the costs of the state’s lawyer. This is in addition to previous costs which Israel has demanded villagers pay for demolitions.

According to Al-Araqeb residents, before the latest court ruling, the village was ordered to pay more than two million shekels ($541,000) for the cumulative cost of Israeli-enforced demolitions carried out against the village since 2010.

Al-Araqeeb was last demolished on 3 October.

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

Read: Planned Negev train line infringes on rights of Bedouin citizens

The unrecognised Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the State of Israel.

Right groups say that the demolition of unrecognised 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.

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