Palestinian citizens of Israel living in the city of Rahat in the Negev desert started a general strike to protest against the Israeli authorities’ demolition policy pursued against the city.
Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished six houses belonging to Al-Atayqa family in Rahat, under the pretext that they were built without the impossible to obtain building permits.
Israel places severe restrictions on Palestinian towns in the Negev desert and other areas including not issuing them the necessary building permits, forcing residents to build new homes and expand existing structures without permits.
Authorities have been demolishing structures in “unrecognised” Arab villages in the Negev and forcibly relocating residents in an attempt to confiscate their land, estimated at hundreds of thousands of dunums, as part of a plan to Judaize the Negev desert and build new settlements there.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, from 2016 until the end of 2017 Israel has demolished 2,200 Palestinian facilities in the Negev (Naqab).
Some 240,000 Arabs live in the Negev desert, half of them in villages and residential communities that existed for hundreds of years, however, Israel refuses to recognise their ownership of the land or provide them with basic services such as water and electricity.