Arab Bedouins living in the “unrecognised” village of Al-Araqeeb have been ordered to pay 1.6 million shekels ($0.46 million) to cover the cost of the Israeli occupation’s demolition of their homes 149 times.
Al-Araqeeb was demolished for the 149th time yesterday, the third such demolition in the space of two weeks. This time, Israeli police stormed the village and dismantled the residents’ tents and threw them into their four-wheel-drive vehicles. They did not bring bulldozers or demolition vehicles.
The demolition forces left the village after it was confirmed that all the tents belonging to the residents had been demolished, destroyed and removed.
Forces returned this morning to arrest one of Al-Araqeeb’s residents, Salim Mohammed Al-Turi Abu Medegham.
Located in the Negev (Naqab) desert, the village is one of 51 “unrecognised” Arab villages in the area and is constantly targeted for demolition ahead of plans to Judaise the Negev by building homes for new Jewish communities. Israeli bulldozers, which Bedouins are charged for, have demolished everything, from the trees to the water tanks, but Bedouin residents have tried to rebuild it every time.
Bedouins in the Negev must abide by the same laws as Jewish Israeli citizens. They pay taxes but do not enjoy the same rights and services as Jews in Israel and the state has repeatedly refused to connect the towns to the national grid, water supplies and other vital amenities.
In its ruling the court said the villagers had “broken into state-owned land” by rebuilding their demolished homes.