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Israel razes Palestinian village for 150th time

Israeli forces can be seen demolishing the Arab village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev [Azez Alaraqib Alaraqib/Facebook]
Israeli forces can be seen demolishing the Arab village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev [Azez Alaraqib Alaraqib/Facebook]

Israel’s Yoav Unit of the so-called Negev Development Authority (UPDF) raided the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb yesterday afternoon, demolishing it and confiscating residents’ tents, Arab48 reported.

During the demolition of the village, the Yoav Unit arrested a minor and took him to the unit’s investigation centre in Beersheba.

Israeli occupation authorities have increased their demolition of Al-Araqeeb in recent weeks and the arrest of the village’s residents.

This is the 150th time the village has been razed, with forces levelling the area on three occasions in July alone.

Al-Araqeeb village head: Israel trying to impose military rule in Negev

On Tuesday, the Israeli Magistrate Court in Beersheba ruled that village leader Sheikh Sayyah Al-Turi and his son Aziz Al-Turi be released after they spent months in detention.

Head of the Popular Committee of Al-Araqeeb Ahmed Abu Medegham told Arab48 that occupation police failed to force residents out of the village by detaining them, so it has “started to detain the minors”.

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.

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