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Israel demolishes Arab village in Negev for 198th times

February 23, 2022 at 9:01 am

Palestinians gather during a protest against the Israel’s implementations towards Arabs in the Negev Desert, in East Jerusalem on 30 January 2022. [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli occupation forces yesterday demolished the Arab village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev for the 198th time since 2010, Assabeel newspaper reported.

According to the paper, this is the second time the Bedouin village has been demolished since the start of 2022, noting that it was demolished 14 times in 2021.

Residents of the village, which is not recognised by the Israeli occupation government, rebuild it after every demolition. They live in simple homes made of corrugated iron and wood.

Some 22 families – consisting of about 800 people – live in the village which make a living through livestock and desert farming.

Villagers have proof of their ownership of 1,250 dunams (1.25 square kilometres) of land dating back to the 1970s, but occupation forces refuse to accept these and are working to evict them from their properties.

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Al-Araqeeb was first levelled in July 2010, and every time the residents of Al-Araqeeb rebuild their tents and small homes, occupation forces return to raze them, sometimes several times in a month. Villagers are then billed for the demolitions.

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, demolish everything, from the trees to the water tanks, but Bedouin residents have tried to rebuild it every time.

Bedouin 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.