Tonight’s message is on a single subject: the demolition of an entire village in the Negev, in the south of Israel. This was a Bedouin village, and was a so-called ‘unrecognized village.’
The Bedouin have endeavored to be loyal Israeli citizens. The males have in the past traditionally volunteered to enlist in the IOF, and many still do, albeit the numbers have dropped. Why should they volunteer for the army when their homes are destroyed, their livelihood stolen by the government of the country that they are citizens of!!!
There is absolutely no way that official Israel will consider a Palestinian citizen as equal to a Jewish one. Makes me sick to my stomach. And doubly sick to think that Jews, who have known racism and suffering, can do such things to another people. But then it’s not really Jews who are doing such injustice. It’s Israelis. And not even all Israelis. But most approve their government’s handling of the Bedouin.
The fact that an entire village was obliterated by Israeli police was not important enough to warrant an update or mention in either the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz on-line English editions—at least not yet. True, 6 members of the Israeli air force lost their lives in an accident in Romania, and that dominated the news. True, death is more newsworthy than demolition, and in militaristic Israel the death of 6 IAF men, all but one officers (and relatively high-ranking ones to boot) is a heavy blow. But for the people whose homes were demolished, whose village was demolished, whose livelihood was demolished, that too was a heavy blow that should have warranted much comment. Perhaps tomorrow. Meanwhile the BBC has a fairly decent write-up on it.
Below the initial report is by Ynet, followed by an Israeli call for help, followed by the BBC report.
Prior to these, I comment on the statement below.
“Shlomo Tziser, an official with the Land Administration’s southern district, noted that ‘the people who live here have homes in Rahat and Kfar Kassem. We are implementing a verdict for the evacuation of the area which has passed all legal instances. Today we shall evacuate them and should they return we’ll do it again.’” [below, Ynet_ Negev Demolitions]
The above is nonsense. Even had these people homes in cities as Rahat or Kfar Kassem, they would not live in them. They are farmers and husbandmen—professions hardly customary or feasible in urban centers. Moreover, Rahat, built by Israel specifically to get the Bedouin off their land, is not the Paradise that the above statement would seem to imply. Unemployment is high, apartments are small, and the urban atmosphere does not, as should be obvious, suit the farmer/husbandman life style.
The village that was razed today is an ‘unrecognized village,’ an Israeli invention for mainly Bedouin villages. There are no Jewish ‘unrecognized villages.’ For more information about them, see
Some 1,300 police officers equipped with helmets, batons and crowd-dispersal means arrived at the Bedouin village of al-Arakib on Tuesday, which is unrecognized by the State, in order to secure the demolition of 45 structures.
A woman was arrested and several Bedouins were detained for questioning during the razing, performed by the Israel Land Administration.
The officers arrived at the village early on Tuesday morning and were greeted by large bonfires, lighted by locals. The officers advised the villagers to evacuate the area before they commence the demolition prompting protest on the part of the residents and left-wing activists.
Women and children watched as Land Administration bulldozers demolished their houses. Some grown men even wept. A group of left-wing activists clashed mildly with the officers.
“This is a declaration of war on the Bedouin residents,” extreme left-wing activist Ezra Nawi proclaimed. Naomi, an activist from Jerusalem said: “An historical injustice is being performed here. These are people who lived here prior to the establishment of the State, which is now denying them of the most basic right for a roof over their heads. Most of them will be forced to live in the sands.”
Al-Arakib spokesman and local resident Dr. Awad Abu-Farikh said following the razing: “Today we got a close glimpse of the government’s true face. We were stunned to witness the violent force being used. The black-clad special unit forces are the true face of Lieberman’s democracy. This operation is the first step in the uprooting of many villages. We shall return to our villages, build our homes and not leave this place.”
Shlomo Tziser, an official with the Land Administration’s southern district, noted that “the people who live here have homes in Rahat and Kfar Kassem. We are implementing a verdict for the evacuation of the area which has passed all legal instances. Today we shall evacuate them and should they return we’ll do it again.”
Thousands of police evacuating and demolishing the village of El-Araqib in the Israeli Negev
by Yeela Raanan.
Thousands of police are in the village of el-Araqib right now – beginning a mass evacuation, demolition, and erasure of this historical Bedouin village.
if you have access to the media, please send them to this village as soon as possible!
the village of el-Araqib is between Rahat and Beer Sheva, and in a location that the Goldberg commission deemed outside of the areas allowed for the Negev Arabs… an area designated only for Jews… the JNF (Jewish National Fund) is planting a forest on this village lands – to make sure that the Bedouin cannot live on their village lands or use them for agriculture. the villagers turned to the israeli courts, as the JNF were planting this forest at the bequest of the Israeli government, but against israeli law… the people of el-Araqib won the court battle… but this morning it seems that the Government of Israel has started a war — of the Government against its own citizens.
for more information: Dr. Yeela Raanan, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RCUV). +972 54 7487005 firstname.lastname@example.org
BBC Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Israel police raze ‘illegal’ Bedouin village in Negev
Police arrived at dawn and destroyed 30 to 40 makeshift homes
Around 300 Bedouins living in Israel’s Negev desert have been made homeless after police raided their village and razed their homes.
Israeli activists said 1,500 police arrived in Al-Arakib village at dawn.
They destroyed 30 to 40 makeshift homes and uprooted hundreds of olive trees belonging to the villagers, they said.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the homes had been “illegally built” and were destroyed in line with a court ruling issued 11 years ago.
“Several hundred people were taken back to the Rahat area where they originally came from,” he told the AFP news agency, referring to a nearby Bedouin town in Israel’s arid south.
More than 150,000 Bedouin live in Israel, mostly in and around the Negev desert.
Around half live in villages that are not recognised by the state, and have no access to municipal services like water and electricity.
Many live in extreme poverty.
“Today we shall evacuate them and should they return we’ll do it again”
Shlomo Tziser Israel Land Administration
At dawn on Tuesday, women and children in Al-Arakib watched as Land Administration bulldozers demolished their houses, Israeli press reports said.
Minor scuffles erupted as the villagers and around 150 rights activists tried to stop the police from carrying out the demolitions, said Chaya Noach, head of the Negev Coexistence Forum, a group fighting to protect the rights of the Bedouin in the Negev.
“We were stunned to witness the violent force being used,” Al-Arakib spokesman Awad Abu-Farikh told Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot following the razing.
“This operation is the first step in the uprooting of many villages. We shall return to our villages, build our homes and not leave this place.”
Olive trees were uprooted and orchards destroyed, activists said
The authorities say all the homes are illegal, built without permission.
The Bedouin say they have lived in the area since before the foundation of the state of Israel.
They resist efforts to re-settle them in towns and villages, saying it goes against their traditional way of life.
A Land Administration official, Shlomo Tziser, told Yediot Ahronot the officers were implementing a final court order for the evacuation of the area.
“Today we shall evacuate them and should they return we’ll do it again,” he said.