Dozens Injured as al-Araqib Village Destroyed for Ninth Time, Including Knesset Minister’s Office

PNN – Palestine News Network – 16.01.11 – 14:41

Negev – PNN – On Sunday, eyewitnesses in the southern Israeli Bedouin village of al-Araqib reported violent clashes between village residents and Israeli police, including live fire, during the ninth recorded demolition of the village.

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A scene from a previous demolition (PNN Archive).

At least five children between the ages of 16 and 17 were injured by rubber bullets, according to a report from the Beit Sahour-based Alternative Information Center.

Israeli authorities ruled that the village’s homes had been built without proper licensing—as they have ruled in eight prior incidents—and proceeded to demolish it. An Israeli Interior Ministry office belonging to MK Talab al-Sana, which opened a month ago, was also destroyed.

Al-Sana arrived in the middle of the clashes on Sunday. He later said, “This is a heinous crime carried out by Israeli organizations to seize land and people and prevent Arabs from living in the Negev.” He decried the demolition of homes in winter, in “the cold and difficult conditions.”

Sheikh Sayah Abu Mudaygham of al-Araqib said, “The people will not leave the land even if they are put under these conditions, injured, or captured. We will live on our land because we have our rights—we turned it into a legal issue but the Israeli authorities don’t respect the courts. Now we are appealing to all organizations and the public to stand on our side.”

More than 155,000 Bedouins live in the Negev Desert in southern Israel, more than half of them in unrecognized villages. Al-Araqib, which was originally comprised of about 45 small structures, was first destroyed on July 27, 2010, then again on August 4, August 10, August 17, September 13, October 13, November 22, and December 23, and Sunday, January 16. Vehicles have been confiscated by Israeli authorities as well and villagers were not allowed to save personal effects.

Unlike after previous demolitions, the Alternative Information Center reported on Sunday that Israeli bulldozers were clearing away the debris from the demolition in an effort to hamper rebuilding.

PNN – Palestine News Network – Dozens Injured as al-Araqib Village Destroyed for Ninth Time, Including Knesset Minister’s Office.

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