Israel Demolishes Palestinian Village for 114th Time in Seven Years

PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 26 Jun 2017

Whitney Webb - MintPress News

Israeli bulldozers flattened a village inhabited by the ancient Palestinian Bedouins, a tribe that has lived on the land for thousands of years. Israeli authorities have systematically run the indigenous Bedouins off of their land to pave the way for Jewish-only settlements.

A Bedouin woman sit on the remnants of her demolished home in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, near the southern city of Beersheba, Israel, Jan. 18, 2017. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

19 Jun 2017Israel Land Authority (ILA) officials, along with Israeli police and several bulldozers, raided and then demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region this week.

The demolition marked the 114th time that the ILA has destroyed the village, with the first time taking place in 2010 and the most recent prior to Wednesday’s demolition taking place just last month.

Most of the structures that were demolished on Wednesday were tin homes that village residents had built over the course of the last month in order to continue living in the area.

But while the residents of al-Araqib are grappling with the most recent demolition that has wiped out their village, Israeli Jewish communities in the region continue to expand on Palestinian land.

Last, year, the ILA approved five new Jewish-only residential settlements in the Negev, two of which are located where “unrecognized” Palestinian Bedouin villages currently stand.

Several rights groups have argued that the demolition of Bedouin villages is directly related to the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements, describing the policy as a means of removing the indigenous Palestinian population in order to create even more settlements for Jewish-only Israelis.

Since Israel’s inception in 1948, white Jewish-only settlements have been built on indigenous Palestinian land after the indigenous population has been ethnically cleansed in order to accommodate European Jews in beginning their new lives in Israel.

A man walks near the debris of demolished homes, in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, Israel, March 12, 2017. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

The historic Palestinian Bedouins have lived in the villages since they were forcibly transferred to the sites by an Israeli military order issued in 1956. However, the Bedouins significantly predate the state of Israel, as they have lived in the area for thousands of years as the original Arab ethnic group of the Middle East.

ILA officials have been repeatedly accused by residents of carrying out demolitions with little consideration for the village’s residents. Indeed, instead of providing any resources for the now-homeless villagers, al-Araqib’s residents have been ordered by the Israeli government to pay for the cumulative cost of the 114 demolitions that have been carried out since 2010, a figure which stands at more than 2 million shekels, or roughly $541,000.

However, the Palestinian Bedouins – despite the constant destruction of their homes – have remained defiant, refusing to relocate. Following last month’s demolition, al-Araqib resident Sayyah al-Turi told the Ma’an News Agency “All demolition crimes will not scare us or stop us from rebuilding our homes and holding on to our lands. We will stay here despite the injustice and criminal demolitions, we will not submit to their plans of uprooting and displacing us.”

Al-Araqib is one of 35 Bedouin villages that the Israeli government considers “unrecognized,” even though more than half of the estimated 160,000 Bedouins living in the Negev region reside in such villages. The “unrecognized” classification also prevents Bedouins living in these villages from developing or expanding their communities. It has also led to Israeli authorities refusing to connect the villages to national water and electric grids and refusing to offer their residents healthcare and educational services, despite the fact that the Bedouins are technically Israeli citizens.

A Bedouin boy carries timber to rebuild his home after it was demolished by Israeli authorities in the village of El Araqib in southern Israel in 2010. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

Settlement activity on the rise

However, the Israeli demolition of Palestinian housing has become more prominent in 2017, as pushes to expand Israeli settlements and the demolition of indigenous Palestinian homes have both spiked since the year began.

The Israeli NGO Peace Now reported earlier this month that the number of settlements approved in the first half of 2017 is nearly triple the number that was approved in all of 2016, with 7,721 housing units approved since January compared to 2,657 over the entire course of last year.

Demolitions of Palestinian homes within Israel have also picked up in the first half of the year, beginning with a deadly pre-dawn demolition raid on the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in January. A new Jewish-Israeli town called “Hiran” is set to take the village’s place.

The push to expand illegal settlements at all costs has recently brought international condemnation against the Israeli government, with the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan condemning the expansion of illegal settlements, saying this phenomenon is “not conducive” to the peace process.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems less than concerned with such statements, as evidenced by his comments at a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War earlier this month. At the ceremony, Netanyahu promised an audience of Jewish settlers that he was “doing whatever is needed to protect the Jewish settlement enterprise.”

It will likely take more than stern words from foreign governments to convince the Israeli government to abandon its illegal activities, which have compounded the suffering of indigenous Palestinians who are losing their land to modern-day colonization.

__________________________________________

Whitney Webb is a MintPress contributor who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, 21st Century Wire, and True Activist among others – she currently resides in Southern Chile.

 

Go to Original – mintpressnews.com

 

Join the BDS-BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS campaign to protest the Israeli barbaric siege of Gaza, illegal occupation of the Palestine nation’s territory, the apartheid wall, its inhuman and degrading treatment of the Palestinian people, and the more than 7,000 Palestinian men, women, elderly and children arbitrarily locked up in Israeli prisons.

DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WHOSE BARCODE STARTS WITH 729, which indicates that it is produced in Israel. DO YOUR PART! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

7 2 9: BOYCOTT FOR JUSTICE!


Share this article:


DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Comments are closed.