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Israeli forces demolish Negev Bedouin village

Oct. 19, 2012 12:54 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 21, 2012 3:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev for the 43rd time on Thursday, residents told Ma'an.

A large police force entered the village on Thursday afternoon and tore down 23 structures, Aziz Sayah al-Turi told Ma'an.

Al-Turi said the village would begin re-building immediately and would never respond to force with force.

The government classifies approximately 40 villages in the Negev, including al-Araqib, as unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove land ownership. The Bedouin communities say the land is their ancestral home.

After the 1948 war, Israel ordered Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev from their villages and declared them state land, Israeli rights groups say.

On Thursday, residents of one of the "recognized" villages protested in the southern city of Beersheba after their village received demolition orders from the authorities.

"Despite (Bir Hajaj) being a recognized village, none of the residents have received permits to build new houses," the director of the Adalah Legal Center for Minority Rights, Thabet Abu Rass, told Israeli daily Haaretz.

"While the media is busy with the (Israeli) elections, the state has opened a war of destruction against the Bedouin villages."
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