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Israel demolishes Bedouin village for 53rd time

July 16, 2013 12:07 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2013 3:53 P.M.)
BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished a Bedouin village in southern Israel for the 53rd time on Tuesday, as thousands protested a day earlier over plans to forcibly displace Bedouins in the Negev.

"It is the 53rd demolition since July 2010," Araqib chieftain Sheikh Sayyah Abu Mdeighim told Ma'an.

"They have brought down all the sheds we built for the summer so we can protect our land and defend ourselves against the oppressive policy of this tyrannical government."

Large numbers of Israeli police officers and officials from Israel's Land Authority accompanied the bulldozers.

Families in Araqib managed to re-build five of the sheds after the bulldozers left, Abu Mdeighim said, with Palestinian and Israeli activists due to visit to the village to help rebuild the rest of the structures.

On Monday, thousands of people demonstrated across Israel and Palestine to protest a controversial plan which would see the forced displacement of nearly 40,000 Bedouins in the Negev.

The Israeli government approved the Prawer-Begin plan in 2011, in what it says was an attempt to address the problem of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

The 2011 proposal was formulated without any consultation with the Bedouin community and rights groups slammed it as a major blow to Bedouin rights.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the plan will forcibly evict nearly 40,000 Bedouins and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.

Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people.

The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.
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