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Bedouin village razed for fourth time

Aug. 17, 2010 10:58 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 18, 2010 1:33 P.M.)
Correction appended

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Tuesday demolished an unrecognized Bedouin village for the fourth time, Israeli media reported.

The Al-Araqib village was razed two weeks ago for the third time, after residents rebuilt dwellings demolished to make way for a Jewish National Fund park.

The efforts to rebuild were prompted by decision by the Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel after the village was first torn down. Locals said following the last demolitions that they intended to rebuild their homes.

A spokesman for Israel's national police said he would look into the report.

'Violence in Al-Araqib will lead to war'

Palestinian-Israeli Knesset member Taleb As-Sana denounced the demolitions during Ramadan, describing them as inhumane. He added that razing of Bedouin homes was "a declaration of war" against the Negev inhabitants and would only create violence.

As-Sana said the residents of Al-Araqib will rebuild their homes in spite of Israel's demolition, and cited the village as an example of Palestinian steadfastness.

Israel deems Bedouin village 'illegal'

On 27 July, all 40 homes in the Al-Araqib village were destroyed and 300 residents were evicted during the raid after an Israeli court deemed the village illegally built on state land. The Bedouin residents say they have proof of land ownership, and have been in court for several years.

At least 200 children were left homeless as a result, as police removed residents property into prepared containers, and bulldozers razed buildings and sheepfolds, local activists said in a statement. Fruit orchards and olive grove trees were destroyed in the process.

Israeli activists who were present at the demolition described the move as an “act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy.”

Two weeks ago, Israeli police returned to village, a week after it was once again razed to make way for the forest.

(This version CORRECTS that Israel's Civil Administration was not involved in the demolitions.)
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