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Israel demolishes Bedouin village for 50th time

May 9, 2013 1:59 P.M. (Updated: May 10, 2013 4:07 P.M.)
BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel on Thursday demolished a Bedouin village in southern Israel for the 50th time in two years, locals said.

A large force of Israeli police raided al-Arakib as bulldozers demolished homes in the Negev village, said local landowner Aziz al-Tori.

"We confirmed that we will stay steadfast in our lands, despite the injustice and tyranny of the Israeli authority," al-Tori told Ma'an. "We will rebuild our houses, even if they demolish them thousand times."

Al-Tori called on residents of the Negev and solidarity activists to pay attention to the village's plight and to unite to defend the land.

On Monday, an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said.

"The government approved a plan that will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents, dispossessing them of their property and historical rights to their lands, destroying the social fabric of their communities, and sealing the fate of thousands of families into poverty and unemployment," ACRI lawyer Rawia Aburabia said.

"All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even slated to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages," Aburabia said in a statement.

Israel does not recognize 35 of the 46 Bedouin towns and villages in the Negev which are home to around 90,000 people, according to ACRI.

The "unrecognized" villages are not connected to water, electricity or sewerage systems.

The draft bill approved Monday sets a framework to implement the evacuation of "unrecognized" villages, most of which existed before the state of Israel.
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