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Negev demolitions 'war in the full sense'

May 19, 2013 2:06 P.M. (Updated: May 20, 2013 6:41 P.M.)
NEGEV (Ma'an) – "What I have seen was like post-war footage rather than home demolition as the Hebrew media misleadingly describe it," says the head of the Islamic movement in northern Israel Sheikh Raed Salah.

Salah's remarks Sunday came during a visit to the Bedouin Negev village of Attir where Israeli municipal staff demolished 18 houses.

"Demolishing 18 houses, uprooting 460 olive saplings, cutting down olive trees and sycamore fig trees, destroying roads, power generators and solar cells is war in the full sense of the term," Salah added.

He urged all Palestinian residents of the Negev and across Israel to visit the demolished village to see the truth firsthand.

Salah was accompanied by other members of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The delegation was welcomed by dignitaries from the Abu Al-Quian family whose houses were demolished.

"Nothing was left on the ground. They leveled everything cutting down trees and turning the place into debris. However, we will remain firm and our spirits are stronger than before," said Hajj Shihdeh Abu al-Queian.

"Perhaps what we are watching now is the beginning of disastrous consequences of the Prawer Plan which is aimed at displacing our people from Negev indiscriminately," said Sheikh Salah.

He added: "This plan is one of ethnic cleansing against our people in Negev."

On May 6, an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill setting a framework to implement the evacuation of "unrecognized" villages, most of which existed before the state of Israel.

"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," said lawyer Rawia Aburabia of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

"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.
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