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Israeli forces demolish Bedouin village in Negev for 66th time

March 12, 2014 1:09 P.M. (Updated: March 13, 2014 11:07 A.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 66th time on Wednesday, leaving dozens of people in the open despite heavy rains.

A large number of Israeli police and bulldozers surrounded the village in the early morning and demolished all of the residential steel structures.

"Israeli occupation forces raided the village at 6:15 a.m. and demolished its houses for the 66th time," one of the residents, Aziz al-Touri, told Ma'an.

"Under such conditions and with this heavy rain and severe cold, we tell Israeli officials that what you did is a crime against humanity. But no matter what you do, we will never give up our right in al-Araqib, the land of our fathers and grandfathers."

Two days earlier, inspectors from the Israel Land Authority had entered the village to take pictures of steel houses erected by residents near a cemetery.

Israel considers al-Araqib and most other Bedouin villages in the Negev illegal, while Bedouins say it is their ancestral land.

There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.
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