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Israeli authorities demolish Bedouin houses in Negev village

March 4, 2015 4:24 P.M. (Updated: March 6, 2015 3:54 P.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) – Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished four houses in the Bedouin village of Sawah in the Negev.

Locals told Ma'an that bulldozers escorted by Israeli police officers demolished the two houses, belonging to members of the al-Qassasi and al-Khawatra families. They said that it was the second time Israeli authorities demolished homes in the village, northeast of the town of Hurah in southern Israel.

"This is an unprecedented injustice against us and we can’t remain silent. It is not about demolition of a house or two, but rather of a whole village.

"Today they demolished four houses and a week ago they demolished eight houses," Ismail al-Khawatra told Ma'an. He added that Israeli authorities demolished 25 houses in his village in the last couple of months.

In 2013, authorities said that the homes of the 1,500 residents of the village were to be demolished because the area had been converted into a closed military zone.

Since that time, residents have fought court rulings and prevented the village's entire demolition so far. Authorities have, however, demolished individual homes.

Bedouins in Israel live in 45 unrecognized villages scattered primarily in the region between Beersheba and Arad. They are the remnants of the Bedouin population that lived across the Negev Desert until 1948, when 90 percent were expelled by Israel and the remainder confined to a closed reservation.

Demolitions, in addition to denial of basic services and access to infrastructure, are part of an ongoing campaign by the Israeli planning and construction committees against the unrecognized Bedouin villages in Negev desert, where between 70-90,000 people live.

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