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Israel demolishes house in Negev-area village

April 20, 2017 3:58 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2017 6:31 P.M.)
NEGEV (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers demolished an house under construction in the Bedouin village of al-Sayyid in the Negev of southern Israel on Thursday morning.

Israeli forces, including police and bulldozers, arrived in the area and demolished the two-story house. Locals condemned the demolition, and said the house belonged to Akram Majid al-Sayyid, 21, and was built for him and his brother.

Demolitions targeting Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, specifically Negev Bedouins, have sharply increased since the beginning of 2017, including an Israeli police raid to evacuate the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran which turned deadly in January.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolition Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya released a report on the treatment of the Bedouin in the Negev back in 2011, shortly before the Israeli cabinet approved plans to relocate some 30,000 Bedouins from 13 unrecognized villages to government-approved townships, reporting that Bedouins in the permanent townships "rank on the bottom of all social and economic indicators and suffer from the highest unemployment rates and income levels in Israel."

Meanwhile, Israeli Jewish communities in the Negev continuously expand, with five new Jewish plans approved in 2015. According to an investigation undertaken by Israeli rights groups ACRI and Bimkom, two of the approved communities are located in areas where unrecognized Bedouin villages already exist.
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