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Israeli forces demolish homes in Bedouin villages in southern Israel

Aug. 17, 2017 4:32 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 18, 2017 11:04 A.M.)
NEGEV (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian homes on Thursday morning in several Bedouin villages in the Negev of southern Israel for allegedly being built without Israeli-issued building permits, locals told Ma’an.

According to locals, Israeli authorities demolished a house belonging to Salman Abu Sabileh in the Umm Qabu village, while two other homes were demolished in the al-Atrash and al-Sayyid villages.

Meanwhile, locals in the Umm al-Hiran village in the Negev told Ma’an that clashes had erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli police forces after they raided the village to carry out demolitions. However, there were no reports of demolitions being carried out.

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Locals have noted that Israeli authorities have escalated a demolition campaign against Palestinian villages in the Negev since last Tuesday.

Bedouin villages in the Negev face routine Israeli demolitions for not obtaining Israeli building permits, as rights groups have pointed out that Israeli development plans mostly exclude the expansion of Palestinian communities. Unable to obtain permits, many residents in the villages have no other option but to build without a permit.

Groups have also noted that Israel's demolition campaigns in the Negev coincide with Israeli plans of transferring the Bedouin population to alternate sites to make room for Jewish 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, stating 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."

According to rights groups, Bedouin communities have continued to face these same discriminatory policies some six years later.
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