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Israel demolishes al-Araqib Bedouin village for 129th time

June 7, 2018 2:54 P.M. (Updated: June 8, 2018 3:30 P.M.)
A Palestinian bedouin woman stands next to her destroyed tent in the village of Atouf in the Jordan Valley (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 129th time on Thursday, according to the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Thursday's demolition marked the second time since April that the community has been targeted.

The Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib, located in the south of Israel's Negev desert, are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships. Rights groups say that demolition is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population, clearing the way for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

Like the 34 other Bedouin villages “unrecognized” by Israel, al-Araqib does not receive any services from the Israeli government and is constantly subjected to the threats of expulsion and home demolition.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) believe that over half of the approximately 160,000 Bedouins in the Negev reside in villages not recognized as legal by Israel.

These "unrecognized" villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel, when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and made refugees.

Many of the Bedouins were forcibly transferred to the village sites during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel's military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.

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