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Israel sentences sheikh of al-Araqib Bedouin village

Aug. 28, 2018 4:37 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 31, 2018 2:00 P.M.)
NEGEV (Ma'an) -- The sheikh of the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment after a ruling by the Israeli Central Court of Beersheba in Israel's southern Negev region.

The Israeli Central Court responded to an appeal, submitted on August 16th, 2018 by Shihadeh Ibn Bari, lawyer of Sheikh Sayyah al-Turi who was detained earlier.

The appeal was submitted after the Bedouin village was demolished by Israel for the 132nd time, displacing its residents.

The court, which was made up of three judges, announced a decision that Sheikh al-Turi is banned from entering al-Araqib village, in addition to being sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment and paying a fine of 36,000 shekels ($9,944).

The Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships.

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.

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 Bedouin villages have yet to be legally recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.

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