BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished homes in the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of Israel for the 91st time on Thursday, local activists said.
Palestinian activists Aziz al-Touri said that Israeli excavators raided the village in the morning and demolished all the housing structures in the area, as well as the village cemetery, which was levelled.
Residents of al-Araqib have repeatedly fled into their village cemetery and lived there after Israeli authorities bulldozed parts of the town, since they had been assured the cemetery would not be destroyed.
Saleem al-Araqib, a resident of the village said the latest demolition of houses and the cemetery "will not change our attitude toward defending our land.”
Al-Araqib is populated primarily by Palestinian Bedouins with Israeli citizenship and has been targeted repeatedly since 2010 for demolition by authorities.
Israel considers al-Araqib and most other Arab villages in the Negev illegal, while Bedouins say it is their ancestral land and that they have a right to live in the area.
There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.
Al-Araqib is among some of the 40 Negev villages Israeli authorities have deemed unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove land ownership.