Israel demolishes Palestinian Bedouin Arab village in Naqab/Negev for 198th times

Israeli policemen stand guard as bulldozers demolish homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 23, 2022

Israeli occupation forces yesterday demolished the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Naqab/Negev for the 198th time since 2010, Assabeel newspaper reported.

According to the paper, this is the second time the Bedouin village has been demolished since the start of 2022, noting that it was demolished 14 times in 2021.

Residents of the village, which is not recognized by the Israeli occupation government, rebuild it after every demolition. They live in simple homes made of corrugated iron and wood.

Some 22 families – consisting of about 800 people – live in the village which make a living through livestock and desert farming.

Villagers have proof of their ownership of 1,250 dunams (1.25 square kilometres) of land dating back to the 1970s, but occupation forces refuse to accept these and are working to evict them from their properties.

Al-Araqeeb was first levelled in July 2010, and every time the residents of Al-Araqeeb rebuild their tents and small homes, occupation forces return to raze them, sometimes several times in a month. Villagers are then billed for the demolitions.

Located in the Naqab/Negev desert, the village is one of 51 “unrecognized” Palestinian Bedouin villages in the area and is constantly targeted for demolition ahead of plans to Judaize the Negev by building homes for new Jewish communities. Israeli bulldozers, which Bedouins are charged for, demolish everything, from the trees to the water tanks, but Bedouin residents have tried to rebuild it every time.

Bedouin in the Naqab/Negev must abide by the same laws as Jewish Israeli citizens. They pay taxes but do not enjoy the same rights and services as Jews in Israel and the state has repeatedly refused to connect the towns to the national grid, water supplies, and other vital amenities.