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Middle East
Israel demolishes Bedouin village
About 300 residents of a village in the Negev desert have lost homes and possessions
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2010 13:19 GMT
Forty-five Bedoiun villages are not recognised
by Israeli authorities [Gallo/Getty]

Israeli authorities have demolished the homes of about 300 Bedouins in a village in the southern Negev desert.

The entire village of al-Arakib was bulldozed on Tuesday, with many of the former residents' cattle, trees and belongings lost.

Al-Arakib, which had about 40 homes, is one of 45 Bedouin villages not recognised by Israeli authorities.

Haia Noach, director of the Negev Co-existence Forum, was present at al-Arakib during the demolition and said that at least five Israeli bulldozers arrived around 5:30am (0230GMT).

Israeli police used megaphones to order the village residents to evacuate, and the demolishing process lasted around three hours, he said.

Speaking from a town near Beersheba, Noach said that many of the residents had moved to a nearby graveyard to find shade.

Evacuation notice

He said Israeli authorities had first given residents of al-Arakib a notice to evacaute on June 15, but that no action had followed, so the residents began to doubt that the demolition would occur.

But this morning, Israeli police arrived and forced residents to leave their homes within minutes, Noach said.

The demolition team destroyed water tanks and removed generators.

"It's like a declaration of war. They don't want you here," Noach said. "It's unthinkable."

The residents are now waiting for aid and will probably set up makeshift tents and facilities on the scene, Noach said.

According to the Negev Co-existence Forum,around half of the 155,000 Bedouins in the Negev - all of whom are Israeli citizens - live in villages that are unrecognised by the government.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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