Of course while the increasingly paranoid world media lavish attention on Israel’s imaginary hold over US foreign policy, the Israeli state’s real crimes against the Bedouin ethnic minority go virtually unreported. This March 22 alert from the Association for Defence of Bedouin Rights in Israel (received by e-mail) does not even appear to be on the Web:
Continuing protest activity against house demolitions in Lod (Lydda)
“Destruction of a family’s home is an unforgivable crime”
For the fourth consecutive day, protests continue in and around the protest tent erected on the site of the houses brutally demolished in the beginning of the week at Lod (Lydda). The houses belong to Bedouin families which in the 1950’s and early 1960’s were induced to move to Lod, under a then government policy aimed at emptying the Negev of its Arab population and creating a pool of cheap labour in the centre of the country. In the past decade, however, the governmental and municipal authorities started to consider the same families as “a demographic threat to the Jewishness of Lod” and are conducting a relentless campaign against them.
Without the slightest bit of shame, the authorities implement an openly racist policy of severe discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens, who are being persecuted for no other reason than their ethnic identity.
Last week (March 15) the Regional Council “Ludim”, which controls much territory just outside the Lod city boundaries, implemented demolition orders against four houses which exited for years on privately-owned plots. 34 people — adults and children — were left homeless.
A few days later (March 19) the Lod Municipality took an apparently coordinated action against members of the same displaced Bedouin community who live within its boundaries, demolishing two further “illegal” houses and leaving 20 more persons homeless. The police acted with extreme brutality. Children who were still at their rooms in the doomed houses were thrown out of the windows. Wahid Marwan’s arm was broken and Sliman Azbragah suffered broken ribs and various other injuries.
Since then, protest actions by the Arab community in Lod and sympathizers from other parts of the country had been continuous.
This state of affairs is intolerable. The Association for Defence of Bedouin Rights in Israel calls upon all persons of good will, whatever their ethnic or religious identity, to oppose these racist acts. The government policies, past and present, are intolerable!
Contact: Nori el-Okbi, Association Chair, 0545-465556, 08-9151425
There has been a wave of such activity in recent months, as we noted in September. This helps explain the evident instances of Bedouin collaboration with al-Qaeda elements in Egypt—which has resulted in military pressure on their Sinai communities.
See our last post on Israel/Palestine.