In two raids week, personnel of the Israel Lands Administration, backed up by a large police contingent, demolished the homes of some 300 residents in the “unrecognized” Bedouin village of al-Arakib in the Negev. Most of them—Israeli citizens, including many children—were left homeless. No assistance or compensation was offered by Israeli authorities. In the second police action Aug. 3, the entire village was bulldozed, with many of the residents’ cattle, trees and belongings lost. Al-Arakib, which had about 40 homes, was one of 45 Bedouin villages not recognized by Israeli authorities.
Clashes with police erupted as the villagers and some 150 activist supporters tried to stop the demolitions, with several people wounded and a handful arrested. Haia Noach, director of the Negev Co-existence Forum, was present during the demolition. “It took them about three or four hours to destroy all the houses,” she told AlJazeera by phone, describing the scene as “appalling.” Noach said many of the evicted residents had moved to a nearby graveyard to find shade. MK Talab al-Sana (United Arab List-Ta’al) was foribly removed from a tent erected by protesters to resist the demolition, and suffered a collapse. He was treated at a hospital in nearby Beersheba. (Haaretz, Aug. 8; Haaretz, Aug. 5; AlJazeera, July 27)