Residents of southern village of Al-Arakib in Israel clash with JNF workers who came to plant trees in the area. Three people arrested for allegedly hurling stones.
Residents of al-Arakib, the ‘unrecognized’ Bedouin village in Israel’s Negev, clashed Thursday with police forces and Jewish National Fund (JNF) officials who came to plant trees in the area.
Four women and two men were lightly injured and three people were arrested on suspicion of hurling stones. The wounded were taken to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.
The clashes broke out after residents and activists disrupted JNF forestry work in the area.
Last month, the Beersheba District Court cancelled the interim injunction against JNF and Civil Administration forestry work on the village’s land. The judge ordered the village representatives to pay for the State’s legal costs amounting to NIS 10,000 ($2,738).
Following the events, the Balad party called for a general strike by Arab-Israelis and announced it will work to bring the matter before the UN and international organizations. ‘Balad condemns the government’s criminal policy and barbaric treatment of the residents,’ a statement on behalf of the party noted.
Over the past few months, the village of al-Arakib became a permanent battlefield between residents and law enforcement forces. Israeli authorities have demolished the village twelve times and continue to justify this by claiming that the land does not belong to the Bedouins living on it. As a result, clashes have broken out between the two sides over a dozen times when Land Administration officials came to the village to demolish illegal structures. Each time the structures are demolished the residents rebuild them again, as they continue to assert that this is their land and they will not leave it.