On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers and police officers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded the Bedouin Palestinian village of Al-‘Arakib, in the Negev, and demolished it for the 116th consecutive time.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, and undercover officers, also accompanied by personnel of the so-called “Israel’s Land Authority,” invaded the village during morning hours, and demolished its residential sheds and tents.
The demolition comes less than one month since the village was last destroyed by Israel, while this latest demolition in the 116th consecutive one.
Al-Arakib has been fighting an ongoing battle for recognition since the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Although the villagers have land deeds and receipts of paid taxes dating back to Ottoman times, the Israeli authorities do not accept these as valid.
The fate of al-Arakib is indicative of a wider problem in Israel, and particularly for its Bedouin community, the majority of whom live in the Negev.
Over 110,000 Bedouin live in so-called ‘unrecognized villages,’, many of which – like al-Arakib – significantly pre-date the state of Israel itself.
Unrecognized villages are not entitled to services that the state provides to recognized settlements, notably water and sewage services, electricity, roads and educational provision.