Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished Palestinian-owned properties in several Bedouin villages of the Negev Desert, in southern Israel on Thursday, according to local sources.
Local sources told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli bulldozers demolished residential buildings and arbors located near al-Salam street near the Arara district in the Negev.
A car wash station owned by Arab al-Frejat was also demolished in the Beer al-Mashash village, while Israeli forces raided the village of Um-Batin and demolished a livestock barn.
Bedouin member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, Talab Abu Arar denounced the demolitions, saying that “Israel’s demolition campaigns are conducted for political and demographic reasons rather than legal as Israeli authorities claim,” adding that the demolitions occurred without the owners receiving prior warnings.
Abu Arar highlighted that the finances spent on demolition campaigns in the Bedouin community should instead be spent on education, healthcare, and social welfare in the villages.
He also said that the demolitions were part of Israel’s attempts to push Palestinians out of the Negev and force them to leave their lands.
Approximately 160,000 Bedouins reside in villages not recognized by the state of Israel in the Negev alone, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), where they are denied basic services and infrastructure.
The Israeli government uses a variety of strategies to pressure Bedouins into relocating to government-planned urban centers, in contradiction with their semi-nomadic lifestyle, which necessitates access to open grazing land for herding camels and goats.
Meanwhile, demolitions are an almost daily occurrence for Bedouins in the occupied West Bank who largely reside in “Area C” — areas under full Israeli civil and military control according to the Oslo Accords.
Over 70 percent of Bedouins in the West Bank are refugees, displaced from their original places of residence in what is now southern Israel during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), while the majority of Palestinians displaced due to the demolition of their homes in Area C reside in Bedouin communities.
According to UN statistics, Palestinians now make up the largest percentage of refugees worldwide.
(Photo: Al Ray archive image)
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