< HOME  Friday, November 12, 2010

Amnesty launches appeal to save Bedouin village

LONDON (Ma'an) -- Amnesty International launched an urgent appeal Friday to prevent Israeli forces demolishing a Bedouin village in southern Israel.

The rights group said residents of Al-Araqib village face forcible eviction and the destruction of their property for the seventh time since July. The residents are Israeli citizens, and one third of them are children, a statement from the organization said.

Israeli forces continued to demolish homes in the area, destroying villagers' attempts to rebuild, Amnesty said, noting that a nearby mosque was destroyed in recent days.

On 27 July, all 40 homes in the Al-Araqib village were destroyed and 300 residents, all Israeli citizens, were evicted during the raid after an Israeli court deemed the village illegally built on state land. The Bedouin residents say they have proof of land ownership, and have been in court for several years.

At least 200 children were left homeless as a result, as police removed residents property into prepared containers, and bulldozers razed buildings and sheepfolds, local activists said in a statement. Fruit orchards and olive grove trees were destroyed in the process.

Israeli activists who were present at the initial demolition described the move as an "act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy."

The village has been rebuilt and destroyed several times over the summer, most recently on 13 October when the entire village was demolished.

The UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have both expressed concern over Israel's policy toward its Bedouin population. In July, UNHRC called on Israeli authorities to "respect the Bedouin population's right to their ancestral land and their traditional livelihood based on agriculture."


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