International

Israel demolishes Negev village of Al-Araqeeb for 127th time

Israeli bulldozers demolished the Arab village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev for the 127th time this morning.

The move comes a day after the postponement of the appeal hearing against the decision to detain village leader Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi for 10 months. In December last year, the Magistrate’s Court in Beersheba in the Negev fined Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi $10,300 after finding him guilty in 18 cases filed in November 2013 including trespassing on state property, in reference to land which belongs to the village.

The appeal has been adjourned indefinitely with no reason being given as to why.

“The Israeli authorities are exerting pressure on Al-Araqeeb in every way, they demolished Al-Araqeeb for the 127th time today, and the appeals session in the case of my father, Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi, was cancelled,” 48-year-old Aziz Al-Turi said.

He stressed that “attempts to intimidate [villagers] are continuing”.

“The situation is very sad, our villages are under threat, the pressure and the violations continue inhumanely,” he added.

Al-Araqeb is one of 35 “unrecognised” Bedouin villages. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Bedouins in the Negev reside in unrecognised villages.

The unrecognised Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the State of Israel.

Right groups say that the demolition of unrecognised Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policyaimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities. (Quds Press International)

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