A Bedouin village in the Negev desert was destroyed last night, the Missionary News Service reports. About 300 inhabitants of the old village of al-Arakib were woken up by 1,500 police officers in battle equipment and helicopters, telling them to leave immediately, making way for bulldozers, which demolished 40 homes. The demolition operations have left a few people injured. Several others have been arrested.
The Negev Forum for Coexistence reported the episode. It fears that further evictions will be taking place soon. There are another 44 Bedouin villages in Israeli territory, that have not been recognized by Israeli authorities. The demolition of al-Arakib, took place in spite of the fact that there is an ongoing debate in the Courts over the actual ownership of the land.
The residents of al-Arakib had rights dating back to before the formation of the Israeli state. However, the National Jewish Fund, decided to replace the village with trees for lumber.
The Bedouins have lived in the Negev for over 1000 years. There are about 80,000 Bedouins living there now. They are not recognized by the Israeli government and they do not have access to services as electricity and running water. While the plight of the Palestinians in Israel/Palestine is widely reported, that of the Bedouins, who are a tiny minority, is rarely mentioned.