Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
Al-Arakib—gov't renews demolition of Bedouin villages
Sign a new petition against the renewed destruction of Bedouin villages.
[From Rabbis for Human Rights, Sept 13, 2010]
The village of El-Araqib was demolished – erased today for the fifth time in as many weeks. Aiman Uda, the General Secretary of the Hadash party was arrested – just because he was there.
The village of El-Araqib has been in this location for hundreds of years. Travel logs from a hundred years ago describe it. Aerial photos from 70 years ago show it. Land taxes were paid to the British, and the official paperwork exists. The grandchildren of those paying the taxes still live in the village. [Read more...]
[The following is a description of the first demolition of Al-Arakib, from the BBC, with our notes added. The villagers have returned four times to rebuild their homes. Each time their shelters were destroyed again by the ILA.]
July 27, 2010: Around 300 Bedouins living in Israel's Negev desert have been made homeless after police raided their village and razed their homes.
Israeli activists said 1,500 police arrived in Al-Arakib village at dawn. They destroyed 30 to 40 makeshift homes and uprooted hundreds of olive trees belonging to the villagers, they said.
[Note: It is a Torah prohibition to uproot fruit trees even in a time of war, all the more so in a case like this. Destroying the sustenance of the people is forbidden under any circumstances.]
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the homes had been "illegally built" and were destroyed in line with a court ruling issued 11 years ago. "Several hundred people were taken back to the Rahat area where they originally came from," he told the AFP news agency, referring to a nearby Bedouin town in Israel's arid south.
[Note: Al-Arakib existed before the state of Israel, and some of the residents, who were evacuated in 1948, returned in 1951, it has been reported. Some residents who came from Al-Arakib also returned there ten years ago from Rahat. We don't know the exact facts of the situation yet.]
More than 150,000 Bedouin live in Israel, mostly in and around the Negev desert. Around half live in villages that are not recognized by the state, and have no access to municipal services like water and electricity. Many live in extreme poverty.
At dawn on Tuesday, women and children in Al-Arakib watched as Land Administration bulldozers demolished their houses, Israeli press reports said.
The authorities say all the homes are illegal, built without permission. The Bedouin say they have lived in the area since before the foundation of the state of Israel. They resist efforts to re-settle them in towns and villages, saying it goes against their traditional way of life.
A Land Administration official, Shlomo Tziser, told Yediot Ahronot the officers were implementing a final court order for the evacuation of the area. "Today we shall evacuate them and should they return we'll do it again," he said.
Note: We are currently trying to learn if JNF will be involved in planting a forest on the site of the village. JNF has released a statement saying that they have no connection to the demolition. In the meantime www.Change.org is hosting a petition to the Israeli gov't against the destruction of Bedouin villages which you can sign.
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006