The unrecognized Bedouin village of Al Arakib has become the focal point of the intensification of the government’s demolition policy. Located just north of Be’er Sheva in the northern Negev, all its residents are Israeli citizens. Despite the fact that the land on which Al Arakib sits has been handed down through generations of Bedouin families, with proof of legal ownership dating back to Ottoman times, the entire village has been repeatedly demolished by the Israeli government since July 27, 2010.
The government carries out these demolitions in the face of the concluding observations of United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), which voiced its concerns in July 2010 about “allegations of forced evictions of the Bedouin population” and about what it described as the Israeli authorities’ “inadequate consideration” for the agricultural and other traditional needs of the Bedouin. The HRC called for the Israeli authorities to “respect the Bedouin population’s right to their ancestral land and their traditional livelihood based on agriculture” and to “guarantee the Bedouin population’s access to health structures, education, water and electricity, irrespective of their whereabouts” in Israel.
Video footage shot by Al Arakib resident (10 February 2011, YouTube)
Police clashes in Al Arakib (Hebrew).
Demolition, Dispossession and Resistance in Al Arakib (10 February 2011, YouTube)
On 10 February 2011, police and black-clad special forces units arrived in the Bedouin village Al Arakib, 15 km north of Beer Sheva, Israel, to demolish their homes and expel them from their land for the 16th time.
Demonstration in front of the JNF office in Jerusalem (1 February 2011, Social TV/YouTube)
In protest of the demolitions of the village of Al-Arakib and the JNF’s works there.
Al Arakib: Third Destruction of the Village (11 August 2010, YouTube)
The total destruction of an entire Jewish community by security forces on the eve of a major day of fasting, such as Yom Kippur or the Ninth of Av, would be inconceivable and illogical. But this is what happened in Al Arakib.
Israel’s Destruction of the Bedouin Village of Al Arakib (10 August 2010, YouTube)
The Israeli Police demolished Al Arakib for the third time in two weeks to clear space for a JNF forest. For the third time, the residents of Al-Arakib rebuilt their destroyed homes alongside Jewish-Israeli activists. Video by Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana.
The village of Al Arakib was re-built (2 August 2010, YouTube)
Israel Social TV Presents: Al-Arakib is a Bedouin village that was founded in the Negev before the establishment of the State of Israel. During the 1950s, the residents of the village were expelled from their land by the Israeli authorities.
Israel leaves 200 children in the desert with no food, no water and no shelter (30 July 2010, YouTube)
Busloads of civilians cheered as the dwellings were demolished. Armed Israeli police used tear gas, water cannon, two helicopters and bulldozers.
Ethnic cleansing in the Israeli Negev (30 July 2010, YouTube)
Only a few days after the return of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu from Washington, Al Arakib was demolished. Shortly before this incident, six Arab houses was demolished in Palestinian East Jerusalem.
Israeli police raze ‘illegal’ Bedouin village in Negev (27 July 2010, BBC)
Around 300 Bedouin living in Israel’s Negev desert have been made homeless after police raided their village and razed their homes.
CAMPAIGNS & LETTERS
Stop JNF from Foresting over Bedouin villages (May 2012, Rabbis for Human Rights)
KKL-JNF’s activities violate basic human rights and contravene Jewish values by contributing to the forced displacement of Bedouin communities. These actions also threaten the security and moral fiber of Israel by fomenting hostility towards the State among Israel’s Arab-Bedouin citizens. Demand that KKL-JNF ends its forestation on the remains of demolished Bedouin villages and disputed Bedouin land.
Stop creating forests that are destroying Bedouin lives (11 April 2011, Amnesty International)
Al Arakib, a Bedouin village in southern Israel, has been razed to the ground to make way for a forest. The residents face permanent forced eviction from their homes. Further, they are denied access to the land which they use to grow crops and keep livestock.
The unconstitutionality of the state’s policy of demolishing Arab Bedouin unrecognised villages in the Negev (3 October 2010, Adalah)
A coalition of Israel civil society actors presented a letter to the Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, requesting a halt to the ongoing demolition of villages and the violations of the Bedouin’s constitutional rights.
Court Rejects 6 Beduin Negev Land Lawsuits (19 March 2012, Jerusalem Post)
In a precedent-setting ruling on Sunday, the Be’er Sheva District Court rejected six lawsuits brought by Bedouin citizens, regarding private ownership of some 1,000 dunums of land in the Negev.
State sues Bedouin of Al-Arakib village for 1.8 NIS million (27 July 2011, Jerusalem Post)
Residents are accused of “illegal invasions” of state land; the Israeli Lands Administration says that the state has incurred large expenses from evictions of families from the Negev village.
Press release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (11 February 2011, OHCHR)
During a meeting on February 8, the High Commissioner for Human Rights was briefed about the ongoing demolitions of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. In the press release, Navi Pillay expresses her concern over the repeated destruction, and after meeting one man who told her that his village had just been demolished for the 15th time, she sent two members of her team to visit Al Arakib.
The Israelis keep bulldozing their village, but still the Bedouin will not give up their land (1 March 2011, The Guardian)
The tiny village of Al Arakib has been torn down by the Israeli authorities 18 times in seven months, but each time the Bedouin rebuild their homes.
Uprooting the Bedouins of Israel (2 December 2010, The Nation)
Despite the fact that it was the seventh demolition since last July, this time the destruction of the Bedouin village Al Arakib in the Israeli Negev was different. The difference is not because the homeless residents have to deal this time with the harsh desert winter; nor in the fact that the bulldozers began razing the homes just minutes before the forty children left for school, thus engraving another violent scene in their memory. Rather, the demolition was different because this time Christian evangelists from the United States and England were involved.
Israel condemned over Bedouin village demolition (25 November 2010, Amnesty International)
Amnesty International has condemned the Israeli authorities following the demolition of a Bedouin village in southern Israel for the seventh time since July.
PMO blocks recognition of Bedouin villages (17 November 2010, Haaretz)
The move prompted the council to a schedule second hearing over the issue less than a day after the adviser to the Prime Minister for Planning and Development in the Prime Minister’s Office announced the PMO’s intention to prevent Tel Arad and Atir-Um al-Hiran from being recognized.
A Test of Wills Over a Patch of Desert (25 August 2010, New York Times)
They had been fasting since sunrise in observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Now, they were cooking furiously, spicing okra in tomato sauce and stuffing hollowed-out zucchini, against a backdrop of piles of rubble, the remains of their homes recently demolished by the Israeli authorities.
Poets, artists, activists visit embattled Beduin village (22 August 2010, Jerusalem Post)
Over a hundred people show solidarity with residents who have seen their community dismantled by the Israel Lands Administration four times over the past month.
Displacing the Bedouin (8 August 2010, Haaretz)
It’s hard to understand why Israel is pushing a significant sector of its citizens toward extremism and crime.
Amos Oz: Situation of Bedouin in Negev is ‘ticking time bomb’ (27 July 2010, Haaretz)
Oz is the latest public figure to voice solidarity with the residents of Al Arakib, a town torn down four times in the last months in order to plant trees.