Al-Araqib (Israel): Around 300 Bedouins
living in Israel`s Negev desert were left homeless on Tueday after
hundreds of police raided their village and demolished their
homes, rights groups said.
Israeli rights activists who tried to prevent the
operation said a huge number of police swooped on the village
of Al-Araqib shortly before dawn in scores of vehicles and at
least 12 buses.
"More than 1,500 police arrived at the village at around
sunrise -- they came in dozens of vehicles and began
destroying the structures there," said Chaya Noach, head of
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, a group which
fights to protect the rights of the 160,000 Bedouin living in
She said at least five bulldozers set to work tearing
down all the homes in the village -- between 30 and 40
makeshift units built out of clay and straw that were home to
some 300 of the nomadic Arabs.
"It took them about three or four hours to destroy all
the houses," she told AFP, describing the scene as
"appalling." They had also uprooted hundreds of olive trees
belonging to the villagers.
"It`s like they want to erase the Bedouin from the
landscape," she said.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld confirmed the
early-morning operation, saying the homes had been "illegally
built" and were destroyed in line with a court ruling issued
11 years ago which was never implemented.