Bedouins Barricaded in Cemetery as Israel Demolishes Village for 17th Time, Injuring Children
The residents of the Bedouin village Al Araqib were forced from their land for the 17th time Wednesday (16/2) and barricaded inside the village cemetery, as Israel continues its ethnic cleansing efforts in the Negev.
Israeli forces arrived in the early hours of the morning and immediately began shooting rubber bullets at the residents. When the first round of shooting subsided, the Special Forces pushed people from their homes and began demolishing the village for the 17th time.
When residents of Al Araqib protested, the Israeli authorities again shot them with rubber bullets, resulting in injuries. Three children were taken by ambulance to the hospital, according to Awad Abu Frieh, the village spokesperson.
The Jewish National Fund, an active participant in forcing Bedouin from their land, bulldozed the property and began working the land for the planting of a peace forest.
Israeli forces used such excessive violence Wednesday morning that residents fled their homes and entered the adjacent cemetery. JNF bulldozers then approached the cemetery in an attempt to also destroy the Bedouin burial place.
The residents of the village are currently barricaded inside the cemetery, watching as their homes are once more destroyed and hoping the cemetery is not next. All of the exits have been closed, and the bulldozers are circling the site.
One week ago (10/2), women and children of the Bedouin village of Al Araqib were beaten and gassed by Israel forces, in an attempt to halt the 16th demolition of their homes and property.
Three residents were also arrested, including a sixteen year old, and they have been in jail since. There was a court hearing for them Wednesday (16/2) morning in Beer Sheva, and their detention was extended for at least another day.
Another resident was arrested in the village Tuesday night (15/2), and is currently being held by the Israeli police, though the reason for his arrest is unclear.
Israeli forces and Jewish National Fund workers entered the Bedouin village and again destroyed the residents homes, and continued preparing the land for the planting of a “peace forest”.
Following last week’s demolition, six residents, four women and two children, were hospitalized at the Soroka hospital in Beer Sheva.
“The police harshly beat the women and children who were standing in quiet protest, they simply beat women and children…I stood alongside a woman who was beaten by four police officers, actual fists in her face, ears and neck, in addition to kicks until she almost lost consciousness…people are sitting on the ground, in the rain, and not moving, women and children. The police shot stun grenades and foam bullets directly at the women, at point blank,” reported Tamar, an activist who was present in the village.