Al Araqib is a small Bedouin village in the Negev desert which we entered in earlyNovember.What a shocking tale unfolded amid the legendary Palestinian hospitality and the beautiful warm embrace between another “Jew of conscience” Amos Gvirtz and the Bedouin villagers.
Amos and Sheikh Saya Al-Turi
The Bedouin have been in the Negev since Jesus was a boy—and much earlier.They are legendary farmers and grazers.In the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine there were 60,000 to 110,000 who raised their sheep and goats,farmed barley,wheat and lived in tent villages.By 1960 the strategy of Israel which is still operative was to force these original inhabitants out.Only 11,000 remained.The rest were forced into towns with the age old Israeli lie that they would someday come back.It never happened and the Bedouin forced to live an urban life descended into dire poverty and its accompanying social disfunction.
The state simply wanted all of the land so that settlers could move in.In 1948 the Israelis owned 7-8% of the land now its 98% of the land and they want more.
Fadi Samara a young Bedouin social worker who is also the manger of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages laid out the situation.
The Israelis want the land of the “unrecognized villages”.That’s right, on Israel’s maps these villages which house the Bedouin demographic bomb of now more than 200,000 people there are no villages. Since they are unrecognized there is no government connection to water, electricity, ,sewage, elephones and roads. In this area alone the government bulldozed 1000 homes, an incredible number and of course against international law which Israel never abides by. And by the way these poor people foot the bill for the house demolitions.
This patently war by another name. It is away from the urban front lines but it is insistent and unrelenting. Israel is convinced it can get away with such thuggish behaviour On March 10,2014 the classless member of Yoav the Israeli military police responsible for the house demolitions entered the cemetery in Al Araqib and desecrated tombstones openly telling villagers who tried to protest,”You do not have any sanctuaries here, since all this land is ours.”
When we got there we were told that that Al Araqib had been destroyed 77 times.
All this transference of land to the Jewish state is done in an antiseptic manner and couched in laws written in universal language. This borders on the demonic.This is happening to citizens of Israel.More tomorrow.