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Israelis demolish Palestinian village for 105th time

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Bedouin boy carries timber after Israeli forces removed temporary shacks from the site earlier, in al-Araqeeb village in the Negev region of the occupied Palestinian territories. (Photo by AP)

Israeli forces have raided and destroyed the Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb for the 105th time as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its expropriation of Palestinian lands for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

On Wednesday morning, the Israeli forces bulldozed Bedouin homes in the village, situated in the Negev region of the southern occupied territories, and confiscated the residents’ possessions, including their vehicles.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Palestine’s Ma’an news agency that policemen were deployed to the village to raze a “number of buildings” in accordance with a court order.

Al-Araqeeb, which was first demolished in 2010, is one of the 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by Israel. The areas are denied access to the national water and electricity grids, lack basic infrastructure, and receive no health and educational services.

Rights groups accuse Tel Aviv of pursuing a policy of transferring the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev region to other areas in a bid to make room for the expansion of illegal settlements.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Israelis demolish Palestinian graves

In a relevant development on Tuesday, forces from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority destroyed several graves inside a Palestinian cemetery in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Locals released footage showing the aftermath of demolitions in the Bab al-Rahma graveyard.

Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, told Ma’an that the Israeli forces raided the cemetery and demolished six Palestinian graves.

Israelis claimed that the graves were constructed on “confiscated land,” but Kiswani cited documents showing that the graves were owned by the al-Husseini and al-Ansari families.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Habbash, a Palestinian Authority adviser on religious and Islamic affairs, condemned Tuesday’s demolitions as “a crime that Israel must be punished for, in accordance with international law.”

Habbash also described the incident as a sign of “Israeli political confusion” following the recent approval of a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that endorses the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and slams Israel for provocations around the holy site.

He further urged the Arab League and other international organizations, specifically UNESCO, “to hold Israel responsible for its crimes against Palestinian and Islamic heritage" in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The occupied territories have witnessed a fresh bout of tensions ever since Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

Palestinians say Tel Aviv seeks to change the status quo of the site, which is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina in Saudi Arabia.

More than 250 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since the beginning of last October.

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