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Israel demolishes Palestinian village in Negev desert for 177th time

Israeli bulldozers, guarded by the regime’s troops, are demolishing al-Araqib village in the Negev desert, on August 27, 2020. (Photo by Palestinian Information Center)

Israeli forces have displaced hundreds of Bedouin Palestinians after demolishing their village in the Negev region for the 177th time, as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its expropriation of Palestinian lands for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

On Thursday morning, Israeli bulldozers, heavily guarded by the regime’s soldiers, stormed the al-Araqib village and razed all of its tents and makeshift homes, making its inhabitants, including children and elderly people, homeless for the 177th time, the Palestinian Information center reported.

Al-Araqib, populated by members of the al-Turi Arab Bedouin tribe, is one of dozens of Bedouin villages in the Negev desert, which are “unrecognized” by the Israeli regime.

Since January, Israeli forces had demolished the village, some eight kilometers north of Beersheba, five times, the last of which was on March 5.

The village, with about 220 residents, was initially demolished on July 27, 2010, but has since been rebuilt dozens of times by its residents and activists, who are challenging Israel’s repeated attempts to uproot the villagers from their native land.

Israel to demolish several homes 

The Israeli authorities on Wednesday issued demolition orders against three homes in Nahalin town, west of Bethlehem, and stop-work orders for six under-construction ones there, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Subhi Zaidan, the mayor of Nahalin, confirmed that the Israeli military had already notified three local residents of its decision to make them and their families homeless.   

Separately on Wednesday, Israeli authorities allowed the annexation of 525 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands in the town and confiscated them as property belonging to the so-called Jewish national fund, the report added.

Shlomo Neiman, the head of Gush Etzion regional council, hailed the courts’ orders and described the annexation step as a historic measure taken after 76 years.

He added that the occupied lands would be used to expand Gush Etzion settlements, in the northern parts of the occupied West Bank.

The annexation orders came after Israeli courts rejected all documents that had been filed by Palestinian locals proving their ownership of the annexed area.

Over half a million Israeli settlers live in more than 230 settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Built on the occupied land, the settlements are internationally condemned as illegal.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of their future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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