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Unrecognized Palestinians: Illegally Demolishing Their Homes and Villages

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Unrecognized Palestinians: Illegally Demolishing Their Homes and Villages - by Stephen Lendman

In October, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, together with nine other human rights organizations, addressed a position paper on "The unconstitutionality of the state's policy of demolishing Arab Bedouin unrecognized villages in the Negev" to three Israeli officials:

-- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

-- Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, and

-- Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman.

Citing the illegality of home demolitions, in this case of Arab Israeli citizens, they urged halting them immediately and finding a durable solution for unrecognized village residents. In Salim Abu- Medeghem v. The Israel Land Administration (April 14, 2007), Israel's High Court proposed replacing demolitions with solutions based on dialogue, Justice Arbel ruling:

"....the difficult reality the Bedouin population faces in the State of Israel requires a systemic, complete and comprehensive solution, and the sooner the better...The time has come to formulate and implement a truly comprehensive solution to this problem."

An earlier article addressed this issue, accessed through the following link:

click here

It explained that Israeli Arabs live mainly in all-Arab towns and villages in three heartlands - the Galilee in the north; what's called the "Little Triangle" in the center along the Israeli side of the Green Line; and the Negev in the south.

Up to 150,000 Bedouin Arabs, Israeli citizens, live in so-called "unrecognized villages," mainly in the Galilee and Negev. They're unrecognized because their residents are considered internal refugees, forced from their homes during Israel's War of Independence and prevented from returning. Thereafter, they've been relentlessly mistreated, including by repressive zoning restrictions, prohibiting construction, agriculture, and other legal rights.

They're also been denied essential services, including water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal and more because under Israel's Planning and Construction Law they're illegal. More recently, stepped up efforts to demolish their homes and villages are dispossessing them, making way for Jewish development, much like what's ongoing throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Adalah and the other human rights organizations want it stopped. Negev Bedouins number around 80,000. After earlier concentrating them in the desert's eastern portion, a policy of reducing their living space began in the 1990s. Today, Israel wants to remove as many as possible, disregarding their basic rights.

Since 1948, Israeli master plans completely ignored the unrecognized villages, denying their residents rights afforded Jews. The ongoing injustice continues relentlessly, today pursuing a policy of destroying entire villages, forcible displacements then following.

Examples include Al-Araqib. On July 27, 2010, at 4:30AM, the whole village was razed, its 45 homes demolished, illegal force used against men, women and children. Without warning, police stormed the village, wearing face masks and no IDs. Income Tax Authority representatives came with them, lawlessly seizing assets, purportedly to cover unverified debts.

The episode was appalling, leaving residents traumatized, their homes razed in front of their eyes, their possessions seized, and no alternative housing provided. After rebuilding four times, authorities again destroyed them.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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